Miami native Joseph Rosendo has traveled to a staggering 95 countries, but he sees this achievement from a humble perspective:
“That’s only 38% of the world,” he said. He still has a lot of traveling to do.
Rosendo will speak May 13 at the Pompano Beach Library and Cultural Center, where he will present “The Art of Travel: Travel as a Life-Changing Experience.” He will share his adventures, recommendations and what he has learned over the past 40 years exploring the world.
Rosendo, 75, told us about growing up as a descendant of Cuban immigrants and how the Florida cultures he experienced as a young man developed his taste for adult exploration. He is currently the writer, host and director of season 11 of “Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscopes,” which can be seen on PBS stations in South Florida.
Q. What are your favorite destinations for trip to florida?
A. Well, everyone loves beaches, but I love the Everglades, fishing, and the many outdoor activities that Florida is famous for. My dad was born in Key West and when I was a kid we went there every summer. I have since returned for longer stays and it is still a cheerful and fun place. I also love the Tampa area, especially Ybor City, because when my grandfather came to the United States in the early 20th century, he settled there, working for the Have-A-Tampa cigar factory. . If you know Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscopes, you know I love cultural travel so I go wherever I can find concentrations of it and there’s plenty to discover in Florida.
Q. What are your favorite places in Miami?
A. When I was young, in the summer, our father took us four children to South Beach every morning. It wasn’t like today, of course, but it was just perfect for us. When I’m in town, I always go early in the morning, walk on the beach, swim and reminisce about the “good old days”. Being of Cuban origin, I also like going to Calle Ocho. I walk the streets, eat Cuban food, buy handmade Cuban cigars (like my grandfather used to roll), have a café con leche and listen to Cuban jokes at lightning speed .
Q. Have you traveled in the past two years? What was it like traveling during COVID?
A. Yes, despite COVID restrictions limiting my travel access, I discovered a few countries that allowed me entry. I traveled to Costa Rica as part of a Travelscope reconnaissance trip and to France for a reconnaissance and personal trip. Finally, in September 2021, I was able to film a season 12 episode of “Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope” on South Padre Island, Texas, and last March, I traveled to Ireland to film another episode celebrating the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick. So while there were hurdles to overcome and extra precautions to take, in my opinion the thrill and rewards of the journey are still worth it.
Q. Do you think there will be any permanent changes to traveling in a post-COVID world?
A. Who has a crystal ball? I will say there will be a lot more outdoor dining and many more outdoor events. Trips that emphasize the great outdoors – hiking, glamping (luxury camping), visits to national parks and natural areas – will all increase. It also depends on how many new variants of COVID emerge and if they begin to affect the health of the general population in any significant way. I think as long as vaccines keep pace with variants, people will choose to travel. It’s in our DNA.
Q. With rising gas prices, staff shortages and inflation, are you worried that travel is becoming too expensive for the average person?
A. Some travel destinations and travel experiences can get pricey, but there are wonderful options available to suit every wallet. The idea is to be flexible and creative and to find pleasure in simple things. For example, an inexpensive picnic of local meats, fruits, cheeses and breads bought at a French farmer’s market, eaten along a beautiful flowing river like the Dordogne or the Lot with the family, with friends or as a couple is as extravagant an experience as dining in a 5-Michelin starred restaurant – maybe even better. Travel is about people, those you meet and those you share your journey with.
Q. Where have you not been that you would like to visit in the years to come?
A. There are so many places. I haven’t experienced most of Africa and South America and have never been to Antarctica. All the places I would love to visit, but if I had to choose one by heart: I haven’t been to New Zealand and it’s definitely on my bucket list. I featured guests from New Zealand on my radio show, which I did for 23 years, and they really sold me. There are so many spectacular natural places to visit; so many different experiences to live. The Kiwis are a friendly people and the indigenous Maori culture is very much alive and thriving.
Q. What will you be talking about at Pompano Beach?
A. I will share how I became a travel journalist and some of my mind-blowing and life-changing travel experiences. I will use slides and video clips from my PBS TV show and CreateTV to illustrate my topic. The presentation is part travel destination pieces, travel tips and ideas and part memoir – like my new book, “Musings – The Short Happy Pursuit of Pleasure and Other Journeys” – which I will also be presenting. I will also have the great pleasure of meeting some of my Florida viewers on the show and attempting to answer their questions.
The free program begins at 7 p.m. on May 13 at Pompano Beach Library and Cultural Center, 50 W. Atlantic Blvd., Pompano Beach. For more information, call Nadine Robinson, Community Library Manager, at 954-357-7643.