36 things about Robert Reid

1. I’m a travel writer based in Portland, Oregon. This 78-second video explains more if you don’t want to read a list on 36 Things About Robert Reid:

2. Here are some of the favorite things I’ve written. I got in the New York Times a few times, also ESPN and the Wall Street Journal, but my favorite is probably this one on donkeys and Robert Louis Stevenson.

3. I’m presently the Digital Nomad for National Geographic Traveler. I’m not sure I’ve enjoyed any role more.

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4. I also make travel videos. My YouTube channel has over half a million views, and more than a handful of negative comments.

5. I represent travel brands at travel events, on TV and radio.

TBEX-rEID6a. For example, I gave a keynote on “travel experts” at TBEX 2014 in Athens. I also sort of spoke at the White House.

6b. Another time I spoke in Brooklyn about sandwiches.

7. Sometimes I get hired as a travel consultant. My idea for Maine to capitalize on the anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s Maine Woods – and his dying words – got coverage on  CBS Sunday Morning.

Read more on this project here.

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8. Before Nat Geo, I worked for Lonely Planet for 15 years.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 11.28.33 AM9. For four years, I was Lonely Planet’s US spokesperson. That got me on all sorts of TV shows, including the Today Show a few times, as well as profiled in Aroostook County’s Fiddlehead Focus.


10. One of the reasons I got that job is that I counted moustaches while crossing Russia on the Trans-Siberian in 2005. I created tables and charts to weigh Russian moustache tendencies. My trip blog got an award, of sorts, and was mentioned in an article in the New York Times on experimental travel.


11. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to count moustaches.

12. I never plan to count moustaches again.

13. I wrote a couple dozen guidebooks for Lonely Planet too, usually going for the far-flung and forgotten places: the Russian Far East, Bulgaria, Romania, Burma, Colombia, the Great Plains, Queens.

14. Once I made my own free online guidebook to Vietnam, on this blog. Honestly, it was pretty good. But it got hacked by hackers. I’m pretty sure these gals are not the hackers:


15. Sorry, I don’t know how many countries I’ve been to and I don’t really believe in bucket lists either.

16. Like nearly everyone (including my mom), I’m on social media. My Twitter account has over 40,000 followers and somehow got on Mashable’s Top 15.

17. I like Instagram more than Facebook or Pinterest.

18. Most of my YouTube channel “hits” regard my travel video series called the 76-Second Travel Show. I make it by myself (though my daughter sabotaged it once.)

19. The 76-Second Travel Show is rarely 76 seconds. My Billy Joel roadtrip episode, for instance, was about 7.6 minutes.

20. The New York Times once tried to decipher the meaning behind 76 seconds, and summing up the production as “fairly good results.” One of these days I’m going to make a lanyard out of that.

2Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 1.19.03 PM1. When New York City couldn’t bother with it, I threw the 100th birthday party for the Manhattan Bridge. It featured the first-ever Woody Guthrie-inspired folk anthem for it, as written/performed by Beau Jennings. And some really bad cake.

(By doing this, I think I accidentally created a “future magazine article” in the form of a live publishable event like Snarkmarket eloquently talks about.)

22. The 76-Second Travel Show videos led to Lonely Planet partnering with Tourism Canada. And now I’m sort of a hit in Saskatoon.

23. I don’t really take selfies, but I have used a “selfie stick” for years – for “talking head” video shots from locations like AC/DC Lane in Melbourne.

24. Incidentally, I’ve written a lot of lists. This one from 2015 is my favorite, mostly because I got to rename I-10 “The Neck Beard.”

25. I pretty much use hand-drawn charts and tables in everything I do. It’s partly because it’s fun, and partly because I don’t have much patience for digital things.

26. My blog is sort of lonely.

27a. Its most successful post is called 44 Little Travel Rules No One Tells You. It took 20 minutes to do. (Some 20 minutes’ are more productive than other 20 minutes.)

27b. My Plate of Food Travel Museum was less successful.

IMG_479928. I don’t see myself as very adventurous. Though I jumped out of a Soviet WWII paratrooper plane and “tried out” in Mountie boot camp in Saskatchewan.

29. I’m afraid I don’t know how you can become a travel writer. I’m still figuring that out myself.

30. But I believe in travel writers and publishers play an important role in the world understanding the world. I covered the Gulf Oil Spill and got on MSNBC from the beach in Pensacola, Florida. The beaches were monitored and deemed safe, and tar balls from offshore rigs had actually been floating ashore for decades. The reporter asked me, “yeah, but would YOU go in the water?” and I answered “I was in yesterday.” That’s what “travel” can and should provide: what the rest of the world, even the media world, overlooks.

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31.  Confession: I grew up in Oklahoma. I went to Oklahoma public schools for my full education life. Which explains why I never studied things like the New Deal or Joan of Arc or poetry.

32. I once got to speak 45 minutes on Oklahoma.


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33. Oklahoma has the best shape in the world.


34. I never wanted to be a nomadic traveler, but I always wanted to live abroad a bunch. I studied Russian in Moscow and St Petersburg in 1992, lived in Ho Chi Minh City in 1996-97, lived in Melbourne in 2002, lived in London in 2002-03. Along with San Francisco in New York City. I’ve been fortunate.

35. My worst vice, I think, is my love of college football. (Sometimes the best moments have nothing to do with championships.)

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 10.33.38 AM36. People talk about travel a lot, getting all serious and scholarly about why we do it. Mostly, it’s just because travel is fun.

4 Responses to 36 things about Robert Reid

  1. Angela Jane Howard says:

    The Oregon Ducks and the Ohio Buckeyes That was a great game, I felt every hit….ouch. And an Ohio fan got a sport Buckeye colored neck warmer made from an Oregon handcrafter. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Yosemite Visit with National Geographic Digital Nomad

  3. Josh says:

    Robert: I’m not sure this is the best way to contact you. I read your blog for Alaska Airline on Singapore. Just wanted to let you know there is a huge issue in Singapore about using Airbnb…check out TripAdvisor on this topic. It was declared illegal, although I’m sure many still do it…Just a heads up.l

  4. Julia Axelrod says:

    Hey Robert! I see that you are located in Oklahoma and had a Nat Geo story idea for you as I rep cannabis retail chain Cali Roots who just opened their fifth location in Edmond, with four other successful locations in OK City, Stillwater, Nicolas Hills, Oklahoma City, and Norman. OK has become a leading state in the cannabis industry and think taking a look into that and what it means for neighboring states and the rest of the country is interesting. Cali Roots is also a seed to sale operation and have a very good grip on the industry as one of the founders is a master grower, the other is very tied to local & national policy, while the third handles their multi-state business as they also have locations and brands in CA. Would love to discuss further! –

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