Before I could even read, I couldn’t wait to go to my grandparents’ house so I could pour through their latest National Geographic. Today, my career as a full-time travel writer has spanned more than three decades and has taken me to more than 40 countries. My articles have appeared in more than 55 publications and websites, including National Geographic Traveler, USA Today, Skyward (JAL’s domestic flight magazine), Global Traveler, AAA Traveler, Destination Hyatt, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. I’ve written eight guidebooks, including Frommer’s Japan, Frommer’s Hong Kong and Frommer’s Berlin.
My first trip abroad was at 16, when I was one of a dozen U.S. Girl Scouts chosen to attend camps in Sweden for one month, where, to my delight, I learned scouting was co-ed. My university years, earning degrees in German and journalism, included two years living in Germany.
In the ensuing years I worked for a small-town Kansas newspaper; lived in Germany another two years, hitchhiking and selling free-lance travel articles to newspapers across the United States; and served as editor of a travel magazine in Tokyo. Since 2009 I have been a VISIT JAPAN AMBASSADOR, an honorary title awarded by the Japanese government for my 30-some years promoting travel in Japan.
When not on the road, I reside in Lawrence, Kansas, in an 1890 Victorian home. My two sons, which I raised mostly as a single mom, are now in college, but still at home are five chickens and my long-haired dachshund Greta. I love camping, keeping up on languages (German, Japanese, French and Spanish), reading, tending my vegetable and flower gardens, and cooking meals for family and friends.