2010 What a Trip – Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown Year in Review

Norway, Sami, Dolls, Nancy D. Brown, travel
Norwegian Sami Dolls on a trip to Bergen, Norway

Whenever I’m asked what I do for a living, the title of travel writer elicits responses of envy. It’s true, I have one of the best jobs in the world. However,  travel writing does require hard work, plenty of research and writing and endless amounts of time spent at airports waiting for flights.

For those who hope to follow in my travel writing flight path, I wish you smooth sailing, be it over San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in a Zeppelin or on the Hurtigruten discovering Norway’s authentic West Coast.

To my newspaper, magazine and on-line readers, my continued thanks for subscribing to the Contra Costa Times, Diablo magazine and this What a Trip blog.

2010 Travel Writer Year in Review – What a Trip

January: The cowboys and cowgirls of Kay El Bar Ranch invited me to launch Writinghorseback at their ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona. I couldn’t have started this horseback riding vacation blog without the support of Trisha Miller of Travel Writers Exchange. Trisha was kind enough to feature me in her travel blogger case studies.  Additionally, I look forward to miles and aisle of new food trends at San Francisco’s annual Fancy Food Show.

February: I was looking forward to my first visit to Yellowstone National Park via Cody, Wyoming. However, a torn rotator cuff on my husband’s left shoulder left me playing Nurse Nancy.

March: Anyone who knows me is aware of my keen fondness for Alaska. I was thrilled when the PR gurus behind Travel Alaska invited me to cover the 2010 Iditarod Sled Dog Race.  Thanks also goes to Karen Lundquist of Fairbanks CVB for arranging my Alaska lodging, travel gear and visits to Chena Hot Springs and the World Ice Art Championships. I think the sled dog ride was a highlight of my 2010 travel experiences! That’s not to say I didn’t have a wonderful trip my first time visiting Ojai, California.

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April: For the horse lovers out there, my visit to Graham, Texas and Wildcatter Ranch was my first encounter with Long Horn cattle and horseback riding by the Brazos River. Steak lovers will love this place!

Surfboards in Oahu, Hawaii

May: The Netherlands invited me to visit Holland during a cold snap in early May. This was my first trip to Brussels,  Bruges and Ghent in Belgium, as well as The Hauge, Zeeland and Zeil in the Netherlands. If you plan your trip for early May, be sure to catch the Holy Blood Procession in Bruges – it is quite a visual and auditory treat for the senses with its floats, costumes and music.

Have you heard of the No Hoku Hanohano Awards? I was a guest of the Hawaii Tourism Authority for a culture-focused trip to Honolulu. There is plenty to do on Oahu, including the Prince Lot Hula Festival.

June: I love meeting CVB and PR people on Twitter. One of these social media pros is Lisa Gerber of Big Leap Creative. Gerber hooked me up with a Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho adventure, as well as horseback riding at Red Horse Mountain Ranch, an all inclusive resort in Harrison, Idaho.

July: Travel bloggers know that we often spend as much time in front of the computer as we do traveling. This July we gathered in the Big Apple for TBEX New York, our annual travel blogger conference. While in New York I asked a group of travel bloggers for their insider tips on things to see and do in New York. Next year TBEX will converge in Vancouver, Canada.

Each year we take a family vacation to Sunriver Resort in Central Oregon. When the kids were young, we traveled as a family of four. Now that we have two teenagers, we travel in multiple vehicles as the kids like to bring friends on our family vacation.  There are many things to do on an outdoor vacation in Oregon.

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August: Late summer I went horseback riding in the Sierra Foothills of Copperopolis and then traveled to Half Moon Bay for horseback riding on the beach.

As my father’s side of the family hails from Norway, I was delighted to be a guest of Innovation Norway. In addition to horseback riding on a Fjord horse in Bergen, I was able to visit many Norwegian cities sailing Norway’s authentic coast on the Hurtigruten.

Nancy D. Brown, West Coast Fishing Club, Haida Gwaii, Canada
Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown lands a Chinook with Canada’s West Coast Fishing Club.

September: For the fishermen and women out there, I have a favorite new fishing lodge thanks to a Twitter introduction from Hawksworth Communications in Vancouver, Canada. The West Coast Fishing Club in Canada’s Haida Gwaii offers luxury accommodations, first rate food and excellent halibut and salmon fishing. For those who ask if I ever travel with my husband, it is difficult to coordinate schedules with jobs and teenagers. We were fortunate to celebrate our 24 year wedding anniversary and watch the leaves change colors at Cathedral Mountain Lodge in Yolo National Park and Moraine Lake Lodge in Banff  National Park.

October: Thanks to Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau and the folks at Geiger PR, I was able to go up in a hot air balloon at the International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico. What a trip!

Nancy D. Brown, Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico, Travel
Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown about to lift off at International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM

November: Having never visited Hawaii’s Big Island, I was happy to join Jessica Ferracane of Iron Dog Public Relations and the Big Island Visitors Bureau for a trip to the Kohala Coast.

Thanksgiving had me visiting Carmel, California to give thanks with family. I was supposed to go horseback riding with the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center, but a scheduling snafu prevented a glorious day of horseback riding on Pebble Beach.

December: Celebrating the holidays in the San Francisco Bay Area and busy working my public relations job at KRT Marketing.

Where will your travels take you in 2011?

Surfboard photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority Joe Solem

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