This Monday, December 12, at 3:25 p.m. ET we will be sitting down with Vice President Joe Biden to talk about his favorite travel memories while in office these past eight years. How much travel are we talking about? About 1,207,973 miles and 57 countries, to be exact! Out of all these travel moments the vice president will be sharing several of his favorite photographs from his time in office with us.
The man behind the lens is David Lienemann, the vice president’s official photographer. Lienemann told us what it was like to travel with the vice president.
Which photograph is your favorite, and where was it taken?
That's like asking a parent to pick their favorite child, only I have 900,000 to choose from! It's more of a personal photo. When we went to Grand Teton a few years ago ... when we got back to the house late in the afternoon, I saw the vice president and Dr. Biden walking down to the lake and get into a canoe and paddle out in the lake. I made this photo as the sun dipped behind the Tetons of the two of them silhouetted on the lake by themselves; that's just really special to me.
How many countries have you visited, and which three would you like to go back to?
I've been to 65 countries in this job, many of which have been very beautiful, though I'll say that we usually only visit the capital of the country and don't get out in the countryside, nor do we have much time to explore. That said, if I were to pick three countries I'd like to go back to, I'd include Chile, where my wife and I are planning a trip to for our honeymoon in 2017; Jordan to actually get to experience Petra; and then to Ethiopia to get out and visit [the] highlands and see the coffee-growing region.
Is there a funny travel story you can share with us from your travels with the vice president that most people don’t know?
- Nat Geo Expeditions
A couple years ago when we pulled up to the plane at the airport in Finland, I hopped out of the van and ran up to the front stairs to take photographs of the vice president as he said goodbye to the ambassador and the chief of protocol before boarding Air Force Two. As he got to the top of the stairs and waved goodbye before stepping onto the plane, I saw in the corner of my eye all of the staff vehicles pulling away, along with my luggage, which was tucked under the seat in the van I'd been riding in. I went chasing after the vans for several hundred yards on the tarmac before they stopped so I could grab my bag, and then had to turn around and run back to the plane before they pulled the stairs back. Definitely not my finest moment on the road, but it was probably hilarious for my co-workers watching from the plane.
What will you miss most once this term ends with Vice President Joe Biden?
I think I'll miss not having to go through airport security. I still fly commercial a couple of times a year to go visit my family, and there's a huge difference between pulling up to the plane in a motorcade and getting to the airport two hours before your flight, taking off your shoes, unpacking all of your electronics, and waiting in line at TSA.