My career has not followed a linear path. Once I gave up my ambitions to dominate the professional bowling circuit, I stayed in school long enough to get a couple of degrees in psychology. I started my professional life as an academic psychologist, writing grant proposals and managing research projects.
I left the university life after a dozen years and began writing about travel, because... well, why not? I specialized in the places along the Mississippi River and wrote a few books and a lot of blogs about the underappreciated Big River in the middle of the US. Along the way, I kept a day job where I was a data analyst.
The constant through all this (other than my husband John) has been travel. After exploring much of the continental United States, I took my first trip away from North America in 1999: a week in London. Since that first trip, I've sipped snake wine in Vietnam, toured post-war Bosnia, walked around Machu Pichu, and paid my respects at a wake in El Salvador. As long as I'm breathing, I'll be traveling.
Hooked on Travel
My family took long road trips when I was growing up, and I haven’t been able to shake the travel bug since. I’ve visited nearly 40 countries and 49 US states (here I come, Rhode Island!). Like many people, I travel for a few simple reasons: for novelty, to relax, and for personal enrichment.
When I travel, I consume content from sources that are written by independent curators of travel information (like Rick Steves), as well as content that is produced by professional copywriters from tourist bureaus. I understand the difference and value them both.
I’m not just an avid traveler, though. I’m also a travel writer. I write mostly about the places along the Mississippi River, where I’ve spent years exploring the sites and experiences that are unique to the region. I’ve written travel guides, features for magazines and newspapers, and dozens of blogs.
Because I spend a lot of my time on the road talking to people about what they like and what they don’t in their travel experiences, I understand that different people have different expectations and desires when it comes to travel. One of the lessons I’ve learned is that it’s critical to manage those expectations—to let customers know clearly what to expect.
I don’t just understand your target market, I am part of it.
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