A penchant for travel and languages led me on for thirty years in a variety of careers – winning hearts and minds in and out of uniform military, federal, and freelance. Now exclusively freelance. I’m fluent in German and English, with survival skills in French, Haitian Creole, Russian, Standard Arabic, Swahili, Turkish and Samoan. Lately I’ve been knocking the rust off my old Public School Latin. Tried Chinese and Thai with absolutely no luck – and failed miserably with Modern Greek.
I have written for Hemispheres, World Nomads, Travel Pulse, Senior Living Magazine, Great Escapes Publishing, Matador Network, Verge Travel, Whisky Magazine, The Cook’s Cook, Caribbean Beach News, Scottish Rite Journal, Backwoods Home, Genealogy Today, Primitive Archery; local newspapers ranging from the Bonaire Reporter to the Port Townsend Leader; and a slew of digital indie travel sites including Intrepid Times, Global Hobo, BootsNAll, Go Nomad, Securely Travel, Go World, and On a Junket.
I’ve written a dozen Custom Guides for Gogobot/Trip.com/Skyscanner (Malta, Victoria BC and Surrounds, Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula (and the Pacific NW in general), Montenegro, and Germany), and am a destination expert for those regions. I have a small (1,250) but very travel-focused Twitter following and average a 2 percent engagement rate.
1. What got you into travel writing?
I’ve traveled from the age of 16, when I shipped out in the “black gang” (engine room maintenance) in the Merchant Marines aboard the North Platte Victory, transporting provisions, supplies, and armaments to U.S. forces deployed in Viet Nam. Ports included Thailand, the Philippines, a short sortie up the Mekong, and Guam. I published my impressions in local papers on my return, and never stopped traveling – or writing about it.
2. What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
I haven’t traveled since COVID-struck and have been concentrating “nostalgia pieces” and on food/beverage articles, with some useful departures into aerospace/science and technology. Am looking forward to returning to Iceland soon, then Panama, and then Europe.
3. What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
Obviously a camera – and I always pack a pocket “tape” recorder – also release forms for quotes and photos.
4. What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
Venice, during their “Thanksgiving” 28 November pilgrimage to the Basilica Santa Maria della Salute, honoring Saint Mary’s intervention during the black plague. In lieu of turkey, penitents “feasted” on “Castradina” – castrated goat stew (then survival rations – today a very pricey dish).
5. How did you learn about NATJA and why did you join?
NATJA combines the best of all advantages offered by travel writers’ associations – accessible, professional, and affordable.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
Don’t write for free – earn your “exposure” by paid gigs.