I am an avid traveler, writer, musician, explorer, teacher and free spirit. I have an M.A. in Intercultural Studies from Dublin City University in Ireland, and a B.A. in Intercultural Communication from the University of New Mexico. I speak Mandarin Chinese and, these days, limited Spanish.
I grew up in the wilds of rural New Mexico kicking down ant piles and riding my pony over the hill to my grandparents’ house. Though excruciatingly shy as a kid, my parents fostered my sense of independence which often led me to take myself (and usually my horse) out for long, adventurous walks through the cactus-laden fields or sometimes down into the dusty unknowns of the arroyo below the house. Those long, lazy desert afternoons were the seeds of my wanderlust.
During college, I was an active staff member of the American Chinese Civic Exchange and helped organise language camps in Nanjing (Jiangsu Province) in 2004 and Yueqing (Zhejiang Province) in 2005. Those trips taught me how to play guitar in front of a bonfire in 40 degree heat on regional television and how to weather a typhoon on the 2nd floor of a flooded guesthouse.
After a brief stint writing ESL textbooks for Korean English-learners and a haphazardly-planned 3 week jaunt to Ireland and Latvia, I took the plunge and moved to China. I lived and worked as a teacher and cross-cultural consultant in Anji, a very small town on the outskirts of Zhejiang Province. During that time, I learned to eat hotpot, longxia and scorpions, sang in front of 4,000 students, made a cat costume from scratch, galloped a horse across the plains of Inner Mongolia, played the slots in Macau, rode a ship through the middle of the East China Sea at night, got lost (and drunk) in Hong Kong (several times) and accrued a rather large collection of fireworks videos.
My extensive background and travel experience over the years led me to begin writing and publishing freelance travel articles, many of them about China. My first full-length work, This Is China: A Guidebook for Teachers, Backpackers and Other Lunatics, and my second guidebook, Insiders’ Guide to El Paso (Globe Pequot Press) are both available on Amazon.com.
Myself and my husband Bill have moved around quite a bit over the past several years, including 6 months in Lishui, Zhejiang Province, China, almost a year in my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico where we tied the knot in an impromptu wedding ceremony, and more than a year in Prague, Czech Republic.
Most recently, we have settled in London where Bill is a journalist with Upstream Online and I am the North Asia destination editor for Lonely Planet, in addition to as much freelance travel writing as I can dip my fingers into. I am also a beer fanatic and write about my adventures taste-testing suds on my project blog, Brew Travel.
To get in touch, or if you are interested in hiring me for a writing project or media work, please see the contact page for ways to touch base.