Meet Amy Gelman, two-time Travel With Ann traveler | Inside Look Interview Series

You might notice on my website that I don’t just let you click a button and book a trip to Costa Rica. There’s a reason behind that. The dynamic of each group on my Wonderful Women trips is as important to me as the places we explore on each adventure. I like to talk to anyone who is interested first, to make sure the trip is really for you before you book.

Amy Gelman has just booked her second Wonderful Women trip for next January. In this interview with my writer, Jess, Amy talks about her decision to rebook as well as eating termites, her home stay experience, mud bath fun, and more. I hope you enjoy!

Hi Amy, thanks again for agreeing to share your experiences with Ann’s audience. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Amy, ziplining in Costa Rica

I am originally from the suburbs of New York City, but have lived in Chicago for 38 years. After working in cancer research, medical sales and medical marketing/consulting, I have spent the last 17 years selling residential real estate. My husband, Andy, is a Trust and Estates Attorney, and we have three children in their twenties: Stephen, Adam and Elizabeth. I have lived in Hyde Park since 1993 in a house that was the boyhood home of the retired Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens.

How did you first find out about Travel With Ann trips?

I had known a few women who had traveled with Ann in the past, and they had reported having a great time. I also wanted to do something special for my milestone 60th birthday. While I had been to Costa Rica a couple of years before with my family, Ann’s 2013 trip was in different parts of the country. I decided to go for it.

Any highlights from that first trip?

Amy at the heart of adventure

I really can’t pick just one highlight, since there were so many positive experiences. First of all, it was such a treat to spend time with such a varied and interesting group of women. They were from all around the U.S., varying in ages (30’s to 70’s) and all from different professions and with diverse interests. Since Ann makes a point of mixing us up in the room assignments, it really gives you an opportunity to interact not only in the group sense, but also on a one-to-one basis. I also enjoyed the short cultural immersion opportunity when we spent a couple of day/nights in a local private home.

It was lovely to meet the family, along with their two wonderful children and get a better understanding of family life in Costa Rica. And finally, I very much enjoyed the physical activity, the hiking and other activities offered; we were each able to tailor the level of activity, but I tried to really “dive in” to get the full experience. I loved seeing the beautiful wildlife in Costa Rica, as well as enjoying the spectacular scenery.

Amy helping to prepare a typical Costa Rican meal

A couple of specific things that really stood out:

Tasting live termites
 I recommend to all participants that they suspend any hesitation to try new things. Although I wouldn’t make them a regular diet, the termites we were encouraged to try during a guided nature hike tasted a bit sweet and not altogether unpleasant!

Mud bath 
 Near the end of my last trip we had an opportunity to to cover ourselves in volcanic mud for its health benefits. I don’t know how healthy it was, but it sure was fun!

Did you discover anything about Costa Rica that surprised you on your last trip?

I can’t say that I was really surprised about anything specific. I will say that it is very heartening to be in a country where there is such a collective commitment to preserving nature and its resources.

What prompted you to book your second trip with Ann coming up in January?

Amy at the market in Cartago

This year isn’t a special birthday year, but I’ve been very busy with work and synagogue activities (I’m the current President of the Board), and I felt I needed an opportunity to really get away. I had so appreciated so many aspects of my last trip with Ann, but I also know that while Ann and her long-time guide, Alex, are obviously on every trip, the overall experience will be so different this time around. Different women, different dynamic and also different locations. So I know I’ll enjoy the community aspect, the physical activity and natural beauty, but still have a totally unique trip.

Pura Vida and enjoy your trip!

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