My grandmother’s attic was packed with National Geographic magazines. The yellow book firmly hooked me on the transcendent power of travel. After I graduated with an English degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, I worked as a guide in Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, 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 research editor 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 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, went to Hollywood with polar explorer Will Steger, and flew across Brazil with an expat American rancher trying to save the Amazon. Seven years later I left again and started traveling in earnest. First I reported a story in the Falkland Islands, then moved on to Mount Everest Base Camp, Nicaragua, Colombia, Sweden, Namibia, and Tasmania, always returning to my parents’ cabin in northern Minnesota. Four of my Outside features have won Notable Travel Writing mentions in The Best American Travel Writing series. My stories have also appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, Lonely Planet's Great Escapes, Men's Journal, CNN.com, ForeignPolicy.com, Discovery.com, Bicycling.com, and others. Please see my latest features here: Portfolio.