Where was your photo taken: Koh Phi Phi, Thailand. My wife and I kayaked around the backside of the island to Monkey Beach and found a wild monkey drinking an orange soda it had stolen from a Japanese tourist. As he chased the monkey around the sand in a questionable effort to retrieve his soda, another woman began screaming because a baby monkey had climbed into her kayak and was crawling all over her torso. The entire scene was pretty hectic.
Where do you live now: Lake Tahoe, California, an outdoor playground with far too many distractions.
Scariest airline flown: Definitely an Amaszonas flight in Bolivia. The plane only sat 8 people and it was so small my head hit the ceiling while I was in my seat. The pilot was sitting directly in front of me, and we had to navigate through the Andes in a dense fog. It was my first time looking out the window of an airplane and looking up at the mountains. When we finally landed, the runway was a narrow grass strip that was covered with grazing livestock.
Most remote corner of the globe visited: Probably inside of a cave 60 feet underwater while scuba diving in southern Vietnam. The Vietnamese are infamous for eating anything and everything, and upon spotting some clams inside of the cave the dive instructor crushed them open with a rock and we shared an impromptu meal. Eating underwater is more difficult than you might think.
Favorite guidebook series: I’ve historically been a Lonely Planet guy, but for the last couple of years I’ve opted to travel sans guide book. Local newspapers and postcards clue me in on what I should see, and the rest is impromptu.
Worst hotel experience: Being stuck inside of a hostel in Quito, Ecuador in the middle of a political coup. Military helicopters were landing on the hillside next to us as gunfire sounded in the streets. An expat American war veteran who was staying in the hostel estimated we’d last 4 days before we ran out of food.
How did you get interested in travel writing? After I graduated from college I had grand illusions of paying my way around the world by writing for surfing magazines. Logically the next step was I moved to New Zealand, bought a surfboard, lived in a van, and never got anything published. But at least it got me writing.
Other jobs: I’m currently a boat captain in Lake Tahoe, but I’ve also been a sea kayak guide in Alaska, a bartender in Greece, a scuba guide in Hawaii, an oyster chef in Florida, the head of a non-profit in Cambodia, and a DJ in a Spanish nightclub. I also teach tennis.
You are a contestant on the Price is Right. What vacation do you
hope is in the showcase showdown? What’s included? What’s the price? A two week stay at a water bungalow in Bora Bora where my two biggest decisions are when to go diving and when to get a massage. The price? Making your wife happy with a trip you’ve promised her but have no idea how to pay for: Priceless.