Prose on the Road: The Art of Travel Writing

EL CAMINO 817 landscape

A view of the Camino Frances pathway of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in northern Spain.


I taught a one-day workshop “Prose on the Road: The Art of Travel Writing” for the Sechelt, BC campus of Capilano University from 2008 to 2010.

The course offered engaging hands-on exercises, query tips, and a great bibliography. For more information, see Teaching.

Chappaquiddick Bridge: What really happened 40 years ago?


During a trip to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. in the summer of 2009, I visited Chappaquiddick Bridge, the infamous site where Ted Kennedy’s aide, Mary Joe Kopechne, died 40 years earlier.

My travel article “Martha’s Vineyard inspires” recounts my trip to this popular location and my doubts regarding the Chappaquiddick Bridge incident (Coast Reporter, Sechelt, BC, July 17, 2009).

Click here to read an unabridged version of this article from my blog.

Gypsy at heart

Here I am at the Burning Man Festival
in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert in the fall of 2006.

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.

As a travel writer, I have had features published about Cuba, India, France, Spain, 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.

Online writer for British website The Travel Editor

I was a contributing writer in 2009 for the website The Travel Editor, based in the United Kingdom. Besides international tales, my posted articles, with photos, covered the arts and entertainment scene in Vancouver, BC and on the Sunshine Coast on Canada’s west coast.

Unfortunately, the company operating the website has since closed and it is no longer available.

Two travel features: B.C.’s Sunshine Coast an idyllic retreat

Sunshine Coast residents like me love to keep our amazing region a secret, yet it’s hard not to want to share the beauty of its landscapes.

I wrote a piece in a travel guide that invites tourists to visit the Sunshine Coast from nearby Vancouver. It’s only a 40-minute ferry ride away from this scenic coastal city.

Click this link “Sunshine Coast,” Vancouver & Victoria, Travel Colourguide to read my piece that appeared in this Formac Publishing guide book, in Halifax, NS, in 2008.

Another of my travel features—“The Sunshine Coast: a little out of the way but that’s the beauty of it”—appeared in winter 2005 issue of Western Canadian Resorts magazine.

Click here to read the article, with colour photos.

Wildlife tourism: Conserve bears and bald eagles in British Columbia

“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. . .”

I wrote an eco-tourism piece “Wild at Heart” about bald eagles in Brackendale, BC for Sierra Magazine. This national publication of the U.S. Sierra Club has more than one million readers.

Click here to view article as it appears in the magazine in the Jan/Feb 2000 issue.
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Spirit bear on Princess Royal Island, BC (copyright Heather Conn)

As someone who is passionate about bears and their conservation, I also visited the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary in northern B.C. to photograph these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

I travelled to Princess Royal Island on the north-central coast of British Columbia to photograph and write about the white “spirit” bears. Canada is the only home to these rare animals.

Click here to read my feature in the U.S. magazine Bears.

PhotoMedia article celebrates a “travel activist” who’s crossed the world by motorcyle

“He’s climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. He’s been placed under house arrest in Somalia. He’s crossed the Sahara Desert, circumnavigated the world and retraced the ancient Silk Road from Istanbul to China, all by motorcycle. . .”

My feature “A Colossus of Roads” highlights Helge Pedersen’s decade of global motorcycle adventures. It appeared in the spring 2005 issue of Seattle-based PhotoMedia magazine.

Pedersen is the founder of GlobeRiders, an adventure tour company for motorcyclists.

Click this Helge Pedersen link to read my article.

Transit around the world: Havana’s “camel” buses and India’s critter chaos

Buses in India filled with chickens and goats and bomb warnings. A brawl in a bus in Kathmandu. Twenty-metre-long “camels”—double-trailer tractor loads—carry public transit riders in Havana, Cuba in the late 1990s.

These are some of the first-person and news accounts I wrote in Transit Around the World, published in Coast Mountain BusLink’s Transit Exchange newsletter in April 1999. While corporate communications manager at Coast Mountain (previously BC Transit), I wrote, edited, and oversaw the content for Transit Exchange, which appeared nine times a year.

Click this Transit Around the World link to read the articles.

Inside India: travel excerpt highlights visit to exorcism temple

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.

INDIA: Click here to read an excerpt from “Adrift” in Chasing Halley’s Comet

Life in a fishbowl: How has tourism affected Peggy’s Cove?

While in my twenties, I conducted an oral history study in Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia on Canada’s east coast. With fewer than 100 residents, this archetypal fishing village receives tens of thousands of visitors each year.

I loved meeting the lobster fishermen, shopkeepers, and community members in this tourist haven. Each views the impact of tourism in a different way.

My mandate was to document the impact of tourism on this much-visited coastal gem and write a report for the Atlantic Center for the Environment/Quebec-Labrador Foundation, based in Ipswich, MA.

Read my feature “Life in a fishbowl” [Peggy’s Cove, N.S.] (Atlantic Insight magazine, Halifax, 1986)