2018 Faculty (Travel Writers & Photographers Conference)

2018 Faculty

Mikkel Aaland
Professional photographer and the author of 12 best selling books on digital photography, including two Adobe Lightroom Adventure books (Iceland and Tasmania).  Aaland's non-technical books include, County Fair Portraits, (for which he made an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman) Sweat, an illustrated tour of international bathing customs (which inspired the streaming video series Perfect Sweat, currently in-production), The Sword of Heaven, Pilgrimage to Kailash, and a recently published memoir, The River in My Backyard.
Jim Benning


Jim Benning
Editor in chief of Texas Journey and a features editor at Westways and six other AAA magazines. In addition, he cofounded the online travel magazine World Hum (http://www.worldhum.com), which he oversaw at Travel Channel, and has served as deputy travel editor of BBC.com and editor-in-chief of SKYE on AOL. His writing has appeared many newspapers and magazines, and has been shortlisted in The Best American Travel Writing anthology. His website is jimbenning.net.


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 counties 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.


Sara Button
Editorial assistant at AFAR Magazine. Before joining the crew there, her work appeared in Travel + Leisure, BBC Travel, Pittsburgh Magazine, Go! Girl Guides, Paste Travel, and BayArea.com, among others. She has explored Etruscan tombs in Italy, made hostel beds in Ireland, attempted to eat every dessert in Istanbul, hiked volcanoes in Costa Rica, and is always on the hunt for excellent ghost tours, funky museums, and all manner of food. Sara has an MFA in writing from the University of Pittsburgh.


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


Pauline Frommer
Co-President of Frommer Media LLC, with her father Arthur Frommer, the company that publishes the Frommer guidebooks and Frommers.com. She’s the author of the bestselling travel guide to New York City (Frommer’s EasyGuide to New York City), and Editorial Director for Frommer’s, overseeing a passionate staff of journalists, editors, photo editors, cartographers, compositors, designers and developers. She’s the co-host of the Frommer Travel Show, a popular radio show and podcast on WABC, and is the award-winning author of 8 books, and countless articles for such outlets as MSNBC.com, Newsweek, Marie Claire and others.

Don George


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.


Jeff Greenwald
Author of six travel books, including Shopping for Buddhas (now in its 25th Anniversary edition), 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


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
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. She co-hosts radio shows with her husband, Paul Lasley, on the American Forces Radio Network and a podcast at OnTravel.com. Her travel writing has appeared in major U.S. newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and the Miami Herald. She is a former travel correspondent for NBC’s Today Show.


Robert Holmes
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 >>

Nikki Ioakimedes
Senior Acquisitions Editor for Moon Travel Guides, acquiring travel and outdoors titles for destinations in the U.S. and around the world. She’s traveled the world herself—from Mexico City to Phnom Penh, Cambodia—and is always on the lookout for her next travel adventure.


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, her 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.



Abbie Kozolchyk
Abbie has written and/or edited for National Geographic Traveler, Forbes Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Afar, Travelers' Tales Best Women's Travel Writing Series, Allure, W, In Style, Glamour, Martha Stewart Living and many others. Most recently—after almost four years on staff at Rachael Ray Every Day— she left in 2016 to write her first book: National Geographic's The World's Most Romantic Destinations, which came out earlier this year. Conference Alum.


Paul Lasley 
Co-host and executive producer of “Traveling,” a 25-minute radio program about all aspects of travel that airs daily for 1 million listeners in 145 countries on the American Forces Network. He has won two Gold Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Broadcast Awards, and his website, www.OnTravel.com, is a 24/7 source of podcasting about travel. He has produced and hosted travel shows and segments for radio and television on NBC, CBS, NPR affiliate KPCC, and ABC radio. He is travel columnist for Westways.

Michael David Lukas
Author of the bestselling novels The Oracle of Stamboul and The Last Watchman of Old Cairo. He has previously served as a Fulbright Scholar in Turkey, a night-shift proofreader in Tel Aviv, and a waiter at the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Vermont.


Andrew McCarthy
McCarthy is a director, an award winning travel writer, and -- of course -- an actor. He made his professional début at 19 in Class, and has appeared in dozens of films, including such iconic movies as Pretty in Pink, St. Elmo’s Fire, Less Then Zero, and cult favorites Weekend At Bernie’s and Mannequin. He is an editor-at-large at National Geographic Traveler, and has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Atlantic, Travel+Leisure, AFAR, Men’s Journal, Bon Appetit, and many others. He has received six Lowell Thomas awards, and been named Travel Journalist of the Year by The Society of American Travel Writers. His travel memoir, The Longest Way Home, was a New York Times bestseller. His debut novel, Just Fly Away, was published in spring of 2017.

Linda Watanabe McFerrin
Poet, travel writer, novelist, and contributor to numerous newspapers, magazines and anthologies and the Founder of Left Coast Writers. A winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize for Fiction, her first novel, Namako: Sea Cucumber, was named Best Book for the Teen Age by the New York Public Library. Her most recent novel, Dead Love, the tale of a love that just won’t die, was a Bram Stoker finalist. Conference Alum.


Candace Rardon
Writer, sketch artist, and illustrator whose stories have appeared on National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel site, World Hum, BBC Travel, and in Lonely Planet travel anthologies, among others. In addition, her travel blog “Moment Catchers” has been featured in the New York Times, and she earned an MA in Travel Writing from Kingston University in London. 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

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. 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
Series editor of The Best Women’s Travel Writing. She is the author of Writing Away and co-author of With a Measure of Grace and the forthcoming This Immeasurable Place, and she wrote the introduction for the e-book edition of Edith Wharton’s classic travelogue, A Motor-Flight Through France. Her work appears in such publications as Yoga Journal, Sunset, San Francisco magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian UK, Every Day with Rachael Ray, AirBnB Magazine, Tin House, Post Road, World Hum, Overnight Buses, Off Assignment,  Lonely Planet's An Innocent Abroad, and two volumes of The Best Travel Writing. Her website is www.laviniaspalding.com. Conference Alum.


Gordon Wiltsie
Photographer, writer, explorer and author of To the Ends of the Earth: Adventures of an Expedition Photographer. His work has appeared in publications around the world, including feature stories for National Geographic, Geo, Outside, Ski, Travel & Leisure, Life, American Photographer and scores of others, as well as in numerous  books, calendars, and national advertising.  He has led and/or photographed more than 100 expeditions to some of the remotest places on earth and In 2008 won the Lowell Thomas Award for his photo coverage of Russian reindeer herders for National Geographic Adventure.