My career has not followed a linear path. Once I let go of the ambition to dominate the professional bowling circuit, I stayed in school long enough to get a couple of degrees in psychology and to get a license to practice therapy. I was more interested in research, though, so I started my professional life as an academic psychologist, writing grant proposals and managing projects.
I left the university life after a dozen years to travel more and write about it. After traveling around Central America for a couple of months, I decide to focus on the places along the mythical but underappreciated Mississippi River. I wrote a few books and a lot of blogs about the Big River, while working a day job as a data analyst.
The constant through my adult life (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. 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, which might be why I can't shake the travel bug. 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, to learn a few things, and to meet people.
When I travel, I consume content from sources that are written by independent curators of travel information (like Lonely Planet or Rick Steves), as well as content that was produced by professional copywriters from tourist bureaus. I understand the difference and value them both.
As a travel writer, I’ve spent years exploring the sites and experiences that are unique to the places along the Mississippi River. 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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