Besides family, travel is what gives meaning and purpose to my life. I’ve always loved going somewhere, starting when my family and I went to Disneyland when I was five years old. While I initially believed that I needed to find something “suitable” for a career and went into education, I finally had the opportunity to follow my passion and work in travel.
Today, I primarily work as a travel advisor, but I never miss a chance to write, blog, and photograph my adventures around the world. After several iterations, my blog is now called “The Sansei Traveler,” which reflects both my Japanese American heritage and my wanderlust.
When I’m not on the road, I spend time at home in the Colorado foothills with my husband/frequent travel companion and two teenage daughters/sometimes travel companions. I love to run, do Peloton workouts, hike, ski, cook, read, knit, practice yoga and follow my Bay Area sports teams.
1. What got you into travel writing?
I’ve loved both travel and writing since I was in elementary school, so it was only natural that I eventually would pursue travel writing. I’ve maintained a travel blog in one form or another for the past several years, the current version being The Sansei Traveler. I’m also a certified travel advisor, and I always write about where I go through the opportunities I have through that work. I’m just starting to explore travel writing for other publications.
2. What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
It’s definitely been pitching publications and being persistent with it. I’ve often gotten discouraged and allowed negativity to get in the way of my travel writing goals whenever I don’t hear back from a publication. But I keep going by learning about them, tailoring my story ideas to what they need, and never giving up. Another challenge is growing my social media following, which takes a lot of work and dedication.
3. What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
My laptop computer. I’ve tried to write on my tablet and even on my phone, and it just doesn’t work for me!
4. What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
Going to Japan in 2019. I’m Japanese American, and that was the first time I’ve been there. I still felt unprepared to deal with the language (I tried to learn as much as I could on Rosetta Stone, but it never quite worked out) and some cultural expectations. But at the same time, I felt very connected to the place, because it gave me a context of where I came from. While I didn’t visit the towns where my own ancestors lived, I enjoyed the cities we did visit – Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Osaka – and felt welcomed.
5. How did you learn about NATJA and why did you join?
I learned about NATJA through Facebook. I was trying to find a professional travel writers organization that would give me guidance and support while I was pursuing travel writing. I’ve appreciated the resources and connections that NATJA provides, and I would love to go to a conference in person someday.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
Again, I would say be persistent and never give up, especially if you have a strong desire to do this work. Take all the professional development whenever you can, and make connections with other writers.