2019 January Featured Journalist of the Month: Linda Aksomitis
Tuesday, January 01, 2019 12:00 AM

Linda Aksomitis

Linda Aksomitis is an award winning author of 30+ books, both traditionally published in five countries, and indie-published, including three travel guides as well as fiction and nonfiction for adults and children. She has a Master of Vocational Technical Education degree and works part of the year as an instructional designer for Saskatchewan Polytechnic, as well as teaching three writing courses worldwide through the Education To Go network. Her travels have included many adventures from walking 20 feet under the South China Sea with a "fishbowl" on her head, to climbing Canyon Sainte-Anne's via Ferrata, to packing her laptop on a snowmobile for five days across the Chic-Choc Mountains on the Gaspe Peninsula. 

She lives in Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, with her husband of 45 years, David Aksomitis, who often shares her travel adventures. 

Linda's Q&A 

What got you in to travel writing?
I've wanted to travel for as long as I can remember, so before discovering you could actually be a travel writer, I sought out every opportunity I could get. In the early 1980s I was a traveling saleslady, representing a sewing machine company. More or less at the same time, we started to pursue snowmobile racing more seriously. While I only raced in Canada, I was pit crew for our team while we spent winters in the snow zone throughout Canada and the U.S. After I stopped being a sales rep, I continued to travel across Canada and teach one-day seminars on various topics from sewing to library management to website design to writing. And finally, in 2000, I fell into travel writing and have been involved ever since. 


What’s the most challenging part of travel writing for you?
Since I've become more involved in social media, I find it's challenging to do everything I want to do on a trip. I love photography, so taking interesting shots takes time, as does getting them out on social media in real time. I take a lot of notes, scribbling things down in my journal to remind me of high points I want to share with my readers when I write and post the full articles, so I often have to cram that in after an activity--it's great when I'm with other writers, as I can often ask questions about specific things I want to remember. On organized press trips, there's not a lot of time to do all that and actually experience a destination. And when David (my husband) and I travel, either alone or with other couples, I'm the coordinator and the navigator, so that adds another dimension to my duties! 


What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
My Samsung smartphone. It has all the information I need at my fingertips and takes great photos, particularly inside museums where there's low lighting. I've taken as many as 1000 photos in a day between it and my other two cameras (a small Canon that has a phenomenal 40x optical zoom and my Nikon DSLR). 


What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
The snowmobile trips I've taken with David are the most memorable for a few reasons. Our Trek Over the Top adventure, snowmobiling the 200 miles from Tok, Alaska, to Dawson City, Yukon, on the Top of the World Highway in -40 degree weather, stands out even among them, though. Trek is an international attraction that's the Yukon's premier snowmobile event. And if you like to enjoy life, the three-day weekend in Dawson City can't be beat, from the Sourtoe Cocktail (a cocktail with a mummified human toe in it that must touch your lips when you take the shot!) to historic tours of this little town that had 100,000 prospectors arrive between 1896 and 1899, hoping to make it rich during the gold rush. 


What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
Remember it's all about the journey, not just the destination--and that journey is more than transportation to somewhere new, it's a journey of the mind and soul. Pack light, leaving those preconceived ideas of where you're going behind with the 50 pound suitcase. Taste everything, do everything, leave no ideas unexplored, and you'll come back with more than a t-shirt that says "Been there...Done that." 


Find Linda's work: https://guide2travel.ca

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