With three Olympic gold medals and 112 individual championships, Misty May-Treanor is the most successful female beach volleyball player of all-time. An ideal roll model as well, she tirelessly gives back to her children’s volleyball clinic Dream In Gold.
— — —
Sean Ritchie: Where have you traveled in the past year? Visit any destinations for the first time?
Misty May-Treanor: I’ve been doing the clinic so I went to Kauai — went to Kauai actually twice. Just got back from Portland, but nowhere for the first time.
SR: They were nice vacations?
A fierce competitor on the court, May-Treanor knows how to kick back and unwind off it.
MMT: Oh very good, yeah. Well Kauai was definitely a vacation, we went there for two-weeks. Pretty much Portland was clinics. The last time we went to Portland we went wine tasting, but not this trip. A lot of other things were primarily work related — if you want to call it work.
SR: I know growing up you would vacation in Hawaii. Does the destination have the same mystique now as it did when you were a kid?
MMT: Well my dad is from Oahu, so we have a lot of family there, and I have a cousin on Kauai. It’s different, because we did a lot of family-oriented stuff when we went to Oahu when I was little. Now my husband and I find Maui and Kauai very relaxing. So we’ll stop in at Oahu, but we primarily go to Maui or Kauai.
SR: Describe some of the beauty. What really sticks out to you?
MMT: Maui you’re still going to have a lot of the resorts and you’ll have a little more of a touristy feeling than Kauai. Kauai, to me, is a lot more, I don’t want to call it hippy, but it’s a lot more lush and green, without too many huge buildings on the island. To me it is more of an old-school Hawaii feel. In Maui you can get that feeling, but then you still have the resorts. It’s not like Oahu though. Oahu to me is like Vegas. Just because there are so many hotels and it’s so crowded.
SR: So Kauai is more to get away and be in serenity?
MMT: Yeah. Kauai to me, is to take it back and have the bare necessities. A lot of people go camping on Kauai. We’ve taken the zodiac around the Nā Pali Coast. There would be kayakers that kayak around the island. That’s the only way you can get to remote spots of camping.
Photo courtesy | Ron Cogswell
SR: Have you ever done that?
MMT: No, I don’t think I’m that adventurous. It was pretty choppy when we went out and we didn’t know how this guy made it to this particular campsite.
SR: What to you is your favorite part about traveling? Is it the excitement leading up to the trip? The actual transit? Or touching down and finally exploring the destination?
May-Treanor is an avid traveler that loves to be immersed in the local culture.
MMT: I think definitely touching down and exploring. I think traveling by train would be fun, especially in Europe where trains are so popular. With the overnight trains it’s a great way to get around. Obviously air travel is different. You really have to plan ahead. I don’t know if the air-traveling portion is so fun, but you’re just so excited to get to the location and search what that area has.
SR: What’s the first thing you try to do when visiting a destination?
MMT: At first we’ll talk to the concierge to see where locals would go — not just the commercial stuff. We also ask about the highlights of the area, to try to figure out areas that aren’t that well known, but are pretty fantastic spots.
SR: So trying to get a taste of the local culture?
MMT: Right, I think you have to.
SR: Growing up in the greater Los Angeles area, how do LA beaches differentiate from the rest?
MMT: In Santa Monica you have the parking, boardwalk and restaurants right there. You can find the same thing on the east coast, but the vibe is different. You’ll have the long boardwalk. Some of the beaches you can drive on. You can’t drive on the beach here. There’s a little bit of everything on the California coast.
Photo courtesy | Smif
SR: How does being on a beach change your mindset?
MMT: It’s relaxing — obviously the more secluded the beach, the more relaxing it’s going to be. You get the fresh air, sun and wind blowing through your hair. Taking your shoes off makes you feel kind of grounded.
SR: Sport has many different arenas, how special was it that yours was on sand, steps away from the ocean?
MMT: Not necessarily with our tour. We’ve played in the alps before, in many different locations, which is pretty neat. You’re able to take beach volleyball pretty much everywhere. The beaches are my office. I can’t ask for a better office than going down, playing in the sand and then walking a few hundred yards to the ocean. We have that luxury, but it’s pretty neat to be in an area where you don’t necessarily have to build anything. It’s all nature; it’s all there.
SR: Do you have a funny travel story? Something comical that happened on a trip?
MMT: Our first trip for volleyball is always to China. During the Olympic year my coach, Marcio [Sicoli], and I get on the flight. We were all the way in the back and the seats didn’t recline. Then a lady stuck her feet on my tray. I was like, “okay, that’s not cool, I eat there.” You get some people that feel obliged and they can just lounge.
We were also in a taxicab in China, it was raining and the windshield wipers weren’t working. So the guy stopped on the side of the road to fix them and cars were zooming past. We were dying thinking we were going to get hit. There are many adventures when you’re traveling to different countries.
Photo courtesy | MacPepper
SR: I think that’s part of the fun too. You never really know what you’re going to get, see or experience.
MMT: Yeah, I feel like the more uptight you are, you’re not going to enjoy the experience as much. You have to go into traveling with an open mind. Things are going to happen. Flights are going to be delayed. You just have to make the most of it and keep an open mind — take things as they come. You’ve got to go with the flow.
SR: Name three destinations on your bucket list? What about them intrigues you?
MMT: I would like to go to Vietnam for the history. A family friend that’s been there said it was absolutely beautiful. I’d love to travel to Vietnam and see that part of the world. Machu Picchu has always fascinated me and I’ve watched Anthony Bourdain there. Getting down to that part of South America would be awesome. I also had a teammate from Croatia. I’ve seen pictures were they’d be lounging out on rocks, but the water would be absolutely beautiful. That seems like an interesting place, plus I’d get to see her.
SR: When’s the next trip and what’s it for?
MMT: Next trip is to Austin. It’s for a volleyball clinic, but I love Austin, it’s real eclectic. We hope to get to Hawaii and we have a Vegas trip planned.
— — —
For more information on Misty check out her website.
Additional thanks to Progressive Sports Management.