MEET PRIVATE JET JEAN
BY NICOLLE MERRILL // TCS World Travel
A CONSUMMATE TRAVEL PRO, JEAN NEWMAN GLOCK WILL JOIN US ON OUR AROUND THE WORLD EXPEDITION THIS AUGUST.
The first thing that you notice when talking to Jean Newman Glock is her passion for travel. From the moment she bucked family tradition and chose college in Switzerland over attending Duke, her wanderlust was set. Her thirst for history and unique cultural experiences has translated into a career in international travel that includes an impressive stint at the Smithsonian and her decision to promote travel and tourism.
Here, Jean shares the destinations that most intrigue her, why she seeks out house museums and what excites her most about our upcoming Around the World trip:
You spent 17 years at the Smithsonian, but then left to start your own business in the travel industry. How did you end up on that path?
I was the manager of all the international portfolio, which meant that I oversaw about 200 departures a year. I also managed all of the student travel, and that’s when I first worked with T.C. Swartz and the private jet travel program. Working at the Smithsonian was fabulous and I like to say it was the best internship in the world! I loved every minute. However, when I hit 50 I wanted a new challenge. So I decided to come in to the retail side of travel.
I stared JNG Worldwide because social media was taking off for me. Using social media, I found a way to promote travel and tourism. One of the first trips I sold under JNG Worldwide was the first Around the World Four Seasons departure [Fall 2012]. The couple who bought the trip had seen a post I wrote for Huffington Post about private jet travel and called to ask about it.
Did you travel a lot during your time at Smithsonian?
Yes, we dropped in on almost every tour. I am one of the few people who has been to Easter Island six times. I’ve been almost everywhere internationally. The U.S. is the biggest hole in my travel map because I didn’t oversee any U.S. tours during my time at the Smithsonian. So I’ve never been to Hawaii or Seattle.
What areas of the world capture your imagination?
The Middle East and Russia, in part because I received my masters of science in foreign service at Georgetown and focused on the Middle East and diplomacy. Up until last year, I traveled at least two times a year to Egypt, I’ve also accompanied a business mission there and met with [Egypt’s first civilian and Islamist] President Mohammed Morsi before he was ousted. [He was ousted in July 2013]. I just feel passionate about promoting tourism everywhere and Egypt is a particular love.
Russia is another real passion. I’ve been traveling to St. Petersburg since I was in college and I’ve watched the country go through perestroika [the program instituted by Mikhail Gorbachev during the mid-’80s to restructure the Soviet Union’s political and economic policy] and continuing dramatic changes.
Every time I go back it’s drastically different, but it’s still regal. There’s a respect for Russian culture and heritage in every generation. You can even see it in repeated visits to the Hermitage. Each visit you see how things are being handled, things they found from the World War II Siege of Leningrad. It’s all that history that I love.
With your professional travel experience, what types of cultural experiences stand out?
I go to Paris several times a year. Though I always find somewhere new to go. I return to my favorite haunts like the Museé Carnavalet. I’m a big fan of what you call house museums, which are homes that have been turned into a museum. To me you see history in situ. They re-create history through rooms, and you get to see how a person lived, what they collected and what they valued.
For me, there’s such a strong sense of history. I’m always seeking out the house museums in every country. In Bangkok, you can go to the Jim Thompson House and get a total feel of how he lived and what mesmerized him. In St. Petersburg you go to one of the Romanov museums and see what they valued in their day-to-day lives. So I find cultural experiences often through house museums. I’m a total history nerd.
What is it about Paris that keeps you coming back?
The lifestyle. You can’t be in Paris and not have every sense pleased. You walk through the Tuileries Gardens any time of year and you feel the majesty of the Bourbon Kings. Then you go sit in a tiny bistro on the Left Bank, where the French Revolution was planned, and eat some of the finest food you’ve ever had.
Paris just appeals to all. The quality of living is the highest in the world, not in a monetary sense, but in how they pace their lives and how they live each day. It’s not a frenetic pace. It’s just living luxuriously. Plus I love the history, art and, above all, I love fashion. I like to stay at the Castille Paris hotel, which is right beside the original Chanel store. You feel you are living a life I probably could never afford to live.
The hotels in this Around the World trip are all Four Seasons properties. Have you visited any before?
I have stayed at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus and Four Seasons Resort Marrakech. And it’s funny because I’ve been tweeting for years with Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti when I posted on Instagram that I was coming, they were excited. It’s one of the finest camps in the Serengeti and I’m thrilled to go. These are not cookie-cutter hotels. All the hotels on this departure reflect an authentic time and place in history, and I love that.
What else are you looking forward to on this itinerary?
I love that there are three nights in almost every city so we have a chance to relax. Though I’ve been to all the places, I’m excited about ability to work with you all and find unique cultural opportunities while I’m there.
I also like this itinerary because it gives people who haven’t had a lot of time to travel a chance to see a lot of places and then decide where they want to go back. Plus, it’s the perfect way to travel with like-minded travelers. Your staff lives and dreams travel, so they’re experts and so much fun to travel with. During your Around the World classic expedition, I was searching for vicuña, a fine, cashmere-like wool, and your expedition leader knew just the place. It later became my favorite store in Peru.
What advice do you have for travelers joining you on Around the World?
Plenty! First, pack light. You don’t need what you think you’re going to need. Also, focus on the destination. Read everything that interests you before the trip as it makes the journey even more exciting.
When you arrive, don’t worry about packing it in. Listen to what you want to do. If you’re out enjoying something, don’t feel that you have to leave because you feel you might miss out on the next activity. And lastly, stretch your comfort zone. You’ll be thrilled when you do. I hope to see people diving with me in the Maldives or out snorkeling.