Charlotte Simpson is a solo world traveler, blogger, and Indy Maven favorite, and we decided to find out what she’s been up to since travel restrictions related to COVID-19 have eased.
If you’re not already a huge fan, Charlotte launched her blog, Traveling Black Widow in 2014, and now over 21,000 Instagram fans are eagerly following her adventures.
We caught up with Simpson to get the scoop on where she’s been since we last spoke, what she’s most excited about for the future, and what two items she always packs in her suitcase.
So, where have you traveled since we last spoke with you in July of 2021?
Well, I went to Germany to visit our former exchange student whom I refer to as my German daughter; I was over there a couple of weeks with her.
I also went to Niagara Falls in New York, I had a collaboration with the Washington Post, and I went out to New Mexico to White Sands National Park, and that was great. I love national parks and I hadn’t been to that one, and that was also a collaboration I had with Conde Nast magazine and Fidelity Investments.
Then just very recently I went to Columbus, Ohio and have just been sort of exploring around here. I went to Philadelphia, and also had a collaboration with Amelia Island and my daughter went with me, which was so much fun.
Then the last couple of weeks I was in Europe. I just got home from there and got to two new countries I hadn’t been to before, Belgium and Luxembourg. And both were a lot of fun, and beautiful, beautiful places. I also went to Germany, Holland, and France. The last days we were in Paris so it was April in Paris, which was an awesome thing to happen.
Wow. You have been busy! What was your favorite place that you went?
Well, I love Europe. I really hadn’t been to Europe. I’ve gone to specific countries, but I hadn’t ever gone on an organized group trip with a company before. So that was really a different kind of experience.
But one of the things I did learn is since it’s become the European Union (EU) there are not the designated borders between the countries anymore where you stop for passport control. You are on the bus and you just zip through to the next country and keep on going. So, I didn’t get any new passport stamps, but that’s okay. It was a great time and it’s absolutely not just about the stamps for me.
Do you have your summer travel plans lined up yet? And if so, where are you headed?
Yes, I do. Well, this weekend I’m going to Florida; I’m going to Tampa Bay and I have a collaboration with their tourism board. That’s always a lot of fun because they pick out a lot of good restaurants for you to go to and some great excursions that you can do and share with your followers. I’m really looking forward to that.
But I am also going myself to Europe, again; I’m going back to Central Europe to Hungary, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, and Poland. I’ll be there 17-18 days. I’m really looking forward to seeing Poland and Prague. You know, you see pictures of Prague all the time and just what a beautiful city it is, so I can’t wait to see it.
I don’t normally travel in the summer, but I’ve just gotten really excited to get back to traveling.
Do you have any planning tips for those of us who haven’t already booked our vacations for the rest of the year?
Yes! Tip number one is to realize that people have been wanting to travel for two years now, so just know that places are going to be crowded, and I also think it’s going to really expensive.
I would say that if a person is still afraid to go overseas, then here in the United States, the National Parks are always a great option, and as a matter of fact, that’s where I’m going next week. But, if you do want to visit a national park start planning early, because they book up.
What are the things you personally never leave home without when you travel, and why?
First, my coffee pot. I have this very small coffee pot that I always take with me.
Also, I try to pack my curling iron any time I leave; that’s one of the things that stays with me. You know, I make sure that even if I’m only carrying on a purse, it’s got to be big enough that it can take my curling iron.
Oh, and one other thing: I take lots of cash. I like to take cash; it just makes me feel secure. I just want some cash in case something happens.
What’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you this year?
Well, this is a minor one, but I have always wanted to go horseback riding on a beach, and when I went to Amelia Island, they arranged it so I got to go horseback riding on the beach, and that was just the coolest thing. Anytime you’re checking off something from your bucket list, it’s just fun.
But, the most exciting thing is that I was asked to be a model in the Dress for Success fashion show here in Indianapolis. I’m just so honored, thrilled, and excited to have been asked.
Stephanie Groves is the Executive Editor of Indy Maven.
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