Deborah Grossmanis a San Francisco Bay Area food, drink and travel journalist. Her specialty is writing gastronomic travel articles with focus on experiences at the global dining table. Deborah has traveled broadly from Italy and France to Hong Kong, Chile and Morocco and judges at international wine competitions. She writes for both online and print publications such as Travel Examiner and iSanté. Deborah grew up in Delaware, studies and worked in London, England, lived in Mississippi, and settled in California where she is Poet Laureate Emerita of her hometown.
What got you into travel writing?
I began writing food and restaurant articles and then segued to wine exploration. In a few years I was invited to wine regions around the globe. During these adventures in Europe and beyond, I saw how the culture of winegrowing and dining reflected the culture of the region. I wanted to share the experience of traveling to these places with readers.
What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
The challenging part of being a travel journalist is to maintain simplicity in writing about a region. I want to delve into the history, the people, the architecture, the food, the beverages—and the reader wants to know the highlights of the place.
What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
Backup of all the important things! That means extra travel adaptors, extra medication, a few extra clothing items, and now more than ever, extra hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes!
What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
I experienced the 8.8 earthquake in Chile in 2008. The entire country was shut down for two days, tanks rumbled through the streets, and I was stuck, alone, for over five days. When I was finally able leave, there was no electricity at the airport. But we got off the ground, and I left with a strong appreciation of the Chilean people who were so strong and stalwart during the crisis. Overall, I was inspired by their response to the tragedy. And I was thankful I had all my “extra” items with me.
How did you learn about NATJA and why did you join?
Early on, some special travel writers suggested that I join. I wanted to connect and learn from the broader travel journalism community.
What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
Write about places that you know and love—and travel to places that you know nothing about and that challenge you from the perspective of language and customs. Stay curious and pay attention to what is important to locals. Taxi drivers, shopkeepers and waiters often give you excellent insights to a place and offer wonderful vignettes for your articles.