Galley Gossip: The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010 – book giveaway!

I have an announcement to make, a very big one. But first I must tell you about a wonderful book, The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010: True stories from around the world, edited by Stephanie Elizondo Griest. It’s an anthology full of fascinating travel tales by interesting women from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or where you’re going – or not going – there’s something for everyone in this book. And I’m giving copies away to two lucky Gadling readers! (Details at the bottom of this post)

It’s the kind of book that makes you want to travel, or at least go to your local Pakistani restaurant and order the chicken haleem extra spicy, which is exactly what I did right after reading The Heat Seeker, by Alison Stein Wellner. My mother, who also read the book, couldn’t stop laughing over the phone as she recounted the story, Desert Queen, written by Diane Caldwell. I don’t think she’ll be planning a trip to the desert anytime soon. And neither one of us could get over Design a Vagina, written by Johanna Gohmann, which caused my mother to shriek, “I would never!” as if I actually thought she might.

Travelers Tales writes…

This best-selling, award-winning series presents the finest accounts of women who have traveled to the ends of the earth to discover new places, peoples – and themselves. The common threads connecting the stories are a woman’s perspective and lively storytelling to make the reader laugh, cry, wish she were there, or be glad she wasn’t. From climbing a volcano in Ecuador to running a kennel for pariah dogs in India to helping prepare meals in Iran, the points of view and perspectives are global and the themes eclectic, including stories that encompass spiritual growth, hilarity and misadventure, high adventure, romance, solo journeys, stories of service to humanity, family travel, and encounters with exotic cuisine.

In The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010:

  • A search for the perfect wave in New Zealand provides a lesson in love
  • Curiosity leads to an understanding of political activism and human rights in Burma
  • A childless American is adopted by a six-year-old and becomes part of the family in Italy
  • Cultural understanding deepens in surprising ways through language lessons in
  • On a fact-finding mission in Afghanistan, a retired professor learns that peace is
  • A day on a nude beach in the Netherlands gives a self-described “prude” a new appreciation of body types, and comfort with her own
  • …and much more.

So…can you guess who the “prude” on the nude beach might be? ME! That’s right, my essay, An Ode To B-Cups, is also included in the book! (Read an excerpt HERE.) I’ll even autograph the books….if you want. Just let me know.


  • To enter, simply leave a comment below – or better yet, share a travel tip! – whichever you prefer.
  • The comment must be left before April 2, 2010 at 5pm Eastern time
  • You may enter only once.
  • Two winners will be selected in a random drawing.
  • Two Grand Prize Winners will receive a free, autographed copy of Women’s Best Travel Writing 2010, edited by Stephanie Griest
  • Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 and older.
  • Book is valued at $17.95
  • Click here for complete Official Rules


Photos courtesy of Travelers Tales and Photorisma

Galley Gossip: A memorable flight for a first time flier

I knew something was up when an attractive woman wearing a fur vest walked to the back of the airplane during boarding and pulled my coworker aside on a flight from Dallas to New York. I couldn’t really make out what they were saying as I set up the galley, shoving snacks in a drawer and stacking cups in an insert, but it had something to do with a kid who had spent his entire summer babysitting while his friends went on vacation. The woman, it turned out, was the aunt who wanted to do something special for the boy, something that his friends had never experienced.

“Ya think he can visit the pilot during the flight?” asked the woman smiling brightly. “It’s his first flight.”

“No, I’m sorry, we don’t do that anymore, not during the flight,” said my coworker. “But you can take him up there now while we’re still boarding.”

The exchange reminded me of a conversation I’d had with a guy who recently told me about a memorable flight he’d had as a child. It happened back in 70’s when passengers actually dressed up to travel. He’d fallen asleep next to his mother and awoke to find that a pair of wings had been pinned to the lapel of his jacket. Not only did he keep the gold American Airline wings, he shared a photo of the jr. pilot wings, circa 1977, that the flight attendant had given to him aboard a B707. “It was the strangest thing,” he said, reflecting back on the flight in awe. So strange, in fact, the experience may have been life altering. Bryan is now a pilot who also creates aviation T-shirt art.

Bryan isn’t the only one who has experienced a memorable flight while growing up. I’ve heard several amazing stories over the years that have actually affected me! Now whenever I have kids on board I make it a point to march them up to the cockpit to meet the pilots. If they’re lucky they’ll get to push a few buttons and might even get a copy of the flight plan after we land. You never know whose future you may be shaping with one simple push of a button and a handful of paper.

With that in mind, I stowed the plastic mallet I’d been using to break the ice and made my way up the aisle to the front of the aircraft where I could see a familiar furry vest standing just outside the cockpit door. “Do you have a camera?” I asked the woman.

That’s when my colleague magically appeared with an iphone and said, “I’ve got it,” as she snapped a photo of the boy sitting in the Captain’s seat, a boy I would soon come to know as Cade, which is the adorable boy pictured above wearing the pilot hat. I decided to interview Cade later in flight.

NAME: (Spelling) C. A. D. E. W. I. L. L. I. A. M

AGE: 6

Where do you live, Cade? White Oak, Texas.

What are you going to do while you’re in New York? See the Lion King

Fun! Make sure to visit Toys R Us and ride the ferris wheel, too. So tell me, what did you like best about the airport? The restaurants. And how the airplane is parked right beside the airport.

What did you like best about visiting the cockpit? Steering

What’s your favorite thing to do on the airplane?
Look out the window.

If you could be anywhere in the world, where would you want to be? On an airplane, except not in this seat. It’s not a good seat.

Yeah, I know what you mean. First class seats are much better. Where do you think you’ll travel to next? Antarctica. Wanna know what I want for Christmas?

Sure. A baby penguin. But it might be hard to keep up with.

You might be right. I know a pilot named Kent pretty well who likes to answer questions. If you could ask him a question, what would it be? What states have you been to?

Good question. I’ll see if I can get him to answer it. Do you know what you want to be when you grow up? A scientist. Because I can draw dragons and ghosts and cars. Want me to draw you one? Want me to write you a story?

Of course! I’ll get you a piece of paper so you can get to work….


One day I got on a plane. And I got an intervu. And who did my intervu? Was Mrs. Heather. My Captin was sleepy so I helped him out and got to drive the plane. We got to New York!

What a great story! I’m really impressed. Okay, now do me a favor and draw a picture of a dragon while I double bag the coffee and offer the pilots a cup.

Dates for 2010 Travel Blog Exchange Announced

Last July, travel writers and bloggers from all over the world came together in Chicago for TBEX, the Travel Blog Exchange. It was a day to meet people in the industry, to learn from other writers and bloggers, and most of all, to start a conversation about the business of travel blogging.

Topics covered at the inaugural event included “Creating a a Lively and Successful Travel Blog”, which was led by Bootsnall’s Sean Keener, Nomadic Matt, Micheal Yessis from Worldhum, and Gadling’s own Heather Poole (who did a stellar job explaining how she keeps her own blog stocked with informative and entertaining posts). There was a session on working with PR people, one on podcasting and video (featuring Chris Martin from the Indie Travel Podcast and Chris Elliott from National Geographic and MSNBC) and a panel on the difference between travel journalism and blogging, led by Conde Nast’s Wendy Perrin and Jen Leo from the LA Times. Between sessions there was plenty of time for networking.

I had the chance to attend the 2009 event and was glad I did. I learned a lot, got to meet several people whose blogs I have been following, and made some valuable connections. As soon as the event was over, I signed up to be alerted with news about the 2010 Travel Blog Exchange.

Today, the dates and locations for next year’s TBEX were announced. This year’s event will be held June 26 and 27, 2010, and sounds like it’s going to be even bigger and better than last year. It will be held in New York City, is an extra day long, and will offer more in-depth session for niche discussions. Plus, Gadling is going to be one of the sponsors.

Speakers have not been confirmed yet, but based on the experts assembled last year, I’ve no doubt that next year’s attendees will be treated to an all-star panel. Early Bird registration (before January 1, 2010) is just $40. After that, it’s only $80, making this one of the cheaper blogger conferences available and well worth the money. You can sign up now to attend in person, or stay tuned to the TBEX page for information on watching the event via live stream.

Galley Gossip: Flight attendants under investigation for bomb threat

Like I mentioned in my last post, Fly-Girls, a flight attendant docu-series airing soon, it’s rarely ever a good thing when flight attendants are in the news…

It happened a few seconds after the Captain on my flight from Miami to New York introduced himself and then asked if I had brewed a pot of coffee. I had, in fact. I always do whenever I’m working the galley. I poured him a cup and told him my name as we boarded a full flight on a 757.

After taking a sip, he whipped off his hat and hung it on a hook against the back of the cockpit door. Nonchalantly he said, “Did you hear about the bomb threat today?”

Immediately I stopped counting meals, chicken with rice and cheese tortellini, and spun around to face him. “What happened?”

“A flight attendant found a note in the lavatory. It said there was a bomb on board the flight.” And with that he was gone, too busy chatting away with a mechanic who had stepped into the cockpit.

Of course the first thing that came to mind when the pilot uttered those two oh-so-innocent words, “flight attendant”, was oh no, please don’t let it be a flight attendant who wrote the note. The next thing I thought was, I wonder if the crew was on reserve.

The only reason I suspected the crew was because something similar had happened a few years back. Even in that case, so many years ago, when I heard on the news that the flight attendant under investigation had been on reserve when she left a note in the lav, I had to laugh. Just because being on reserve does make one a little bit crazy. At times. But usually not that crazy, not bomb writing crazing of course!

When I mentioned to a friend, and lawyer, what had happened on the American Airlines flight from Boston to Miami, as well as whom I hoped the suspects would not turn out to be, he said, “Tell me, how does ‘we will get fired’ ‘we will go to prison’ get left out of the thought process before writing that kind of note?”

Good question.

Then I reminded him, as well as myself, that the flight attendants in question are innocent until proven guilty.

Two days later I am now unhappy to report that what I had prayed would not be the case seems to be kinda-sorta happening. The crew is now officially under investigation. The details are as follows…

  • A flight attendant found a message scrawled on the bathroom cabinet that read, “Bomb on board – Boston-Miami”
  • The aircraft was evacuated and luggage was searched by a bomb sniffing dog at an isolated area at Logan Airport. No bomb was found
  • FBI interrogated two crew members; a male and female flight attendant
  • Passengers were transferred to another flight and continued on to Miami

And here’s the kicker, the same two flight attendants under investigation for this bomb threat were on another flight from Miami to Boston just two weeks ago when a similar bomb threat was found. I kid you not.

Again, innocent until proven guilty.

But if these two are guilty, just how dumb are they to do it (period) on two different flights they’re crewing – two weeks apart! Do you think maybe, just maybe, they might be dating? I mean how else do two people get involved in something like this? Or do you think they’re roommates? Best friends? Or two disgruntled coworkers who just so happened to hold the same line last month? Seriously, what do you think?


Photo courtesy of Purplemattfish

Galley Gossip: Flight attendant Pam Ann now on tour!

Dear Heather,

I discovered, quite by accident, that the comic Caroline Reid is bringing her “Hostess to the Stars” Pam Ann to the US in October. I searched through the site, used the search function, and couldn’t find anything on your site about this. I just got my tickets for her Los Angeles show. I’m sharing this with you – not trying to sell tickets. I just thought many of my fellow flight attendants and your readers would want to know of the tour. (maybe I’ll catch you at the LA show) I’ve included some tour information and a link.


US dates: Oct. 10 – Boston, Oct.11 – Chicago, Oct.13 – Denver, Oct.15 – Los Angeles, Oct.17/18 – San Francisco, Oct.20 – Dallas, Oct.21 – Houston, Oct.23/24 – Miami, Oct.25 – Atlanta, Oct.26 – Washington DC, and Oct.28 – New York (In November, she will touring the UK. Dates, locations, and tickets through the website above.)

Dear Jack,

I have to tell you, I read the first line of your email and immediately stopped reading and started clicking my way over to Pam Ann’s web site. Sorry, it had to be done, and time was crucial. I wanted good seats! Three minutes and $130 later, I was the proud owner of two tickets to the show, a show I’ve been dying to see forever now. I haven’t been this excited about a comedian in years!
Of course then I went back to yahoo and finished reading your email. All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you, Jack, for reminding me about Pam Ann’s tour! I can not believe I’d forgotten all about it because I was just looking up her show dates a few months ago!
For those of you who have no idea who we’re talking about (shame on you!), Pam Ann is an air hostess who mixes drag, camp, and glamour on stage while emphasizing quirks of various airlines around the world in hilarious skits. Performances cater to airline employees and frequent travelers whom she often times includes directly in her shows. Though I love her show, I really don’t want to actually be apart of the show, because that kind of stresses me out – unless of course she needs someone to work the other side of the cart during Cabin Service, my all time favorite skit. Check it out…

Oh you better believe I’ll be touching trolley, touching galley, hopping, and looking oh so busy busy busy, without serving anyone at all, as I reenact the scene above on my next flight. I can’t help it. In fact, I’ve been doing the same routine around the house all day long – touching kitchen counter, touching dining room table, and making meaningless hand signals – ever since I got your email, Jack! The husband, of course, just keeps shaking his head as he watches me not getting anything done at all. He just doesn’t get it. So glad there’s people like you!

See ya at the show!

Heather Poole

Pam Ann photo courtesy of Mike Flokis/Getty Images