Travel Tattler’s tales are not torrid, but they are inspiring to those who love the romance of life’s journey.

The question, “What are your dream destinations?” is often posed in conversation. What locations are on your “bucket list?” (Or, as Virtuoso Travel prefers, your “wander list?)

It may be better to determine in detail and define your dream experiences.

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Jennifer Coolidge’s character Tanya, in the second season of the HBO hotel show “White Lotus,” explained her vision of a fantasy day in Italy:

“First, I want to look just like Monica Vitti. Then this man in a very slim-fitting suit comes over and lights my cigarette. It tastes really good. Then he takes me for a ride on his Vespa. Then, at sunset, we go down very close to the sea to one of those really romantic spots. We drink lots of aperitivos and we eat big plates of pasta with giant clams. We’re really chic and happy. We’re beautiful.”

Now that’s a traveler with a plan.

Making a friend in Venice
Making a friend in Venice. Photo by Michael Patrick Shiels

Your Turn – Spoiling Your Senses

Selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower document your bucket list travel achievement, but the moment more likely to play on your mind is when you clinked glasses of Pouilly-Fusse with an accordion-playing Parisian in the cozy, darkened Lapin Agile historic cabaret. That is an authentic memory of France.

Italy’s “dolce vita” can be found in its’ fountains, museums and trattorias, but treat your senses further by listening intently and looking into the eyes of a local, like I did with Venetian guide Giulia De Carolis. I asked her, as our water taxi glided up the Grand Canal, whether she found Venice to be the most romantic city in the world.

“I think if you are a romantic person, any place is romantic,” Giulia, a brown-eyed bella donna, answered.

I may meet only occasionally and in passing with an amiable Egyptian man known as “Prince Ali,” a beloved, bald bartender in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, but our brief, extra-cold Heineken collaborations have resulted in true enlightenment.

And the woman who, on the Day of the Dead, recounted her life-changing “coin-flip” parable over a margarita in Mazatlan, Mexico, altered my life’s philosophy forever: it is not always life or death.

Back cover of Travel Tattler – Less Than Torrid Tales

Travel Tattler – Less Than Torrid Tales Can Be in Your Carry-On Bag

If you read and absorb these types of “love stories” in my new book, “Travel Tattler – Less Than Torrid Tales,” you will be inspired to be wide-eyed on your next trip instead of staring at the screen of your mobile phone. Even more importantly, you will travel with an open heart and mind. You may find your soul excited to connect with the spirited people you encounter, even if in a brief but meaningful manner. Engage at a human level instead of just requesting a croissant or picking a pasta.

Audrey Hepburn’s advice was to “walk with poise in the knowledge you are never alone.” Even when traveling solo, you will be surprised at what a smile, in any language, can do to unlock the mysteries of a person or place. The locals are truly the stars of the show in sublime settings such as South Beach, San Diego, or Spain. By showing genuine interest and letting random people shine in your spotlight, you will be inviting yourself to the party.

MPS and Prince Ali
Michael Patrick Shiels and Prince Ali at the Amsterdam airport. Photo by Michael Patrick Shiels

Where the Travel Tattler Book Will Take You

“Travel Tattler – Less Than Torrid Tales” is a combination of sweet, saucy, sexy and silly anecdotes that will lead you into time-honored destination enclaves including the Beverly Hills Hotel’s Polo Lounge; the Tallahassee Women’s Prison; a dark confessional in Milan’s Duomo; the Playboy Mansion; forbidden Havana in communist Cuba; Bat Man’s cave; well-worn pubs in the wilds of Ireland; and to a prized table at Miami Beach’s Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant.

In the book’s chapters, you will encounter celebrities such as Al Pacino; Jennifer Hudson; Paul Anka and more. I will not say you are going “backstage,” because, as Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all of us its players.”

You, too, are on the world’s stage when you embrace the philosophy of “Travel Tattler – Less Than Torrid Tales,” a lively, storytelling guidebook of friendship and travel destination advice you can order at

You can even travel to places embraced by the writer Ernest Hemingway who, after growing up near Petoskey, Michigan, frequented and drank his way through Venice, Pamplona, Key West, Havana, Africa and Paris. “Papa’s” advice is sympatico with that of “Travel Tattler:” “Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas and intoxicated by the romance of the unusual.”

Michael Patrick Shiels
Michael Patrick Shiels at the Londra Palace Hotel Venezia.

Who is the “Travel Tattler?”

Michael Patrick Shiels has authored books in collaboration with President George HW Bush and Ken Raynor; talk show host Larry King; golf TV broadcaster Ben Wright; golf architect Arthur Hills; the “For Dummies” series and more, including his anecdotal advice guide: “Invite Yourself to the Party.” 

His travel writing appears regularly at;; and the Gannett Newspapers Lansing State Journal:, part of the USA Today Network and Yahoo News.

Read more of Michael Patrick’s work at The Travel Tattler and contact him at [email protected] Order his book Travel Tattler – Less Than Torrid Tales at 

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