My grandmother’s attic was packed with National Geographic magazines. Those yellow glossies firmly hooked me on the transcendent power of travel. The stories and images stuck with me for years. After I graduated with an English degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, I worked as a wilderness guide in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters, then drove west to ski. Between powder runs and waitressing shifts, I applied to Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and was accepted. Two years later I moved to Santa Fe to work for Outside magazine.
I left my editorial position in 1998, but continued to write Outside’s “Wild File” column and also joined Classroom Connect’s Quest team, a group of archaeologists, biologists, photographers, writers, and videographers led by explorer Dan Buettner. Our mission was to solve the world’s most interesting mysteries for an online audience of 50,000 primary school students. In Australia we followed Aboriginal songlines across the outback. After a day of cycling through clouds of dust I’d sit near the campfire, wired on caffeine, typing columns like “Gross and Disgusting.” My job was to turn everyday science into an entertaining, educational interactive curriculum. Six months later we drove 7,500 miles from Minneapolis to Guatemala and back. Our goal was to find clues that led to the collapse of the Mayan civilization.
In 2001 I returned to Outside as a senior editor. For the next seven years I reported from the field as often as my boss would let me. I traveled to Bhutan with Buddhist scholar Bob Thurman, drove an RV across New Zealand, went to Hollywood with polar explorer Will Steger, and flew across Brazil with an expat American rancher trying to save the Amazon. Three of these stories earned honorable mentions in the “Best American Travel Writing” series.
Seven years later I left my position at Outside and started traveling. First I reported a story in the Falkland Islands, then I moved on to Mount Everest Base Camp, where I worked as the team journalist for Expedition Hanesbrands. Currently I'm a contributing editor to Outside and a freelance writer. In addition to Outside, my stories have appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Lonely Planet, Men's Journal, CNN.com, ForeignPolicy.com, Discovery.com, Bicycling.com, and others. Please see my latest features here: Portfolio.