This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Linda Ballou, a very prolific travel writer from my sweet hometown, Los Angeles. Besides writing about her outdoor adventures on her travel blog and other media outlets, Linda is also the author of three books. Here is my interview with her:
1. Tell us a little about yourself: Who are you? Where are you from?
I was born in California, but my parents moved to the wilds of Alaska when I was 13. The beauty of the Chilkat River Valley surrounded by majestic snow-slashed peaks grounded me in nature. I find solace and sustenance in the great outdoors. Today, I am an adventure travel writer based in L.A. My mission is to get to as many naturally beautiful places I can before they are gone. The universal threats to the environment make this journey more pressing with each passing day.
2. What is your blog about and how did you start blogging?
I share my outdoor adventures in travel articles and gorgeous images but, I also have a three books to my credit. Wai-nani: A Voice from Old Hawai’i set in pre-contact Hawai’i; The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon that takes the reader from the Grand Prix circuit to the John Muir Wilderness on horseback; and Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales. My blog is a mixed bag with posts relating to my books and to my travels that serves as a platform for my personal point of view.
3. Do you travel for work or for pleasure?
I am in it for all the fun I can get. My handbook “How to Make Travel Writing Work for You” on kindle details the renegade way to get great trips. I am not in it for the money, I am in it for adventures that give me something great to write about.
4. What is the most stunning place that you have ever visited?
The south island of New Zealand is the most phantasmagorical as it is so varied. Around each turn on the highway that circles the island is another natural wonder. However, Alaska remains unrivaled in its majesty. I am going to Patagonia in December which promises to be a close runner up.
5. Do you feel that blogging takes time away from your social or family life?
Not at all. As I said it offers the freedom to say what’s on my mind. I share my thoughts and experiences on social media which broadens my interaction with other humans. Recently, I have been having fun using my blog as a platform to get article assignments. It has been working like a charm saving me time creating query letters.
6. What is the one thing that is too large or impractical to travel with that you wish you could take with you when you travel?
I can’t take my main computer. It is way too much trouble, plus I don’t want to drop my brain in the drink, or have it stolen. I take notes on my netbook, or a yellow pad if I will be somewhere remote where there is no power
7. Are there any countries that you would not consider visiting and why?
I am not interested in going to Iraq or other war torn and dangerous places to visit. I love Africa, but there are parts of that continent that are just too risky. I am into to filling my mind with beauty, not angst and turmoil. I give to organizations that are helping with starvation and suffering around the globe to ease my guilt.
8. Do you have any funny travel stories?
Look Ways on Both Islands which was published in I Should Have Stayed Home and is in Lost Angel Walkabout details the time I was nearly deported from Tahiti. Being mistaken for a drug mule and grilled by gendarmes for a couple of hours is funny in retrospect, but not when it happened.
9. What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
Jumping a cross-country course in the wild west of Ireland on an Irish Hunter was the most exciting and arguably stupid thing I have ever done. It is a minor miracle that I lived to tell the story titled Irish Mist which is in my book Lost Angel Walkabout.
10. What is your favorite mean of transportation (plane, train, car, ship)?
I am a horse person. Riding on the back of a good horse in gorgeous country is my favorite mode of transport. Short of that, I love rafting and kayaking on rivers. I also loved doing an Un-cruise” throughout the Hawaiian Islands on a small ship with about 25 passengers. From the above mentioned list, I think a road trip in a car provides the most freedom to explore.