When I started blogging—mainly about family travel—in 2008, one of the first other moms I “met” online was Carol Cain. Back then, she wrote about her life and adventures in New York City at a blog titled, NY City Mama. Today, she covers worldwide destinations and all types of vacations at Girl Gone Travel, and is a regular contributor here, on the Expedia Viewfinder blog.

Carol is one of the hardest-working travel bloggers I know. She’s (dare I say) feisty, outspoken, passionate, fun loving and funny. Most significantly, in the years I’ve gotten to know her—in person and online—I’ve admired her dedication to her family; she’s deeply in love with her role as a wife and mother to three active boys, ages 16, 8, and 7.

These days, Carol makes her home in the ‘burbs, in north-central New Jersey, about a 35-minute drive from NYC. She says it took her a long time to commit to the idea of leaving the big city. For a while, if anyone ever said to her, “Oh, you’re from NJ,” she’d deny it: “Once from Brooklyn, always from Brooklyn.”

I caught up with Carol on one of her rare moments at home this summer to talk a little travel:

What do you like to do when you travel, and what do you most like to write about and share with others?

I love to eat and write about it. I really enjoy photographing the places I visit and the people I meet.

How would you describe your “travel niches?”

Niches are tricky because kids grow up and leave, so you aren’t always necessarily a “family travel writer.” Sometimes you meet the right person and fall in love and you’re no longer a “solo traveler.” And so on. I travel in so many different ways, it’s hard to define. I guess that means I fit a lot of niches and none all at once.

Carol with her boys, her favorite traveling companions

I know as often as you can you do travel with your kids. What’s your favorite all-time family vacation?

Costa Rica, in 2012, because my kids showed what adventuresome travelers they are. I saw them with new eyes and gained new respect for them.

How do you stay connected with your family back at home while you’re on the road solo for story research?

We Skype and FaceTime tons. It really helps me get through missing them and reminds them that no matter how far I am, they are my favorite people in the world, always.

What three items do you always pack?

My laptop, my camera, and my Kiehl’s whipped body butter.

Checked luggage or carry-on?

I check my luggage. This curly hair needs products!

Fold or roll?

Fold. Old school.

If you won the lottery and could travel anywhere with anyone for any amount of time, where would you go?

I would start somewhere in Europe, maybe England or Scotland, and then go from there. I would probably just homeschool my kids and the whole family would just keep going until we covered as many countries as our lottery money allowed.

What has been your wackiest travel adventure?

Climbing the Cascades of Damajagua in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. These comprise 27 waterfalls that stream through caves. You have to slide down once you’ve gotten to the top. You climb these waterfalls with the assistance of some rope and a few strong men. There is nothing sexy about having a man pull you up a cave wall by the bottom of your bathing suit. Nothing.

Favorite travel destination that you could return to again and again?

Scotland. Forever and ever. This country, in many ways, is exactly what everyone says: rainy, gray, maybe even a bit chilly (even in June). But the beauty of Scotland is magical to me, and the residents’ ability to laugh and make others laugh, as well as their pride in their country and history, all are things I admire and enjoy. My husband is half-Scottish. Tthe country that stole my heart the minute I saw it.