Interview With Barbara Diener

 

Barbara DienerBarbara Diener is a local North Fulton resident, a friend to many of the readers of The Women's Book Reviews website.  She has just completed her first book, "Toss Your Panties and Other Great Travel Tips," and is excited to share this information with all her friends. It was my pleasure to interview Barbara about her book for this website.

Barbara, tell us a little bit about yourself. I believe you grew up in New York, so what brought you to Atlanta?

I did grow up in Brooklyn, New York with my sister and two brothers. I grew up surrounded by two parents, three siblings and a huge extended family in the best era:1950's and 60's. Alex and I married in 1982 and moved from New York to New Jersey and on to Florida where we raised our three children Adam, Chase and Jane. We came to Atlanta after the illness and death of my mother. We wanted to be close to our son, who attended college in Florida, and our remaining family in Florida. Atlanta was an obvious choice. We had friends here so, it was an easy decision.

You obviously love to travel. When did the travel bug hit? What was your first international expedition?

The travel bug hit me about 25 years ago when Alex and I first started to travel. My first expedition "across the pond" was to Italy. I lost my heart there and think of that trip everyday. We met such amazing people and have remained friends to this day.

What parts of the US have you explored? When traveling within the states, do you usually fly or do you enjoy taking long road trips?

I have traveled extensively throughout the United Sates and Canada visiting all of the states along the East and West Coasts. I hope to visit more of the mid-west in the near future. Our most recent adventure was to Alaska this past July. Spectacular comes to mind when I think of how beautiful our country is. When my children were younger, we traveled mostly by car for long trips. It became a joke among family and friends that "The Dieners" were hitting the road again. Some of my kids funniest stories originated from some of those road trips! Now we travel, pretty much, by plane.

What foreign country would you say was your favorite to visit and why?

Hands down, Italy! We've traveled from the Alps to Capri and to several town and villages in between. It is one of the most amazing countries on the planet. The art, culture and history overwhelms me. I actually cried the first time I saw the Sistine Chapel. I honestly couldn't believe what I was looking at and was quite overcome by it all.

What was the most thrilling experience you have had on your sojourns abroad?

Visiting Poland, along with the rest of Eastern Europe. My father's family was from Poland. Alex and I had the opportunity to visit Auschwitz- Birkenau. My grandmother lived in a town very close to Oswiecim, Poland, where the Auschwitz Death Camp is located. Fortunately, my family emigrated to the United States and none of them suffered in the camps, to my knowledge. The most thrilling part of that journey was to walk in the village where my grandmother once lived. I have very little information about her family and to walk the streets where she lived as a child gave me chills. Who knows, perhaps I sat on the same park bench she sat on in that village.

What made you decide to write a travel guide for others? Had you done any writing before?

My family and many friends always come to me to ask questions about what they need to pack or where they should visit and what they need to know before they go, etc. I figured that the book was my way of helping them, as well as many other people who need a little advice on planning, packing and preparations for travel. It's a really easy to read a short guide for what you need to know before you go.

I recently had the pleasure of helping a friend plan a long awaited trip to Italy and Spain. She and her husband planned several trips but had to cancel many times due to illness. They were so thrilled to be able to take this trip. I was so happy for her, you'd think I was going too! I arranged for them to meet friends of ours in Florence to experience some local flare and it turned out to be the highlight of their trip. I love that people get to travel and if I can enhance their experience, it makes me happy. This is my first book.

Can you give us an example or two of the travel tips that we can expect to find in "Toss Your Panties and Other Great Travel Tips."

Sure, one example would be to let everyone know about registering their trip with The United States Embassy. Very few people know that this option exists. It's a safety precaution for people traveling outside the U.S. With all the acts of violence around the world and acts of terrorism, I always register our family when we travel abroad. The book explains how easy it is to do.

Another tip is for woman or anyone traveling alone. I recommend that when anyone travels alone and makes a hotel reservation, to use only their first initial. Don't use Mr., Mrs. or Miss. It's not necessary. When registering, a hotel only needs your first initial and last name. I also recommend a room near the lobby or on the lower floors so there is less need for the elevator or long dark hallways. For other tips, you'll have to buy the book!

Do you have plans to write another book in the future? Have you given any thoughts to trying your hand in fiction?

I do plan on writing other books. Currently I am working on a children's travel series. Not sure about fiction, although I do have some great stories to tell that would make a great fiction novel!

Tell us when we can expect to see your book in stores and give us details about your book-signing party.

I am hoping to have the book available on www. Amazon.com, www.Alibris.com and www.Abebooks.com by mid October. I am working on availability for book stores around the country. I'll keep you posted on the book signing.

Is the book directed specifically to the female traveler? Is there any special message you would like to impart to our female audience?

This book was written for everyone, men, women, young adults, singles, etc. There are sections in the guide for women traveling solo, family travel and so on. In general the book contains information on planning, packing and preparation that everyone will find useful.

As for communicating to our female audience, I'd like to say that my obsession with travel and my love of exploration has given me the courage to write this guidebook. It gives me great satisfaction to have completed this labor of love. All women should be proud of their accomplishments. I am currently perfecting my website, www.traveltipsbybabs.com, however, it is available to visit. Feel free to visit the website and read additional tips. You can view photos of our travels, post comments and add your own travel photos and experiences on the website. Dream Big, Travel Smart.

Special Note from Barbara Diener (November 1, 2008)

Toss Your PantiesWell, finally, my book is available. Toss Your Panties and Other Great Travel Tips is now available through my website at www.traveltipsbybabs.com. This website is for information and blogging for anyone who wants to read about or share information about travel. There are informative travel tips, blogs, videos and photographs. Anyone who wishes can upload their photos to me as well as add comments to the information they've read about.

The link to order my book is - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1439206341. If anyone is interested in ordering the book and wants an autographed copy, they can order directly from me by accessing www.traveltipsbybabs.com and clicking on the link to my g-mail address. I will then autograph a book and send it out from here in Atlanta.

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