Among the benefits of having a dad who worked at Trans World Airlines: This laminated pass with a blurry headshot that, until I turned 23, allowed me to board any company flight with an empty seat and just go. So I did. Brooklyn to visit Grandma. Paris to eat chocolate croissants and make the pilgrimage to Shakespeare and Company. Chicago to see the Cubs and chase home run balls in the bleachers.
Once I got stuck in Kansas City and slept on the baggage carousel. It was great.
It all happened when airlines stocked flights with newspapers and magazines. I’d devour the publications on the planes – or when my dad would bring them back to our home in suburban Los Angeles. I fell in love with travel, and the power of words to conjure up worlds I’d never experienced.
In college I balanced “Hamlet” with high school football, working my way to an English degree at UCLA as a sportswriter at the Santa Monica Outlook. After moving on to edit and write stories about adventure travel, sports and attire made with wicking fabric for Men’s Fitness magazine, I joined the dotcom boom. I moved to San Francisco in time to experience Aeron chair fire sales and the dotcom bust. I knew something was amiss when I started working with an Internet company whose office didn’t have dedicated access to the Internet.
I was not deterred. I worked on a couple startups that no longer exist and traveled the world, including seven countries in less than three hours at a theme spa in Osaka, Japan. I wrote about my travel experiences for Salon.com and other publications, took part in the first-ever NaNoWriMo, and created the culture and travel website WorldHum.com with Jim Benning. Our blog was among the first travel blogs, more than a dozen of our stories have been featured in the Best American Travel Writing anthologies, and the entire site has earned Webby nominations and honors. The Wall Street Journal said, “Superb writing and stylish layout make visiting the site like cracking open a high-quality travel magazine.”
As we grew World Hum, I worked as an editor at Texas Journey and New Mexico Journey magazines, and then as the Destinations Editor at USAToday.com, where I profiled the Internet as a new wonder of the world and managed writers and content for 29 cities. When the Travel Channel acquired World Hum I joined the company that brought to television No Reservations and men who eat cow’s blood. Jim and I took World Hum to new heights, growing page views sixfold and creating, among other things, the Travel Channel’s Travel Writing in the Digital Age classes and #faketravelquotes.
In 2011 I returned to USA Today to be an editor in the Travel Media Group. I managed content development for USA Today’s new digital travel guides. The project is a key component of the company’s efforts to create customized digital content for multiple platforms and partners, including a digital alliance with Hilton Worldwide.
I live in the Washington, D.C. area with my wife and our two kids. I maintain a quest for quality Mexican food and, sometimes, I even have enough energy to watch the late games broadcast from the West Coast.
If you like comic suspense novels about sports, love and the power of Buffalo wings, I’m writing one just for you.