The Travel Slut – Big Wigs, Bigger Fun

"Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere."


 

People have different motivations and fascinations to travel.  For some it is to escape their daily routine. For others travel is a way to create new experiences and memories, a way to fill the shelf of a life well lived.  For others it is to meet new and exciting people.  People like the Travel Slut.

My motivations are driven by all the above, with the collection of new friends ranking high for me.  I have been to 52 countries on all the continents except Antarctica.  Travel was afforded to me by spending most of my childhood overseas and becoming an international businessman out of grad school (back when I wore suits, shoes, socks and underwear). In that time I have always been attracted to places and people who are just plain different.  People like the Travel Slut.

Travel Slut at Naked Beach

Travel Slut at Naked Beach - Photo Courtesy of Ann the Travel Slut

High-energy people are awesome.  People who are not afraid to live a little bit out on the edge of what society might believe is acceptable.  People who do things their own way.  People who love a lot, laugh a lot and have a big heart.  People like the Travel Slut.

I ran across pictures of Ann at Fantasy Fest on Flickr, simply by chance. She was having fun, a smile brighter than a Key West afternoon and hair bigger than Hemingway’s ego.  I knew I had to meet her.   I sent her a note to tell her we were launching Conch Republic Bikinis on Duval St. at the end of October 2010.  I asked her to stop by.  She added me as a contact but we did not meet. Recently, I did make contact with her and asked her to interview for this story.

Although Ann has been known to visit a nude beach from time to time (she likes my article on My Favorite Topless Beaches in the Caribbean) her name doesn’t stem for such titillating activities.  She has been traveling all her life and 25 years ago her friends nicknamed her the Travel Slut because, to quote her she will travel, “anywhere, anyplace, anytime, anyhow, and anyway –with just about anyone.”

The Travel Slut at Orient Beach

The Travel Slut at Orient Beach - Photo Courtesy of Ann the Travel Slut

After retiring from corporate America on the west coast, Ann and her husband (sorry guys she spoken for) moved to the Gulf Coast of Florida and started a travel agency.  Now she has the professional tools and perks to travel more. The result is like chumming the waters in great white shark country; her travel schedule has turned into a feeding frenzy.  Today she travels between 120 to 150 days per year and has visited over 80 countries on 6 continents.  She’s an expert at getting invited or talking her way into most anyplace.

Thailand. Nice Melons!

Thailand. Nice Melons! - Photo Courtesy of Ann the Travel Slut

Ann has traveled alone, with her husband (she says she was the original Cougar) and with groups.  She even has her own travel groupies.  Many of those groupies have their own names like, TITS (Trainee in Travel Sluttery).  She organizes an annual group trip to Hedo II in Negril and says her favorite form of travel is cruising.  She has been on over 55 cruises, which means she really knows her islands!

With all those miles beneath that wig, I had to ask her what her favorite Islands were (Caribbean and other).  Here is what she told me:

“I really have to give this one some thought – of course, Bora Bora and any of the small islands in the Great Barrier Reef are the top two tropical places I could stay for weeks at a time. Any of the many virgin beaches along the South China Sea, in Viet Nam are so beautiful also and I loved Phuket. White sand and blue clear water and lovely people – those are why I enjoy these areas.  I love Grand Cayman, St Barts/Barth, Cozumel, Palancar Reef off the Mexican coast, Jamaica. Too many places to visit; not enough money.“

Margaritas anyone?

Margaritas anyone? Photo Courtesy of Ann the Travel Slut

The Travel Slut always packs wigs and costumes with her on trips.  She claims she is a light and expert packer but when push comes to shove she never leaves the wigs behind, which she typically buys in Las Vegas.  Big surprise.  She has an old steamer trunk specifically set up for this purpose.

Once on a cruise in the Mediterranean a honeymooning couple asked Ann and her husband to be in their pictures.  As the other passengers watched the activities they just naturally assumed they were part of the crew.  She lost track of how many pictures they ended up being in.  I can imagine that this scenario occurs a lot to the Travel Slut.

Ann is a talker.  The kind of talker you like to listen to.  When I spoke to her last week for this interview I was glad I had sent her some questions ahead of time because I never got a word in edgewise.  Take notes?  Didn’t happen.  I just listened and took in her energy.  All good mind you.  There are some people who can talk you into the ground in a bad way, but not Ann.  This has to be her secret to travel and her ability to talk her way into places for free like the Burj al Arab in Dubai.  The famous sail shaped hotel that is strictly closed to the public.  You pay to stay or stay away.  Ann was let in, wig and all.  She promptly held court at the bar, which she says was average, and enjoyed all the people wondering who the hell she was.

 

Travel Slut in Dubai

Travel Slut in Dubai ©2010 The Travel Slut

The Travel Sluts perfect client is an experienced traveler.  She loves all aspects of travel from researching and planning to execution but she doesn’t like it when people put their entire itinerary and resulting experience on her.  The fear is if they don’t have a good time it will be her fault.  I can’t blame her given that travel is such an emotional and personal thing.  If you are interested in Ann helping you plan that perfect trip to the islands and giving you her personal recommendations you can contact her directly at 941.448.1311.  Just be prepared for long talk!

Where is her next big trip?  Antarctica in 2012.  Enjoy that one Ann, I’d rather have a rum in my hand, a bikini on my bow and a light breeze filling my sails.  Send us pictures.

For more of those pictures I told you about go to Flickr and search Travel Slut.  You’ll see first hand why I knew I had to meet her.

Don’t forget to follow me and look at my bikini store:

Bikini Store: store.conchrepublicbikinis.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/conchrepublicbikinis

Twitter: www.twitter.com/conch_bikinis

HDNet cameo

HDNet cameo - HDNet screen capture

23 Responses to “The Travel Slut – Big Wigs, Bigger Fun”

  1. Bald1 May 14, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    We have known Ann the Travel Slut and her husband “what’s his name?” for many years and you could not meet better people. Although, we have never traveled with them on a trip, her knowledge and customer satisfaction can not be beat. Many of our friends have traveled with her and “what’s his name?” and have nothing but praise.

    Will be looking forward to catching up with them again this fall in Key West!

  2. hulagirlal May 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    All of Carl’s article is SO VERY TRUE! My husband and I met Ann and her husband(the “Boy Toy”) at Fantasy Fest many, many years ago. I saw her one night in her BIG WIG while her husband was dressed as Elvis(as he usually is) and I knew we had to meet them so we did. Now she is my idol! I want to be just like her! We were so impressed and wanted to spend more time with them! We did and now we are great friends! We have travelled with her/her husband and she has planned some great vacations for us. Truly the professional when it comes to being a travel agent, but with a fun attitude giving great suggestions about our itiniraries. We love getting together with them during Fantasy Fest and any other time we can plan some time together. We wish we could see them more often as they are definitely one of the highlights of our lives! She (and her husband) are two people everyone needs in their lives!!!

    • Carl Grooms May 17, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

      Hulagirl, I’m just getting to know her better but we’ve already been working on some other things together. I can’t wait to drink a double margarita with her!

  3. Don May 18, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Ann is a delight. I have followed her adventures for several years and never tire of her bright smile and sense of humor. Who could ask for a better travel companion?

    • Carl Grooms May 18, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

      Don have you traveled with her yourself? I suspect she knows lots of folks follow her which eggs her on a little more!

  4. Elvis May 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Ms. Ann, The TravelSlut, is certainly unique and always seems to bring a smile to everyone and every situation and the smile always seems to spread to everyone around her whether it is in Key West or Disneyworld–or anywhere in the world where she travels for that matter.

    She’s been compared by many to Dolly Parton and Elvira or Kate Pierson (B-52′s) to Peg Bundy but in reality she is her own person and is both peerless and fearless, smart and beautiful, travel business savvy and a lover of life and all it has to offer.

    Great insight in this blog/article and thank you for sharing it.

    • Carl Grooms May 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

      Elvis I truly never considered the comparisons to these other ladies. They are obvious I suppose but she captured me as herself all along. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Kim May 19, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    Ann is the ONE and ONLY Travel Slut in the world! You would truly do yourself a disservice to utilize any other so-called travel maven. Whether your trip is pleasure or business the accommodations are top notch and service is outstanding! Don’t know what I would do without her!

    • Carl Grooms May 19, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

      We shall firmly count you in the fan column! Thanks Kim :)

  6. Peggy May 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    Ann is a wonderful person. I know her quite well. When she tells me about her trips I swear it feels like I am experiencing the trip right along with her. She is very informative and quite interesting.

  7. John & MJ May 23, 2011 at 1:51 am #

    Ann and her husband are good, personal friends of ours and members of our krewe. They love a good party and always are in Key West during Fantasy Fest. When Fantasy Fest was delayed until December because of the hurricane, they realized how many people were already in Florida heading to Key West and decided to help salvage people’s vacations. They hosted a party at their house for members of the Krewe and others, opening their home not only to friends but also to people they had never met before. Ann knows how to travel and puts an enormous amount of time and effort into making sure everyone has a great time.

    • Carl Grooms May 23, 2011 at 8:04 am #

      Cheers John. This sounds exactly like something Ann would do. It’s a shame that more people aren’t as open and full of life.

  8. ccryder.hipockets June 2, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    We’ve known Ann “The Travel Slut” and Elvis or Toy Boy for several years. We are personal friends and love them dearly. Both of them live life to the fullest and make the most of every day. They are the best friends anyone could have.

    Ann has the biggest baddest wigs I’ve ever seen, and wears them with the greatest pride. You should see them at Fantesy Fest in Key West, all deck out in their costumes! The world stops when Ann walks by.

    We drool with envy when they discuss their trips/vacations. Listening to them is almost like being there. If you want to travel, she has the information you will need to have a successful trip. Ann is a professional and takes the time to plan your trip so that you can enjoy your vacation. She is the best of travel agents with a serious attitude for fun. She has planned several trips for us, and we have had the best times of our life.

  9. Randy June 4, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    I love checking out the stories and pics of Ann the Travel Slut’s adventures! And I enjoy seeing her get noticed for her adventures and her enthusiasm in getting others to travel the world!

    • Carl Grooms
      Carl Grooms June 4, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

      Randy, I’m hoping to enjoy some of those adventures with her soon!

  10. siestasue June 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    What else can be said about our fantastic friend, Ann “The Travel Slut” and her charming “Boy Toy”, that hasn’t already been said here? She’s a lady first and fun loving always. She makes everyone at ease no matter the situation. I dare anyone to be around her 10 seconds and not have a smile on their face. [I'm sure she could even get one of the Royal Guards to break into a small quick smile]. Ann can make anything into a party including her many trips. Wish everyone could be a little like her, and the world would be a much better place!!!

  11. Ann, TS September 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    I am so excited to be working with Carl to develop a unique, custom rum crawl between Caribbean islands in 2012 for devoted rum connoisseurs.

    Keep checking back for updates and details.

    Ann, TS

  12. kemisteryoso September 8, 2011 at 11:44 pm #

    I love her travel stories as well at
    http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/b6e61/

  13. Jack Leezy September 16, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Cathie and I met Ann (Travel Slut) and Charlie a couple of years ago at a resort in Jamacia. They are wonderful people and a joy to be around. Charlie and I got to chat this year again in Jamacia and learned that we were both raised in Salinas Ca. go figure. I like leaving the travel planning to Ann, just give her the dates and some particulars and everything is hers. There is a small group of us from all over the US and Canada who met up in Jamacia this year and became good friends. We were from all walks of life and I think that’s what makes this group fun to be around. By the way Travel Slut, have you started the initial planing of the groups next trip to Jamacia? It’s almost time to start thinking about that.

    Hope to see everyone next year.

    • Carl Grooms
      Carl Grooms September 16, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

      Thanks for the note Jack. I’m sure Ann has some great new ideas for next year’s trip. I might just help with a bit of it.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tan Lines Pina Colada | Coastlines & Tan Lines™ - September 8, 2011

    [...] Ann don’t you? I wrote about this amazing lady and travel agent extraordinaire back in May. THE TRAVEL SLUT, BIG WIGS, BIGGER FUN. Since then Ann has become a dear friend. Recently we cooked up the idea to do some drink videos [...]

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