Passenger Profiles: On the road with travel blogger Jaime Horwitz Rodriguez

It was dreams of New York following a family holiday that caused Jaime Horwitz Rodriguez from Canadian and World Tourism to fall in love with travel. Now he’s made a career of it and is inviting others to explore the world with just as much enthusiasm as he does. Read more about Jaime’s travel adventures below as he walks us through his favourite places, delicious food and a bit of advice for others looking to go on a big adventure. 

Read more: Passenger Profile: On the road with…

Name: Jaime Horwitz Rodriguez
Age: 57
Country: Toronto, Ontario, Canada 

Tell me a little about yourself and how your love of travel began?

I was born in Mexico, attended university in the United States and immigrated to Canada in 1989 becoming a citizen in 1994. Growing up I travelled a bit in Mexico with my family, modest trips mostly to beach resorts like Acapulco. When I was 15 years old we took a trip to New York City where we stayed with a great aunt in Queens for 2 months. That trip was eye opening for me. I was awe struck by New York City and for years I had vivid dreams I was back there. I went to university in Pennsylvania, so every chance I got I went to New York for a day or 2 (would take a midnight bus that would arrive in the Big Apple early in the morning). I suppose that’s where my love for travel truly began.

Ad. Article continues below.

What are some of your favourite places to travel to?

Over the years, I have concluded that my favourite places to visit are those where I don’t feel like a total stranger. Thus, my favourite countries to travel around in are Canada, the US, and the countries of Western Europe. If I have to choose, my favourite places to travel to are France (Paris), Italy (almost all of Italy), the south of Spain (Andalucía), Stockholm and surroundings, and of course, NYC.  I don’t include Canada because I do travel within Canada quite a bit. This year I will be in Vancouver and Ottawa and Montreal twice.

Travel Canada

What advice do you have for travellers over 60 who are thinking about travelling but are nervous about taking the leap?

Travel is a very individual activity in terms of what one likes to see and do and eat. My number one advice would be research and preparation based on your preferences. I’m getting close to turning 60 now, and for the foreseeable future my traveling preferences will not change. However, as I get older, perhaps in my late 60s and early 70s I (and my wife) will need to modify the way we travel.

Ad. Article continues below.

If you are not an adventure traveller and are uncomfortable in places where you don’t understand the language, it’s best to travel in organised tours. There are many good travel operators who cater to mature travellers. The great thing about this kind of travel is that you don’t have to worry about the itineraries and getting from one place to another. And there’s always someone to assist you.

If you are more independent and don’t think you require much assistance when traveling, then research and preparation are more important. One can do a lot of the legwork online, by reading websites like Travel at 60 (especially if you are Australian). And here’s an example of how my wife and I have been planning our silver wedding anniversary trip to Italy.

What have you learned about yourself through travelling?

I have learned that there is way more that unites us as humans than there is that divide us. I have learned that there is no comparison between seeing (and sometimes touching) a work of art in person and seeing it in a photograph, digital or otherwise. I have learned that most photos of destinations, be it the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Canadian Rockies or the Great Barrier Reef are nothing compared to experiencing them live. And I have learned that our planet with all our cultures is worth preserving.

Ad. Article continues below.

What countries or cities were you concerned about visiting but ended up exceeding your expectations?

Can’t really think of any. Because I do my research and I know what I like and what I’m comfortable with, I avoid any destinations that would give me pause in terms of security or health.

How often do you travel?

It varies, some years more than others. I do travel for business, but not very, very much. With my wife and/or daughter we’ve traditionally traveled 2 or 3 times a year, some short trips, some longer (one week or more). This year, for example, is a big year because of Canada’s 150th Anniversary. We’ll be in Ottawa and Montreal twice this year. I am also travelling to Vancouver, Las Vegas and we’ve already been to Mexico. Later in the year we’ll go to Italy to celebrate 25 years of marriage. So eight trips this year, some short, some longer. And I don’t count our weekend getaways to Niagara Falls every three months or so.

Niagara Falls

Ad. Article continues below.

What is your favourite mode of transport?

Interestingly, I love trains. I have done the Vancouver to Toronto The Canadian trip and it was fantastic. However, train travel is not very practical or fast, so I’d say my favourite mode is by air, although I don’t enjoy the check-in/security lines process.

What’s the best food you’ve ever tried on a trip?

Tough question! I’ve been traveling for over 40 years and I’ve eaten at some great restaurants – not necessarily expensive. I’ll give you two examples: the smoked meat sandwich and fries at the Schwartz’s Deli in Montreal and the sushi at SugarFish in Marina del Rey (Los Angeles).

 

Ad. Article continues below.

Do you plan your holidays, or do you travel on a whim?

As you can surmise from one of my answers above, I’m a planner. As a traveller (or in life in general), I don’t like unpleasant surprises, and travelling on a whim can be full of those. I need to know where we’re going to stay, how much it’s going to cost and how the food is.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I am very lucky to be living where I want to live: Toronto, Canada.

What is the funniest travel experience you’ve ever had?

Ad. Article continues below.

If you can print it, watching my best friend getting it on in Barcelona with a South African young woman on our post high-school trip to Europe. It was very funny. You had to have been there to see what I mean.

What is the best piece of travel advice you’ve ever received?

Not sure someone gave me this advice or me and my best friend came up with it at some point when we were younger, but the idea has grown in significance as we get closer to our 60s. In fact, to celebrate our 60th birthdays we’re planning a trip to Japan (we both grew up practicing karate). “Travel when you can now. Don’t wait for the “someday, we’ll go.” Eventually, we all get too old to travel and you regret more the things you didn’t do than those you did.”

Are you an adventurous traveller with a story? Let us know all about it on the Travel at 60 Facebook page

Ad. More articles below.