Photo © Gary Drayluck

In another of the series of podcasts from the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference, I interview National Geographic photographer and conference instructor Catherine Karnow, who discusses her approach to composing photos, tips for photographing people, and how to communicate with photo subjects who speak another language.

She also tells us about her photoworkshops in Italy and Vietnam — which sound like a blast, with lots of opportunities for interacting with locals, as well as ready-made photoshoot set-ups, great food, and Catherine’s expert instruction. VietnamcoverAnd we hear about the surprising and deeply moving experiences Catherine has had photographing victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Check out her beautiful book, Vietnam: 25 Years Documenting a Changing Country.

Farley-at-BPIn this podcast from the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference I interview David Farley, travel writer and author of An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town. Farley tells us how he researched his book — the true story of his search for a unique holy relic, the foreskin of Jesus, which went missing from an Italian church under mysterious circumstances. Irreverent Curiosity(Check out the National Geographic special about Farley and his search for the holy foreskin.)

ShakespeareLooking for a travel writing subject with a news hook? Smithsonian magazine lists ten destinations with related anniversaries in 2016, from the Folger Shakespeare Library  (2016 marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death) to Carnegie Hall (2016 is its 125th year) to America’s national parks and monuments (the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary in August).

BATW-TFP coverBy the way, Bay Area Travel Writers offers a free download of their new 4-color publication, Travel Features and Photos: California’s National Parks, Monuments, Trails, Seashores and Historic Sites.



DonGeorgeinAfrica“Truly great stories succeed in extracting meaning from the everyday,” said Don George at National Geographic‘s Intelligent Travel. “They are also the record of two corresponding journeys: a journey in the outer world and a journey in the inner world. And the travel writer’s story is built upon the interplay between these worlds and journeys.” This article is an opportunity to learn about storytelling from a master.

Aaron Williamson Flickr Photo

Aaron Williamson Flickr Photo

A big Thank-You to Dick Jordan at Tales Told from the Road for his article about how to get landline messages on your smartphone.


find-me-unafraid-cover“Jessica Posner grew up a middle-class American in Denver. She hadn’t seen much of the world, and when she had an opportunity to study overseas she chose to do political theater work in Kenya. Jessica ended up living in a slum with no streets, no toilets, no running water, no electricity and no public services. Then she got malaria.”

I recently had the opportunity to learn more about this remarkable young woman, who went on to transform Africa’s largest urban slum and change the lives of many of its residents. Read more in the article I wrote about Jessica for The Women’s Eye.

Global Adventure

January 25, 2016 | Leave a Comment

LifeisaTripTravel writers Judith Fein and Paul Ross have some wonderful photography on their site, Global Adventure. While you’re visiting, check out Judith’s book, Life is a Trip.

NewYearsGinny Soskey over at Hubspot offers a list of 16 Professional New Year’s Resolutions You Should Actually Keep, and provides resources to help. My favorite is #2: Write something every day.

“Don’t know what to write about?” Ginny asks.  Here are tools and resources to help:

2016typewriterContently offers five writing challenges that will help motivate you, provide milestones, and connect you to a supportive writing community. Happy 2016!


The National Park Service turns 100 in 2016, and San Francisco’s Bay Area Travel Writers have joined the celebration with a new publication: Travel Features and Photos: California’s National Parks, Monuments, Trails, Seashores, and Historic Sites.

The full-color 128-page magazine-style publication covers both world-famous properties like Yosemite, Carmel Mission, and Hearst Castle and lesser-known gems like Eugene O’Neill’s Tao House, Little Petroglyph Canyon, and the Empire Mine.

It’s a terrific publication — with fascinating articles and beautiful photography — that will inspire your travels in California. (I may be biased; I contributed to the content with articles about viewing bald eagles in Klamath and strolling among the many national historic sites along the San Francisco waterfront.)

Don George in BurgundyIt may be cold outside, but you can relive the sultry days of summer by listening to recordings from the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference. I’ll be publishing a series of them in coming weeks on the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer.

I enjoyed interviewing conference faculty such as Jim Benning, Janis Cooke Newman, David Farley, Jeff Greenwald, Catherine Karnow, Paul Lasley, and others, and am excited to share our conversations. And I’m always happy to help promote the conference, which I’ve attended more than once, and love.

Bohr-in-ItalyListen in as I interview author Marianne Bohr about her book, Gap Year Girl: A Baby Boomer Adventure Across 21 Countries. We discuss planning an epic trip, logistics, personal safety, and more on the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on

JeffGreenwaldListen in as I interview travel writer Jeff Greenwald; we discuss ethical travel, travel writing, science fiction, and more on the to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on

Jeff Greenwald, co-founder of Ethical Traveler, has published six travel books, and is an instructor at the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers conference. Join Laurie McAndish King, Associate Producer for the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer as she talks with Greenwald. He shares the creation of the Ethical Traveler, inspired by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and its impact on issues ranging from the Tasmanian logging industry to the Cambodian sex-slave trade.

CallerSmart logoCallersmart offers a directory of international country codes and ISO codes for calling and texting internationally. The company offers a reverse lookup phone book app. The website also provides phone scam alerts and videos of famous songs featuring phone numbers, including the 80s classic “867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone, embedded here for your listening pleasure:

Skypicker LogoSkypicker promises to deliver airfares that are 50 to 90% lower than published fares.  How do they do it? “Skypicker’s unique technology is based on data collection and a proprietary algorithm that matches low-cost carrier routes with those of major airlines to create new, unique routes leading to significantly cheaper fares.”

And it includes a trip completion guarantee: If flight segment is cancelled or delayed, resulting in a missed leg, Skypicker’s multi-lingual customer service representatives will locate and book a new flight segment for the traveler, or issue a refund. Sounds like it’s worth checking out.



Highway1Discovery Susan Hartzler of Mental Marketing invites you to visit the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route and share info about family reunions. Must have at least 50K UVPM. Here’s her open letter:

Are you interested in visiting the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route and getting paid? We are looking for one good blogger with at least 50k UVPM to visit this beautiful place and write about family reunions. Featuring 10 destinations along the breathtaking Central Coast of California in San Luis Obispo County, the CA Highway 1 Discovery Route is an affordable place for multigenerational vacations or family reunions.

Saving Vatika Bay

December 3, 2015 | Leave a Comment

Connie Burke and Barbara Euser are attempting to protect the underwater archeological site of Pavlopetri and the ecosystem of Vatika Bay in Greece. In an effort to bring the situation to the attention of readers, they’ve decided to publish an anthology of essays with the working title Saving Vatika Bay. The call for submissions is below.

Writers’ Workshops International
Call for submissions:

© Laurie McAndish King

I interviewed travel writing guru Don George at the Commonwealth Club of California on October 7th.

Don discussed what the day-to-day life of a travel writer is like, how to approach travel as a pilgrimage, traveling to sensitive places that need to be preserved, the cultural effects travelers have on the places they visit, how best to visit areas that are politically volatile, how travel writing enhances the experience of travel, and figuring out the meaning of life.

Wordrates or PresslandContently’s “The Freelancer” brings us news of Pressland and Wordrates, both of which allow freelancer writers to rate and review media companies and editors much like one would review a restaurant on Yelp.

“The true value proposition [of Pressland and WordRates] is connecting freelancers with editors via an open directory. It’s an issue of empowerment for writers and accountability for editors and publishers.”

The complete article is here.

Real-life Jetmen

November 23, 2015 | Leave a Comment

This video is so amazing I had to include it: Armed with unguarded ambition and the vision to push boundaries beyond the unthinkable, Jetman Dubai and Emirates A380 take to the skies of Dubai for an exceptional formation flight. (You might want to turn the sound down before playing.)

Surprises in China

November 23, 2015 | Leave a Comment

map of ChinaTravelers Joan Hall and Lenny Karpman visited eight Chinese cities on their own in September. They found it easy to get around (even though they don’t speak Chinese), comfortable, and relatively inexpensive. People were friendly and looked well nourished. Lenny provides details of the trip and lets us in on his favorite Chinese snack in this open letter:

laptop woman

A Google Chrome extension called Language Immersion aims to replicate the experience of language immersion while you’re browsing the internet. tells Business Insider about the product:

Users select one of 64 languages supported by Google Translate that they’d like to learn, as well as the level of immersion they need, from “novice” to “fluent.”

The extension then translates random words on whatever you’re reading online into the foreign language. (You can click on the translated words to put them back into your native language.) If you roll over the translated words, you can hear them pronounced by a native speaker.

What do editors of Yahoo Travel, National Geographic Intelligent Traveler, and two airline magazines want to see in their inbox? And what annoys them to death? reports on Travel Writing 2.0 from the NATJA Conference in Puerto Vallarta this past spring. (The next NATJA conference will be in Oxnard, California April 4-7, 2016.)

Find out what these editors had to say:

  • Paula Froelich – Yahoo Travel Executive Editor
  • Leslie Trew Magraw – National Geographic Intelligent Travel Managing Editor
  • Jacquelyne Froeber – Celebrated Living Editor-in-Chief and American Way Executive Editor

PhonePlanOh gosh; calling while traveling gets more complicated all the time. Here are a couple of places you can learn more:


TwicerFeatured as an iTunes Store Best New App in 2015, Twicer lets you “create slick videos from the palm of your hand. Record or import your source video then add a video commentary layer to tell the world what you see. Upload it and your first Twice is ready for others to discover.”

  • BATW offers free download:

    Bay Area Travel Writers' latest anthology celebrates national parks and monuments in the Golden State — a tribute to the National Park Service on its 100th anniversary in 2016. Get your free PDF here or buy the 4-color printed book.
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