Wow, is it just me or is time flying by? I was so excited about this interview and then it has just been sitting here waiting for me to post! Thomas Hoey is one of our group travel staples. He is always such a fun time and ready for new experiences. Thomas would be one of my go to people for advice if I was planning a group cruise since I have not been on many, however hopefully that is changing with an Alaskan cruise coming up in May! So most of my questions are about cruising but if you ever have the opportunity, he has many fun stories about many travel adventures!
Q: Thomas, tell us a bit about yourself.
A: I was born and raised in New York City. When I was in High School, I discovered that I had a knack for machines and electronics. So, when I graduated High School, I joined the US marines, and 6 years later was honorably discharged, and moved out west to start my new career and new life. In 2015 I took early retirement, after a 23 year career with Intel Corporation. I am single, and share my home with my Springer Spaniel Dog, 'Chocolate"
Q: So, when I think of Thomas Hoey as a traveling fan, I think about cruises. I know you have done many. Can you share a down and dirty list?
A: I've gone on quite a few Cruises, because I wanted to see allot of different places, in a fairly short time. Then I can pick which places I like to possibly go back to. I've been to both Eastern and Western Caribbean, Alaska, Greece, and Puerto Rico to name a few. The two Cruise lines have experience with, are Carnival, which was Economical, more crowded, and lots of families, and children, and Celebrity, which was a bit nicer cabins, better food, and a live band in the night club, as well as almost no children on board, and also less crowded overall, but was also a bit more expensive than Carnival.
Q: Of the cruises you have been on, what was your favorite?
A: Hummm, each had a different favorite thing, so it's hard to pick. I thought The Greece Celebrity Cruise was best for viewing different cultures in Greece, Turkey, and Malta, I like the Alaskan Cruise best for the "Wilderness Outdoors Activities", and I liked the Caribbean Cruises for the Catamaran Sailing and Snorkeling and Beach/Ocean availability.
Q: What is it about cruises that you enjoy?
A: Cruises are good, if you want to see allot of different places in a fairly short time. Also, Cruises pretty much take care of everything, food, drink, entertainment etc etc. Just make sure that you know what you're buying. Carnival=Cheaper, younger crowd, more crowded, more children. Celebrity= More pricey, older crowd, but higher quality, less crowded, less children.
Q: I know you haven’t only been on cruises, what is another trip that was really memorable?
A: I'm a big fan of Asian culture, so I'd have to say that The Thailand Trip was right at the top. I got to immerse myself in the local culture, on the Bicycle Tour, and our stay at the Eco Lodge. Even meeting up with that snake at the lodge was quite the adventure.
Q: I always have to ask about food! What is the strangest dish you have tried? Do you find trying food from different cuisines a must do experience?
A: The strangest food I ever tried, was when I went to Hong Kong, and tried octopus. I thought it was kind of rubbery tasting, but now I can say I did it. I decided NOT to try the deep fried Scorpions in Thailand, so I do have my limits.
Q: You and I have a similar favorite quote about experiences. Can you share it with us? What about this speaks to you?
A: My favorite is kind of short, but it tells it all it goes: "Experiences are better than things". It's true, because things eventually can wear out, but I'm still today telling stories about the places I've been, the things that I saw, and the things that I did and experienced on my trips. I never get tired of telling those stories, though my friends might not agree about hearing them again. :)
Q: What travel tips do you stick to each trip whether it is packing, saving money, experiencing that you can share with us?
A: Frequently, you can draw the local currency from an Airport ATM at a better exchange rate that you can get from the Money Exchange Window. the ATM will almost always tell you the conversion rate, before completing the transaction then you can compare it to the listings from the Exchange, and see which is lower. You can always cancel the ATM transaction. That way, you don't need to carry allot of exchange cash on you. Also, you can get more stuff in your luggage if you roll up your clothes.
Q: I know for me, the moment the travel bug bit me…. How about you? Do you have a defining moment or has travel always been a part of your life?
A: I don't remember the exact moment, but I knew it when I was very young, even as a child. You see, my family was fairly poor while I was growing up, so we pretty much never went anywhere on vacation. Even when we did, it wasn't very far from home, and we couldn't do everything we wanted to, because we had to watch our pennies. I remember thinking way back then, 'When I grow up, I'm going to make lots of money. and I'm going to go on vacation Everywhere, and when I get there, I'm going to do EVERYTHING! And now, I do.
A: What destinations are still on your list?
Q: I've been to Europe, Canada, Alaska, Australia, and some of Asia. I think maybe an African Safari would be Way Cool. or maybe a Camel Trek/Pyramid visit to Egypt would be interesting.