Talk about Travel Mania

Talk about Travel Mania

girl joyous on mountain

Aired on January 11, 2022

What exactly is travel mania? For author Karen Gershowitz, a self-proclaimed travel addict, the term travel mania refers to someone like her who needs the “fix” of travel.

In Karen’s new book, Travel Mania: Stories of Wanderlust, she explores the life-changing moments that only five decades of traveling can provide. With more than 90 countries under her belt Karen started her life of adventure and travel addiction when she left home at the age of 17 for a solo trip in Europe.

One of the richest things about traveling is the transformation that takes places within ourselves and the life lessons that one acquires as a result of a travel experience. Witnessing a “Presentation of Pigs” in Indonesia, tasting Yak cheese and facing potential death on Mount Kilimanjaro are just a sample of travel experiences that Karen chronicles in her book. She shares the powerful life lesson that Kilimanjaro provided her with us on World Footprints.   

Travel vicariously through author Karen Gershowitz’s compelling stories as she gives us an up-close, often humorous look at the defining moments that only travel can offer. An example that will inspire armchair travelers to become explorers and embolden everyone to be more courageous, Travel Mania is a vivid story of how one woman found her strength, power, and passion.

Travel Mania Final front cover

Traveling for the first time


Karen was terrified when she got on a flight for the first time. She wanted to do it because when she was working part-time, a guy asked her what she would do if she could do anything. Karen answered that she would quit school and travel to Europe. The guy said, “why not?” Not thinking of any reason not to do it, Karen took off and traveled.

The Impact of Travelling


Karen loved the impact of travel and its transformative power, and it changed her life. She says that the main thing you learn more than anything else when you travel is that people have more in common than they have, which separates them no matter where they are. And the more you travel, the more you realize that people are generally kind, helpful, and curious.

How the world has Evolved


The world has changed a lot since Karen first started traveling. Before, you would know where a person was from just by looking at them. Now, they could be anywhere because people have started to worldwide. People now dress similarly, and each has its unique perspective, and they all have interesting foods that they eat and celebrations that they have, and ways of interacting.

Karen’s Motivation to Explore the World


Karen loves anything and everything about traveling. If someone were to invite her to travel to a certain destination, she would just ask, “why not?” Karen would travel to places on a whim and would take any opportunity to travel she would get. Something in particular about traveling is festivals. Karen loves taking part in celebrations because people are out celebrating something unique. She loves seeing people have a great time. 

Climbing Kilimanjaro


Mt. Kilimanjaro was the hardest thing Karen ever did physically because of the altitude. The actual hike wasn’t difficult but the journey itself, and she was determined to get to the top. Karen conditioned her body for the challenge for months and spoke to many people who had the experience to climb the mounted to get some pointers.


Karen didn’t make it to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. She only made it within a few hundred feet at the top and started to throw up. She had to descend after that because the minute a person throws up, there is the danger of dying. Even though she was determined to climb to the top, she realized in the most profound way that the journey to the top was transformative. She didn’t care if she didn’t make it to the top, and she only cared about being in the moment and being present in the experience.

Cataloging Five Decades of Travel Stories


Karen’s mother taught her how to journal. She would have journals going back to her very first trip to Europe. She used her laptop as her new journaling platform. She also had someone transcribe her handwritten journals and keep them at her computer. Karen also developed a filing system for her travel stories so she could go back to them and relive the memories.

Navigating through the rough waters of COVID-19


Karen says that she cannot live without traveling. A month after the lockdown, Karen would drive and go to a place within 50 miles in New York. She would look for street art and just explore and take photographs. She would go to neighborhoods, groceries, anywhere she could feel close to traveling.

Karen’s Travel List


Karen has her eyes on three places at the moment. She would like to go to the South Pacific, a part of the world she hasn’t been to yet. A particular destination is Tahiti and places like Tonga and the Cook Islands. She would also like to travel to New Guinea to learn more about their phenomenal culture. This year, Karen plans to go to Malta because of its beauty and culture.

Most Interesting Person Karen has met in her travels


During her stay in Indonesia, Karen met a puppet master. She stumbled into his shop and just spent the afternoon with him. The puppet master showed Karen how he constructed puppets and even put them on shows. Karen became the perfect audience, and the puppet master became the perfect performer in their perspectives.

Who would Karen want to bring to her Travels?


Karen would love to bring her mother along in her travel. Her mother always wanted to travel the world. But because of the Second World War, a Jewish woman would not have traveled to Europe. As her mother got older, she developed illnesses that prevented her from traveling. Karen says that she would love to bring her mother back and take her along in her travels and experience different parts of the world.

Karen’s Hope for the People who read her book 


Karen hopes to show how traveling can change a person’s perspective on the world. But even more importantly than that, she wants people to get out there and experience it for themselves. She wants them to be so jazzed by the stories that they can’t wait to go and explore.

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