Janice Wald Henderson is a Los Angeles-based food and travel journalist, specializing in cruising. She’s a six-time NATJA award-winner and has also earned honorable mentions. Janice has traveled to nearly 100 countries, many multiple times. She’s visited all seven continents by sea and loves expedition travel the most. She speaks French and wishes she played tennis as easily as she can write.
1. What got you into travel writing?
I lived in Paris and Normandy with a French family for a long summer when I was 16. I had been studying French with a Parisian teacher since I was seven-years-old, and thought living there would be a snap. When I got to France, I realized that I actually knew nothing about the language and culture and soaked it up like a sponge. That trip set the tone for me to pursue learning – and sharing – as much as I could about countries around the world. So here I am, decades later, still passionate, still sharing.
2. What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
Being away from home. I love my life in Los Angeles and everyone (including furry friends) in it.
3. What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
Peanut M&Ms. I know, I should say my resistance bands and mini Theragun. But I find my old favorite comfort treats gets packed every time.
4. What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
I have so many that strike a chord and are never forgotten. Perhaps the most memorable was a visit to an elephant park on a South African safari. Our guide taught us that there is no waste in the natural world; there are birds that eat ticks on giraffes, and beetles who bury eggs in elephant dung. Such symbiotic relationships keep our planet healthy. Trips like these are a potent reminder of our need to refocus on our planet’s health.
5. How did you learn about NATJA and why did you join?
I don’t remember how I learned about this great organization. I joined because I feel it’s a valuable place for travel journalists and haven’t looked back since.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
Find a niche that best defines your passion. Find your voice so that your work celebrates it. Be you. Finally, edit yourself endlessly. Keep tweaking, go the extra mile. Rewards come from working hard.