Donna Adinolfi is a travel, spa and wellness writer/photographer and wellness travel/retreat consultant. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications as she has studied at both William Paterson State University in Wayne, NJ and New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. She is the publisher/editor of MindfulAdventures.com, writer for BestAllInclusive.com and previously served as the Travel & Spa Editor of Balance Magazine. Her 35+ year career in travel also includes creating and planning wellness travel & retreats, spa & wellness events/speaking, and social media for travel and wellness. She is based in Michigan and loves cross country road trips.
1. What got you into travel writing?
My big dream was to work for National Geographic – I know that was a common dream for many of us. So I got my BA in communications with a focus in photojournalism and geography classes and spent a number of years in the travel industry (still do). Published travel writing began twenty years ago as the Travel and Spa Editor for Balance Magazine (their only travel writer), a regional publication. During that time I also created MindfulAdventures.com as a way to get my writing out there (and just finally rebuilt, redesigned, and relaunched my site). 2. What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
Getting invited to visit a new resort or go on a press trip and I can’t afford the airfare (sadly missed out on several). When I come up with paragraphs (that I think are really good) just as I’m going to sleep (surely one of you will agree)…..and when I can’t come up with a unique angle. To help with this – I’m taking advantage of some of the time from this ‘pause’ to work on my photography and story ideas.
3. What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
My Nikon, of course, large print road atlas, and notepads. And, I do like to take a mini recorder with me. My mobile phone is a must for some foodie photos. Oh, for a personal item, my gemstone/bead bracelets – they just put me in wanderlust mode especially while on cross country road trips.
4. What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
One of the most memorable journeys was to Ischia, Italy. The people, food, scenery, gardens, and really the way I felt while there – Italians are gracious and welcoming. It felt like being home and I can’t wait to return to my beloved Italy. Ireland is 2nd on my list of most memorable experiences. If interested, this will lead to my TravelWorld International article about Ischia: https://mindfuladventures.com/enchanted-by-ischia/
5. How did you learn about NATJA, and why did you join?
I think I was searching for an association (back in 2005’ish) to be a part of and came upon NATJA. It was the same time that I joined a nature photography group – I wanted to be all in – and I’m grateful for NATJA and the friends I’ve made over the years.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
Read. Write as often as you can even if it’s just for you. Research and get to know the publications you’re interested in writing for, send out queries, and consider starting with smaller publications for practice. Travel and network. And write about local experiences. You’ll eventually find your own niche.