Trvlbees

Meet travelbee Loren: U.S. diplomat turned travel writer

Where is home for you? Poland, Thailand, the United States, Australia, Venezuela, Singapore, Sudan, Mozambique: all of these places have been home for travelbee Loren, a U.S. diplomat turned travel writer and mom to three wonderfully happy little people. In today’s blog, we’ll discover a little bit more about Loren and her family, as well as her latest venture – joining the TRVLBEES team as Contributing Editor.

Can you tell us how you grew up and what first inspired you to travel?

When I was 13, my dad accepted a job in Asia, and we moved from Florida to the vibrant, bustling city of Singapore. I attended high school in Singapore and was able to travel on school trips throughout Asia, as well as to Africa (Kenya), Australia, and New Zealand. This wonderful opportunity to travel quite literally opened up the world for me. I caught the travel bug and there was no going back!

How did you parlay that desire to travel and live overseas into a career?

I studied Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia. After graduation, I joined the U.S. State Department and became a U.S. diplomat. During our first week of orientation, they handed us a list of 85 different cities around the world – we had to choose 25 in which we wanted to live and work; they then assigned us to one of those 25. For me, it was Maputo, Mozambique! I was 23 at the time.

Where did the U.S. Foreign Service take you and what were some of your favorite moments?

I served in Mozambique, Venezuela, Sudan, Washington, D.C., and Thailand. Some of my favorite moments? There are so many! Career-wise, I enjoyed paving the way for Mozambican entrepreneurs to sell their jumbo prawns and cashew nuts to the U.S. Personally, I loved discovering the beautiful beaches and going to the baseball games in Venezuela.

Tell us about your family.

I met Walter, my husband and the love of my life, on our first day of Foreign Service orientation in Washington, D.C – yes, we were in the same class! After three years of criss-crossing the globe on different diplomatic assignments, we got engaged in Venezuela, married in Thailand, and honeymooned in Laos. Our son, Logan, was born in Washington, D.C. in 2010 and our daughters, Kate (2012) and Ivy (2014), were born in Bangkok, Thailand. The most recent member of our family is Kosmo, a one year-old Polish golden retriever.

How did you make the transition from a diplomat to travel writer?

It was easier than you might think! When I resigned from the U.S. State Department in 2011 to become a stay-at-home mom, I began blogging about our family’s travels throughout southeast Asia. I’ve always been passionate about sharing our family travel secrets – the best places to stay and the most fantastic locations to visit – with others. I then began writing for publications such as Travel + Leisure, CNN, and the New York Times. In 2017, I started my own luxury family travel blog, Rise and Exploreto inspire others to travel the world with their families.

Where do you live? What is the perfect weekend for you in that place?

We currently reside in beautiful, historic Krakow, Poland. A perfect weekend in Krakow for us includes visiting the dragon cave at Wawel Castle, hiking in Las Wolski forest, and meandering around the old town square, taking in local festivals and markets.

Can you divulge some of your favorite family-friendly, stylish hotels in Poland?

Our absolute favorite is the Hotel Bristol in Warsaw. In fact, we love it so much, that we have stayed in it three times during our time in Poland. Every time we check out, the kids ask us when we’ll be returning next! The Bristol has an old-style glam appeal and has hosted many famous guests over the years. Our kids adore the indoor pool and sauna, and the breakfast is one of the best you’ll find in all of Poland. Although it is a bit larger than the typical TRVLBEES accommodation and it is part of a chain (the Luxury Collection), the Bristol feels truly unique, is welcoming to young travelers, and has a green mindset. Its dedicated sustainability program promotes minimizing waste, using organic products, and conserving energy.

We also love the Tatra Chalet, a luxurious mountain chalet with only seven guest rooms located in the southern Polish town of Zakopane  (also known as Poland’s “winter capital”). It is child-friendly and the service is incredible. This is where we go to enjoy nature, relax, and unwind. There are many opportunities for sledding, hiking, and roasting marshmallows by the fire at this luxurious mountain getaway.

Tell us about your latest venture – joining the TRVLBEES Team!

I am very excited to join the TRVLBEES team as a contributing editor. I look forward to sharing some of our families’ favorite locations and accommodations around the globe with other members. When we find a good place, where both parents and kids are relaxed and happy, I am very passionate about sharing it with others – so stay tuned!

What is one of your favorite properties in the TRVLBEES Collection?

I love the Rest Detail Hotel in Hua Hin, Thailand. The pool villas are unique, and I’m drawn to the clean, simplistic, style of the hotel.

Why do you think it is important to travel with your family?

We enjoy traveling with our kids because the enrichment and education they receive when traveling to a new place is unparalleled. Their eyes widen, their senses heighten, and they are awestruck by the things around them. Travel teaches them about the world – the diversity of people, landscapes, and culture; the celebration of different religions, festivals, and holidays. We also build some wonderful family memories from our travel together!

What are some of your favorite travel destinations?

Walter and I have traveled to every continent except for Antarctica (but rest assured, that is on our list). Some of my favorite travel destinations include Argentina, Namibia, and the Maldives. Some of our best family trips to date are Ireland, Australia, Thailand, Italy (Tuscany), and Spain (Mallorca).

What is your next travel destination? 

I’ll be hiking the Norwegian fjords, near Bergen, with a friend in June. I’m super-excited about this upcoming adventure!