Traveling for me is often about getting to and from places rather than visiting them, it’s the nature of what I do, however for the vast majority of travelers the journey is about the experience, the culture and the connections. I was reminded of this yesterday when I received an email from Julia Schultz, in Denmark, who asked, “With all your travel I am sure you have enjoyed meeting some wonderful people. What’s the best hospitality you’ve experienced?”
First off Julia, before I start this, let me just say this, I read your email and immediately knew the answer without even taking a split second to think about it … but here we go …
While my travel tends to be more blitz than explore, I have experienced wonderful hospitality from Northern Maine to Southern Texas, along with spending time in Bahrain, Japan, Kuwait, Hong Kong, even in the heart of Paris which is frequently seen as an uptight society … but by far the best hospitality I have ever received has been just on the outskirts of Philadelphia International Airport … and more than once!
On the edge of Philadelphia International Airport, in a small unassuming home, resides David Vanderhoof, the historian for the AirplaneGeeks and Plane Crazy Down Under podcasts, and his wife Michelle.
During layovers in Philadelphia on a few occasions I have met up with the Vanderhoofs, who have generously brought me to their home for dinner, as well as at one point having picked up both myself and aviation journalist Mary Kirby at the airport and brought us out for dinner before our flight to London.
Of all the places in the world I have been, covering news, photographing travel stories for publications such as the New York Times, working with airlines and just wandering during down time, I have never experienced the hospitality of calling up the Vanderhoofs while passing through Philadelphia.
Michelle and David have picked up many others AvGeeks over the years and I am sure they will all likely agree with me, that these two are not only the perfect hosts, but go out of their way to make you feel welcome, even if only for an hour.