I’m fortunate to have worked as a journalist in 50 states, Cuba, Africa, Europe, Central America, and South America. Originally strictly a photojournalist, I’ve photographed news, sports, and political figures throughout my career. I’ve been a staff photographer for United Press International wire service and under contract for Reuters News Agency and the former Sigma Magazine Agency.
Now returning to my roots in writing and photographing, I am exclusively a travel journalist. Returning to writing, I am fully enjoying documenting events, places, and cultures through words and photography. I’ve just signed contracts with GettyImages/iStock and with Shutterstock.
1. What got you into travel writing?
It was natural for me to get into travel writing because it fulfills three things that I like doing; traveling, taking pictures, and sharing my experiences. I’ve always been curious about other places and cultures. This gives me chances to see those myself and share with those who cannot go themselves but are curious about the places I’m fortunate to visit. Then there are readers who are looking for a place to visit and explore. My stories and photos help readers research what they might want to do, where to stay, etc.
2. What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
I find it challenging to limit myself to a set number of words in a story. I like it when I explore places and I want to share everything that I see or do. After a trip, I talk non-stop about it to my friends. Oftentimes, I’ll go home after those conversations and put it all on paper. Then I l put together what I want to include in the article. After that, I choose from my photos.
3. What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
I won’t travel without a camera or two and my choice of lenses. As a photojournalist and writer, I’m choosy with the photos I submit with stories. It also makes it easier to have pictures to supplement what I write about.
4. What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
I’ve had many memorable experiences on the road including a taxi ride in a ’57 Chevy Bel Air through the art district in Havana, Cuba. However, my most memorable experience is accompanying a mission group to a large orphanage/school complex near Kampala, Uganda. I was a bit surprised that the kids, teachers, and staff were all very happy and upbeat. They couldn’t have been any friendlier and welcomed the visitors into their family. This was a place that I wanted to stay much longer.
5. How did you learn about NATJA and why did you join?
I’m thankful to some journalist friends that I’ve worked with for telling me about NATJA. I joined because it is a good place to network. I also enjoy the magazine produced by NATJA.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
I would advise a rookie travel journalist to give in to your curiosity and remember that readers are also curious about the places travel journalists are fortunate to visit. Ask a lot of questions on your trips to relay the answers to your readers. Also, let your feelings about a place show through; pretend that you’re the reader. Lastly, read a lot of magazines (especially about travel) and talk to experienced journalists. Ask questions. Many journalists are open to sharing thoughts and tips with a rookie.