Kristy Alpert: Freelance travel journalist with bylines in Travel + Leisure, TIME, Food & Wine, Cosmopolitan and more!

Angela Tuell: 0:05

Welcome to Media in Minutes. This is your host Angela Tuell. This podcast features in-depth interviews with those reports 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. On today’s episode, we are talking with freelance travel journalist Kristy Alpert. Kristy’s work is featured in Travel + Leisure, Time, Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Men’s Health, Food & Wine, AFAR and many more. She has extensive experience covering travel, food and lifestyle topics, and has visited 86 countries on all seven continents and even paid rent on four. Hello, Kristy.

Kristy Alpert: 0:55

Hi.

Angela Tuell: 0:56

How are you?

Kristy Alpert: 0:58

I’m good. How are you?

Angela Tuell: 1:00

Good. I have to tell you, I don’t even know where to begin with you. You have had – and you’re not very old, I should preface this probably with – you’ve had the most incredible travel adventures. And as you’ve said, misadventures, which I love, you know, that real aspect for sure that that we could talk for hours about them. But let me name a few. And why don’t you pick your favorites of both to tell us more is that a deal?

Kristy Alpert: 1:31

Sure. Yeah.

Angela Tuell: 1:32

Okay. So you’ve hiked toward Everest base camp, and made the trip to the Everest View Hotel, but didn’t climb the mountain. You bathed in way in Switzerland. Big brown bread in Lulu Island, used the few German phrases you know to navigate the streets of Vietnam, got help digging your rental car out of

Kristy Alpert: 1:55

Awe, yeah. No. I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve sand in Albania. And I’m sure hundreds of other adventures including but I saw on some photos on Instagram sitting next to gorillas in the mountains of Uganda. been able to travel to some amazing places and do some truly truly incredible things. Yeah. Hard to pick a – for me Antarctica was pretty incredible also. That was pretty cool. I almost got swallowed by a whale when we were in a Zodiac boat. So again,

Angela Tuell: 2:28

Wait – how?

Kristy Alpert: 2:30

Yeah, it was wild.

Angela Tuell: 2:32

Like the whale coming to the boat and –

Kristy Alpert: 2:34

Yeah, so when a whale is about to eat all the krill, right, or they come up to the surface, and so the water looks like it’s boiling. So all the fish are kind of popping up to the top, because the whales blow out bubbles to get the fish to come to the top. And so we’re kind of watching whales in the background and all of a sudden our Zodiac just gets surrounded by bubbles. And all the fish start popping up and the guys who’s like driving the boat or the Zodiac has eyes got huge and said everyone hold on, and we took off really fast. And right when we left though the whale’s mouth came right up where the boat was. And we’re like, Ah!

Angela Tuell: 3:08

No way.

Kristy Alpert: 3:09

Yeah, it was pretty incredible though again, it’s like, ah, what an experience. That would have been a different experience if the guy wasn’t quick at, quick at his job.

Angela Tuell: 3:18

Right. Like I’m glad you weren’t swallowed by a whale. But that would have been-

Kristy Alpert: 3:22

I know. My parents don’t love that story.

Angela Tuell: 3:25

No, probably not. I could – so what about the rental car stuck in stand in Albania?

Kristy Alpert: 3:31

Oh, that was another time where German kind of the few German phrases got me got me out of that one as well. But um…

Angela Tuell: 3:38

Okay.

Kristy Alpert: 3:39

I was doing a solo road trip. And I kind of rented a car for the day when I was down in Montenegro. And so I was like, I’m gonna go to Albania for the day and I drove around kind of some of the hills in Albania and I heard some people that is really cool beach. And so I went down to this beach with this this junky rental car that I got the budget version of whatever they’re having in Montenegro at the time. And I parked where I saw a bunch of other cars parked and my husband is the car guy. And so he was even like, you’re renting a car and I was like, Yeah, that’s fine. I can just drive. It was in the sand and I parked to the sand and didn’t know that really, you’re supposed to there’s a certain angle you’re supposed to use your tires with and I when I was backing out, I just dug straight into this ditch. Luckily these these Germans that were on vacation there these four German guys had pity on me and helped me get it out but it was ugh. Again thankful this is all you know good people everywhere that you thankful for people who do their jobs. Thankful for people who have mercy on you

Angela Tuell: 4:40

Yes. when you know –

Kristy Alpert: 4:43

I used to as a kid I always like kind of wrote

Angela Tuell: 4:43

That’s, that’s something I’ve realized as we’ve traveled the world a little bit, nothing nearly as far as you have or, you know, as much as you have. Let’s take a step back. How did you get to a career where all of this is possible? down like, children’s book ideas or book ideas, and I want to be an author, you know. But my dad was a pilot with Delta Airlines. Okay.

Kristy Alpert: 5:09

So we used to travel often as a family with standby privileges. And I always journaled when I was traveling. And I’m not, really, I never really knew why I did it. It just kind of felt right.

Angela Tuell: 5:21

Yeah.

Kristy Alpert: 5:22

So I don’t know that maybe it was a start of it. But it just, it always just felt like I needed to write down what I was seeing and what I was doing. And then in college, I took a different route. So I changed my major about seven times I had no idea – I think it was general business. And then I was

Angela Tuell: 5:35

Oh, wow. Okay, what did you start at? I want to know what you started at. a math major at one point. Wow, that does not go along with the I mean, it’s great if you can do both, but…

Kristy Alpert: 5:48

Anyone who knows me would be like, what? Like, I’m like, calculator, my phone. I’m like, one second.

Angela Tuell: 5:56

Counting on your fingers.

Kristy Alpert: 5:57

Oh, I’m the worst. So that was a, that was a stage. But I mean, I ended up graduating early still. Because I went through this quickly, like, no, that’s not for me. No, that’s not for me.

Angela Tuell: 6:06

Okay.

Kristy Alpert: 6:07

And then I had ended up getting a technical editing certification. And really, I did well with grammar. And so I knew I was good at editing. And then when I was about to graduate, I had I was a lit major, English Lit, so certified to read. And I kind of was working towards a career, I was working in a field. And then I knew that this was gonna be my path. This is like a trending story you’ll hear later on, but I’m working towards a career that I really didn’t see myself in, like kind of for the long haul. And it was just didn’t feel right again. And so I was visiting my sister. She was she was living in London at the time. And so that last semester of college, I went to go visit her and I got in that night, and I was kind of jet lagged. But I had spent the whole time on the plane, like, just self reflection, you know, looking at the clouds and being like, what am I doing with my life? I was just reading magazine after magazine. And I was like, it’d be so cool. Like, I know, I’m good at editing, you know, like, what if, what I worked in a magazine one day, that’d be so cool. And so that night, I couldn’t sleep when I got to her house, I just remember sitting in her room. And I was like, why not? I’m gonna just send my resume out. And so I sent my resume, a little baby college girl resume that I made myself and send it out to a ton of just different publications in the Dallas area, because that’s where it was based. So Dallas, Texas, and just kind of asked them for an internship saying, hey, take a chance on me. I’m not a journalism major. But I know grammar, and I can work hard. And so I got that’s like, that’s that was like my first time that I ever cold pitched an editor. And that’s the first time of many to come.

Angela Tuell: 7:43

Countless, right?

Kristy Alpert: 7:44

So that’s how I got into but then I ended up getting an internship at a golf magazine.

Angela Tuell: 7:48

Really?

Kristy Alpert: 7:49

Yeah. And I don’t golf.

Angela Tuell: 7:51

Okay, I learned that when I saw that on

Kristy Alpert: 7:53

No, I don’t know anything about golf. And so that LinkedIn. job ended up teaching me quite a bit about it. I just since I did not have a journalism degree, that was kind of my like, foray into like, really honing my reporting skills, because I knew nothing about golf. So I had to reach out to subject matter experts, interview golf pros, interview celebrities, and get information from people who knew what they were talking about, and kind of pull those together to form a story. So actually, it ended up being a really great experience. Yeah, and then from there, I went on to be an editor at a city magazine in Dallas. And that’s when, again, another my husband and I were like, Okay, we’re in Dallas, we can see ourselves, you know, I was at D magazine, I was like, I could continue going through the ranks of D magazine somehow or we then go buy a house and just live like this forever. And we decided to quit our jobs instead. And so my husband proposed was that our second year of marriage, so we quit our jobs and moved to Portland in Oregon.

Angela Tuell: 9:02

And how Portland – just somewhere you liked?

Kristy Alpert: 9:04

Okay, so yeah, that was another like hard decision, weird decision. But we were like, either gonna be Denver or Portland. This is in 2010. So like, a lot of people were kind of like, go somewhere with mountains and but we have a family in Portland. And so we’re like this this way. We like know, someone, you know.

Angela Tuell: 9:21

Yeah.

Kristy Alpert: 9:22

So we chose Portland. And that’s when I started freelancing full time.

Angela Tuell: 9:26

Okay.

Kristy Alpert: 9:27

And I really, it just suited me and so that was in 2010. And it was just great. I mean, my I, I was a healthier person, like I ended up like getting, you know, I was started running more, I had time for myself. And then I found myself working way harder and like, late hours, and I didn’t care because it was for me. And it was something that I really cared about. And I was writing about things that I really was passionate about as well. And I took bigger risks and it just, yeah, it was it suited me and I don’t think it suits everyone but –

Angela Tuell: 9:58

Right.

Kristy Alpert: 9:59

I’ve been freelancing now for almost my entire career, to be honest and yes, we love it.

Angela Tuell: 10:07

So you’ve recently moved to Paris. And I have to mention helped me plan a trip for our family recently, which was fantastic. So PS for those listening, I don’t know if I should put words into your mouth, but I believe you’re also a for hire travel planner. So how are things in Paris?

Kristy Alpert: 10:26

Oh, things are great. We’ve got the Olympics coming up. So right now and it’s just it’s a great time to be here.

Angela Tuell: 10:34

Yeah, fun time to be there. Definitely. For what outlets and types of stories are you currently writing? Because I know there’s there’s a wide variety in the past. Where are you focused on currently?

Kristy Alpert: 10:45

Yeah. So a lot of, it’s still that lens of travel. So we’ve got culinary, food, lifestyle. So I’m doing some culinary stories right now for Food & Wine Magazine. Destination travel guides for US News and World Report.

Angela Tuell: 11:01

Okay.

Kristy Alpert: 11:02

Something for Local Palette, the new one for me. And then some travel gear stories for Travel + Leisure right now, along with another hotel story. And then I’m working on, like I said, the Olympics are coming and so I’m going to be covering the Olympic Games for Cosmopolitan magazine. And so I’m doing quite a bit Olympic prep for them right now. And we’ll gear up more soon.

Angela Tuell: 11:26

Yeah, sounds like a full plate. What are some of your favorite stories you’ve written?

Kristy Alpert: 11:31

Oh, I’m so really I think that anytime I can use my voice, and thankfully that’s like, it’s becoming less rare. I mean, for a while it was roundup Roundup. And now it’s, um, I love when I get to write from my personal experience and use my own voice. So I did a story recently for Food & Wine Magazine. And it included this little like sweet story about how like this mug of chocolat chaud, little hot chocolate, like it helped my son and I.

Angela Tuell: 12:00

Yes.

Kristy Alpert: 12:01

Yeah. Okay, good. I was like, I think we talked about this before. It felt helped us feel like this sense of comfort during this really kind of challenging time in our expat journey. And so I got to tell that sweet story. And it was all through the lens, again of like, you know, chocolat chaud this like cultural thing here. But I got to include this moment, you know, that I had with my son. And so I think it’s kind of special that I have that out there. There’s another one –

Angela Tuell: 12:25

And we’ll make sure to link to that in our show notes, by the way.

Kristy Alpert: 12:28

Oh, thanks. Okay, cool. And then other stories that I really enjoy their stories that like kind of connect with other people or that they help people feel seen. You know, it’s like, I always I wanted to get into journalism to give people a voice, you know, giving a voice to people who don’t necessarily have one. So interviewing people who are doing crazy things around the world, or amazing things and you want to just highlight that, but also seeing something that someone else is gonna be like, Oh, me, too, you know. So I did a story for Cosmopolitan a while ago, and it was how I spent 12 years of my married life saying I never was gonna have kids.

Angela Tuell: 13:02

Oh, yes.

Kristy Alpert: 13:03

We’re never gonna have kids, then going from that to doing everything in my power to actually have kids. And I now have two kids, but I got, I mean so many emails and social media messages from readers all over the world because I mean, Cosmo Spain ran it, Cosmo Italy, like so. I mean, it was it was really overwhelming that people were just saying that my words help them find healing and even maybe even answers to these struggles they were having on deciding whether or not to have kids. It was just very cool to be able to have conversations with people after that, too. You know, it doesn’t end with the article. It’s..

Angela Tuell: 13:37

Yeah.

Kristy Alpert: 13:38

Connect with the readers and that’s just gives me chills. It’s that’s what it’s all about, I think, you know.

Angela Tuell: 13:42

I love that we will connect to the to that story as well. Definitely. So with you know, you writing for so many wonderful outlets and having such a, you know, full career at this point even, how is best – I’m sure you get a million emails a day – how is it best for PR professionals to get stories and story ideas in front of you, and do you have any pet peeves when it comes to being pitched or even hosted for trips?

Kristy Alpert: 14:11

No, I mean, man, PR people work so hard. So it’s all good, but pretty simple when it comes to press releases, and I think just spell my name correctly. If it says like, you know, Hey, Brian.

Angela Tuell: 14:24

Or Kristian or like something that’s similar.

Kristy Alpert: 14:27

It’s like, my email address is my name, you know, makes it so easy for you. It just it’s like, you know, if I know that it wasn’t meant for me originally, then I’m probably not going to read it. You know, it really it’s and you did this really well. Angela is that PR is about relationships. And you are like the queen of this but um, I think in terms of like the writer PR relationship, I need to trust you that you know, that your client, you know your client in and out, but also that you want me to succeed in my career, you know, and it. Um, and also I need you to trust me that I will do my job honestly and thoroughly. But also that I want you to succeed in your career. So it’s it’s kind of a two way relationship, right. And it takes a lot of trust. And I think that a lot of that is why I don’t accept press trips that require confirmed story assignments. Anymore I found that it doesn’t really respect my credibility. Because I found out also my editors don’t really enjoy being pitched before a trip. They think it’s lazy. Just prior to traveling. And so when I do

Angela Tuell: 15:29

Yeah. that, it makes me look bad. And so it’s just, yeah, it’s just not a very good practice, I feel like. And it it, you know, and then trips get canceled, right? And so that leaves me in a tough position with an editor too, if I’ve already accepted an assignment. Absolutely.

Kristy Alpert: 15:48

It’s tough though, because I know that clients like prefer that level of security, you know, in their, quote, unquote, investment.

Angela Tuell: 15:54

Right.

Kristy Alpert: 15:55

But in the end, I think it’s really, it’s in everyone’s best interest for like a freelancer, for me to sell as many stories and angles as I can about that destination, or that hotel, or whatever it might be, and not just kind of mindlessly going through the trip. You know, when you already have a story idea in mind, it’s like, yeah, just it’s like a free ride. But it’s like, it’s just, it’s more interesting, and you’re gonna get better stories out of it. If it is, but again, it comes back to that trust. Like, if you don’t have that trust already, you know, that I’m gonna do my job, honestly,

Angela Tuell: 16:24

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, that’s a it’s you know, and – a lot of work, building those relationships. But that’s how you know that it’s someone and you know, following your work and in the PR side, following the journalists work, and, and if you know, the person well and know their work, you know, that you can trust that. And that’s all we can say to clients, you know, that we know they will produce, and we know they’ll do the best they can. I mean, you all get paid from your writing so you have to write to make a living.

Kristy Alpert: 16:51

It’s in our best interest as well to get as much as I can from one trip.

Angela Tuell: 16:55

And a trip is not just, it’s different when you’re traveling for business than when you’re traveling for fun, you know. You are actually working and paying attention and taking notes. And not to say you’re not have any fun at all. But you know, there’s definitely, it’s definitely work.

Kristy Alpert: 17:11

True. So true.

Angela Tuell: 17:13

Yeah.

Kristy Alpert: 17:13

And like I’ve said, like you were, yeah, that you could you need to write a book about this. How relationships with journalists, you’re very good at that.

Angela Tuell: 17:19

Oh, thank you. So how often are you traveling now? I know I have a I’ve got an ask a little bit about the kids and a little bit, but you know, what, how has your life changed I guess with how much travel you’re doing, or has it?

Kristy Alpert: 17:35

Oh, man, no, it’s changed so much. So there was a point when was the point when I was traveling probably three weeks out of the month. So it was it was a lot. And yeah, it’s changed quite a bit from that. What’s the I mean, when I do travel, I travel with the kids, my two kids, they’re young. And so I don’t have childcare. And so it’s okay, let’s either I come with them, where I don’t really get to go at all. I recently did a trip by myself. And so those trips are very rare these days. There’s just a weekend, I was able to pop up Hellsinki from where I am and do a trip there. But yeah, I would say I mean, it’s hard with kids. And you know, this kind of my son just started school. And so it’s like, I’m limited now to when he’s on spring break. And I’m like, Oh, the worst time to

Angela Tuell: 18:25

The most expensive time. Yeah, yeah. Wait until, travel. wait until they get a little bit older too if they if they’re in sports, and like my son, football is going to start in the middle or no, it’s actually starting this year in the middle of June. So they get out of school at the end of May. But he has to start going to conditioning some in the middle of June. So you’re like, when can we take a vacation in the summer? You know, the first week.

Kristy Alpert: 18:49

Yeah, it gets tricky. And so that’s why I think that it’s changed a lot in the in the fact that like and you you told everyone who has kids gets this it’s like it just takes so much like planning. So much goes behind the scenes to make one trip happen now, but so that’s the main difference, I think.

Angela Tuell: 19:06

Yeah. The thing that is good but also sad is that I shouldn’t even say good, right is sad is that it will go fast. And then they’re, before you know it, Kristy, they’re moving out and then then you’re like….

Kristy Alpert: 19:16

Oh, I know, and that’s why I’m bringing them

Angela Tuell: 19:17

And then you get to travel again. with me.

Kristy Alpert: 19:19

Yeah, yeah, I bring them with me cuz I’m like, no, no, I’m not gonna be away from them.

Angela Tuell: 19:24

Yes, it’s so true. Like, I completely feel you as you know, we take them with us everywhere. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Do you have any tips for traveling with kids?

Kristy Alpert: 19:32

Um, let’s see, like traveling kids is easier than working at home with kids. That’s for sure.

Angela Tuell: 19:38

I think so too. Yeah.

Kristy Alpert: 19:40

You know what – No, I do. So early on. It was I was pregnant with my son and I had the chance to meet with Samantha Brown who is yes. Oh my gosh, I grew up watching like all her shows, and I just thought she was like, the coolest and so I got to meet her and I was totally starstruck and it was embarrassing. I think I fangirled too much. I was pregnant. And I went up to her and I said, you know, any advice and she said something along the lines of like, no matter how many things you think you want to do on a day when traveling, just plan, like one thing.

Angela Tuell: 20:11

Oh, I need to be better about that.

Kristy Alpert: 20:11

No, no. But she’s like, and then whatever else happens that day. It’s either a bonus or what needed to happen

Angela Tuell: 20:17

Yes. for you, you know? And so, yeah, it’s hard because like, I’m also

Kristy Alpert: 20:19

So when you have these expectations of I’m gonna I’m with you, I’m a fitted all in one day kind of girl. Like, I’m like, let’s do it. We can get up early. And you know, but it was mind blowing to me. And it is actually, I mean, again, maybe it’s just the stage where my kids are so young, that it’s me right now. And that maybe that’ll change later on. But for now, it’s I when I plan stuff with them, I do one thing a day. And yeah, it’s been great because it takes the pressure, you know, expectations, kind of like the enemy of travel, right? get this all in and then you’re stressed and you’re angry if it doesn’t happen. And so now it’s like, whatever, you know, play and I’m a I’m a better mom for it. I think, you know, I know they’re better kids because of it. I think like fun trips, at least, you know, it’s like I don’t I’m not as like, Wait are quick to snap because it’s like, oh, I had to get this in. It’s, well, whatever. This is what we’re doing now. And we’re playing in the sand for another hour.

Angela Tuell: 21:11

That’s great advice.

Kristy Alpert: 21:14

And then the other one I will say that I’m on a huge kick on right now in room charcoterie dinners.

Angela Tuell: 21:21

Oh, I like that.

Kristy Alpert: 21:24

No, it is like my kids again, they’re young and dinners out has been a disaster lately. And again, I was a food critic. I have like culinary, this is like my thing. But no. We go to a local grocery store from Missouri, we get local meat, local cheese, vegetables, and I use whatever I can in the room, like the icebox tray or breakfast buffet rating, you know, from whatever. And that’s, that’s what we’re doing lately. And it’s been really fun, actually. But, yeah, this stage of life right now. It’s not going to always be this way. But right now that is a it’s my in room charcuterie stage.

Angela Tuell: 22:02

Yes, and as they get a little older, that might change. But I love that. I even love that for a couple. Right? Yeah. Just so you have a little bit of hope, right? We have, as you know, twins that are 12 and seven year old. And, you know, we had a few things that just changed timing and our on our last trip, you know, as you know, in France. And one of them, you know, restaurant wasn’t wasn’t open, so went to another and didn’t realize it was a Michelin star. And all five, they somehow got us a table, let us in there. And let us in there with the kids. And they were fantastic. So they’re seven and 12. So you might have not have that far. That far to

Kristy Alpert: 22:41

That’s it. And so I have to tell you in my kids go. credit, too. So my son and I, I used to take him everywhere with me. But then now having my second child, my daughter, it’s just doing things alone with them too. I’m often having trouble, it’s harder, but I did they I took them recently in London to a high tea and it was not a kid friendly. Um, it’s kind of got the looks of like, what are you doing bringing a baby in here. And I mean a toddler, not even a baby, she’s two years old. But they did amazing. What I love too, I will say is to this hotels credit that does the high tea, the Londoner by the way, but they treated my kids the way that they expected them to be treated, right. They didn’t give them like a little sippy cup, they gave them a real champagne glass and put like juice in it, you know? And like, it was I was like, thank you. Because that supports my parenting with travel. Like that’s how I view it is it’s, I expect this out of you, you know, like I expect you to be a good citizen, a good representative of our own culture and also sensitive to their culture. And so it was just it was a perfect moment. The kids did great. And they loved it. And they talked about that still how like they have to do this high tea. And he’s like, yes. But that was in the afternoon. Nighttime is right now is not happening.

Angela Tuell: 23:52

That’s a hard time. That is that is a hard time. And I’ve always had that thought in my mind. I don’t know if it’s the right advice or the right, the right thoughts to have, but I don’t want to when we travel, I don’t search for like kid friendly or that to say we don’t do anything that’s kid friendly, but I mean, we do what, what we would do as adult travelers, but we all like you said there’s always a way that the kids really enjoy it. And that’s what we’ve always done with the kids. And it’s and it’s worked really well.

Kristy Alpert: 24:20

Oh, I totally agree with that. Yes. It doesn’t have to be like a kid friendly thing for the kids to enjoy it. I mean, you know, like some of my top experiences traveling with my kids have been things that most people would not bring their kids to.

Angela Tuell: 24:34

Yes, and you pay to teach them that everything’s not tailored for them. I don’t know if that sounds like a bad way of saying it, but, um, and I think it’s made them better people.

Kristy Alpert: 24:45

Yes, and better travelers, you know, and that’s the goal, right? It’s to make them better, better citizens that are humans that are travelers.

Angela Tuell: 24:52

Exactly. I love that. You know, along those lines. You have a road trip activity book that you wrote for kids. Tell us more about that.

Kristy Alpert: 25:01

Yeah. So this is just a fun book, but I wrote it over the pandemic. And it’s kind of based off of things that I learned as a traveler. And also I’m a yoga instructor, also, side hustle kind of thing. But anyway, so it’s a lot of yoga and mindfulness techniques, and they’re kind of disguised as games, or –

Angela Tuell: 25:20

Oh cool.

Kristy Alpert: 25:21

A lot of them are boredom busters that I used to use when I was a kid and I used to get stranded at airports without technology back in the day. But it’s just a fun book and I got to collaborate with like a good friend of mine. She’s like a fellow traveling mom but Tamiko Murman. She does all the illustrations, and so it’s just really fun to work on that with her.

Angela Tuell: 25:38

Yeah. How can you find it?

Kristy Alpert: 25:41

On Amazon, I think like, Loves gas stations is a big fan of it, but I don’t Yeah, Amazon probably.

Angela Tuell: 25:48

Great. We’ll link to it in our show notes too, for and I’ll have to also check it out.

Kristy Alpert: 25:52

Oh, it’s fun.

Angela Tuell: 25:53

I wanted to ask a little bit more about the freelancing. You know, it’s increasingly competitive. You started when there what weren’t as many as you know, everyone’s freelancing now. How do you stay successful at it?

Kristy Alpert: 26:07

Um, so yeah, I mean, like you said, I started very early on doing freelance, and I have never really had the luxury of being able to network. Since I moved so often. I’m not in a city very long. And I don’t live in New York City, right. And so that’s like, the golden ticket if you can score it.

Angela Tuell: 26:25

Yeah.

Kristy Alpert: 26:26

You can go to events and network that way. It’s, it’s amazing. But yeah, for me, it’s more about persistence, I think. That’s my, my key. I have a painting I bought, I was in Ecuador, and I bought it, I was on a run in Ecuador, and I found this local artist, and he was painting and I was like, Oh, I love this art. And he said it was named persistencia. And I like, like, I have to get this. And so

Angela Tuell: 26:46

Awe. I hang that over my desk. And it’s like, just a good reminder. But um, yeah, just being persistent. And like, backtrack a little bit if that’s okay. I don’t know if we have time, growing up flying standby. There’s just it’s, I used to love it. It was like this game to me that if you don’t make a flight, you know, and this was before, like, we had the apps out to like, you’re just sitting there like waiting for them to call your name. But if you don’t make a flight, you don’t just give up and go home, you know, you try for the next one, or you take a different, you go to Detroit instead of Salt Lake City, or you go figure out a way to get there instead. And it’s just this game you play. And so I think that that mindset, it really kind of helped me out that I developed that way of thinking early on, but I think that that actually plays into my freelancing as well. Because if you don’t make that first flight, you try for another one, you know. Right. You don’t just give up and go home.

Kristy Alpert: 27:40

You know, and it’s like, so yeah, if I get someone says no to a story, it’s like, okay, well, that wasn’t meant for that wasn’t meant for that outlet. Let’s try something else. Like sometimes you have to try that unexpected path, you know, to get where you dreamed of going. And so I think that’s really how I view my freelance career is it’s, you know, not necessarily going to be this linear, like, Oh, I gotta get this and this, and this, and this is all gonna work out perfectly. It’s gonna, it’s gonna be messy, it’s gonna be all over the place. And you’re gonna get told no, but being persistent. And again, why did Detroit instead? Why don’t

Angela Tuell: 28:14

I saw I saw that, that you had mentioned, somewhere that you didn’t know, you had to pack for, you know, Rome or Hawaii at the same time, and you didn’t know which one you were going to go to.

Kristy Alpert: 28:23

Yeah, that’s how I that’s how I grew up. Basically, my dad always said, pack your bags for Rome or Hawaii and whatever plane we can get on that’s where we’re going for vacation, you know. And so it’s just very, yeah.

Angela Tuell: 28:34

So how’d you go from – Right. And I know at that point, you were a child, but go from not planning at all to pretty planning pretty plan are now planning a lot. Now. How do you go from that to?

Kristy Alpert: 28:49

No, it’s funny because it’s, I think it’s a balance, there’s still quite a bit of me, that’s you have to you have to plan for that spontaneity nowadays. After COVID, you have to have a reservation a month in advance for everything.

Angela Tuell: 29:00

I know, I do miss those times of traveling I was telling my husband that because we’re going, we’re going to Iceland is you know, in, in a month or so. And I was telling him that I would literally everything is booked when I started trying to plan it a month ago. We got things luckily, but because things are booking up so fast. And that is a little disheartening.

Kristy Alpert: 29:19

It is. It takes I mean, it’s so much work now it’s like I remember, I mean, we just seriously just show up to the airport and not know where we’re going. And that was a blast. And you can still do it. I think that I mean, I saw something recently, they just they’re like, we’re gonna come and see where they can get a ticket to and I was like, that is so cool. It’s totally possible, but you’re not gonna get into you know, the restaurants you want to get into. So there’s a certain like, again, expectations, right? So it’s just depends on your expectation. If you have like this dream trip, you want to take Yeah, you’re gonna have to plan out every single bit of it before you get there or else you’re gonna get there and you’re not going to be able to get in the door anyway. Right?

Angela Tuell: 29:54

Right, right.

Kristy Alpert: 29:55

I think planning for some spontaneity is important and a trip without a doubt.

Angela Tuell: 29:59

If you go with kids, like you said, you need a little bit more planning. Because

Kristy Alpert: 30:03

Oh my gosh that’s so true. Otherwise you’re gonna get to dinner and everyone’s hungry and tired.

Angela Tuell: 30:06

Yeah, planned for sure. On the travel side I have one more question about that. And no, this is the worst question to ask a travel writer. So I’ll say it a kind of different way, but not really your favorite places. But what are some places in the world you’d suggest everyone visit at least once? And then any, you can think of that we should maybe skip if we don’t have unlimited time?

Kristy Alpert: 30:33

No, that’s good. I love that question actually. I wouldn’t say as much as like an actual destination. But more of like a, everyone, I think, in my opinion, should visit a place that makes them uncomfortable. Not scared, you know, like, don’t go to

Angela Tuell: 30:47

Mmmm. I like that. someplace that’s like a warzone necessarily. You know, caveat there, but uncomfortable, right? So maybe like a place that makes you a little bit nervous, because you don’t speak or even read the same language that they speak there. Or you look differently than the people that are there. So I mean, for some people that could be like, Little Rock, Arkansas. Right?

Kristy Alpert: 31:14

And for some people like for me, that was Mumbai. I remember going to Mumbai and just feeling so out of my element. But I love that feeling. I love showing up and feeling like, Ah, I don’t know how to read that sign, I need to I need to ask help. And it’s humbling. And it forces me to rely on those instincts that I have, that are in there. You know, we think that we have to have an app, we have to have directions, but you have these instincts within you. And it’s, it’s so empowering to be able to, like rely on that when you can going back to what we said before the kindness of others at times as well, you know, trust blindly. But you know, using that instinct to know when, when to trust or when to ask for help. And it’s just, it’s freeing, and it’s humbling. And I think that so many people today, they travel and they expect that sign with their name on the airport, you know, it’s like, Hey, welcome, you’ve arrived, whatever. And that’s fine. Or, you know, they only go or like an influencer said, like, this is the best. I mean, I live in France. So we hear a lot about the best croissant where’s the best baguette? And you know, and but like, really that true travel when you’re uncomfortable when you’re out of your element when you’re trying things on your own? Not because someone told you to that true travel, I think can be really transcendent. Yeah. And so those are the trips you’re gonna remember, right? In my opinion, at least.

Angela Tuell: 32:30

Yeah, you can’t even explain the feelings or the growth or how you’ve, you know, what you learn from from trips like that. It’s just, it’s just amazing.

Kristy Alpert: 32:39

When you did it yourself, you know, or when you made the decision or when you tried something? I don’t know. I think there’s just something so powerful in that. But yeah, I don’t know. Places to skip. Let’s see. So I think like, I didn’t love my time in Russia, but I didn’t.

Angela Tuell: 32:54

So that might be one.

Kristy Alpert: 32:57

So, really –

Angela Tuell: 32:59

When did you go to Russia?

Kristy Alpert: 33:00

Russia, I was there. I’m so bad with years at this point. It’s so sad that I’m not old, but like, I have like the worst baby brain and it is tough.

Angela Tuell: 33:08

I feel you there.

Kristy Alpert: 33:10

I’m like, I don’t know. Yeah, last year –

Angela Tuell: 33:12

A while ago.

Kristy Alpert: 33:13

It was probably like eight years ago. Um, there was a while yeah, free pre pre Ukraine, obviously. But right now, but I think that like any, I think that places to skip, I think the overtourism is really the thing that we need to be cautious of. So it’s really hurt some destinations, you know, so think like, places some some places need a break from that mainstream tourist. I think that, like, you know, I think of like, I lived in Bali for a while. And so I think of that, like, when I was there it was, you know, not what it is now, but now it’s like, it’s it’s tough there. It’s very, you know, it’s this digital nomad is like, kind of taken over Bali.

Angela Tuell: 33:51

Really?

Kristy Alpert: 33:53

Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s sad in one way, but also, it’s just I think that they need to, they need some time to reclaim their culture. I think they need to like, I don’t know. So places that it’s kind of like overtourism has really affected I think maybe it’s the I wouldn’t even say skip those places. Because destinations really rely on those tourism dollars, you know, so that’s instead of skipping just being more respectful tourist in this place.

Angela Tuell: 34:17

Or going to places that are not as touristy while you’re there.

Kristy Alpert: 34:21

Yeah, exactly. Travel smarter. Right, you know.

Angela Tuell: 34:24

Yeah.

Kristy Alpert: 34:24

Go in off season choosing. Yeah, that’s true.

Angela Tuell: 34:27

I like that. That is something I really worry about is more and more places becoming all alike, you know, losing the culture. I noticed in France, like, everyone spoke English, I feel like and I know it wasn’t that way. I remember a few years but you know, years back and I was excited to use some French but um, I have seen that you heard about it places it’s really it’s really sad.

Kristy Alpert: 34:55

No, it’s so true. And especially in Paris, it’s like I get so frustrated because where I live in Paris like not many people speak English. And so I do have to use my French. But when I go into like the heart of like, you know, like the sixth terrace area [sic]. It’s they immediately like they can they can smell me or they can spot me like a mile away. They’re like this girl. She’s obviously American, you know, like, they just immediately switch to English with me. And I’m like, Oh, come on. Let me use my French. I worked hard for this. But I know but whatever. Yeah – that’s funny.

Angela Tuell: 35:29

Like I said, I could talk to you forever. But I do want to ask before we go, what’s something that those who don’t know you well would be surprised to learn about you?

Kristy Alpert: 35:41

I’ve said this to a couple people. But really, I think most people would be shocked to know that I was painfully shy as a kid.

Angela Tuell: 35:48

Really?!

Kristy Alpert: 35:49

Oh, like, awful. Yeah. The doorbell ring like I would hide because I didn’t want to be, to answer it. Like it was Yeah, embarrassingly bad. But now, like, I’ll walk into a room of strangers. You know, I was like, a couple months ago, there was like this, like French journalist event and like, so they didn’t even speak English. And I walked into this room of people in this Hey, I’m Kristy mean, they just struck up a conversation, and so yeah, I definitely overcame that.

Angela Tuell: 36:15

Traveling, do you think traveling helped?

Kristy Alpert: 36:17

You know what? I think so. So I think a lot of like, travel and like my whole, like, travel and life journey is all been about, like, overcoming my fears. Yeah. And so I think that that’s definitely

Angela Tuell: 36:26

Yeah. given me confidence. You know, like, You do one thing, and you’re like, I can do that. Like I was. I used to be terrified of sharks. Pool sharks. Like, it’s like, again, irrational fears. Right.

Kristy Alpert: 36:39

I’m gonna go swim with sharks. And so I did that. Yeah.

Angela Tuell: 36:43

Oh, wow. With a cage or without a cage?

Kristy Alpert: 36:45

Not a cage. It was free, free swim.

Angela Tuell: 36:47

Wow. Where was this at?

Kristy Alpert: 36:48

I remember like going down into the water. I mean, like, I’ve had this nightmare before. I die, but I did not die. And I’ve done it twice now. And like it’s doing things that scare you. Like, you know what, you you take that step and you’re like, Oh, I’m no longer scared anymore. You can overcome fear. So I’m no longer shy – if the doorbell rings, I’ll get it.

Angela Tuell: 37:09

Well, speaking of that, how can our listeners connect with you online?

Kristy Alpert: 37:13

Oh, that’s a great, great little segue there. I mean, I’m not super active on like Facebook or whatever. Instagram, I use Instagram. So you can find me at Kristy Alpert.

Angela Tuell: 37:23

Thank you so much, Kristy. It was great to talk with you.

Kristy Alpert: 37:26

Oh, it’s so good to talk to you. Thank you.

Angela Tuell: 37:30

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.

In today’s episode, Angela talks with Kristy Alpert about immersing yourself in local culture when traveling, practicing responsible tourism, embracing unfamiliar experiences and using travel to overcome fear and shyness.

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