In this Celebrity Travel Addicts Q&A we meet host, blogger, and music aficionado, Kelly Rizzo from Eat Travel Rock. Learn how this Chicagoan went from real estate mogul to world traveler. She travels the world interviewing rising-star chefs and rock stars at local hangouts. Seriously, how sweet is that?
How did your passion for travel get started?
My family didn’t travel much when I was growing up. We really only went to Florida! Even though my dad was born in Sicily, he nor my mom even have passports. I knew from a young age that travel would be incredibly important to me and I knew that if I was going to see the world, I’d have to do it on my own as it wasn’t really a passion for my family. So I have gone above and beyond to overcompensate and make travel one of the biggest parts of my life.
How many days/weeks are you traveling in any given year? What are the types of places do you like to visit?
I would say that I take about 2-3 trips per month meaning I’m “out of town” a good 10 days per month. I love going EVERYWHERE. I love traveling internationally of course, but I’m also excited to explore my own back yard and venturing around our majestic nation. My goal is to visit all 50 states and I’m currently at 38!
What is it that you want audiences to gain/ learn from your show?
I want people to see how I explore my love for food, music, and travel. I love to showcase it in a way where it demonstrates to people a fun and approachable way to integrate these passions into their lives, too. The average American can be intimidated by certain types of food, or cuisines, or traveling to certain places. I love to be their “friend” – someone relatable, yet fun with an insatiable desire for adventure and culture.
Name your top three destinations you’ve traveled?
Sicily (visiting my dad’s hometown of Ciminna, where I still have a ton of family)
Japan (by far the most fascinating culture and country I’ve ever experienced, plus the food is insane)
Switzerland (no one knows hospitality like the Swiss: the people are friendly, the land is stunningly gorgeous, and the food is perfection…plus i’m obsessed with chocolate and cheese and those are a way of life to the Swiss!)
Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of these destinations, like a mini-guide or to-do list of sorts
Favorite hotel: Alpina Gstaad in Gstaad, Switzerland: Uber luxurious with the most outstanding rooms and suites I’ve ever seen. You can see me on-site here:
Favorite lunch spot: Chez Vrony in Zermatt, Switzerland: Mid mountain/ apres ski/ dining while over looking the Alps.
Favorite sport: Snowboarding in Zermatt, Switzerland: The most incredible infrastructure and mountain transportation I’ve ever experienced.
Favorite activity: Christmas market in Zurich: A foodie’s paradise, and all the mulled wine you could ever hope for.
Favorite Spa: Grand Resort in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland: The healing natural thermal waters that flow through the town are harnessed beautifully by Grand Resort and used in their baths and grotto… they even have a water bar and water sommelier program!
How many countries have you visited so far?
20, but adding more every year!!
Your top three favorite cuisines?
Italian of course, Mexican, and Japanese
Favorite restaurant in the world?
Ooh, this is a tough one. I just ate at Per Se in New York last week and it was beyond phenomenal. But I don’t need fine dining to be happy. I’m also obsessed with Nobu in Malibu for Sushi, and Carbone in New York for Italian.
Your favorite travel movie?
Does Vegas Vacation count? haha- I love Under The Tuscan Sun, and Eat Pray Love because of the depiction of Italy. Also Sideways because I just went to Napa for my first time this year… and The Beach makes me want to go to Thailand SO badly!
Favorite international airport?
Zurich- super modern and sleek and the SWISS lounge is gorgeous.
City with the friendliest people?
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and Toba, Japan and Nashville, TN
Your favorite traveling companion?
My boyfriend Bob, he’s the consummate traveler and I’ve never seen anyone get things taken care of the way he can. It’s brilliant… I told him he should’ve been a travel agent in another life! Plus he LOVES food like I do and he’s always up for anything!
Best way you kill time while traveling?
Read a book or write a blog!
What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?
Toshijima Island in Japan… tiny little fishing island that’s part of the Mie Prefecture in central Japan. I filmed this episode there:
Your best bit of travel advice for someone who is about to embark on a life of travel?
Pack well! Learn how to streamline what you bring, but while making sure you have a ton of gadgets and accessories handy that can make your trip and life easier and more comfortable. Also understand that there will be delays, missed connections, wrong directions, etc. Just consider this all a part of the adventure and don’t let it frustrate you or get you down!
What are 4 things you could never travel without?
My MacBook Air laptop, Lo and Sons Travel Bag, Wildfox sweatshirts, Vans or Converse.
What is your ultimate dream destination?
Australia and Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef!
Your favorite travel quote?
“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” – Mark Twain
Where to next?
March: Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Chicago.
Kelly Rizzo, a native Chicagoan who splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles, is the rocker-chic host of ‘Eat Travel Rock TV,’ the popular on-demand entertainment series where she goes behind the scenes and off the cuff with master chefs and other creative industry heavyweights while traveling the world. You can also find her coast to coast as a food, travel & lifestyle expert, featured everywhere from ABC’s FABLife to VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live with Nick Lachey. In 2017 she was also named “Travel Queen” by Michigan Avenue Magazine. Follow along with her adventures in eating, traveling, and rocking out on Instagram, Youtube and EatTravelRock.com.