About Me

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About Me

I am an award-winning writer, photographer, and teacher. I am also a traveler, by either heart or experience (sometimes I’m not sure which!) and I abide by a globally-minded feminist ethos in everything I do: by living carefully, living mindfully, and living compassionately. I write to inspire, to have fun, to catch interesting details and share them, to notice beautiful people, places, and experiences, to find beauty in the world where I can, and to teach other travelers to respect the places they tread and to think critically about the privilege of a traveling life.

What’s My Story?

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Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, the furthest I traveled was to California (once, I think, for my aunt and uncle’s wedding) and to New York to visit my grandma. My penchant for travel arrived, quite unexpectedly, during my college years at the University of Georgia: after an inspiring summer of studying Spanish in the sexy and beautiful Valencia, Spain, I decided to pack up and move to the very small, intensely gorgeous Mediterranean island of Malta to work at an international English school, and, after graduating from college, I accepted a position as a visiting English instructor at a university in the lovely and haunting Cartagena, Colombia. There, I learned to love empanadas, García Marquéz, dancing (though I’ve still got two left feet), and, quite unexpectedly, teaching.

I completed my MFA in creative nonfiction (with an emphasis in travel writing) from the University of Arizona in 2009 while teaching writing courses to undergraduates and working as the nonfiction editor for Sonora Review, a national literary magazine.  My creative work—which is a book-length memoir told in vignettes—examines the idea of memory through objects as I revisit the first three countries I ever traveled to for an extended period of time in my early 20s: Spain, Malta, and Colombia. I am currently revising my book and hope to see it find a home somewhere by the end of this year 🙂

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Where Am I Now?

At the moment, I live in the lush and beautiful Sonoran Desert in Tucson, Arizona, with my incredible husband Ryan, who is an artist, a graphic novelist, and a poet (check out his co-run literary journal of experimental poetry, The Offending Adam). After dating for almost six years, we finally got hitched in a little garden ceremony last semester at the Thursday Club in San Diego.

I’m also working on my graduate degree in Rhetoric and Composition and the Teaching of English. As a writer who can’t get away from the rhetoric of place and who loves digital media, I am writing my dissertation on contemporary tourism and digital media practices I know I’m an interesting case–I love to think about travel and writing almost as much I love actually doing the traveling and the writing. Living in the Southwest, as well, is pretty interesting fodder for this, as you might imagine.

me&whitesandsI am also, as you might have guessed, a freelance writer, editor, and blogger (and newbie DSLR photographer!). When I’m not grading essays or studying, I’m doing one of those above four things. In addition to keeping up with my website, I edit a weekly interview segment with travel industry professionals for Tim Leffel’s Travel Writing 2.0 (see my PR & Media page), go on a number of sponsored trips each year, work with various media campaigns–locally and internationally–and review hotels and lodging around the world. And I LOVE doing this kind of work–I love thinking about my responsibility as a traveler and my capabilities (as well as limitations) that come with this privileged and amazing work. I hope that comes through in my writing.

Where I’ve Traveled

Since I studied abroad in Spain nearly ten years ago, I have made enough money scrimping by and taking part-time and freelance jobs to travel to 25 different countries. Trust me–as a graduate student and part-time English teacher, I am not independently wealthy. I do not have a rich family footing the bill for my travels. My fiancee and I may have a bunch of furniture from Craigslist and a t.v. from 1996 with no cable, but I’m proud to say I’ve already seen more in my lifetime than I ever thought I ever could.

I’ve spent time living and teaching in both Europe and South America, and I’ve traveled throughout North America, the Caribbean, and Asia as well.

 

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My Traveling Mantra

I am, first and foremost, an independent traveler (although I do participate in small PR trips a few times a year). I believe in traveling slowly, in savoring moments, in trying new languages, in getting lost for no particular reason, in visiting those little-known places, in leaving positive impressions, in finding laughter in unexpected encounters, in living as little like a tourist as I can. I believe in participation, in immersion, in confusion, in giving up what we can to gain the beauty of new experience, and in looking forward to those unexpected meaningful, memorable moments that happen when we simply let go and live. And I am committed to helping other curious people believe that they, too, can make their dreams come true.

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