Jeff Greif knows a thing or two about travel. In fact, he’s sometime referred to as the Travel Squire. If his nickname sounds familiar it’s probably because you’ve perused the free online magazine he runs as founder and editor in chief, known as no other but Travel Squire. Covering everything from luxury destinations, travel news and tips to reader experiences, the site is updated constantly, providing stylish guides to some of the poshest places around the globe.
Readers can also sign up for Travel Squire’s (not Jeff, his magazine that is) Travel Therapist service, which guides, advises and assists members in booking the perfect trip; as well as the Travel Itinerary Planning Service (TIPS). This members-only service provides two customizable itineraries per year: one seven day excursion plus a two day trip “add on,” which is tailored to the member’s travel preferences.
We caught up with Jeff to learn more about his travel preferences and about the people, places and food that have inspired him throughout his journeys across the globe.
Culture-ist Magazine: What is the best early morning experience you’ve had while traveling?
Greif: When I travel east to Asia, I always have an inordinate amount of energy in the morning, and do not need as much sleep. For instance, when I go to Japan, I can get up at 5 in the morning, go to the gym for a few hours, and then have an amazing Japanese breakfast, like salmon and sushi. Then I’m ready for a day of sightseeing.
Culture-ist Magazine: Do you have an odd neurosis that emerges before you embark on a trip?
Greif: Yes! When I go on a trip, it never fails. I really overplan. I like the research part of traveling, hence the Travel Therapist (but more about that later.) I also tend to buy several guidebooks and print tons of Internet pages out for my long international flights.
Culture-ist Magazine: If your life as a traveler could be described through the lyrics of a song what song would you choose?
Greif: “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra.
Culture-ist Magazine: One of the most memorable meals you’ve had while traveling…
Greif: I had a fantastic meal recently in Banff National Park at the Grizzly House. Modeled after a bric-a-brac at a Swiss chalet, this restaurant served a full fondue meal ““ four cheese fondue as an appetizer, followed by hot stone and oil-cooked meats (local meats of course,) including beef, buffalo, elk, and venison. Dessert was, predictably, chocolate fondue served with fruit and wafers. The waitress who’d worked there for fourteen years was very entertaining. At each table, there was a telephone. Apparently, the owner is a swinger and installed them so that the clientele could get to know each other!
Culture-ist Magazine: Most profound lesson learned through travel?
Greif: Everybody has ingenuity and imagination, and you can get yourself out of any situation.
Culture-ist Magazine: Favorite Town/Village? Why?
Greif: My favorite village is located in the Caribbean in Negril, Jamaica. I love the laid-back atmosphere, beautiful water, and the simple Jamaican cuisine. It’s like paradise to me. If you ask me about the Mediterranean, I would definitely have to say that Fira in Santorini is fantastic. Great people, great people-watching, great food and wine!
Culture-ist Magazine: Favorite City? Why?
Greif: My favorite city is London. It is absolutely fabulous. The city just keeps reinventing itself. There are great museums, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife ““ anything the luxury traveler is looking for. Also, I can’t get enough of the National Portrait Gallery. I could go there a million times.
Culture-ist Magazine: A person you met while traveling that you still think about today.
Greif: This is an interesting question. I was studying French and met a Swiss guy in New York over 30 years ago. He went back home and invited me to Switzerland and I went. We continued on to Italy, and I met another group of people on my first-ever ski trip. I’m still friends with all of these people today. I’m called the “Uncle from America.”
Culture-ist Magazine: Biggest gripe with traveling often.
Greif: Packing, unpacking, and doing the laundry afterwards.
About Jeff Greif:
Travel Squire is the brainchild and personal passion of Jeff Greif, founder and editor in chief of the site. Greif is a seasoned publishing executive whose experience includes such illustrious publications as GQ, Vogue, The New Yorker, George and Conde Nast Traveler. During his magazine tenure, Greif traveled the world both for business and pleasure having visited over 45 countries. His travel passion is reflected in his love of language. Jeff speaks nine (9) languages including French, Portuguese, Japanese, German, Italian and is constantly learning more. His most recent studies are Hebrew, Greek and Russian. In addition to the daily management of Travel Squire, Jeff is also the CEO of Free Agent, a media company specializing in marketing.
*Want more Travel Talk? Check out our interview with Ken Kaminesky.