At the 2006 Burning Man Festival in Nevada’s
Black Rock Desert
Travel is one of my passions. From post-war Nicaragua in 1981 to a year of solo travel in southeast Asia, I’ve relished adventures and encounters on many continents. I’ve squared off with gawkers and hawkers at train stations in India and faced men with knives on a train in Italy. I’ve ridden camels and elephants, suffered a horse bite in Thailand, and watched bed bugs leaping off flimsy guest house mattresses in numerous countries. From the Himalayas to the Alps and the Andes, from the backwoods to boardwalks, I’ve met amazing people and experienced landscapes so intense, they singe with memory.
INDIA: TRAVEL MEMOIR
I am currently writing a memoir with tales of my seven months in India, from a bout of bacterial dysentery in New Delhi to summitting the 20,000-foot peak Stok Kangri. It’s full of romance, misadventures, spiritual exploration, and the plight of a single western woman facing too many advances, and even wedding proposals, from sex-obsessed men.
ONLINE TRAVEL FEATURES: BRITISH WEBSITE
I am a travel writer for the website www.thetraveleditor.com, based in the United Kingdom. Besides international tales, my posted articles highlight the arts and entertainment scene in Vancouver, BC and on the Sunshine Coast on Canada’s west coast. Click here to read some of my travel features: http://www.thetraveleditor.com/authors/846/Heather_Conn/
Childbirth in Haiti: A bundle of joy?
I wrote short items to accompany a photo essay of the challenges pregnant women face in Haiti. The piece is meant to increase public awareness of the activities of Doctors Without Borders in Haiti.
SIERRA MAGAZINE: National Magazine of Sierra Club of U.S. (1 million+ readers)
Eco-tourism: Bald eagles in Brackendale, BC, Canada
Here’s WILD AT HEART, an eco-tour piece I did for the Jan/Feb ’09 issue of Sierra magazine in San Francisco:
I’m drifting in the clear shallows of the Squamish River, eyes gaping and ears pricked for signs of avian life. Just 40 miles north of bustling Vancouver, British Columbia, sits one of the top viewing spots for wintering bald eagles. Six of us and a guide float through morning silence in a yellow inflatable, paddles still, our caps and woolens fending off a frigid January drizzle. Clouds shroud the glacial heads of Mts. Garibaldi and Mamquam and the Tantalus Range. Mist tucks into spruce and hemlock. Someone told me you can see 60 eagles in a tree here, but I’m beginning to suspect that’s as credible as the tale of the 100-pound trout.
Most years, between late November and early February, 3,000 to 4,000 bald eagles from across western North America converge to roost where the Mamquam and Cheakamus Rivers join the Squamish. Like ravenous diners at an all-you-can-eat buffet, they gorge on dying chum salmon that have forged their way up from Howe Sound to spawn. The opportunistic raptors share a 1,865-acre smorgasbord, Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park, with some 150 bird species. Fifteen years ago, Brackendale heralded a world record: 3,769 bald eagles counted in a single day.
We creep up on an overhanging red alder branch. About six feet from our heads rests a juvenile bald eagle, its broad wings cocked motionless to dry. As we glide directly below, it hardly acknowledges our presence. I spy half a dozen dark shapes in a neighboring alder. Then more. And more. We’re surrounded by dozens of mottled brown youngsters as well as elders that sport the white heads and tails of maturity. Soundless and still, they regard us with eyes four to seven times stronger than ours. Several pick at salmon they’ve hauled up to a branch. Others, shadowed by squabbling gulls, demolish the fleshy fish on gravelly shores flanked by alders, maples, firs, and cottonwoods.
A trumpeter swan whooshes past. A great blue heron departs in a blurred whir. After spotting 50 eagles, I stop counting. Cameras and eyeballs sated, we coast gratefully homeward. —Heather Conn
BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA: Click here to view article as it appears in the magazine
Samples of my travel writing:
I have written travel pieces on Cuba, India, and Nicaragua plus many places in Canada, including Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia; British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, and the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary in northern B.C. (Click here to read my feature in the U.S. magazine Bears.)
MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES:
“Martha’s Vineyard inspires”: 40th anniversary of the Chappaquiddick Bridge incident (Coast Reporter, Sechelt, BC, July 17, 2009, B13)
BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA:
Click below to read
“Sunshine Coast,” Vancouver & Victoria, Travel Colourguide, Formac Publishing, Halifax, NS, 2008
“The Sunshine Coast: a little out of the way but that’s the beauty of it”:
Here’s a piece I did for Seattle’s PhotoMedia magazine on Helge Pedersen, a round-the-world motorcycle photographer:
GLOBAL TRAVEL BY MOTORCYCLE:
http://photomediagroup.com/?m=200503 (second article from the top)
NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA (EAST COAST):
“Life in a fishbowl” [Peggy's Cove, N.S.] (Atlantic Insight magazine, Halifax)
My creative nonfiction excerpt “Adrift”, which describes my visit to an exorcism temple in Balaji, India, apppeared in the anthology Chasing Halley’s Comet (Laughing Willow Press, Vancouver, 1995). This was a multi-genre collection of work from the winners of the Federation of BC Writers’ Festival Competition.
Travel writing workshop
I teach travel writing at Capilano University in Sechelt, B.C., Canada. For more information on this half-day workshop, which offers engaging hands-on exercises, query tips, and a great bibliography, see Teaching.