Freelance Journalist Amanda Castleman specializes in travel, adventure, the environment and women's issues. Her writing and photography have appeared in MSN, Outside, Yahoo, Wired, Salon, Hemispheres, Sport Diver, Alaska Airlines Magazine and The International Herald Tribune, as well as the UK's BBC, Guardian and Sunday Express. Despite her yoga-and-yogurt tendencies, she's a former wilderness guide. Her Honduras scuba article won a Lowell Thomas award (travel writing's ersatz Pulitzer).
Amanda has contributed to 30-odd books, including Greece, A Love Story and Rome in Detail, as well as titles for National Geographic, Frommer's, Michelin, DK Eyewitness, Time Out and Rough Guides.
She's also launch-edited a Silicon-Valley startup and a British entertainment-and-current-affairs magazine chain. Amanda covers business for American Express and has consulted on SEO and marketing for companies ranging from Island Outpost to a Parisian parfumier.
American by birth, this author spent eight years in Europe. She lived on a traditional narrowboat, moored on the Oxford Canal in England. She also endured two years swilling espresso in Italy, as a Visiting Writer at the American Academy in Rome, then ranged further afield to Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. Seattle, her native city in the Pacific Northwest, is once again her home base.
Over the last two years alone, assignments have taken far afield to Kenya, Uganda, Taiwan, Thailand, Guyana, Colombia, Panama, Samoa, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, The Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea. She's also explored Utah, Vegas, British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies. Next up: two of her favorite places and former homes – England and la bella paese Italy.
She has also worked as an editor, staff writer, graphic and web designer. Amanda now teaches through Writers.com, the Richard Hugo House and Travel Writing Class.com, which next offers a week-long workshop in Rome, autumn 2012. Bring her an apple and she'll reveal the best espresso in the Eternal City...
Lago di Como, Italy
Calm as a Hurricane's Eye
Winner of the Lowell Thomas bronze, 2007, adventure writing
Road and Travel: Everything in Honduras is slow, slow as I've never experienced. Heat leaches muscle fiber, skeletal strength and all ambition. Coral sand grits under my bare feet, after the espadrilles unlace. Even the lightning pulses long and lazy on the ocean's horizon. Tropical diving downshifts yet another gear, if such a thing is possible.
At the Seashore with Medea
A Marriage Unravels in Athens
Greece, A Love Story: Plum shadows outline the Parthenon. This buttress of land, the art upon it defying time and Turkish detonations are so ancient. The moon even more so, a bruised apricot. My woes, suspended briefly between the two, have no weight.
Bears Behind Trees
Road and Travel: In Alaska, I hope to miss the forest for the bears. And indeed the state wantonly strews them everywhere: bears prowling through coastal waterfalls, bears nosing in roadside berry patches, bears charging across tidal flats.
Scuba Diving Magazine: Among the hermits and speedracers of Bonneville’s salt flats, misfit fish thrive in desert hot springs ... Read more recent publications.
Zen and the art of moped mayhem
MSN: All roads do lead to Rome, specifically to Piazza Venezia. Buses blast around the rotary, as tiny Fiats dart across the undefined lanes. It's a swirling, sucking whirlpool of metal. And I'm riding the wave bareback on a beat-up moped. This is Italian traffic, al fresco ... Read more recent publications.
Flow State: Tapping the Subconscious Grace of Palau
Sport Diver, cover story: Hundreds of red snapper swirl like a galaxy, thick enough to block sunlight. For only three days each year, they gather in this fathomless deep to spawn during a full winter moon. I arc away from the reef, spindling toward the great ball of fish, enthralled. Buffalo stampeding. Locusts swarming. My mind fumbles for a sense of scale...
Petra, Jordan: A life in ruins
Road and Travel: Hooves tattoo down the Siq, that sinuous half-mile crack of canyon. Dusk drips down the walls. Gods squat in the shadows; ancient desert lords hacked into the scarlet sandstone. We cower, alone and forsaken.
Summoning Spring in Oxford
MSNBC.com, and Road and Travel: Englands 'city of dreaming spires' sacrifices its beauty sleep to celebrate May morning ... Read more articles available for reprint.
The (Real) Truth About Beauty
New Jersey Life Health + Beauty: Like it or not, our bodies influence status, sexuality, self-identity, and social encounters. Despite all our women’s lib and meditation about inner beauty, humans remain hard-wired for Felina lingerie, not femstaches. Anyone who bucks the trend should be prepared to ride out the reverb, from wooing, to the workplace, to places of worship.
Alaskan Airlines Magazine: Pigs, chickens and children amble across the tens roads of Samoa. That’s OK; even traffic moseys in this Polynesian archipelago. Its 193,000 inhabitants still fish and farm taro, despite their day jobs. And fales – the traditional thatched, open-air pavilions – front even the swankiest of modern homes. Fa’a Samoa (the Samoan way of life) flows unabated, although TVs and mobiles chime into the mix as the nation approaches its 50th anniversary in 2012. ... Read more features.
Journey to the volcano's sapphire heart
Athens News: The blast the most powerful in human history detonated with the strength of 150 hydrogen bombs. Three-quarters of Santorini vanished, leaving only a rind, curving around a six-kilometre-wide bowl of blue ... Read more articles on Greece.
Croatia: Stone Cold Beauty
Road and Travel: After a breakup, some women binge on chocolate. Others buy shoes. I went to the Balkans: substituting wander for lust.
of the Bear
Northwest Travel Cover Story: We gave no voice to the frustration. Yes,
the man had lied about his health, hiding those telltale white pills.
And wed made a grave navigational error. But shouting accusations
would not get us out of the wilderness.
Discworld: Ultimate champions prepare to defend national titles
Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Toddlers lurch on the grass. A 41-year-old mother and punky teen sling a Frisbee disc back and forth. The scene could be any park, anywhere in America. Except these are national champions: Cat Pittack and Shannon O'Malley, members of Seattle Riot ... Read more sports stories.
Tangled up in Wild Blue
Single State of the Union: The ship slid from the dock, my dreams churning in its wake. I wanted so very badly to go, go, go, get gone from the tulip fields, the silage and sleech of Skagit Valley.
Hong Kong: Diary of a Gweipo
travelgirl:The Fragrant Island, frankly, confuses me. Capitalist guilt and it-girl greed fuse my brain. Should I nab some Louis Vuitton Epi bargains? Barter for a black-market movie? Saddle my bureau with yet another inlaid jewel box, ethically purchased from a cooperative of oppressed artists? Torn, I do the only thing conceivable: dance until dawn in a scarlet wig and pink aviator glasses ... Read more travel stories.