Deb­bie Stone Travel Writer and Colum­nist

Luxe Beat Magazine - - News -

his month we are fea­tur­ing Deb­bie Stone, whose work has ap­peared in a va­ri­ety of pub­li­ca­tions, rang­ing from news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines to travel-re­lated web­sites. Ad­di­tion­ally, she has served as a travel spe­cial­ist for the Npr-af­fil­i­ated, talk ra­dio show, “2 Boomer Babes,” as well as for lo­cal T.V. sta­tions in Albuquerque, New Mex­ico. She also writes a monthly travel col­umn for Luxe Beat Mag­a­zine called Put a Pin in it!

Deb­bie came to travel writ­ing af­ter work­ing in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ca­reers: as a play and dance ther­a­pist, an ESL teacher (both in the U.S. and abroad), an air­line sales and pub­lic re­la­tions rep, an adult ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion in­struc­tor and a news­pa­per re­porter. It was while she was a jour­nal­ist liv­ing in Seat­tle that she be­gan dip­ping my toe in the travel writ­ing waters. Thanks to the en­cour­age­ment of her ed­i­tor, she started to pur­sue travel writ­ing in earnest. That was fif­teen plus years ago, and Deb­bie is happy to say that she con­tin­ues to be fully en­gaged in the pro­fes­sion to­day. It is work that ex­cites and stim­u­lates her and it al­lows her to ex­plore the globe in search of unique des­ti­na­tions and ex­pe­ri­ences to share with her read­ers. Deb­bie views her­self as an avid ad­ven­turer who wel­comes new op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­crease aware­ness and en­thu­si­asm for travel and cross­cul­tural con­nec­tions.

How did you dis­cover your love for travel?

My love for travel was ig­nited early on, when I was just a young girl, by my mother whose pas­sion for adventure proved to be con­ta­gious. I was for­tu­nate that my fam­ily went on many va­ca­tions, as these trips in­tro­duced me to a world out­side my childhood home in Chicago. Travel opened my mind, ex­tended my aware­ness and gave me an ed­u­ca­tion I could never have re­ceived from books. I sought op­por­tu­ni­ties to con­tinue trav­el­ing when I was in col­lege and in later years, choos­ing to study, work and vol­un­teer abroad when­ever pos­si­ble. As a par­ent, I made travel an im­por­tant part of my kids’ lives, with the goal of pass­ing on my love of adventure, my cu­rios­ity and my ex­plorer genes to them. Writ­ing is my pri­mary pas­sion as I feel I can com­mu­ni­cate more ef­fec­tively in words, plus I have al­ways loved the writ­ten word so I nat­u­rally grav­i­tated to this form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. I do, how­ever, take all of my travel pho­tos for my sto­ries, re­al­iz­ing that some­times a pic­ture is equally or even more equipped at telling a story.

De­scribe your writ­ing process.

I carry a small note­book with me when I travel and jot down my im­pres­sions, feel­ings, nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion, etc. I even use it to sketch cer­tain places and peo­ple. When I get home, I go through the in­for­ma­tion I have gath­ered, along with a few spe­cial mementos I have col­lected, my notes, pho­tos, etc. and use ev­ery­thing to craft my story. I write while the mem­o­ries are still fresh, yet I also give my­self some time to di­gest the ex­pe­ri­ences. I typ­i­cally de­sign a rough out­line of the story, hav­ing de­cided the fo­cus with the au­di­ence in mind, and then I get to work. I write in my home of­fice, which is a room dec­o­rated with items and pho­tos from my many trav­els. It sets the stage for my cre­ative process. I usually com­plete a story within a day or two, as I am dis­ci­plined to com­plete the as­sign­ment quickly through my ex­pe­ri­ence as news­pa­per re­porter. Then I wait a day be­fore I look at the ar­ti­cle again, with fresh eyes, make the nec­es­sary corrections/ ad­di­tions, etc. I choose des­ti­na­tions that ap­peal to my in­ter­ests at the time, whether they are cul­tural, his­tor­i­cal, wildlife, adventure, culi­nary, etc. I also choose places and modes of travel that I think will ap­peal to my read­ers, which range from high-pow­ered pro­fes­sion­als and ac­tive re­tirees to solo trav­el­ers and fam­i­lies with young kids. Lately, I have been try­ing to pick some far-flung des­ti­na­tions to sat­isfy my bucket list/dream lo­cales, like Antarc­tica, In­dia and the Amazon. How­ever, I re­cently chose to ex­plore a small, rel­a­tively un­known place in south­east­ern Wy­oming, as I wanted to write about a des­ti­na­tion that I know most peo­ple had never heard of, let alone vis­ited. There’s some­thing spe­cial about dis­cov­er­ing such a place and feel­ing like you are one of the few writers to cap­ture its beauty.

If you could be any­one else, who would you be?

I would love to be a cul­tural an­thro­pol­o­gist like Mar­garet Mead, who went to live among peo­ple in eso­teric parts of the world to try and un­der­stand and doc­u­ment their cul­tures. I en­joy writ­ing about lux­ury be­cause it brings me in con­tact with some of the best prop­er­ties, finest food/ wine of­fer­ings and top-of-the-line ex­pe­ri­ences. It’s an ex­cit­ing and fas­ci­nat­ing world with a high drool­wor­thy fac­tor that is ir­re­sistible in its pull.

Where do you see the lux­ury mar­ket go­ing?

The busi­ness of lux­ury con­tin­ues to change and evolve, as peo­ple’s hunger for new and more lux­u­ri­ous ex­pe­ri­ences grows, along with tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances. The bar keeps on ris­ing, which forces those in the in­dus­try to be on their toes, con­stantly think­ing of how to meet and ex­ceed the ex­pec­ta­tions of the very wealthy con­sumer. It’s ex­cit­ing to see the in­no­va­tive re­sults that oc­cur in this mar­ket. I have so many fa­vorites, but one of the stand­outs has to be trekking through Nepal with Dr. An­to­nia Neubauer, founder of READ (Ru­ral Ed­u­ca­tion and De­vel­op­ment) and founder and pres­i­dent of the cul­tural tour com­pany, Myths and Moun­tains. Vis­it­ing the many small li­brary com­mu­nity cen­ters that Toni and her non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion have helped to cre­ate within these tiny moun­tain vil­lages was an in­cred­i­bly unique and eye-open­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It brought home the re­al­iza­tion of the im­por­tance of such fa­cil­i­ties as cat­a­lysts for ru­ral de­vel­op­ment. As we vis­ited these places, the vil­lagers would line up to greet us and spend hours re­gal­ing us with sto­ries of how the li­braries and cen­ters were helping to make pos­i­tive changes in their lives and the lives of their chil­dren.

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