Wander contributor Catherine Parker has a passion for travel that’s driven her to visit all 50 U.S. states. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, she’s landed in nearly every North American airport at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, Catherine combines her love of the open road with visiting national parks, historic sites, and cultural icons. Logging over 75,000 miles behind the wheel, Catherine has explored 41 of the 61 national parks so far. Loaded in an over-packed SUV, she’s driven through the lower 48 and six Canadian provinces with her three kids. In addition to writing for Wander, Catherine contributes to print magazines, including Texas Farm and Home and her local newspaper, The Taylor Press.
Enjoy chatting with Catherine below, and be sure to see conversations with our other Wander contributors. In addition to Wander, be sure to follow Catherine on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and on her own website, Carful of Kids.
Why Travel Writing?
I’ve always written, starting in elementary school. I started online travel writing in 2012 to document my travels with three kids. I have traveled extensively since I earned my flight attendant wings in 1999. Though I stayed closer to home when my children were babies. We did wait until they were 6-months-old for their first road trip.
My favorite things about being a travel writer are the spur of the moment trips and the people I meet along the way.
The biggest challenge of travel writing is explaining it’s a real job that’s actually physically quite demanding.
What Do You Offer Wander Readers?
Since I’ve traveled through the majority of North America, I know how destinations compare. I write about both around the world and across the street experiences. I cover my small town, my state, and our national parks. Though I love to travel internationally since it offers a way for me to look at the world through a different lens.
What is a Favorite Wow Moment?
I loved Jordan in the Middle East. The ancient architecture and warm Jordanian hospitality was a wow moment. And standing in the shadow of Petra was 20 years in making. I would go back to the Middle East anytime.
Share a Favorite Food Moment on the Road
Chef Christian Faure, M.O.F., of Maison Christian Faure in Montreal, told our cooking class his favorite thing to make was love. Though when I sampled his croissants and macaroons, angels sang.
What is Your Best Travel Advice?
Pack twice as much underwear and socks, half of everything else, especially shoes.
What is Always in Your Carry-on Bag?
A senior flight attendant once told me, “always pack your swimsuit and your passport”.
Where Do You Suggest Traveling?
I’m humbled by the unparalleled grandeur of the national parks. For anyone traveling through a rough patch along life’s road, take a side trip into one of the majestic beauties and just stop. Take your time. Then breathe and let the wind soothe your wary soul.
The Biggest Bucket List Item You Can Imagine
If money were no issue, I would go to the Moon or Mars.