As a result of innumerable damp summers and frigid winters in his native Scotland, Duncan has spent much of his adult life trying to edge as close to the equator as possible. He can often be found drumming his fingers loudly against bus windows in faraway lands with his MP3 player strapped on. He started his career as a news journalist writing for Scottish national newspapers, but branched into features and travel when he realised death knocks weren’t really his bag. He has since edited Time Out’s destination guides in the Middle East and written freelance articles for a variety of publications including The Express, The Sunday Times, and CNN Traveller. He is currently based in Saigon, Vietnam, after arriving on assignment and developing a dangerous addiction to cheap beer and riding a motorbike into his front room.
Diana has lived and worked all over the world, including New York City, Siberia, Vietnam, Argentina, and Kenya. Her work as a freelance writer has taken her on assignment to the dusty streets of Phnom Penh, the manicured gardens of Tokyo, and the cobbled alleyways of Prague. With Hua Hin in Thailand now her home base, Diana is exploring the kingdom few get to see. Diana has two dogs and a cat that have become masters at moving from continent to continent with her (although she suspects her cocker spaniel is still longing for snowy Russia).
Bali and Jakarta, Indonesia
Nikolas is a graphic designer and freelance writer born and bred in Jakarta, Indonesia. The past few years have seen him relocate from the US to Singapore and then back to Jakarta. Now, he spends his time evenly between Jakarta and Bali, working as Creative and Editorial Consultant for a travel publication based in Southeast Asia. Nickolas enjoys exploring whatever new things there are in the vicinity, and does not mind getting lost in his travel –- for him, it’s all part of the fun! Nikolas’s favorite quote is “Why not?”, which he often uses as an answer to people questioning his motives. He enjoys being on the open road, with all the freedom in the world, without plans nor boundaries.
After graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in Philosophy, Lydia bid farewell to the United States to relocate to Asia. Since her first visit to Taipei in 2009, Lydia has developed a love for the Taiwanese people and culture. She enjoys exploring the Shilin night market, taking in the city’s Buddhist temples, and enjoying the food and nightlife of one of Asia’s biggest cities. Today, Lydia lives, writes, and photographs in southern China near Taiwan, where she designs jewelry for her Etsy store, recreates local dishes in the kitchen, and tends her patio container garden.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Having lived in Kuala Lumpur all her life, Sharmila — a freelance writer, lecturer, and blogger — knows KL intimately. She has been devoutly exploring the city’s best food spots for years, and she can easily point you to the best beef noodles in town. Sharmila is thrilled about where KL is at the moment — the dining, nightlife and art scenes are buzzing. Her work makes her privy to all the city’s latest happenings, from festivals and exhibitions to the opening of new restaurants, hotels, and galleries. Sharmila has always traveled to destinations with a reputation for great food: Rome, Cairo, Istanbul, Saigon, and Bangkok are favourites. However, nothing quite beats her home town, where fantastic street food is available ’round the clock. When not writing, eating, or changing diapers, Sharmila is at yoga, dance or behind the wheel on a family road trip.
Marianne was born in Vanuatu and brought up in Papua New Guinea, so travelling has been in her blood from a young age. Her degree in languages has brought her to live in several countries across the globe, but she is now extremely happy to call Singapore home – long may it last! Working as a freelance journalist focussing on food, drink and travel has given Marianne the perfect opportunity to embrace the local obsession with eating out, and when not tied to her laptop or tracking down the best local food joints, you’ll find her on the golf course, in the yoga studio or shopping… mainly for shoes.
Judy Lash Balint
Judy originally came to Israel from London to spend a few months learning Hebrew and working on a kibbutz. Travel wanderlust got the better of her, and she spent the next number of years in Seattle and New York pursuing an odd combination of education and careers, all involving writing and travel of some kind, before returning permanently to Israel 13 years ago. Judy lives and breathes Jerusalem–whether as a travel writer, informal guide or official press card-carrying freelance correspondent for a number of U.S-based radio stations and publications. She has written two books about life in Jerusalem and received awards for her articles about the holy city. Judy claims that everyone she’s ever known in her previous lives in the U.K, Seattle or New York eventually comes through Jerusalem, and she makes it her business to show them the Jerusalem beyond the headlines.
After earning a masters degree in non-Western history, Lauren embarked on an adventure across China that has yet to reach its end. Making a living as an artist and writer, Lauren has made Shanghai her home and enjoys the creative and modern aspects of the city as well as the rugged fringes that remind her of her original journey. With experience teaching, banking and in high-pitch sales, Lauren has finally settled on the lifestyle of traveler who lives on site.
Australia & New Zealand
Brit turned quasi-Australian, Renate is an editor, journalist, and photographer with more than over 15 years of journalism experience.
Often traveling the world when she’s not in her two countries of choice, she has lived in Sydney’s Coogee Beach for the past 10 years, where she relishes the blue skies, big surf and the cheeky, optimistic Aussie outlook on life.
She contributes to many major travel publications, including Vacations & Travel, Qantas The Australian Way, Spa Life, Australian Traveller, SMH Traveller, OUTthere, as well as Sunday Telegraph’s Truelocal Ultimate city travel guides and Urban Walkabout Sydney guides.
Auckland, New Zealand
Despite having lived the beginning of her life in the U.S. and the U.K., Marie has been dwelling in Auckland for the best part of a decade and considers herself to be an Aucklander through and through. At the weekends she can be found doing ‘research’ in various cafes that serve good coffee and cakes or exploring the international eateries and markets that Auckland is becoming well-known for. She also takes it upon herself to check local New Zealand wines for quality. It’s important to know what we are exporting after all. She happily enjoys sunny beach days but sees the rainy days as optimal conditions for tramping (hiking) in the New Zealand wilderness on the edges of the city and beyond. Travel, food and culture are the things she loves to indulge in and write about whether it be abroad or here at home in multicultural Auckland.
Niagara Falls, Ontario
When Melaina travels she loves to document each and every unique aspect of her destination. She loves falling off the beaten path and diving into the wonders of what her destination has to offer. As she has lived in Australia and traveled the USA, Europe, and the Caribbean, she has learned to love and respect foreign cultures, foods, and lifestyles. Now that she’s back in Niagara, Melaina is ready to point travelers to Niagara’s most exquisite destinations. She has written for The Circumference, Netholidays.ca, The Hornblower, and The Ontarion, and looks forward to educating others on all the wonders Niagara has to offer.
Katherine is convinced she inherited the travel bug from her ancestors: a long line of sailors. She started young, traveling with her parents to England, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland, and China before she was out of grade school. In 2000, Katherine chucked it all and ran away to join the circus. She spent the next three years traveling through Western Europe with Cirque du Soleil until she left in 2003 to go to theater school in London. She is now based in Toronto, where she works in theater and television. She still loves to travel – recent destinations include Thailand, Morocco, and Scotland – but she also likes being back in her hometown, where she enjoys the thriving theater scene. She unwinds by taking long walks through Toronto’s vibrant neighborhoods and enjoys sharing her favorite haunts with friends.
Regional Editor, Canada
Freelance travel writer and editor, Shelagh McNally has been a world traveler since her teens. In 1997 she left her job as Communications Officer for a major bank and moved to Mexico where she helped establish the Miami Herald’s satellite office in Cancun. She went on to contribute to 12 editions of Fodor’s travel guides as well as writing a book about Mayan ruins. She is also the author of the Adventure Guide to Guatemala and the Pocket Guide to Guatemala. She now divides her time between Mexico and her adopted home town of Montreal, Quebec. She continues to write about Latin America but also about her favourite locations in Canada for a number of British, American and Canadian online and print publications.
Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia
Natasha has called downtown Vancouver home for the past 3 years, but has lived in three provinces, two states and the UK along the way. Settled in the heart of the city, she has Vancouver’s best within arm’s reach: beaches, boats, lounges, markets, restaurants, the seawall, and of course, the mountains. You can find Natasha trying out new restaurants and old favorites, running along the seawall, going to wine tastings, shopping at Granville Island, going to a yoga or dance class, and riding a tandem bike around Stanley Park on a nice summer day. Only in Vancouver, you can have a beach picnic on a hot summer day and then drive up to the mountain and hour away and ski on the a glacier.
Hailing from Los Angeles, Sophia has a passion for travel, blogging, and photography that has inspired her to seek out stimulating stories, snapshots, and experiences in over 15 countries. She canoed down the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, traced her roots in Sicily, and completed her English degree at Loyola Marymount University in Rome. In 2007, Sophia traded la vida loca (“the crazy life”) of the city for la pura vida (“the pure life”) of Puerto Viejo de Limón, a seaside village on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast where she runs Lizard King Vintage, a recycled clothing shop.
Melissa Alvarado Sierra
Melissa is a native Puerto Rican who enjoys sharing her island experiences and discoveries with readers everywhere. She studied Journalism and Art in San Francisco and London and has worked throughout the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. A contributing writer and photographer for Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation, she writes regularly for USA Today, AND Magazine, and Houzz.com. Her work has also appeared in California Home + Design Magazine, on LovetoKnow.com, and on Fashion TV.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Karen worked for several years as a newspaper reporter in Los Angeles and Boston and as an editor for travel expert Peter Greenberg (currently with CBS News; previously NBC and ABC) before becoming a freelance travel writer. Over the last two decades she has managed to visit 129 cities in 30 countries. She lived in London for several years, and spent long stints in the south of France, New Zealand, South Africa, and eastern Europe. Highlights of her travels include hiking on a glacier in France, swimming with manta rays in Mexico, getting lost on the Metro in Moscow, and roaming the desert in Israel. Karen now lives full-time in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where she enjoys honing her photography skills, scuba diving, riding horses, and sampling the superb roadside Caribbean food.
Mexico City, Mexico
George Nunes first visited the Yucatán Peninsula in 1997. His passion for Mayan archeology has taken him to over 50 sites in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, including the most famous: Chichén Itzá, Calakmul, Palenque, Tikal, Caracol, and Copán. In the process of discovering ancient Mexico, he fell in love with modern Mexico and now happily makes his home in Mérida’s Historic Center. George is a persuasive and persistent traveler when a tour guide says ‘no, we can’t go there.” He recently talked his way into visiting Uxmal’s remote Temple of the Phallus, which isn’t on most site maps – maybe because of its provocative name, George guesses. Having lived and worked as a tour guide in Washington, D.C. George has written about Yucatán, Campeche, Mexico City, and Acapulco.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Chris’s love of travel was kindled during long childhood train trips from Louisville to Miami on the now-defunct Amtrak Floridian Line, and fully ignited during a stint in the Navy, when he was able to spend time exploring the cities of Italy and Israel. His fondest memories of the latter country are of being dive trained by commandos in the Red Sea and watching the sun come up from the old Terminal Bar in Tel Aviv. Chris was educated at Indiana University and San Francisco State University, receiving a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Humanities. He has been spending an increasing amount of time in Cabo San Lucas over the past five years, and now makes his home there full time. He is a writer for Baja’s only English language newspaper, The Gringo Gazette, and spends his leisure time sailing, golfing, snorkeling, hiking, and writing at his office in the Cabo Lounge.
Maya Riviera, Mexico
Lena was born in Honduras, on the island of Roatán. In the company of her family — originally from Cuba — Lena began visiting the Yucatán Peninsula as a child. It was from this family of sailors and travelers that Lena was born into wanderlust. By the time she was a teen, she had traveled most of the Americas, from Newfoundland to Buenos Aires. In her twenties she ventured through Europe and Asia. Regardless of the decade, she was always on the lookout for the place she most wanted to settle. After studying psychology in Florida and cinema in California, she began a serious search for home. When she returned to the Yucatán Peninsula, she knew she had found it. Lena spends her time exploring Mayan towns, making documentaries, and scouring the peninsula for secret cenotes.
Susan fell in love with Cancun the second she saw the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, during her first visit the beautiful beach town. At the time, she was working as a travel agent, specializing in Mexico vacations. After working in the travel industry for over 13 years, Susan decided to return to school to study photography, her life-long love. When she graduated from art school, she packed up everything she could carry and moved to Mexico. There, she combined her love of travel and photography by working as a freelance photographer and also for a part-time for a small travel company. Susan has been living & working in Cancun for 7 years and gazes at the Caribbean Sea as often as possible. Aside from gazing at the sea, she spends her free time playing with her six rambunctious dogs, reading, going to the movies, or dining out with friends.
Ciara spent much of her childhood and teens dreaming of escaping the emerald isle, but after a year of country hopping around the world, she returned to her hometown in Dublin in 2008 full of renewed appreciation for the city. Ciara has a BA in English literature and history from Trinity College Dublin, and an MA in journalism, which (she hopes) gives her the ability to write colourfully but succinctly about the best that Dublin has to offer – from quaint cafés and Michelin star restaurants, to intriguing museums documenting the city’s turbulent history or the best place to enjoy the perfect pint. She writes regularly for the national press, and has contributed to guidebooks about Ireland, Slovenia, Hungary, Vietnam and Indonesia for Rough Guides and the Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness series since 2007.
Originally from Minnesota, Mike moved to Munich for a girl. What he hadn’t expected was that over the next several years he would also fall in love with the city. Since arriving in Germany, he has worked as a professional tour guide and general information guru for tourists and locals alike. When not leading groups around some of Bavaria’s most famous cultural and historical sights and cities, he can usually be found on the road, exploring new far-flung places.
Sarah has had the privilege of visiting places as diverse as India, Mexico, and the Czech Republic. However, as a freelance writer, translator, and self-described Hispanophile based in the Spanish capital for six years and counting, she writes mostly about – and reserves most of her praises for – her adopted city of Madrid. Originally from northern California, Sarah has a B.A. in Spanish and History from San Francisco State University. She enjoys museums, Bollywood films, girly cocktails, riding the subway, and summer nights in Madrid.
Salzburg and Innsbruck, Austria
The daughter of an airline pilot, Lorraine has been traveling since she was two months old. Decades later, she and her Irish-born husband are exploring Central and Eastern Europe by plane and by car. When Lorraine is not in the air or on the road, she enjoys theater and opera in Salzburg. She also enjoys hiking and biking in the Alps and has a passion for history, art, and music. Before moving from Southern California to Europe, Lorraine was an advertising copywriter and published work in Design Management Journal and Design World. For the past year she has been writing A Spy in Another Country, her blog about life abroad, while revising a novel.
Renata Rubnikowicz has known and visited Paris almost all her life. She had some opportunities to write about the city during her earlier career as a Fleet Street staff journalist, when papers she worked on included the Times, the Sunday Times, the Observer, the Guardian and the Sunday Telegraph, and took every opportunity to alert her readers to its delights during her five years as travel editor of the Times Educational Supplement. Her first sight of the Eiffel Tower was as a three-year-old, when she was equally interested in the wonderful carousels that enliven almost every square and park in Paris. There followed many visits long and short to friends and family, a mercifully brief phase of chanelling Gigi and a short stint at the Sorbonne before she finally achieved her dream of her own place in the city. She uses her base in the 10th arrondissement to explore and write about the attractions, events and surprises of the world’s most visited city. A favourite day would include a visit to the latest blockbuster art exhibition, taking snaps of street art and mooching round some of the excellent vintage stores in Paris, before unwinding in a neighbourhood bistro or café.
Christina Paschyn and Alex Demianczuk
Cleveland-born Christina and Scotsman Alex are the quintessential international couple. They met and fell in love during the latter’s whirlwind tour of America in the summer of 2005. Since then they have traveled all over the world together, and between them have covered most of Western and Eastern Europe, Oceania, the Middle East and parts of Latin America. Reporting on Alex’s hometown of Edinburgh, they are excited to share their insider knowledge on this historic and captivating city while simultaneously planning their castle wedding in – where else but – Scotland this fall. Their various interests include extreme sports, football (soccer), ghost tours and Edinburgh’s theatre and performing arts scene.
Regional Editor, Western Europe
A full-time professional freelance travel writer, photographer and editor since 1989, our Regional Editor for Western Europe, Paul Murphy, undertook his first Grand Tour of the Continent aged 11, accompanied by his school buddies and Miss. He’s traveled all over the world since then, though these days mainly keeps within Europe. Paul has written over 40 guidebooks, as the principal or sole author, to many of the most popular cities, countries and regions in Europe (and beyond), for most of the world’s major travel publishers. He’s also contributed to, and edited just as many titles again. In those far-off days when print still ruled, he was also a regular magazine and newspaper contributor, but over the last decade he has learned to love the web, contributing to and editing content for MSN Travel, Columbus World Travel Guide and Expedia among other major websites. He is also still a regular contributor and editor for Michelin guidebooks. Paul has lived just outside London for nearly 30 years, and in 2010 created his first App, Best of London for Sutro Media.
Scott has lived in Amsterdam for the last eight years, where he works for the Netherland’s market leader in magazine publishing. As the editor on a number of publications (including the house magazine for global brewer Heineken), a contributor to KLM’s in-flight magazine Holland Herald, and a regular mystery diner, he’s always the first to try out the latest restaurants, nightlife, and concerts around the city. Outside of work he’s half way to completing Amsterdam’s most eco-friendly bed and breakfast. Of course, living the green life in the Netherlands wouldn’t be complete without being a keen cyclist, and Scott clocks up around 200 kilometres during an average week. In true Dutch style, when he’s not out biking, he’s out on his boat with a group of friends and a glass of wine. In his opinion, being afloat is by far the best way to discover Amsterdam’s hidden corners.
15 years spent ensconced in Portugal’s thriving capital has not diminished Paul’s passion for his adopted city. As a professional journalist, Paul is ideally placed to impart the very latest the city has to offer – from new hotels and restaurants to nightclubs and museums – and has a nose for a good story. Sustainable tourism is of particular interest and he loves the subjective nature of travelogue writing, allowing the beguiling personality of Lisbon’s citizens — many of whom are personal friends — to dictate the narrative. Complementing his notebook and pen is a beat up camera. His work has appeared in Dorling Kindersley’s acclaimed Eyewitness travel guidebook series, on many specialist websites and in several Lonely Planet publications. When he’s not working he can be found hiking, mountain biking, or kayaking in any part of the country, or simply chatting over a coffee somewhere with the locals.
Having lived in the US, Japan and England as a child because of my dad’s career, travelling is in my veins. It was when I decided to study in Budapest - the city where I was born and left behind at an early age – that I fell in love and thought becoming a tour guide would be a great way to share what I enjoy about the city. When I’m not studying to become an interpreter or guiding tours around the city may that be on foot, by bus or by boat, I go for a run or for a spin amongst the Buda hills. Plus the countless exhibitions, festivals and concerts never fail to keep me occupied. Being unable to stay in one place for longer than a few months, I pack my bags the first opportunity I get and leave for the ski slopes of France, the sea sides of Greece or one of the stunning cities of Europe.
After touring most of Europe in her twenties, Jane was charmed by Copenhagen’s relaxed tempo and moved there from her native northern England in 1999. Three young children at home has meant there’s no shortage of taste testers for her traditional Danish cuisine – or excuses for missing out on the country’s vast array of family-friendly activities. Armed with diapers, stroller and snowsuits, Jane continues to find art and culture wherever she goes.
Since childhood, Erica Firpo has been wandering in and out of the streets of Rome just to make sure she is right about the perfect gelato, best gnocchi and suppli al telefono. She’s been living in and writing about Rome (and Italy) for nearly a decade, and has always had wanderlust. She’s hunted truffles in Alba, climbed aqueducts in Tunisia, scaled the temples of Angkor Wat, raced motorcycles in Hanoi, and played craps in Las Vegas but her favorite thing to do is a lazy bike ride around Rome.
Sam has worked and lived all over the world, including places such as Fiji, Argentina, Ireland, Ghana, Canada and now Barcelona, Spain. Before moving to Barcelona, Sam worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa, as well as a radio producer for an internationally syndicated lifestyle radio show. Sam’s passion for both the beach and the mountains makes Barcelona the optimal living destination. She has been living there for almost two years and continues to discover new and eclectic places daily.
Erin is an ex-pat living in West London with her husband and two cheeky children, ages 5 and 8. Her degree in Hospitality Administration allowed her ten years with a major air carrier. Airline benefits aided her goal of visiting 40 countries by the age of 40… She’s nearly there! City passions: running along the Thames River and exploring outdoor London.
Katie fell in love with Florence after spending years studying language and culture, so much that she now calls it home. Katie has been writing about all her exciting adventures since her first visit to the enchanted city in 2002. Whether its checking out the hottest wine bar, sipping espresso at the local bar or riding her bike through the streets of Florence, Katie is always exploring the ancient cobblestones of Florence one step at a time.
Mendoza, Iguazú Falls, Salta, and Cordoba, Argentina
Andrew has lived in Argentina on and off for the past thirteen years. Since 1998, he has written, co-written, or updated the Rough Guides to Argentina, Buenos Aires, Chile, South America, Greece, the Greek islands, and France. He has also authored or co-authored books about Portugal, Barcelona, Gran Canaria, and Paris, and has produced two new guidebooks to Argentina (KeyGuide) and Buenos Aires (AA Citypack). Andrew has always had a soft spot for the traditions and beauty of Salta and the North, but loves Mendoza for its wine and scenery, Córdoba for its student-driven power and fascinating Jesuit history, and Iguazú for its tropical splendor, soothing lushness and the majesty of the great falls.
Adrian has travelled the world in search of curious animals and plants, writing and broadcasting about them as both a scientist and journalist. But South America has always held a special attraction for him. Adrian has visited most of the continent and for the last six years has worked in the Amazon basin. Spend enough time in the field eating nothing but rice, beans, and coffee and you’ll soon appreciate why Adrian has a passion for finding the best bars, music, and dining spots in any town he turns up in. Fascinated by the wonderful combination of exuberance and subtlety that is Brazilian culture, Adrian is married to a Brazilian, based in Manaus in the heart of the Amazon, and still marvels that he has mangos and avocados ripening within arm’s reach and hummingbirds visiting his house plants.
Isabel is a freelance Journalist, Writer, and Photographer specializing in art and culture. Born and raised in Lima, Peru, where she currently lives, she has served as News Editor at LivinginPeru.com and Peru Co-Editor for WCities.com. She loves traveling as much as she loves Peru, spending much of her time exploring the cultures, traditions, people, and landscapes of foreign countries. In addition to her freelance and Local Expert work, Isabel is currently Contributing Photographer in Peru for Getty Images Latin America. You can find some of her photos on her photo blog, Bubblepics. Her writing also appears on her personal blog, Las Burbujas Recargadas (warning: in Spanish!). Besides her passion for writing, Isabel is a choir singer and a music lover; lately, thanks to Internet radio, she’s become enamored with world music and jazz.
Colombia, South America
Dividing his time between his desk in Bogota and his guesthouse in Mompos, northern Colombia, London-born Richard McColl has spent roughly a decade as a jack of all trades in South America. After stints at Newsweek, the Independent, and the Daily Telegraph, Richard worked for the WWF before abandoning life in the UK to become an expedition leader and social projects coordinator in South America. His articles have appeared in a variety of media in the UK and US, and he is the author of the Michelin Green Guide to Colombia. More often than not he can been found trying to convince his better half why he should be visiting out-of-the-way destinations in his new homeland of Colombia.
Regional Editor, South America
After working as a news and sports reporter for United Kingdom newspapers such as the Guardian, the Evening Standard and the Independent, Shafik was bitten by wanderlust and set off for India and South America, writing for U.K. and U.S. publications along the way. Since then, he has worked as a freelance travel writer, journalist and editor, and at the last count had visited 38 countries.
A coauthor of the Rough Guide to India, he has also worked as a contributing author on Rough Guides to Paris, Chile, Nepal, Egypt, the Baltic States and Central America. His travel articles have appeared in three anthologies: Earthbound: A Rough Guide to the World in Pictures; Make the Most of Your Time on Earth (edition 2) and Make the Most of Your Time in Britain. Shafik is currently based in Buenos Aires, where he is writing an iPhone/iPad/iPod travel app on the city.
How does a person from the Big Apple end up in Santiago, Chile? That’s a story with a lot of miles and happenstance behind it, but here’s one thing I can tell you in fifteen words or less. I could live anywhere. And I choose Chile because I love it.
Santiago is sandwiched between the skiiable and bikeable Andes and the tremendously storied wine country to the west, which gives way to an open plan before spilling into the Pacific ocean just an hour and a half away. The city itself is a uniquely Latin American mix of horse-drawn carts and glassed-in skyrises with quirky food and drink choices and an irresistable Spanish slang. It’s also a jumping off point for the stunning lakes district and deep Patagonia (glaciers and penguins, oh my!), and the perfect-sky observatories and driest desert in the world to the north.
I’ve been living here for six years, wouldn’t trade it for anywhere, and can answer most questions or point you to someone who can on food, drink, events, entertainment, clubs, shopping, travel and anything else you might think about asking, particularly hiking, biking, long walks and getting around on the cheap.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Lucy is a freelance travel writer and editor who has been based in South America since February 2006. While her travels have taken her across the continent, she always returns to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she lives high on a hillside in Santa Teresa. Lucy loves the beaches and the beauty of Rio, but above all she loves its people, the cariocas.
United States of America
After starting college at Loyola University, Emma soon developed an affection for, and appreciation, of all that Chicago offers. She uses her photography and writing to create a narrative of the architectural and natural beauty of the city. After graduation Emma has adopted this sports-crazed, canine-friendly city. The intimacy of its neighborhoods and sophistication in dining, nightlife, art and commerce are a remarkable contradiction and the reason she calls Chicago her home. Emma admits she simply can’t escape the lure of exploration. Her notably favorite experience: walking the streets of Madrid after Spain’s 2010 World Cup Victory.
Neysa Jensen grew up as the child of a National Park Service ranger, so her love of the outdoors comes naturally. She has lived in Idaho for 21 years, enjoying the mountains, rivers, and vast emptiness of the wilderness. Neysa works as a freelance writer and editor, as well as writing fiction. Her three children and three dogs keep her active and busy. She loves living in the vibrant city of Boise, where the level of fine dining, the arts, and the outdoors creates a mix that is hard to find elsewhere. And whenever she can, she escapes to the mountains.
Born in Southern California and raised in the Midwest, Tara has always been drawn to the energy of the west coast, having spent every summer there since she can remember. By the time college rolled around, the pull was too great. She left a full tuition scholarship at the University of Michigan in order to pursue her passion for art and landed in San Francisco, graduating with her BFA from the Academy of Art University in 2007. Looking for a bit more space and a place to raise a family, Tara moved north to Seattle and has not been disappointed. With a dynamic and supportive arts community, endless outdoor adventures and new shops and restaurants popping up overnight, Tara is often busy visiting galleries, painting for her own shows, sailing with friends on the sound, and hiking with her husband, son and dog.
Jessica is a Boston native who was introduced to Boston culture at a young age. When her parents divorced, her father sought a common interest to keep him connected to his not so athletic daughter. Together, they explored Boston food, entertainment, sports, and (when she turned 21) nightlife. This father/daughter bonding experience led to her being the go to source for all Boston plans. Still local, with careers in advertising and education behind her, Jessica is currently focused on being a mother to her young son, Marcus. The constant planning for a day with a child has opened up her eyes to a Boston she had forgotten. This new way of exploring the city has her planning not only explorations for adults but now for friends with young families too.
Los Angeles, California
Everything about Los Angeles makes Sujata Day’s heart flutter. And living in the land of perpetual sun, beautiful beaches, and gorgeous people has fueled her creativity in myriad ways. Sujata’s writing career began when her short story “Forbidden Fate” won a competition sponsored by MTV and PEOPLE magazine and was published in the short story collection PIECES. Sujata has appeared in many TV shows, films, and internet productions including Desperate Housewives, Secret Life of the American Teenager, Campus Ladies, Greek, The Loop, and Down for Life, alongside Danny Glover and Snoop Dogg. Sujata produced, wrote, and starred in the web pilot Raveena and the Vampire and currently stars as ‘CeCe’ in the hit web series, Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Next up for Sujata is a starring role in the dance mockumentary, Big Breakin’. Sujata has been known to hang out with famous ex-Saturday night live cast members in a swanky Malibu beach house, teach dance to high-profile Hollywood socialites, and jet set to Vegas with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Growing up as the son of a flight attendant, Marshall has traveled the globe extensively. However, there is one place he will always call home and that is Austin, Texas. With 14 years of “Keeping Austin Weird” under his belt, he has gradually become an expert in all things Austin. Currently working as an editor for a large textbook publishing company, he works to educate young minds. He enjoys taking in the city’s live music scene, tasting tours of the over 1600 food trucks, and keeping the 500+ bars in business. Marshall will do his best to keep Austin and its visitors informed… one breakfast taco at a time.
As a broke college student in Germany, Emily quickly learned the value of riding commuter trains around the country and enjoyed a diet of cheese sandwiches and fresh fruit from local markets. After graduating, a stipend from the German government brought her to Heidelberg, where she spent an additional year studying. She ended up falling in love with the city’s charm and character, and settling in. The festivals and celebrations that seem to take place throughout the year — the castle lighting, the Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival, and of course, the Christmas markets — ensure Heidelberg never feels stagnant. The winter brings Emily to her city’s quirky cafes and intriguing museums. The summer brings her to neighboring towns, rich in history and famous for their wines. Graduate school has brought Emily back stateside to Indianapolis, where she continues to write for NileGuide.
Family reunions in Georgia sparked Claudine’s interest in travel as a teenager. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, she worked as a reporter for several daily newspapers before becoming a freelance travel writer. She later earned a master’s degree in Information Design and Communications. She has written for the New York Times, the St. Petersburg Times, the Miami Herald, and Landmark Communications newspapers, among others. Claudine moved to metro Atlanta after falling in love with the city during the 1996 Olympics. She has written about Atlanta’s attractions for About.com and as the Atlanta Traveler for b5 media. Although her travels have taken her to Africa, South Korea, and Germany, among others, Claudine still enjoys Atlanta’s great food, shopping, spas, and Southern hospitality.
When Sarah’s not zigzagging around the planet—scaling the steps of Chichén-Itzá, carving up Costa Rican waves or zip-lining through rainforests—she’s writing about her adventures, the environment, fitness, health, extraordinary people, and social injustice issues. She’s written for USA Today, ISLANDS, Caribbean Travel & Life, Cayman Airways Skies, Orlando Sentinel, and abcnews.com, among others. Throughout her journalism career she’s had the privilege of interviewing the legendary Arnold Palmer, Olympic gold medalist Phil Dalhausser, Oprah Winfrey’s trainer Bob Greene, and Iron Chef star Cat Cora.
San Francisco, California
Mary left the frigid northeast almost 10 years ago and never looked back. After extended detours in Central America and Denver, it was love at first sight as the San Francisco skyline first came into view. Mary has lived and worked in San Francisco and the East Bay for 7 years. She jumped the fence to skip the line at the deYoung Museum opening, has sunbathed at every city beach, danced at almost every nightclub, but she still can’t say “hella” (though stays true to her roots with “wicked”). Mary loves random hot beach days in the winter, the abundance of insanely good food, the live music scene, the ass-kicking hills, the diverse neighborhoods, and not having a car payment. She has contributed highlights and photos to Lonely Planet’s San Francisco city guides, and now works in the NileGuide headquarters. A recent stint living in Uganda reaffirmed that there really is no place like home.
Big Island, Kauai, and Honolulu, Hawaii
A reporter and travel writer living on the North Shore on Oahu, Jade was raised on the Big Island from the age of seven, having moved there from New York City. She grew up exploring all of the unique activities the island has to offer, her favorite being snowboarding on a volcano and surfing in warm water on the same day. Suffering frequently from “island fever,” Jade has remedied it with both inter-island and world travel from the age of 17, leading to stamps in her passport from Fiji, Japan, Egypt, the Netherlands, Italy, Guam, six from Indonesia, the Bahamas, and Mexico. An Anthropology major, Jade’s favorite thing to do is experience culture from a local perspective: fifty-cent meals in small Balinese lunch shops, learning to slurp saimin like a local in Japan, drinking Kava with islanders in Fiji, and picking up cooking tips at roadside taco stands in Mexico. Jade is also a surfer always in search of good dark beer and great food.
Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah
Christine Balaz was not quite 19 years old when she first lived abroad in London, and then in Berlin to study German. Since graduating from Dartmouth college in 2004, she has either been living in Salt Lake City or on the road as a traveler and rock climber in the US and roughly 20 other countries. Christine has completed three original travel guidebooks on Utah and the Wasatch Region (as well as one second-edition guidebook), two travel apps for the iPhone and iPad, and miscellaneous magazine articles. She loves the Salt Lake region for its culinary, musical, cultural, and natural wealth. Above all, she is an avid rock climber, has climbed in more than two dozen countries, and loves nothing more than waking up in a tent.
Melanie lives, works, shops, and socializes in Washington’s noteworthy neighborhoods, such as Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, and Georgetown, and pays frequent visits to most of the city’s best attractions, including the Smithsonian museums and the National Gallery. Melanie’s travel and food writing has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including The Washington Post, Saveur, AOL, Michelin’s Green Guides, The Travel Channel, and About.com. Although she has lived in Germany, Italy, India, and Turkey, Melanie still calls DC home, where she can watch the presidential motorcade pass, play with her sons in Georgetown’s Rose Park, shop for produce and handmade crafts at Eastern Market, and seek out authentic eats in the area’s numerous ethnic restaurants.
Patricia is a freelance writer who has called the Grand Canyon state home since 1993. From the lush Saguaro forests of the Sonoran Desert to the iconic red spires of Monument Valley, Patricia is constantly amazed by the natural beauty of Arizona. She’s always on the lookout for the next great hiking trail, secret ghost town, high desert getaway, or big city eatery. She enjoys hitting offbeat roadside attractions and driving very far in short periods of time (a hobby perfectly suited to Arizona’s many well-maintained and totally toll-free state routes). Hiking into enormous canyons, visiting Native American archeological sites, vintage shopping in small desert towns, drinking in Old West saloons, taking in desert-inspired design and architecture, and eating great Mexican food, preferably vegetarian, are some of her other passions.
Maine and New Hampshire
A native New Yorker, Mark Pechenik has been hiking and exploring the trails and byways of New Hampshire and Maine for nearly ten years. He was first introduced to the region’s breathtaking vistas when he joined Indian Guides with his then five-year old son. He quickly progressed from nature trails to 4,000-foot peaks and along the way has followed his passion for adventure travel – with a full complement of high-tech recreational gear, of course. After a successful career as a Communications Specialist with Wheaton College and Bentley University, Mark branched out into writing for the University of New Hampshire’s College of Engineering and Physical Sciences as well as the Boston Globe’s “Bostonworks” section.
Aaron, a freelance writer living in Panama City, Florida (Spring Break mecca for the MTV generation and off-season escape for “in-the-know” tourists) has family roots in northwestern Florida that stretch back to the 1970s. A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in Broadcasting, Aaron is a contributor to BleacherReport.com, whose passion for sports writing is equaled only by his love of travel. He has explored the Panhandle’s great and small destinations, from the bone-white beaches of his current home to the historic fisherman’s town of Apalachicola to the barrier islands along Florida’s “Forgotten Coast.”
Born in Switzerland, Linda grew up in Texas and lived in St. Louis, Missouri, New Orleans, Geneva and, as a Peace Corps volunteer, Togo, West Africa before moving to Louisville to live with her partner of five years. She arrived with little knowledge of the city besides the Kentucky Derby and bourbon, but found the locals’ enthusiasm infectious and is now telling native Louisvillians about the wonders of their city. You’ll find her biking around town, walking in Cherokee Park with a camera or staring at the wall of bourbon at the liquor store. Linda has grand travel dreams (biking across America, hiking the Camino de Santiago) but would first like to accomplish more Louisville goals, like attending the Kentucky Derby. Of the numerous ways of pronouncing the name of the city, Linda prefers the “Looavull” option.
California Central Coast, North
Michelle is equal parts mountain girl, beach bum, and free spirit, making Santa Cruz the perfect fit. With so much going on in this growing seaside town, there’s really too much for her to fit on her plate, though that doesn’t keep her from trying. She’s traveled extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Japan, seeking out the “local flavor” of the destinations she finds herself in. Though it’s a toss-up, she thinks her fondest traveling memory is still the cross-country train trip she took with her dad. Food is high on her priority list, and Michelle is always on the look out for the best fish taco and juiciest fruits (especially kiwis). A graduate of UC Santa Cruz, Michelle worked as a writer and editor for the university’s newspaper before covering arts, culture, and local news for the Monterey County Weekly. She’s got that reporter’s eye for what’s hot and what’s not, but has a few favorite spots that’ll always endure.
Keith moved to Maui when he was 12 years old and was six shades tanner within a week. Over the years he has enjoyed surfing the local breaks, playing countless golf courses, snorkeling the shallow reefs, hiking tropical trails, cruising to neighboring islands, and eating the best food on the planet. He has volunteered at numerous tourist attractions on the island and has test-driven the rest. His hobbies include embarrassing people on the soccer field, playing the guitar, and exploring new destinations. Maui no ka oi!
California Central Coast, South
Katrin originally came to Santa Barbara in 1999 to attend UCSB, where she studied Communication and Anthropology. After studying abroad in Bergen, Norway, backpacking through Europe, and trying her hand at photography and freelance writing, she eventually found herself back on Central Coast shores, where she currently works as an editor at Santa Barbara Magazine. A combination of writing and wanderlust have taken her on adventures to Kenya, Zanzibar, Tanzania, Dubai, Fiji, and more, but she never strays far from home for long. When she’s not exploring backcountry in Los Padres National Forest, trekking out to the Channel Islands, wine tasting at local watering holes, or attempting to ride Pacific waves, you’ll find her writing about how lucky she is to live in her favorite city.
Tawanna Browne Smith
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Tawanna has always been drawn to big cities. Graduate school first drew her to the Baltimore area several years ago while her love for travel and adventure kept her on the move. After living in Los Angeles for a few years and traveling abroad in between, Tawanna moved back to the area to finish her studies, enjoy more of Baltimore, and stay put (for the moment). She writes for an online publication and chronicles her family travel adventures in her blog while providing travel advice to families with young children in her eBook series The Mom’s Guide to Travel with Young Kids. She loves acting, fitness, wineries and vineyards, cruises, yachts, snowboarding, and Maryland crab cakes.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Writer, editor and photographer Steve Larese was travel and photo editor at New Mexico Magazine for 10 years before launching full-time into the world of free-lance. In addition to NileGuide.com, Larese’s work has also appeared in Interval World, New Mexico Journey, GuestLife New Mexico, National Geographic Traveler, and many other publications. His books include The Best Recipes from New Mexico’s B&Bs, Durango Perspectives, Santa Fe Reflections, The Santa Fe House: Historic Residences, Enchanting Adobes, and Romantic Revivals (with Margaret Moore Booker), published by Rizzoli Press. Larese’s work takes him all over the world, but Santa Fe remains his favorite place to explore.
Lake Tahoe, California
Christina has lived in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area for over 35 years. She loves to participate in all the opportunities that this high mountain desert has to offer including skiing, hiking, biking, sailing, kayaking, eating at buffets, camping, and snorkeling in Lake Tahoe. Better known to locals as Big Blue, or simply, the Lake. Both Christina’s parents came to Reno/Lake Tahoe from Denmark, and gave her an intense love of travel. She has been to 19 countries on four continents and 14 U.S. states, and plans to see the rest of the world with her husband of eight years. When not traveling, Christina is a graphic and web designer, a writer and blogger.
Yosemite National Park, California
Pete learned to camp, hike, and identify birds in his native New England, but has been doing these things in Yosemite National Park for 20 years. He’s worked as a ranger, archeologist, river guide and teacher in various prettier parts of the West and the world. He conducts studies of the park’s glaciers every year, has biked with Lance Armstrong, performed a dozen outdoor weddings for Yosemite friends, and just started leading trips to Yosemite’s two sister national parks in China. A committed Yosemite naturalist, Pete’s favorite days are outdoors with friends, exploring the Sierra by ski, bike or hiking trail.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Terrisa was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. She loves the variety of experiences Las Vegas offers its residents and visitors, from the neon playground of the strip to the rugged beauty of the Mojave Desert. Terrisa enjoys traveling around Las Vegas and throughout the Southwest. She’s at home in a casino or on a back road, and she’s never met a ghost town she didn’t like.
Zion National Park, Utah, USA
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA
Raised in the bustle of Southern California, Julie somehow became a wilderness guide in southern Utah. Since 1999, she has taken clients ages six to seventy-six hiking, backpacking, and horse packing in Utah’s gorgeous red canyon deserts and high alpine meadows. Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and the adventure town of Moab, Utah, are all stomping grounds she favors. A word crafter since the second grade, Julie also explores hidden Native American ruins with her faithful canine companion, learns ancient skills such as the bow drill fire, and is a dedicated yogini.
Boulder, Colorado, USA
After graduating from CU Boulder with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Psychology, Jess traveled and volunteered abroad, but couldn’t stay away from Boulder for long. Since then, she has been a community organizer and is always aware of new activities to experience within the Boulder Bubble. She enjoys homebrewing, loves visiting microbreweries in and around Boulder, and visits breweries wherever she goes.
Originally from the Olympic Peninsula in WA on the west coast, Adriana left the rain and trees five years ago for the big city and the gem of the Midwest, Chicago. As a professional modern dancer and dance teacher, she can often be found attending the array of theater, music, and dance performances Chicago has to offer. She also thoroughly enjoys running along the shore of Lake Michigan or exploring the unique and expansive neighborhoods of Chicago, each with their own personalized culture and scene. With always something new to try, she often feels like an excited traveler in her own home.