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.
You can follow Linda on:
Thank you for letting us meer another travel fanatic, always fun!! I notice I love the outdoors more and more, maybe because increasingly it seems to be something that we may lose in the future.
Ruth | Tanama Tales
I think we need more ladies like Linda! It feels so good to learn about ladies who are exploring the natural world and the outdoors. I love cities but have to recognize natural places move me in a special way. I will have to visit New Zealand and Alaska. #TheWeeklyPostcard
Great interview! I always have to try and keep perspective that I am not blogging for the money but for the adventures that give me something to great to write about! Linda really nailed it! #TheWeeklyPostcard
Great interview. Nice to learn more about Linda. Hearing her thoughts on New Zealand make me want to go there even more.
Jessica @ Independent Travel Cats
A great interview, makes me want to plan trips to Alaska and New Zealand!
Now that was a great read! The travel adventures and life that Linda has been leading are inspirational! Cheers!! #TheWeeklyPostcard
I have to agree with Linda that the south island of New Zealand is one of the most amazing places in the world. Then again, I’m a bit biased (and rather close to the issue 🙂 )
Linda Jane Ballou
Of all the places I have visited the North Island is the one place I could call home. It is like California 50 years ago. Sadly, they don’t want me there due to my age, but at least I got to explore. I have a story in my book Lost Angel Walkabout set there. Best, Linda
Debbra Dunning Brouillette
I enjoyed your interview with Linda! I also love visiting natural places and have thought of doing the Uncruise Adventures cruise through the Hawaiian islands. New Zealand is also on my list. Linda has lived a very interesting life and I look forward to following her future adventures.
Linda Jane Ballou
Hi Debbra. I saw you were the featured journalist in the NATJA Newsletter congrats. I’m really excited about the trip I am taking to Co this week. I will be riding in the Hoofprint of Isabelle Bird.. The Lady of the Rockies. My articles will be about a really incredible woman!! Cheers, LInda
Elaine J Masters
Linda is such a lighthouse for solo women adventurers. I always think of her and Hawaii. Now I’m imagining her on horseback in the high country. Great interview.
Heh Elaine, We meet again!! I’m off to Springtime in the Rockie this week and Patagonia in September. So many bful places to get to before I ….well you know.