I am a traveller, 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 a little Chinese and even less 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 encouraged me to be independent, which generally meant taking myself (and my horse) out for adventures through 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.
At university, I was a staff member of the American Chinese Civic Exchange, which organised language summer camps in Nanjing (Jiangsu) in 2004 and Yueqing (Zhejiang ) in 2005. Those trips taught me how to play guitar in front of a bonfire in 40 degree heat on regional Chinese television and how to weather a typhoon on the 2nd floor of a flooded guesthouse.
I had a brief stint writing ESL textbooks for Korean English-learners and eventually moved to China, where I 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 grasslands 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, most importantly, accrued a rather large collection of fireworks videos.
All of this led me to begin writing and publishing travel articles, many of them about China, including my first book, This Is China: A Guidebook for Teachers, Backpackers and Other Lunatics. This and others are available on Amazon.
I moved around quite a bit over the years, including another stint in Lishui (Zhejiang), China, almost a year in my hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico and more than a year in Prague.
Home is now London, where I am the North Asia destination editor at Lonely Planet. I’m also a beer nerd and (occasionally) write about various adventures taste-testing suds on my project blog, Brew Travel.
See the contact page for ways to touch base!