From Database Analyst to Award-Winning Adventure Writer


Every once in a while I write something that spurs another journalist to contact me for an interview. In this case, it was Marcus Woolf, the founder of Adventure Post to do a Q&A about my career path that led to being named the 2014 Travel Writer of the Year.

I’m always surprised and flattered to sit on the other side of the interview table. Flattered because the people conducting the interview are journalists I’ve admired for years, like Boyd Matson for the radio program National Geographic Weekend about my experience mountain biking in Haiti. Surprised because I am reminded how hard it is to be the interviewee. I always walk away from the interview with a fresh appreciation for my story subjects, who manage to answer my barrage of sometimes deeply personal questions with dignity and grace.

I. in contrast, have not mastered the art of being interviewed, and am prone to using phrases involving animal rectums (as in “I could not pretend another day to care a teeny tiny rat’s ass about database management.”) and other choice statements that demonstrate a complete lack of filter between mind and mouth.

Maybe answering journalist’s questions is an acquired skill and I’ll improve with age and experience. Or not. Maybe as a writer, it’s best to keep your mind as raw and unfiltered as possible. And that means anything goes when you open your mouth.


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