Interview, Rolf Potts Travel Writer Series

vagabondingI’m so excited to be a part of this fascinating interview series!  Read about how I get started writing, my biggest challenges on the road, inside tips from my collection of stellar mentors, and a reading list of travel books that will incite your wanderlust.

When you are finished with mine, peruse the archives for interviews with the best travel writers from all over the world.

Thank you so much to Rolf Potts, whose books Marco Polo Didn’t Go There and Vagabonding are in places of honor on my bookshelf!

Filming, Paris – Three short films: Wings Trailer, The Mirror of Montmartre, and Signs

filming cour du commerce st andreThe week of filming celebrated all I love about Paris.  People welcomed us graciously, showed interest, and eagerly offered ideas – a book signing here, a party there, anything at all.  In cafés, connections sparked, continual electrical currents.  At sunset, the Seine flickered as people wandered along the quais, or stopped to listen to jazz trios jamming on bridges.  The city invited all to be enthralled, charmed, romanced.– “Out Into Paris”, Postscript in Wings, Gifts of Art, Life, and Travel in France
slaves illuminated

Michelangelo sculpted his Slaves during years of unceasing labor for pope after pope, often waiting for payment, and to me, the marble captives carry his own desperation.

– “The Mystique of Art”,  Wings


Gratitude to my awesome filmmaker, Rogier Van Beeck Calkoen, whose work is meticulous, gorgeous, and brilliant.

Stranger Than Fiction Reading Series, San Francisco

Thank you to the vivacious Frances Stroh for hosting this varied and rich event!  Watch for her book, Beer Money: A memoir of Privilege and Loss, which will be released in May, 2016.

stranger than fiction

These six local authors–Jack Boulware, Meghan Ward, Alan Black,Melissa Cistaro, Joe Loya, and Erin Byrne–will hit it out of the park on Sunday at the Edinburgh Castle, 3-5 PM!

Salon: Storytelling

You are Invited to a Storytelling Salon

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Hajj, storyteller in Marrakech




Ann Dufaux with friends in Fez






Jean-Bernard Ponthus – Moroccan royalty 




Come listen to stories we spin from our trip, Deep Travel Morocco

Friday, November 13, 7 pm

Paris, Île Saint Louis

Hosted by Erin Byrne


Also featuring Christina Ammon speaking about her Deep Travel trips!!


Deep Travel Storytelling, Marrakech

Hajj seemed to be woven of the ancient and the modern.  He embodied stories the Berbers told centuries ago, and looked the picture of a traditional Moroccan Hakawati, but often he pulled his phone out of the pocket of his robes and huddled over it; or sat down on a step and leaned forward, elbows on knees, dragging on a cigarette like the Moroccan Marlboro Man while teasing my co-instructor Doug about being shebe (white-haired); or whipped out his Kindle to read a line or two.  But when Hajj told a story, time and distance morphed and language was transcended.  – “The Ancient Storyteller of Morocco”, Afterword in Vignettes & Postcards From Morocco” (August, 2016, ReputationBooks)

A million shukrans to the dynamic Mike Richardson, owner of Café Clock in Fez, Café Clock in Marrakech, and Scorpion House in Moulay Idriss for MOST gracious hospitality and event organization, and to Rose Button at Dar Zerhoune for hosting our Deep Travel writers.

amin and haj volubilis Haj volubilis volubilis storytelling omar chennafi bio photo

Event: Palo Alto Oshman Family JCC

Special thanks to our host, Meredith Miller Vostrejs, who led a lively discussion of travel, and to the audience, whose enthusiasm for the world made the evening one we won’t soon forget. 

Palo Alto Reading 1

Palo Alto Reading 2

An Evening with Travel Writer Lavinia Spalding

True Stories from Around the World

Event date: 10/6/2015 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Export event

Location: Freidenrich Conference Center, Room F-401

Enjoy an intimate conversation with Lavinia Spalding, editor of The Best Women’s Travel Writing series. She will be joined by other contributors to the anthology and discuss travel planning and writing. Come prepared to laugh, listen, share and be entertained while enjoying wine and cheese!

More About Lavinia Spalding
Lavinia Spalding is a writer, editor, teacher, public speaker, and lapsed Luddite. She’s the series editor of The Best Women’s Travel Writing and the author of two books: Writing Away: A Creative Guide to Awakening the Journal-Writing Traveler, and With a Measure of Grace, the Story and Recipes of a Small Town Restaurant. Lavinia’s work has appeared in many print and online publications and discussed in a TEDx talk. She also teaches writing and journaling workshops.

Lavinia lives in San Francisco, where she’s a resident of the Writers’ Grotto, faculty of the annual Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference and co-founder of the award-winning monthly travel reading series Weekday Wanderlust.
For more information, visit her website.

Faith Adiele is the author of The Nigerian-Nordic Girl’s Guide To Lady Problems (Shebooks) and Meeting Faith (W.W. Norton), a travel memoir that won the PEN Open Book Award for Best Memoir; writer/narrator/subject of My Journey Home, a PBS documentary about traveling to find family; and co-editor of Coming of Age Around the World: A Multicultural Anthology (The New Press). A graduate of Harvard University, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, she teaches nonfiction around the world, as well as at California College of the Arts, The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto, and Voices/VONA, where she’s established the nation’s first workshop for travel writers of color. For more information, visit her website.

Erin Byrne writes travel essays, poetry, fiction and screenplays. Her work has won numerous awards including three Grand Prize Solas Awards for Travel Story of the Year, the Reader’s Favorite Award, Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalist, and an Accolade Award for film. Erin is author of Wings From Victory (Travelers’ Tales, 2016), editor of Vignettes & Postcards From Paris and Vignettes & Postcards From Morocco (Reputation Books, 2016), and writer of The Storykeeper film.  Her screenplay, Siesta, is in pre-production in Spain. She is working on the novel, The Red Notebook.   For more information, visit  her website.

Candace Rose Rardon is a writer, sketch artist, and illustrator whose stories and watercolors have appeared in places such as BBC Travel, World Hum, and National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel site, as well as inLonely Planet’s literary anthology An Innocent Abroad and Travelers’ Tales Best Women’s Travel Writing. She also runs her travel blog, “The Great Affair”, which has been featured in the New York Times, and earned an MA in Travel Writing from London’s Kingston University.

Tuesday, October 6
7:30 PM
Freidenrich Conference Center
$12 General Public | $10 Members and J-Pass holders (What is J-Pass?)

Book Passage Event – Stories with a French Twist

Sunday, October 4th at 4 P.M at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista, Corte Madera, CA
Savor a moveable feast of travel stories with the accent on all things French. Mill Valley author Lisa Alpine hosts this effervescent literary afternoon featuring a cadre of très magnifique authors including:
• Erin Byrne is author of Wings: Gifts of Art, Life, and Travel in France(Travelers’ Tales, 2016), editor of Vignettes & Postcards From Paris and Vignettes & Postcards From Morocco (Reputation Books, 2016), and writer of The Storykeeper film. Her screenplay, Siesta, is in pre-production in Spain. She is working on the novel, The Red Notebook.
• Kimberley Lovato is a freelance writer and Francophile. Her book, Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves, about the food and people of the Dordogne region of France, received the Gold Lowell Thomas Award in 2012 from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation and her essays have appeared in many anthologies including The Best Women’s Travel Writing.
• Camille Cusumano, a former editor a VIA magazine, is the author Tango, DSCF5194an Argentine Love Story. She has written for numerous publications, and is the editor of four Seal Press anthologies on France, Italy, Mexico, and Greece and author of the novel, The Last Cannoli.
• Maxine Rose Schur’s travel essays appear in numerous publications including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, National Geographic Explorer, Insight Guides and as well as travel literature anthologies. She has twice won the Lowell Thomas Award given by the Society of American Travel Writers for excellence in travel journalism.
• Lisa Alpine is the author of Wild Life: Travel Adventures of a Worldly Woman — Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Travel Book of the Year Award and Exotic Life: Travel Tales of an Adventurous Woman— Best Memoir at the 2014 North American Book Awards. Lisa also won Solas Award’s silver “Best Travel Story of the Year” for Fish Trader Ray in Travelers’ Tales Best Travel Writing.

Lisa Alpine, hostess extraordinaire, once again orchestrated an event both interesting and full of joie de vivre!!

French Twist reading 1