2018 October Featured Journalist of the Month: Melissa Adams
Monday, October 01, 2018 07:07 PM

Melissa Adams:

Melissa Adams is an award-winning American travel writer and photojournalist who traded sunny Southern California for the soggy patch in Europe that captured her heart in 2007. Now based in Amsterdam, she's co-author of 48 Hours/Amsterdam, published by National Geographic, as well as the AFAR Amsterdam Travel Guide and Where to Stay in Amsterdam: A Guide to the Best Neighborhoods on the acclaimed PlanetD website.

Melissa's travel and lifestyle features have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including Perceptive Travel, Sonderers, GoNomad, Matador, TravelWorld International, Here Comes the Guide and OC Metro. On her blog, UnClogged in Amsterdam: An American Expat Plumbs Holland, she explores the hidden gems, sexy secrets and colorful culture of the Dutch capital. 

Melissa's Q&A:

What got you in to travel writing? I was born with both wanderlust and a gift for words. A voracious reader as a child, I found my voice early when I won top honors in my high school poetry contest as a junior. I marketed a degree in English from UCLA with an extensive campaign to editors of travel publications and landed my first professional job as a travel writer for the Automobile Association of America (AAA) shortly after I graduated. While I've worked in corporate communications, advertising and PR over nearly a half-century as a professional writer, travel writing has always been my passion.


What’s the most challenging part of travel writing for you? Finding the right angle for the right story at the right time and pitching it to the right editor at the right publication has always been the most challenging part of travel writing for me. Writing is the easy part!


What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road? My iPhone. I'm not the most tech-savvy person, but no other pocket-size device offers the convenience of having boarding passes, hotel reservations, email, social media and everything else on the internet at your fingertips.


What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience? Few would suspect I was once hauled into a Guatemalan jail for an alleged motorcycle theft. I have fonder memories of cycling up hills on Greek islands, drinking cocktails overlooking the Nile, taking cooking classes in Thailand, playing drinking games with a geisha in Japan, and seeing Rajasthan's Thar desert transform into a week-long camel-trading fest in Pushkar, India.


What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist? 

Read—everything from classics by Mark Twain, Pico Iyer, Lawrence Durrell and Paul Theroux to travel memoirs by more contemporary writers like Elizabeth Gilbert and books on the craft of writing like Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. When traveling, be respectful of other cultures. While people in some cultures might welcome your camera lens trained on them, others will find it intrusive or even offensive. Even with no language skills, it's easy to get a quick “thumbs up” from your subject before trying to get your shot.


Find Melissa's work here: www.uncloggedblog.com/

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