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Now that Barack Obama has a little more free time on his hands, he’s been busy hitting the speaker circuit. This week, he sat down with Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta at the World Travel And Tourism Council Global Summit in Seville, Spain, to talk about all things travel.
And as someone whose job involves a significant amount of time on the road, the 44th president had plenty of insight to share, which the San Francisco Chronicle rounded up. (The paper’s site also reported that Obama got paid a cool $500,000 for the appearance.)
“There is something spectacular about seeing a new place, being exposed to new ideas and experiencing a new culture…But as a parent, when you are able to watch that sense of discovery in your children’s eyes? That is more special than anything else,” he said. His most memorable trips during his time at the White House include visiting the Kremlin, followed by a trip to Rome where his daughters Sasha and Malia were able to meet the pope, and going to Ghana, where the family was welcomed by people dancing on the tarmac. We’re guessing the time he slurped down bun cha with Anthony Bourdain in Hanoi would also be pretty high up on the list.
President Obama was candid about the perks of the job when it comes to travel: flying on Air Force One and never having to deal with flight delays. “They clear out the air space for you. Now I sometimes find myself on a plane, not commercial, private, but still, we are sitting there waiting on the tarmac and you wonder… “Wait why aren’t we moving?” Well, there are these other planes in front of us.” Former presidents: they’re just like us! (That is, if we flew private all the time.)
And he still has quite a travel bucket list to work on — and a bucket list he hopes will “score a lot of points“. (Whether he means with credit cards or his wife Michelle is TBD. We asked Obama’s office, and will update if we hear back.) Sites such as Angkor Wat and the Taj Mahal make the cut, as well as Bahia, Brazil, and Patagonia. Oh, and a place a little more off-the-beaten path: “Once we thought about Antarctica, but Secret Service turned us down. But now that I’m no longer president, maybe.” No word if a return trip to Disneyland is on the agenda.
Let’s hope the president knows how to work the points & miles game, but if not, we’d be happy to help get him started.
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Photo by Jack Brockway/Getty Images.
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