Travel Writers I’ve Met and Liked: You Can Meet Them Too

Travel Writers I’ve Met and Liked: You Can Meet Them Too

Travel Writers I’ve Met and Liked: You Can Meet Them Too

Sculpture of acrobats at Willows Lodge

The acrobat sculpture at Willows Lodge with travel writers mingling in the distance.

Inspired by Archie Grand, I’ve compiled a list of Travel Writers I’ve Met and Liked.

On Archie’s charming website (Notebooks for Friend and Foe) I could purchase a notebook in which I could write the list of Travelers I’ve Met and Liked and another in which to jot the names of Writers I’ve Met and Liked, but there isn’t one that combines the two. Gap to fill, Archie!

This is really too bad, as I find that the people who travel and then write about it are by and large a pretty cool bunch and worth meeting – if not in person, then definitely in print. Having met several such folks just this last weekend at the Travel and Words conference, my list has grown significantly. I’ll just have to make much of them without Archie’s brightly bound help.

Here, in alphabetical order – as any other order would cause strife, at least in my own mind – are some of the travel writers I’ve met and liked over the years, with links to examples of their work. I’m sharing this previously secret list because you should read their stuff – and mine, you should read my stuff.

Amanda Castleman - Thanks to a rusty memory, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Amanda twice now, and liked her both times. At Travel and Words she was leading a round-table on Travel Writing 101. While listening to the discussion I suddenly realized she’d been my editor when I wrote for the UW Daily, too many years ago. It was great catching up with her. (I especially liked her when she described the assignment for which she had to listen to Twilight on tape while driving to Forks, because she said it made her ears bleed.)

William Dietrich – Bill doesn’t actually call himself a travel writer – he’s a novelist, journalist and professor of environmental journalism at Western Washington University. But it’s hard not to add him to the travel category given the daring adventures across the planet that he brings to life in his Ethan Gage series of novels. Travel writing is all about place, and place is a big factor in Bill’s work. Much as I enjoy the dashing and swashbuckling Ethan, my favorite piece by Bill is still One Man’s Indictment, Love Poem and Call to Arms.

Terri Fogarty – Publisher of Europe Up Close. I liked Terri immediately for being friendly and helpful and willing to answer questions from a new editor. I loved Terri when she suggested I do an article about Italy ala Panic In Any Other Language for her site. I’m on it Terri!

Sue Frause – Facebook friend, Twitter follower, I chat with Sue often online, but only occasionally do I actually lay eyes on this fellow Whidbey islander. She’s never home long enough!

Larry Habegger - A few years ago I took a travel writing workshop from Traveler’s Tales co-founder Larry Habegger at Book Passage in Corte Madera. Checking out his blog just now I found he’s about to teach another. Take that class, it’s worthwhile. And read his essays – starting with Thoughts on the World, Pico Iyer, and Iraq. I first read it just after it was published (in 2001 or 2002) and it’s stuck with me to this day.

Annika Hipple – Annika and I talked briefly over a glass of wine, in the sun, on the terrace of Willows Lodge. A very busy tour guide and travel and sustainability writer, covering topics like sustainability in the cruise industry, she’s attending TBEX in Vancouver next month and suggested I should go. Though I probably won’t make it – it was sold out long ago – I’m indebted to Annika for introducing me to Travel Blogger’s Exchange and I look forward to reading more of her stories.

Jennifer Leo - Jen was my editor for Sand In My Bra. That she chose one of my pieces for her book was enough for liking, (loving) but she’s also a lot of fun. She’s done some amazing things, tells funny stories and can really get a roomful of readers energized to buy books, taking Sand to the top and winning the North American Travel Journalist’s Association award in 2005.

Marilyn McFarlane – Marilyn is an author of guidebooks, (which I haven’t read,) but some of her work is available at Europe Up Close, including one story about Gouffres de Padriac,  in which Satan stamps his foot.

Jonathan Raban – Okay, it was just at a signing, but I’m counting it. Rabid Raban fan – Hunting Mr. Heartbreak, Bad Land, Soft City, Coasting, wonderful books and essays.

Totemic bronze heads beside the pond at Willows Lodge

Totemic bronze heads lap at the pond at Willows Lodge

Haley Shapley – See her American Way article Just Follow the Crowds for a taste of this young writer’s quirky view. I met Haley while touring the gardens at Willows Lodge with photographer Roger Ward.  And I assure you, it’s only because she had a fancy pants camera that her pictures turned out so much better than mine. It had nothing to do with the fact that she actually knew how to use her tools, and followed Roger’s suggestions, while I got distracted and tried my own goofy ideas, again. Later I read a few of her stories and discovered her style. Quirky is my preferred angle on anything, so I’m a fan. See GirlAboutTheWorld for her lovely pix of the garden.

Photographer Roger Ward teaching travel writers at Willows Lodge

Roger's sense of humor about photography made the lessons fun

Roger Ward - I had the pleasure of sitting next to Roger during most of the presentations at Travel and Words. He was a fount of information on camera selection and photography and later touring the gardens he taught me the rule of thirds which has already broadened my picture taking world. Up to now I’ve operated with little more than the law of the happy accident. Roger’s doing a series of posts on his favorite subject at Local Roads right now.

Susan Zwinger – Susan was my first travel writing teacher, though I think she thought she was teaching me how to keep a nature journal. A naturalist, Susan is the author of Stalking the Ice Dragon and The Last Wild Edge, books based on her travels in the far north, and her own overwhelmingly beautiful and amazingly organized nature journals. She manages to make both the artistic and the businesslike sides of her brain work together and the result is wonderful.

Here’s to traveling and writing and the charming people who do both.

9 thoughts on “Travel Writers I’ve Met and Liked: You Can Meet Them Too

  1. Haley

    Super honored to be on this list! I just hope no one out there includes me on a list of travel writers they don’t like — or at least if they do, I hope they don’t link to me. :) I know the work of many of the writers you’ve listed, and I’ll definitely check out the rest.

  2. nancy Post author

    Whew, one down. Thanks Haley. I’m hoping all are happy to be mentioned, but you never know … Off to get a copy of Waxwings, or whichever J. Raban book is on the shelf at my local indie book shop. (Book Bay – Freeland, WA.)

  3. Roger

    What a pleasure meeting you and sharing laughs and tips. Remember, you had 90% of the skills necessary to be a great travel photographer before we talked about photography. I’ll get my website running again and share some stories, too.

  4. nancy Post author

    Hey Roger, thanks for visiting. I really enjoyed your article on Local Roads. I especially liked: “The trickiest (and sometimes impossible) part of photography is reading and understanding the camera’s owner’s manual,” which nicely shows your sense of humor about the whole process and hit the nail on the head as far as my camera use goes. I’ll try to do better when I buy that new camera you recommended. Soon I hope!

  5. Terri Fogarty

    Thank you for including me on your list. It was great to meet you and connect with so many other wonderful writers and bloggers at the conference. I really look forward to collaborating with you in the future.

  6. Marilyn McFarlane

    Thank you Nancy, I’m pleased to be on your list and really enjoyed meeting you and learning about your online writings. I love your Tidal Life blog and am now a subscriber. I’d like to have a link to it on my blog (www.lightheartedtravel.wordpress.com). Let’s keep in touch; the travel writing world is full of exciting developments right now.

  7. nancy Post author

    Hi Terri, Absolutely, the list would not have been complete without you. Your pieces and your site are inspiring, as you were yourself at the conference. Thanks so much for sharing your experience of building your site. We have great places to write about and great things to do.

  8. nancy Post author

    Hi Marilyn. Thanks for visiting both here and Tidal Life. I’m honored to have you subscribe and will try to keep the good articles flowing. A link on Lighthearted would be wonderful, thanks! And as long as we’re sharing mutual appreciation, I’ve got to say I really enjoyed reading your definition of lighthearted travel. Best of luck with your new book.

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