Angela Tuell 0:05
Welcome to Media in Minutes. This is your host Angela Tuell. This podcast features in- depth interviews with those who report on the world around us. They share everything from their favorite stories to what happened behind the lens and give us a glimpse into their world. From our studio here at Communications Redefined, this is Media in Minutes.
Today we're talking with Jordi Lippe-McGraw. Jordi is a well known travel writer, certified holistic health coach, wife and mom based in New York City. She has written for nearly every major travel outlet visited more than 50 countries and all seven continents, including Antarctica when she was five months pregnant. Writing for outlets like Conde Nast, Traveler, Travel + Leisure, The New York Times, Departures, Architectural Digest, and many more. Welcome, Jordi. Thank you for joining us today.
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 1:00
Thanks for having me.
Angela Tuell 1:01
Yes, I'm super excited. You know, as I just described, you are a prolific travel writer and certified holistic health coach, but that isn't what you started out doing, right? For 10 years you were a celebrity gossip reporter. You've got to tell us more.
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 1:15
Yes. Yeah, it feels like a whole nother life now. But sure, yeah. My my passion was my goal, you know, in high school and then in college was always to become an entertainment reporter. I had dreams of becoming like the next Giuliana Rancic. And I was able to make that as partially come true. I worked at Life & Style at In Touch magazines for six years full time. And yeah, it was it was a crazy life in my early 20s running around New York City interviewing celebrities, going to parties, red carpet, so it was literally this life. Yeah, it was fun at the time. I have to say, I'm sure
Angela Tuell 1:57
So what stories or behind the scenes happenings where most memorable during those years?
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 2:02
Oh my gosh, so many. I was really the on the ground reporter. So I was when have you read those articles that says an eyewitness? Yeah, that was probably me as the eyewitness. So I you know, I got to do incredible things. I was the reporter that interviewed Lindsay Lohan while on house arrest, so I actually got to go to her house. When that was happening. I got to sit next to Brad Pitt at a movie one time, I was the person who interviewed Stormy Daniels about her affair with Trump. Obviously, this was before he was President, but I met secured that interview years ago. So I have a lot of stories. And at the time, it felt like a double life. And it kind of still does sometimes when I when I think back about the things that i used to do.
Angela Tuell 2:50
You have to write a book.
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 2:52
I know I know, I have a title in mind that I would love to use that I'm not going to share here. But I have something in the works in the back of my brain one day.
Angela Tuell 3:01
Oh, good, good. We'll be watching for it. So what made you leave the gossip world and take on travel?
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 3:08
I had one of those moments in my life that a lot of people have. For me, it was pretty tragic. But I feel like people always come to this like crossroads in their life. And for me, that happened in December of 2010. When my dad died in a plane crash, it was obviously very sudden, unexpected, and traumatizing to say the least. And after that happened, it's one of those things that just kind of makes you reevaluate life and what makes you happy and what you want to put your energy towards. And I realized I just, I didn't want to be living all, you know, all these celebrities lives. I really wanted to be living my own. And I actually while I was still a reporter, an entertainment reporter I was asked to go on an assignment in Fiji. And this was several, just a few months after my dad had died. And I was terrified of flying after that happened.
Angela Tuell 4:04
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 4:05
And somehow I still accepted to do the assignment. And I traveled like 16 hours by myself on a plane to Fiji and I was super, super nervous. getting on the plane I didn't if I was gonna freak out, have a panic attack. But what happened was, after we kind of took off and got up into the air, I felt this sense of calm that I hadn't felt in a really, really long time. And I actually felt really close to my dad in that moment. And from that point forward, I was sort of intrigued and hooked on what travel and what the role travel could play in my life because it was something that gave me such relief and hope in a way that I hadn't experienced since my dad died so I started traveling more and more and becoming really passionate about it and at the same time wanting to not really live this crazy lifestyle, going to late night parties and drinking and I'm just not taking care of myself physically. And so over time, it was just like overnight. But I would say over a couple of years, I was able to start writing some freelance content on the side about my personal travels that I was taking. And I was able to build up enough work on the side to quit my, my job as an entertainment reporter and pursue travel writing as a full time freelancer. And I've officially been doing that longer than I was a full time as an entertainment reporter. And I still find with every trip that I go on, whether personally or professionally, it's always just helped me grow and move through the never ending experience of grief.
Angela Tuell 5:43
Yeah, there's something travel does to all of us in different, different ways. That's just amazing.
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 5:49
Yeah, it really, I mean, it's so transformative for so many reasons for so many people. And for me, it was just so interesting, because it was something, you know, flying is something that brought has brought me so much pain in my life. But it's also the thing that has brought me so much joy and helped me move through that pain. So it was just like this very interesting dynamic that I didn't realize was going to happen to me, and here I am today.
Angela Tuell 6:14
Yeah. And you began at that time to focus, as you said, in life and health and wellness and happiness. What advice do you have for others to do the same thing?
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 6:23
I mean, that's so hard, because it's such an individual experience. Yeah, what I always like to say, and as you mentioned, I'm a certified holistic health coach. So to preface this, I would like to say that you know, I did go to school for this and and saw firsthand how making changes in your life can just be so so incredibly monumental, and really changed the course of your life. If you had told me 15 years ago that I would be a travel writer, I would say you're crazy. My dream is to be, to be an entertainment reporter, right? Like, that's what I want to do. And I think so in that the lesson is to never be afraid to change, and that it's okay to have your passions change and to stop doing what you think you should be doing. And as I like to say, stop, stop shooting all over yourself. Instead, really figure out like what it is that's making you happy. And if it's something that's no longer making you happy, even if it did for a long period of time, that's okay. And to go after what what really is going to make you happy I, when I work with clients before all, I'm not going to talk to them about what their specific career goal is, or what their weight goal, whatever their specific goal is. We - I actually don't ask people to do that. What instead is I tell them to visualize their perfect, perfect day. What does that look like? What are you looking at when you wake up first thing in the morning? What is the first thing you do when you get out of bed? Where are you? Where do you see yourself going? For lunch? And I really just have people walk through their ideal day. And that's the feeling that you want to latch on to, and then figuring out what that career or whatever looks like. And what that specific detail is comes after that as long as you are still going towards that dream day, then everything else will fall into place. For me, I knew I didn't want to work in an office anymore. I wanted to be able to have the flexibility to take a workout class in the middle of the day and focus on my health. I wanted to be able to make money from traveling. And so what came to fruition over time was what I am doing now. And that's you know, being a freelance travel writer, but I didn't know back then when I started doing that exercise. So what do I wanted my dream day to look like I didn't know I would be where I am today. I just knew what I was going after and the feeling that I was going after every single day. And that's what I would encourage people to do is go after that feeling, rather than a specific goal necessarily.
Angela Tuell 9:01
I love that advice, especially what we've all been through in the last couple of years. I think we could all take a look at that. So what have been some of your best travel adventures?
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 9:10
Oh my gosh, I've gotten to go on so many. And I feel so incredibly fortunate. I've been to every single continent. My husband and I actually made a pact when we got married that we would go to every continent before we had kids. So
Angela Tuell 9:22
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 9:23
Our last continent was Antarctica and I was actually pregnant when we went there. And so we were able to announce our pregnancy from Antarctica which was obviously an incredible experience.
Angela Tuell 9:38
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 9:39
I you know, it's and just being there and feeling someplace so remote and really, like you're on an adventure was absolutely incredible. You know, I've gotten to I recently actually got to go to Richard Branson's new private islands and have lunch with him which is really again another bucket list item that you don't even know that you have. And I jumped out of a helicopter in Hawaii with a Navy SEAL. Like, my job has allowed me to experience so many incredible destinations. And I'm truly truly grateful every single day.
Angela Tuell 10:16
Yes. And in the midst of all this adventure, as you said, after the last continent, you had a son, Wilder.
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 10:22
Angela Tuell 10:22
And err has having a child changed your travel career at all?
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 10:27
Of course it has. Obviously, I am not able to travel as much as frequently as I did before I had a kid. And my son was only a year and a half when the pandemic hit. So we were very, very much you know, at home with everyone else not traveling. So that definitely has shaped our experience in the last couple years. Prior to the pandemic, I think my son had been to seven countries before he turned two.
Angela Tuell 10:54
Oh wow. Lucky little boy.
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 10:57
It was always, yes, it was always important for us, for me and my husband, to be sure that we don't stop doing what we love doing, which for both of us, a huge part of that is travel. So we again made a pact that we would bring him along with us as much as possible. Obviously, travel looks much different now, with with the child, he's now three and a half. But you know, we're not able to do as many things in a day as we used to, right? Like, we could go to Paris and go see 15 sites, now you're gonna, you know, maybe see a couple and have to work it around nap time and things like that.
Angela Tuell 11:33
And not sit at a restaurant for three hours.
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 11:36
Exactly, you know, utilize babysitters, we bring family along to be able to, you know, help out a little bit. Or, you know, sometimes my husband and I have gone off and done things on our own. So one person will watch the kid while the other person gets to go and do an experience. Yeah. And that's just how it's gonna be for a little while. And I'm not gonna say that it's that it's easy. I'm sure on Instagram, it looks like we have these, you know, incredible family moments. There's a lot of being tired, there's, you know, tantrums. There's all sorts of things. So it's not always glamorous, but I think it's, for us, it was really, really important to make sure that we are still traveling because it makes us happy. And to be able to expose Wilder to as many experiences and different cultures and people and yeah, hope, hopefully it teaches him to be empathetic and flexible. Because travel doesn't always work out the way that you want. You know, even our most recent trip, we went to Naevus in December. And that was our first trip as a family internationally since February 2020. And it was one of those things where we had like a 20 minute layover, and was rushing through the airport, and he was on my husband's bag for running, you know, we're running and we're like, oh my god, we're gonna miss this flight. We're gonna miss this flight. And he was just my son was just cracking up the whole time. And, you know, it's just, I hopefully it'll teach him to go with the flow a little bit more. And hopefully travel gets easier as he gets older too.
Angela Tuell 13:14
Yes, it will. It will. I have two 10 year olds and a five year old. So I can tell you it gets a little bit easier.
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 13:20
So I need to ask you, it gets easier, right?
Angela Tuell 13:22
Right. Exactly. So how do you like to find your stories?
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 13:29
Oh, wow. Well, you know, part of my job is, obviously I get pitched by publicists often. And that's, that's a huge, you know, those relationships are a huge way that I find out about opportunities. I also like to, since since I am a freelancer, I always tend to look for the stories that are a bit off the beaten path. So you know, obviously all these incredible outlets that I get to write for have an in house staff that can cover the day to day happenings in the travel world. So for me, I always like to try to find those kind of like side stories, the interesting person, a unique architectural detail, you know, one of a kind experience. So those are the types of stories I like to tell. I personally love focusing on wellness and adventure and kind of that the combination of the two. And whenever I got the chance to experience that firsthand, even better, but I really just, I like to think of myself as a storyteller. First and foremost. So any chance I can get to tell the story of a property or a person doing something really interesting in the industry. That's, that's what stands out to me the most.
Angela Tuell 14:47
Is that how you decide the destinations then is based on those things. right? If they have the wellness or the adventure or the type of things you like to do?
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 14:55
Yeah, absolutely. I though, I prayed about all different types of You know, destinations for a variety of different outlets, which each have their own audience and goals. But for me personally, the types of stories that I like to write about and get to experience are yes, those where there's this mix of adventure, relaxation, a touch of luxury, although I don't mind being rugged as well. But that's really what I how I like to travel, aside from work. So any any opportunity where I get to experience a place that does both of those things is like, ace in my book.
Angela Tuell 15:33
Yes. And do you prefer to experience a destination with your husband and son or solo sometimes or with a group trip?
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 15:42
Yeah, I think I, as much as possible love to travel with both my husband and son. One from just completely like, just the goal standpoint of not having to worry about childcare or grandparents on the kid for a while. And I just, you know, being able to have a travel experience with people that you love, just, you know, sharing that, it just makes you I'm you know, like it just makes it, it makes it so much better to be able to make those make those memories. That's not to say that I don't love a nice solo trip, it's nice to get away from family and take some, you know, just downtime. I don't go on a ton of group press trips. But the times that I have, it's been really nice to meet other journalists. And just, again, especially because of the pandemic and being a freelancer working from home, it's nice to socialize a little bit. So, you know, there's, there's benefits to all types of travel. If I had to give like my top, it would probably be Yes, like a solo. Independent trip with with my family.
Angela Tuell 16:53
Yeah. So how can PR professionals best help you do your job? And any pet peeves, you have?
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 16:59
Publicists that I tend to work with best, they know those types of stories that I'm looking for, like I just described, right? Like, I am not necessarily going to be the person that is going to cover the standard news of a hotel renovation. But is there any unique detail about that, that renovation that you could call out? Are people, are guests coming to that hotel, and specifically requesting one pillow? You know, like, so. So helping, because, you know, I can't go to all these places, I don't know the stories of all your clients. So being able to pull out those nuggets is super, super helpful. Because I don't have the time to do that kind of digging and publicists know their clients best. So I would encourage them to ask their clients those types of questions. Hey, is there someone who's been on this property ever since it opened? Is there - did a couple meet here because they were both employees? Like finding out those really interesting again, off the beaten path stories, and sharing those with me in just a few bullet points, and we can flesh it out later. That is is super, super helpful. Um, I think pet peeves are like I, and I think this probably goes for 99% Generally, it's like we don't cover I don't cover like the random holidays like Margarita day or things I just like don't even bother. Because it's not it's not gonna happen maybe maybe once in a while get it but for the most part, like those types of roundups, I'm just I'm not going to cover. Another pet peeve is if I do put a call out for a specific story. For example, oh, hey, I'm looking for the most romantic hotels in Europe. And then I'll get an email back. I don't have that. But here's one in Fiji it's like well, that doesn't really help me, you know. what I'm asking for. Just you know, they'll maybe there'll be an opportunity for a romantic Fiji hotel down the line. But for right now my inbox is full and this is just making it cluttered. So if you don't have anything you totally fine. Try not to clog my inbox.
Angela Tuell 19:02
I can't even imagine how full your inbox is all the time. So what is some of your, some of your best travel advice since you've done this for a living?
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 19:12
My best travel advice... I like to travel with a carry on as much as possible and not check a bag. One it saves me a lot of the time, and two, it just, for me, avoids the hassle of potentially losing a bag I you know, I know where my stuff is at all times. So I like to try to get like the maximum size carry on and do a really good job learning how to pack that efficiently. So like I stick my socks or underwear inside my shoes so that way it saves space. Things like that are just little hacks. With kids I would say, Well, I've had iPad iPod my secret. Yeah, download a bunch of movies and let them, you know, have at it.
Angela Tuell 19:57
When we were the parents, like we're not going to do that all the time. Or you know, let them have that for five hours in a row, and then you're traveling.
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 20:02
Absolutely. And I think it's just a matter of making sure you have the mindset of being flexible. because rarely do trips go 100% according to plan, especially in this day and age, so being able to not have such, you know, rigidity to your schedule, because there will something will change, and you don't want the stress and anxiety of it. So definitely leave space to just free explore, because that's some of the best things that I've found have been from just wandering around.
Angela Tuell 20:38
And I like that. So before we go, I want to ask a little bit more about the holistic health coach. Why you decided to go that route, which you've talked a little bit about, but also what you do from a professional perspective with that.
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 20:51
Absolutely. So after my dad died, and I realized that I didn't want to be going out to these nightclubs super late and drinking a cocktail every night, and I really wanted to be able to feel refreshed in the morning and go to the gym, and really start taking care of myself. So I started just doing a lot of personal research and making personal changes in terms of my diet and exercise, and, you know, focusing on my mental health, and I started to be like, wow, this stuff works. Who knew that? Yeah, eating right. And exercise, like, of course, you know that. But I think so much of it was learning how to shift my mindset. And more so than like, knowing that kale is better for you than cookies, right? So once I started to really work on the mental health aspect of learning how to shift my mindset, knowing that I have control over my thoughts, and my feelings about the day is like, Hmm, there's something to this, I would love to be able to share this with other people. So I decided to go to school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and learn to become a holistic health coach. So I'm not a nutritionist, I'm not a trainer, but I'm really someone that's like, in the middle, that helps people realize their their individual goals, and we'll create a plan with them, that is focused on what it is if they want a career change, if they do want to lose weight. If they want more energy, whatever that goal is, they want to sleep better they want, you know, to feel more competent in their relationships, etc, I will work to kind of help shift their mindset and give them a toolbox to be able to do that. So I've been able to do that in a group setting, which I particularly love, where I work with mostly a group of women. And we'll kind of go through a several week, kind of weekly workshop, going through different types of exercises, and you know, being able to tailor it to their goals. I've also been able to lead one off group workshops on cruises and at hotels, which has been particularly rewarding. And I work with clients one on one to really, really hone in on what it is that that specific goal is and what are those tiny little changes that they can make in their life that will lead to this radical change. And I think that is a huge part of what my practice has been, is that it doesn't have to be this like, big sweeping change, right? I'm not going to be the trainer that comes in and says, Okay, go to the gym five days a week, or the nutritionist that says, Okay, cut out all of your pasta, right? No, I'm going to come in and say, Hey, how about you start walking 10,000 steps a day, just walk, don't worry about anything else, just walk 10,000 steps a day. And let's see, if you are having four cups of coffee a day, I'm not going to tell you to not have those four cups of coffee, what I'm going to say is have your cup of coffee, have a couple glasses of water. And then let's see how you feel after that. And it's working by adding things into your life rather than removing them that slowly push out some of those bad habits. And that's what leads to long lasting change. And that that mindset shift is that it doesn't feel like you're depriving yourself of anything. You're simply adding things into your life that are going to make you feel better. And you and I, like me will probably get addicted to that feeling of feeling really good.
Angela Tuell 24:26
Yeah, I love that. How do our listeners find out more?
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 24:29
You can go on to MeetJordi.com and there's a lot of information on there and different links to coaching and my writing and you can always you know, there's a contact form on there. Feel free to reach out to me for any questions and you can follow me on Instagram at Jordi Lippie where I you know, share my travels and I'll share a little pieces of advice and obviously you can message me there as well.
Angela Tuell 24:50
Perfect, and we'll share lots of links in our show notes.
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 24:54
Awesome. Thank you.
Angela Tuell 24:55
Thank you so much Jordi.
Jordi Lippe-McGraw 24:57
Yeah, thank you so much for having me.
Angela Tuell 25:01
That's all for this episode of Media in Minutes, a podcast by Communications Redefined. Please take a moment to rate, review and subscribe to our show. We'd love to hear what you think. You can find more at CommunicationsRedefined.com/podcast. I'm your host, Angela Tuell. Talk to you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Copyright © 2020 Communications Redefined - All Rights Reserved.