Susan and Richard Pohli


Susan Smisko Pohli and her husband, Richard Pohli, have visited all 50 of the United States as well as 75 nations. Their big piece of advice? Travel now.

Susan Smisko Pohli had never read a map before she married Richard Pohli in 1988. But she’s had plenty of practice since.

The Pohlis, who live in Somerset, New Jersey, have journeyed together from Mount Vernon to Machu Picchu, Capetown to Cambodia, visiting every U.S. state and 75 nations. Their shelves overflow with photo albums. Before retirement, Richard Pohli ED’60 spent decades as a public school teacher, counselor, and administrator while also running a group-tour business on the side. After leaving social work, Susan Pohli SSW’73 helped manage the company.

Travel brings new perspectives on home, she says, quoting T.S. Eliot: “The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

The Pohlis’ top five travel tips:

1. Go now. “So many people put off travel until they retire, and we’ve seen so many tragic situations,” says Susan. “It’s just such an exciting world out there. Don’t wait.”

2. Do your homework. The internet has made it easy to learn about new cultures. “You have a much  better experience when you have some knowledge and some background,” says Richard.

3. Arrange to meet the locals. The Pohlis have eaten lunch with a Chinese housewife and watched an Australian farmer shear sheep. Interacting with locals can add a whole new dimension to your trip, and introduce you to lifelong connections.

4. Bring home plenty of photos and souvenirs. Richard keeps the brochures and memorabilia from each day’s travel in separate envelopes. That way, back home, it’s easy to recall and savor every experience.

5. Plan another trip. Susan has an app that counts down to her next expedition. “When we come back from a trip, there can be a little bit of letdown,” she says. “But if you know that you have something else to look forward to, it makes it a lot easier.”