JoAn Smith

JoAn Smith

Visual Merchandiser/Travel Advisor

How did you get interested in travel?

From childhood I had another culture bred into me. My mother was French, and I was raised in part by my French grandparents. I lived and went to high school in Metz for a year. In Europe everyone travels, so I did too. Many years later, my life took a major turn and I found myself living and working in China. From then on the world has been my best friend.

Favorite city or country? why?

Paris is my favorite, not only for its incredible beauty, style and romantic essence but also because it is part of my yearly pilgrimage to France to visit family.

Best or most interesting travel experience

My travels in China were the most interesting for the simple reason that the culture itself was so completely different than anything I had ever experienced. Landing in Beijing I was engulfed in a whirlwind of new and exotic smells, sights and tastes of a civilization thousands of years old.

Ever met anyone famous?

I inadvertently met the President of Uruguay. Coming out of a restaurant with my friend and colleague Mike Hyman, we ran into a roadblock on the sidewalk, with men in dark suits and sunglasses awaiting the arrival of a motorcade of black SUVs. A well-dressed man walked right up to Mike and me and put out his hand. Mike shook it and walked alongside this important visitor into the building. I hustled to keep up, and we all squeezed into the elevator with several of the secret service men. After giving a speech, Mike and I went to say goodbye and the President gave me a sweet kiss on the cheek!

Likes: Traveling light, Champagne, the TGV, Parisian raindrops

Loathes: Lugging around a heavy suitcase, rude people, something that was really annoying on my last trip but I can’t think of it right now…

Favorite food: Too many to mention!

Favorite restaurant: Les Ombres in Paris, and my aunt Pepette’s kitchen—the best food, sorry you can’t try it

Something interesting that people might not guess about you

I have six toes on each foot! Ha, not really, I just have a quirky sense of humor. And I’m a total sci-fi geek. And I love ironing.

A place that you could visit over and over again and not get bored? why?

Michigan, because my grandkids are there

The most unforgettable view you’ve ever seen

The Continental Divide in the Arctic Circle

A place you’ve never visited but really hope to get to – the moon, for the view

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