Morgan Tilton is an adventure journalist specializing in travel, outdoor industry news, and human endurance. Her writing and photography is featured in more than 70 publications including Outside, Outside Business Journal, Backpacker, SELF, Men’s Journal, and Gear Junkie among others. She’s a recipient of 11 North American Travel Journalists Association awards including an accolade for, “Connecting with Tarahumara through Trail Running,” an essay on running with the indigenous community of Copper Canyon, Mexico, an experience that reaches beyond language and cultural barriers.
She’s contributed live news reporting for the newsroom-style print publications of 16 trade industry events, including Outdoor Retailer and the former Snowsports Industries America Snow Show; fulfilled turns as the Teton Gravity Research Snowboard Editor; and secured international stories as a two-time media delegate for the Adventure Travel Trade Association in Banff and Jordan. Now, she’s the WeRunFar Columnist for iRunFar, Staff Writer for AllGear, and Contributing Editor of MST Magazine.
Follow her trails at @motilton and www.morgantilton.com.
1. What got you into travel writing?
I loved writing as soon as I could form sentences on paper in the form of poetry, song, creative stories and essays. At 14 years old, I joined an EF Educational Tours trip to Italy and Greece, and I couldn’t stop scribbling everything I learned about the history, landscape, culture, experience, and people. When I returned home to Colorado’s mountains, I realized I needed to write travel narratives connected to the outdoors and the communities stewarding that land.
2. What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
The most challenging part of being a travel journalist is balancing local community engagement and relationships at home with the incredible relationships I gain on the road. Sleep health also often takes a backseat.
3. What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
I can’t go airborne or on a long road trip without my neck pillow. It’s a gamechanger.
4. What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
One of my most memorable travel experiences was riding in the back of an open air 1984 Land Cruiser as we blazed across the multi-toned sand dunes of Wadi Rum–known as, the Valley of the Moon–toward behemoth sandstone and granite spires, where herds of camels freely roam and their silhouettes are punctuated by the towering rock faces. My long hair whipped around my face and neck, gathering molecules of sand. After arriving at the foot of the peaks and our camp, I scrambled up the rock face for a cotton candy sunset. The landscape was otherworldly and magnificent yet I felt welcomed and at home.
5. How did you learn about NATJA and why did you join?
I first learned about NATJA from my friend and peer Jayme Moye, and I joined to connect with more travel journalists.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
Be adaptive, persistent, and use fear as a productive tool–not to divert your big ideas.