Tom traded in his hometown St. Louis Cardinals’ ball cap for a stylish Borsalino and now hangs his cappello in Ostuni, la Città Bianca (the White City) in the Alto Salento sub-region of Puglia in southeastern Italy.
A veteran print and broadcast journalist with well-worn passports that have taken him to 50 countries and counting, Tom explains why he’s attracted to the Old World charm of the Bel Paese: “I’m inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history by meandering along cobblestone and travertine streets that were laid down thousands of years ago, looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my ‘Vespa’ running.”
Tom has a great eye behind the camera and is a graphic and entertaining storyteller. We’re happy to have The Palladian Traveler in the Traveling Boy fold and look forward to Tom’s dispatches filed from his creative hideaway, Villa Allegra, atop a hill just outside of Ostuni.
1. What are your top 5 favorite places to travel?
- Venice, Italy
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Seville, Spain
- Ireland — Anywhere along the Wild Atlantic Way
- Queensland, Australia
2. Name your favorite destination for enjoying a local food.
The Puglia region of Italy and its fab “cucina povera” (poor kitchen), where everything, from the farm and the sea, is zero-kilometer fresh and quite inexpensive.
3. What is it that you enjoy the most when you visit a new destination?
The thrill of never having been there before. The newness is exciting and a real eye-opener.
4. What are your best tips when preparing to travel?
Do proper research before you go so you don’t return home realizing what you missed. You know, the “DOH! moment.” I hate when that happens.
5. What are your best practices regarding currency? Do you suggest wearing a money belt?
Upon arrival I always pick up some pocket change at an airport ATM for taxis, tips and other incidentals. Otherwise, I rely totally on my Capital One MasterCard for all other purchases. There are no foreign exchange rate conversion charges and the card gets you in everywhere and pays rewards for every dollar spent. That’s great value.
6. How do you get by with the language barrier?
Knowing English gives you a leg up, but it doesn’t hurt to tackle an online language program, like Babbel, before you head behind enemy lines. And, make the effort to say a few phrases in the local language; it’ll take you pretty far.
7. What countries would you avoid?
Anywhere a human being is not treated humane.
8. What airline do you like the most?
Singapore Airlines. Enough said.
9. What is your favorite travel book?
“Lonely Planet” has the globe covered with expert travel advice on just about every destination imaginable. For leisure reading, and a good laugh, I’d pick anything from the pen of Bill Bryson.
10. What is your favorite film?
Being 50% Irish, I have to give the nod to John Ford’s “The Quiet Man,” with an honorable mention to “Waking Ned Devine.”SEE TOM’S POSTS HERE