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.



© 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.

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.”

CharbonneauChateauThinking of trading homes with someone in another country? It’s a good way to save money when you’re traveling, and Bradley Charbonneau over at has done it enough that he’s learned the ropes. The image used here is from Bradley’s post How We Stayed in an $8,400 Villa in the South of France for Free. Find that and more in his Home Exchange series.


Travel WardrobexxxHere’s a glimpse into one of my guilty obsessions: If only I had the perfect travel wardrobe (my thinking goes), trips would be more … well … actually, they’re already pretty terrific. Every time. Nevertheless, I am sure they would somehow be better if I had The Perfect Travel Wardrobe. Here Kimberly Genschmer Vital Brasil (yes, that’s one person, and she has a wonderful sense of style) has done all the requisite research, and provides travel wardrobe ideas for everything from Santa Cruz to a Mediterranean Cruise. Go ahead and click on through. How can you not want to know how to pack for Paris in the winter with just a carry-on?

AudioThanks to Karen Misuraca for this link to an International Journalists Network article by Jessica Weiss about audio recording tools. Weiss gives us a rundown on the pros and cons of Google Voice, Free Conference Call, TapeaCall, RecordMyCall, and other popular apps, services, and devices.

CostcoxxxThis linked article on Moneyning explains that Best Western, Hyatt, Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise all offer discounts or perks for Costco members.


Helen Maguire, Dave Cooney, and Laurie McAndish King (RT) Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Helen Maguire, Dave Cooney, and Laurie McAndish King (RT) Photo Credit: Tom Wilmer

Find out why flying from San Francisco to Dublin, Ireland is easier than ever. I visit with Dave Cooney and Helen Maguire about Aer Lingus’ new daily nonstop service from SFO to DUB, comfy lie-flat seats in business class, vacation packages, and an expedited reentry arrangement with U.S. Customs.

While the daily nonstop service and lie-flat seats are impressive, I personally am not likely to take advantage of the added convenience they offer…

But I’m all over the expedited reentry,

SmartLuggageHere’s a link to Peter Greenberg’s article on the soon-to-come smart luggage: “Last year, Airbus introduced the prototype of Bag2Go, a suitcase enabled with an RFID chip. The technology works with airport and airline baggage systems to track your luggage.”

Greenberg also mentions the Bluesmart “suitcase that you can lock and unlock … using your smartphone. An integrated sensor weighs the bag, and an alert will go off if you wander too far from your bag. Oh, and it has a built-in battery charger.”

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