At home with Marcia DeSanctis

Marcia DeSanctis is our #Woman-We-Admire-Wednesday! #WWAW.

We visited Marcia’s cozy Bethlehem home to talk about world voyages, podcasts, living in Litchfield County, and what she packs when she travels to far-off lands…

Marcia was a producer for Barbara Walters, both at 20/20 and for The Barbara Walters Specials on ABC for many years before she moved with her family from NYC to live full-time in rural CT, switching careers and becoming a successful travel writer. She currently writes for Vogue, Departures, Travel + Leisure, The New York Times, and is the author of New York Times bestseller 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go.

Current projects? 

I was recently in Jordan and I loved it. I’m writing a story about walking the Jordan Trail. It’s a very long hike and I did 40 miles of it, walking in the footsteps of T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, and Gertrude Bell. That piece will be out soon.

I’m also writing a book about travel and marriage. It’s about the throughline of travel and relationships. In fact, I just finished it.

Current travel goals?

I would say top on my list is Oman. I’m fascinated by it. It’s next to Yemen and north of Somalia. They seem to have a really interesting approach to keeping their authentic history while building these amazing hotels. They also have this incredible geography, beaches, and pink sand.

I’d like to go back to Uzbekistan in the former Soviet Union, Georgia. I spent quite a lot of time there in my 20s. I loved it then. I’d love to see how it’s changed, and how I’ve changed. 

When/why did you switch careers?

My husband (sculptor Mark Mennin) and I moved up here in 2002 when I stopped doing television and started writing. This was our weekend place and we had a tiny apartment in NYC with two tiny children. We decided just to go for it.

What are you most proud of in your career?

That I have one! I’m not kidding you. I had my first national magazine piece published when I was 49. It’s possible. It takes a lot of strength that I didn’t know that I had. I’m not the most self-confident person, and I don’t like failure or rejection, but I was ready to do it. I had things to say.

Name 3 items you MUST bring with you when you travel!

  • A down blanket I mash into a Ziploc. I’m always freezing, and it’s good to have an extra blanket.
  • Peanut M&M’s. They hit the spot always and anywhere.
  • A small cloth zipper pouch I keep in the seat pocket with earplugs, an eye mask, and lip balm.

Ideal writing conditions? 

A coffee pot, something to nibble on, and definitely quiet with no people around!

Tips for budding travel writers?

  • Know that you have a story. You only have your take, so even if you’re writing about something that’s been written 20 million times, you’re the only person who can tell it your way.
  • Just do it! Even when you think you can’t write, no matter how busy you are, if you want to be a writer, connect with your work every day. Do 30 to 45 minutes a day of reflection. Draft a scene, write some notes about what you were feeling. What’s your unique take?
  • Write about the 5 senses. Smell, taste, touch, sight, sound.

Describe your ideal day…

I meet my friends at Steep Rock in the morning for a walk with my Labradoodle. Then, I’ll stop for coffee at Meraki, At the Corner, or Arethusa on my way to my writing space at West Street Yard in Litchfield and work for a while. Next, I’ll either meet my husband for a drink at The Mockingbird or a friend at The Mayflower. I’ll finish the day at home making dinner with Mark and catching up on the day. 

Podcast recommendations?

What’s one piece of advice you wish you could tell your “younger” self now?

The decisions you make don’t have to be set in stone or irreversible. Everything you do is building up the resume of who you are.

Marcia DeSanctis

Interviewed by Bev + Lora / Pics : Lora

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