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.
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.
6a. 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.
8. Before Nat Geo, I worked for Lonely Planet for 15 years.
9. 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.
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.
21. 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.
28. 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.
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.
33. Oklahoma has the best shape in the world.