Entries in ‘Travel Writer’ Journal

Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown’s 2014 Year in Review

Wednesday December 31, 2014 at 6:06 AM | 0 Comments

"Nancy Brown", Bahia Bell sternwheeler

Travel Writer Nancy Brown in San Diego, California

Even though December is notoriously a busy month, I always save time to write Nancy D. Brown’s year in review. As a travel writer, I am fortunate to visit many destinations each year; 2014 was no exception. As many of you know, I specialize in equestrian and luxury travel. There’s nothing I like better than discovering the world from the back of a horse!


What better way to combine luxury and horses than a trip to Texas Hill Country and the Inn at Dos Brisas? This Relais & Chateaux ranch resort has the only Forbes five-star restaurant in the entire state of Texas.

While my trip to San Diego didn’t involve horseback riding, I was surrounded by cowboys and cowgirls from all over the United States. I had the pleasure of speaking with The Dude Ranchers’ Association about How to Work with Travel Bloggers at their annual convention. The dude ranch members gathered at The Bahia Resort Hotel in Mission Bay. A first for me, I gave my presentation on The Bahia Belle, a Mississippi-style sternwheeler that travels on Mission Bay in Southern California. What a trip!

I had my airline tickets booked to attend Quebec Winter Carnival in Canada. Unfortunately, I came down with a nasty cold at the tail end of my San Diego trip and had to cancel Quebec. The folks from Tourism Quebec were understanding of my plight and invited me to Quebec City and the Charlevoix region of Canada during the height of leaf changing season. I was also able to go horseback riding on a Canadian horse during my travels.


My son is a rebel – not the rebellious type – but an Ole Miss Rebel. Our California boy is headed south to attend the University of Mississippi next fall. The campus is lovely and there are plenty of things to do in Oxford, Mississippi, but I’m not ready to have my youngest live so far away! Ready or not, my husband and I enjoyed our trip to Oxford. There were plenty of great restaurants and lots of history to uncover. I look forward to learning more about the state of Mississippi.


Hasta la vista baby! I headed to Mexico for Cancun Riviera Maya Wine & Food Fest and a stay at Secrets the Vine. French Chef Daniel Boulud was in the kitchen. Yum!

"Nancy Brown" "Morro Bay" California

Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown kayaking in Morro Bay


Monterey press trip to report on the opening of Tentacles exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Equidistant from Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Morro Bay and Wine Coast Country, along Highway 1 Discovery Route, offers kayaking, horseback riding, sailing, plenty of B&B’s, Inns & motels and is a great place to go fly a kite!


I love living so close to wine country! I almost consider myself a local and wrote a post on “How to Do Napa Like a Local.” There’s always some new restaurant or hotel opening in downtown Napa. What are your favorites?

This proud mama, along with her husband, watched our daughter graduate from the University of California at Berkeley.

I had a chance to attend BBQ University with guest Chef Steven Raichlen at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. San Francisco International Airport offers a nightly non-stop flight to Colorado Springs.


We had not one, but two graduations this summer. Our son graduated from high school in June and will be attending Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi in the fall.

We helped our daughter move into her Portland townhouse and meet her new roommates before starting her first job, post-college. To keep it fun and involve family, we rented a houseboat on Shasta Lake. Lake Shasta Marina set us up with a luxury houseboat and ski boat July 31-August 3. Low water levels due to California’s third year of a drought, but there was still plenty of water in Shasta to water ski and slide off the houseboat into the lake!

"Shasta Lake" sunset

Shasta Lake Sunset


If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that Sunriver Resort is a family destination for us. This year Destination Hotels & Resorts hosted us at Sunriver Lodge Village Suite August 3-6 and Skamania Lodge August 6. I could have stayed longer at Skamania Lodge exploring the Columbia Gorge area, but we needed to return to California.

One of the highlights of my summer travel was a cruise through Alaska’s Glacier Bay with Uncruise Adventures August 31 – September 7. If you think cruising is not for you, read my blog posts on small ship cruising. My reviews will change your mind.


Another advantage of living in California is how easy it is to travel to Hawaii. This fall I visited Molokai and explored the island by donkey – riding down the highest sea cliffs in the world – and kayaking it’s blue waters.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, Arizona, hotel

Four Seasons Scottsdale. Photo © 2014 Nancy D. Brown


As mentioned above, I was able to tour Quebec’s walled city and toward the end of the month I headed to Scottsdale, Arizona to play cowgirl at Arizona Cowboy College. I had an extraordinary experience riding a reining horse thanks to an invitation from Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North.

After a little rock and roll action in Napa (that’s code for earthquake) I headed back to downtown Napa to review the remodeled Embassy Suites and check out my new favorite restaurant, Torc. I was also introduced to new to me musicians, Penny & Sparrow, during a concert at City Winery. There is SO MUCH more going on in downtown Napa than when my husband and I lived there in the late 1980’s!

Back to the central coast, this time to discovery Los Osos. Have you heard of it? This tiny beach-side community is a hidden secret on the California coast. I also did a little recycled holiday shopping in Morro Bay and picked up a couple of gifts for myself at some local thrift shops. Woot!

Thanksgiving was spent with family in Carmel and for that, I am very grateful. I am a huge fan of the Monterey Peninsula and our dog loves the pet-friendly beaches.


I was able to check river cruising off my bucket list and I did it in style with Viking River Cruises. I was blessed to be asked to cruise the Danube River during the Christmas Markets. Yes, I am filled with gratitude for my traveling writing life. I see amazing places and meet wonderful people along the journey.

Where did your travels take you in 2014 and where are you headed in 2015?

Photos and post by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown

How to Deal with Hip Replacement and Travel

Tuesday September 25, 2012 at 5:05 AM | 23 Comments

"Nancy Brown"

Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown at Camp Augusta in Nevada City, California

On the disabled list – or am I? One travel writer’s journey

This is the first in a 4-part series that will help you deal with total hip replacement (THR) and travel.

Part 1: Denial to acceptance

Part 2: Preparing for surgery

Part 3: Recovery and travel

Part 4: On the travel road again

Disclaimer: Many people suffer from disabilities – either as a result of accidents, injuries, congenital or acquired disability, or other factors. Fortunately for me, my disability is temporary, yet my experience opened my eyes to inclusive travel and the physical and emotional challenges disabled travelers face. I am fortunate to have the choice of Total Hip Arthroplasty.

Hip pain equals travel pain

“Wow, you’re walking like my mom did right before her hip replacement surgery,” observed Katherine Johnstone of the French Tourism Office. “You should insist to your surgeon that the time is now. You shouldn’t have to put up with this much pain.”  As I limped along the cobblestone streets of southern France, popping Advil, I cavalierly offered this response. “After my visit to the Orthopedic surgeon and looking at my x-ray, he said that I had hip dysplasia – something I thought only Labrador retrievers got. He said that I would eventually need hip replacements. He sent me home with a prescription for Naproxen and told me to come back in 10 years. That was a year ago.”

"Nancy Brown"

Nancy Brown riding Quarter horse Jett on a cattle drive at High Lonesome Ranch in DeBeque, Colorado

From fit to fat; the downhill slide of a baby boomer

It hadn’t always been this way. In my youth I swam, rode horses and played tennis.  As an adult, I continued riding and added walking and a gym membership to my routine. Initially, I thought my left hip flexor muscles were the problem and added chiropractor and physical therapy to the routine, all to no avail.

Eventually, I gave up my gym membership and walking shoes, opting for deep water aerobics.  It was in my water aerobics class that I met Lucy Talbot. Fit and fabulous, Lucy had two hip replacements at the age of fifty.  She suggested that I return to the Orthopedic surgeon for a follow-up visit.

"Esther Vélez"

Esther Vélez performs at Museum of Flamenco Dance, Seville, Spain

Dance with denial takes center stage

My husband is the first to point out that I am a rule follower. I took a surgeon’s dismissive remark about my hip pain as authoritative. I had heard rumors that artificial hips only last ten years and didn’t want to have multiple revisions.

I have had multiple staph infections in my life and didn’t like the idea of having to take antibiotics the rest of my life before dental cleanings to stave off infections settling in my artificial hip.

I’m a writer, specializing in equestrian travel. Would I set off the metal detectors at security every time I went through clearance? Would I be able to horseback ride again?

As I watched my weight move up the scale and my interest in walking wane, I continued my dance with denial.  Finally, at my husband’s insistence, I returned to my primary care physician and made an appointment with the Orthopedic surgeon.

X-rays don’t lie

While the doctor was in his office, reading my x-ray, I was looking at the same results in the exam room. To my untrained eye, I could see that there was no cartilage in my left hip. The pain I was experiencing was from bone on bone contact.  The doctor considers many factors such as your pain level, weight and activity level before determining the best method of treatment.  Ultimately, the patient determines when a hip needs replacing.

I see the logic behind this hip replacement approach. The patient needs to come to terms with the trade offs and the reality that a hip revision may be in their future.  My approach to total hip replacement; I wanted quality of life now, at age 51.

Preparing for joint replacement surgery

What about you? Have you had joint replacement surgery? Are you facing hip or knee replacement in your future? How will joint replacement affect your future and travel? Let’s travel on this path together.

Tripbase Travel Secrets E-Books for Charity

Friday May 21, 2010 at 12:12 AM | 2 Comments

Tripbase Travel Secrets - free e-books for Charity: Water, Nancy D. Brown contributor

Tripbase Travel Secrets - E-books for Charity Water

First down loadable series of E-books of Travel Secrets –  Free!

Imagine a list of top secret travel tips compiled by travel writers and bloggers from across the globe? If you are a savvy web user and look to the internet as a first step to begin your travel planning, have I got a travel tip for you.

Tripbase  has compiled a series of seven e-books of “The Best Travel Secrets” that you, my dear friend, can download FOR FREE! Top travel writers such as Peter Greenberg, Rolf Potts and Johnny Jet have contributed three of their best kept travel secrets for this e-book series. 

First e-book tied to Charity

Download free travel e-book - Help raise funds for Charity: water

Download free Tripbase travel e-book - Help raise funds for Charity: water

As the folks at Tripbase asked all of the travel writers and bloggers to donate their “best travel secrets” it is only fitting that Tripbase continue to pay this goodwill effort forward with a donation to Charity.

Tripbase has partnered with New York-based Charity: Water and will make a donation to the organization based on the success of the e-book downloads.

Want to know my three travel secrets? What are you waiting for? Dowload the free Travel Secrets e-book. Of course, if you’d like to make a donation to Charity: water, they welcome your donation.

I’ve helped, please help too
led by Tripbase

What are your favorite travel secrets? If you have a blog, join in the fun. Leave a comment below.