2022 Faculty (Travel Writers & Photographers Conference)

Travel Writers & Photographers Conference — 2022 Faculty

Sivani Babu

Co-founder and co-CEO of Hidden Compass, a women-founded media company ending the era of clickbait and transforming the way audiences participate in journalism. Babu is also an award-winning journalist and nature photographer who works at the intersection of history, science, and exploration. She has contributed to numerous national and international publications, including AFARNarrative, and BBC Travel, and exhibited her work in more than a hundred museums and universities worldwide. Her stories have been recognized multiple times in The Best American Travel Writing series as have stories she’s edited. Babu has sailed the most brutal sea on Earth to explore Antarctica, searched for polar bears in the Arctic, and celestially navigated the Bermuda Triangle while concussed. She is also a former federal public defender.

Sabine K. Bergmann

Co-founder and co-CEO of Hidden Compass (www.hiddencompass.net), a women-founded media company ending the era of clickbait. As an award-winning travel, science, and nature journalist, Sabine has contributed to publications with tens of millions of readers and been featured in The Best Travel Writing book series. She’s edited travel articles for companies valued at more than $500 million, interviewed earthquake survivors and astrophysicists, and been a delegate at the United Nations.

Celeste Brash
Travel writer for Lonely Planet since 2005 and has contributed to over 50 books and countless articles. Her travels have brought her to around 45 countries and have helped her learn to communicate in French, Spanish, Thai, Malay and Tahitian. Along the way she's written for numerous other outlets such as Islands Magazine and National Geographic's Intelligent Travel. She's also had her photography published in magazines including Travel & Leisure and has starred in videos produced by Lonely Planet.

Tim Cahill
Author of many travel books, including A Wolverine Is Eating My LegJaguars Ripped My Flesh, and Pass the Butterworms. He is an editor at large for Outside magazine, and his work appears in National Geographic Adventure, the New York Times Book Review, and other national publications. Cahill also wrote the introduction for The Best Travel Writing, Volume 9: True Stories from Around the World. 

Phil Cousineau
Author of the Art of Pilgrimage and many other acclaimed books. He is a writer and filmmaker, teacher and editor, lecturer and travel leader, storyteller, and TV and radio host. His lifelong fascination with the art, literature, and history of culture has taken him on many journeys around the world. He lectures frequently on a wide range of topics—from mythology, film, and writing, to beauty, travel, sports, and creativity. He has more than 30 nonfiction books and 15 scriptwriting credits to his name.
Jasmin Darznik
Her novel, Song of a Captive Bird, was a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice” and appeared on several “Best Of” lists in 2018, including Booklist, Reader’s Digest, and Newsweek. Jasmin is also the author of the New York Times bestseller The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life. Her books have been published in seventeen countries and her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. She holds an MFA in fiction from Bennington College and a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University, and is now a professor of English and creative writing at California College of the Arts. Her most recent book is The Bohemians, a historical novel set in 1920s San Francisco.
Marcia DeSanctis
Journalist Marcia DeSanctis is the and author of 100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go, a New York Times travel bestseller, and the just-released A HARD PLACE TO LEAVE: Stories from a Restless Life, one of Vogue’s Best Books of 2022 and The Washington Post’s Best Travel Books of 2022. A Contributing Writer for Travel + Leisure, she also has written for Vogue, Town & Country, Air Mail, Departures, BBC Travel, Orion, Lit Hub, Marie Claire, Off Assignment, Roads & Kingdoms, The New York Times, and many other publications. She has won five Lowell Thomas Awards for excellence in travel journalism, including one for Travel Journalist of the Year, as well as the Grand Prize Solas Award in 2021 for Travel Story of the Year. For two decades before becoming a writer, she was a broadcast news producer. 

Pauline Frommer

She started traveling with her guidebook-writing parents at the age of four months and hasn't stopped since. She is the Editorial Director for the Frommer Guidebooks and Frommers.com, as well as author of what has been the bestselling guidebook to her hometown since its first edition. You may also have seen her talking travel on The Today Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, The O'Reilly Factor, NBC Nightly News and ABC World News, Good Morning America, FOX News and every local news station you can name. Her writings have been widely published in everything from Budget Travel Magazine to the Dallas Morning News to Nick, Jr. magazine. She resides in New York City with her husband, Columbia University Professor Mahlon Stewart and two very well-traveled daughters.

Don George
Travel Writers & Photographers Conference Chair
Author of The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George and of Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Writing and the editor of ten anthologies, including A Moveable Feast, The Kindness of Strangers, Better Than Fiction, and An Innocent Abroad. George is Editor at Large for National Geographic Traveler, where he writes feature articles and the monthly Trip Lit column. He is also Editor of BBC Travel's literary travel column, Chance Encounters.

Lebawit “Lily” Girma

Editor-at-large at Skift, where Lily was also global tourism reporter for the past two years. Her coverage continues to focus on destinations and the transformation of tourism post-pandemic — from the evolution of tourism boards to issues of sustainability, climate action and equity. Lily is also is an award-winning journalist and photographer whose work has been published in numerous publications over the past ten years, including BBC TravelAFARCNNTravel + Leisure, and Conde Nast Traveler, among others. She has authored multiple guidebooks for Moon Travel Guides, and provided content and editorial guidance to tourism boards and travel brands. 

Jeff Greenwald
Author of six travel books, including Shopping for Buddhas, The Size of the World (for which he created the first international travel blog), and Snake Lake, set in Nepal during the 1990 democracy revolution. He is also the Executive Director of Ethical Traveler, a global alliance of travelers dedicated to human rights and environmental protection (www.ethicaltraveler.org). Jeff's work has appeared in many publications including Smithsonian, Afar, Outside, The New York Times and the BBC. His acclaimed one-man show, “Strange Travel Suggestions,” premiered in San Francisco in 2003.  Jeff lives in Oakland, California, where he hosts and produces the Ethical Traveler podcast
Larry Habegger
Travel writer, editor, journalist, and teacher, who has been covering the world since the 1970s. As a freelance writer for more than 30 years and syndicated columnist since 1985, Habegger's work has appeared in many major newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles TimesChicago Tribune, Travel & Leisure, and Outside. In 1993, he cofounded the award-winning Travelers' Tales books with James and Tim O'Reilly, and is currently executive editor. His latest book in the Travelers' Tales series is The Best Travel Writing, Volume 11.
Catharine Hamm
Worked in travel journalism at the Los Angeles Times since 1999. In previous rich, full lives, she was editor of the newspaper in Salinas, Calif., city editor and managing editor at the San Bernardino County Sun and deputy managing editor at The Kansas City Star.  Hamm and the Times have been recognized with several Lowell Thomas Awards, including one for  her article about tracking down her wedding scammer, who later spent time as a guest of the state of Texas.
Elizabeth Harryman
Formerly the Travel Editor of Westways, a Lowell Thomas Award-winning magazine, and six other AAA magazines that reach markets from Hawai’i to Northern New England. Her travel writing has appeared in major U.S. newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and the Miami Herald. She is the current President of The Society of American Travel Writers and a former travel correspondent for NBC’s Today Show.

Robert Holmes
Conference Photography Chair
One of the world’s most successful and prolific travel photographers, whose career has extended over 30 years. He has been honored by the Society of American Travel Writers with their Travel Photographer of the Year Award four times, and in 2016 was voted the Wine Photographer of The Year by an international panel of judges sponsored by Errazuriz in Chile. Holmes has worked for National Geographic, Geo, Saveur, Wine Spectator, Life, Time, and hundreds of other major magazines and international companies. He has illustrated over 40 books and has regularly been one of the world’s best photojournalists invited to participate in the acclaimed “Day in the Life” series. Read more >>

Andrea Johnson
Award-winning photographer and video producer serving the wine, food, adventure, and travel industries. Over the last decade, Johnson has created a compelling body of work for corporate, advertising, editorial, and fine art clients around the globe. Her photographs regularly appear in  publications including Wine Spectator, Food and Wine, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Additionally, she has photographed three books: Passion for Pinot, Essential Wines and Wineries of the Pacific Northwest, and most recently, Spectacular Wineries of Washington.
Catherine Karnow
Photographer and photojournalist whose work has appeared in National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian, French & German GEO, and other international publications. Karnow has also participated in several "Day in the Life" series: Passage to Vietnam and Women in the Material World. She is known for her vibrant, emotional and sensitive style of photographing people. She is the author and photographer of Vietnam: 25 Years Documenting a Changing Country.
Linda Watanabe McFerrin
A published poet, travel writer, novelist, longtime contributer to numerous newspapers, magazines, and anthologies, and founder of Left Coast Writers. She is a past winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for fiction and other awards, and is most recently the author of Navigating the Divide: Poetry and Prose. Find her online at lwmcferrin.com. Conference Alum.
Chris Reynolds
Born and raised in California, Christopher Reynolds has written about travel, the outdoors, arts and culture for the Los Angeles Times since 1990. Since 2009, he has climbed Mayan pyramids, roamed Red Square in a snowstorm, been shushed at the New York Public Library and jumped from the tallest building in Soweto (rope attached). He takes no freebies or press discounts.
Michael Shapiro
Author of A Sense of Place—a collection of interviews with the world’s top travel authors including Bill Bryson, Frances Mayes, Peter Matthiessen, Jeff Greenwald, and Pico Iyer—as well as The Creative Spark. His cover story for National Geographic Traveler, about Jan Morris’ corner of Wales, won the Bedford Pace grand award. His recent feature about sustainable seafood in Vancouver won the 2016 Explore Canada Award of Excellence. He’s written about cycling in Mongolia for the Washington Post, tasted tequila in Jalisco for American Way, and tracked pumas in Patagonia for a custom publication. On the web: www.michaelshapiro.net. Conference Alum.


Lavinia Spalding
Lavinia Spalding is an author and editor who has published ten books. She is the six-time series editor of The Best Women’s Travel Writing, the author of Writing Away, and the co-author of With a Measure of Grace, This Immeasurable Place, and the 2022 Frommer’s Easy Guide to New Orleans. She’s also co-host of the storytelling podcast There She Goes. Lavinia introduced the e-book edition of Edith Wharton’s classic travelogue A Motor-Flight Through France, and her writing has appeared in The New York TimesModern Love column, AFAR, Tin House, Longreads, Yoga Journal, Sunset, Ms., The San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian, and many more publications. Her work has won gold Lowell Thomas and gold SOLAS travel writing awards, has been widely anthologized, and has been recognized in The Best American Travel Writing, and her TEDx talk about why travel matters has been viewed more than 50,000 times. Visit her at laviniaspalding.com

Tony Wheeler
An Asia ‘hippie trail’ trek in 1972 led to the creation of Lonely Planet and the New York Times to describe Tony as ‘the trailblazing patron saint of the world’s backpackers and adventure travelers.’ Since Tony departed Lonely Planet there’s been the Wheeler Centre, the Planet Wheeler Foundation (education and health projects in the developing world), Global Heritage Fund (archaeology) and, even with Covid-19 interruptions, lots of travel to keep him busy. Recent trips? Socotra Island in Yemen and the amazing Saharan mountains of Chad.