Steven Moo is General Manager at Minute Suites’ Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport location. He had been an executive chef, always in hospitality, but wanted to get in tune with “the front of the house.” He doesn’t travel much anymore, but that’s because he got wanderlust out of his system already. We asked him to tell us how he did it:
What kind of traveler are you?
I used to be an avid traveler. I’d go to Paris for lunch. Japan for the day. Now I travel only when if I have to. I don’t find it to be as exciting as I did when I was younger. I’ve been to so many places that I’m not as easily impressed.
Tell us about some of the best experiences from when you were an avid traveler.
I used to work for Delta. Before 9/11, as long as there was space available, you could just jump on a flight. There was no TSA. So on my days off, I could go wherever I wanted—no hassle, no stress. A group of us would plan to meet for lunch. At 5am, one person would fly to St. Thomas for liquor, another to New York City for good Chinese, another Atlanta for Cinnabon. Then we’d eat together. It was great.
One place I always went back to was Puerto Rico—every year, for about 9 years, for my birthday. Even after my airline years, I kept that tradition up. I prefer to be left alone that day. I don’t make a big deal out of certain events.
I chose Puerto Rico because it was U.S. territory. But I loved the food most. I have gone to a lot of islands, and that was my favorite. Unlike most people, I’ve never had an interest in going to Hawaii: I don’t think I should be playing around with active volcanoes.
Anyway, while it lasted, I had the same routine. I’m a creature of habit. I would go to a casino on Condado beach. I had one chair, two umbrellas. A glass of 151, orange juice and grenadine. I’d stay there all day, go shower, go to bed and repeat. All I did was lay out and have drinks brought to me. I just wanted to look at the ocean.
After awhile, the trip got too crowded because people began to follow me. Then I stopped going.
What was your best trip ever?
The best was in an area that’s now part of South Africa. I went with four others to go on a safari and spend three nights in the bush.
I love nature, but I love nature contained. The first night I listened to howler monkeys and fought off mosquitos as big as my palm. I had to use the bathroom outside. I pretty much sat by the fire rocking back and forth.
Our tour guide said we were going even deeper into the bush and that if anyone wanted to go back, go back.
I went back.
I spent 4 days at a hotel, drunk and sunburnt.
Is there anything left on your bucket list?
I’m going to buy a camper and drive through the entire United States. I don’t care about flying there. Once you’ve flown to Germany or taken the train to Switzerland, it’s so depressing to just fly in and fly back out. I want to experience things here at the mainland.
The small towns, for example, are quite fascinating. I live in Georgia. I’m in a small city an hour and half west of Atlanta. It’s the most quaint experience, like Andy Griffith. I’ll probably move even further our. Here, I can plant in the backyard, grow herbs and veggies. Be home. That’s what I want to do now.
If you had one travel tip for those still traveling, what would it be?
I don’t like recommending things. If I were going to try, I would go ahead and have a brief conversation to find out about you and then give you a list of things. I’m not going to suggest something. What might be perfect, serene and life-changing to me, might not be for you. You have to know what you want and go find it.
If you have your own travel tips or experiences too good not to share, let us know at email@example.com. You just might have the key to someone’s perfect, serene and life-changing trip!