Writer and Photographer Amanda Castleman specializes in travel, adventure, pop culture and the environment. Her work has appeared in MSN, Outside, Islands, Yahoo, Wired, Salon, BBC Travel, Hemispheres, Sport Diver, Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, Alaska Airlines Magazine and The International Herald Tribune, as well as the 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.
American by birth, this author spent eight years in Europe, after earning a B.A. in Latin and Classical Studies. 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 few years alone, assignments have taken her far afield to Grenada, Bonaire, Brazil, Guyana, Colombia, Panama, Spain, France, Italy, Scotland, England, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Kenya, Uganda, Taiwan, Thailand, Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, The Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea. Two recent favorite trips let her deep sea fish in Alaska and scuba dive with migrating salmon in British Columbia. She also held a writer's residency at the Mineral School near Mount Rainier, WA.
Amanda has launch-edited a Silicon-Valley startup and a British entertainment-and-current-affairs magazine chain. She covers business for American Express's magazine and has consulted on SEO and marketing for companies ranging from Island Outpost to a Parisian parfumier. She recently captained the rebrand of Writers.com, the Internet's first writing school.
She has also worked as an editor, staff writer, graphic and web designer. Amanda now teaches a Travel Writing Master Class online and a week-long workshop in Rome, next occuring in spring 2017. 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.
Sea to Sky
Delta Sky: Whether its via land, lake, sea or slope, adventures abound in Seattle’s big, beautiful backyard.
The Afar Guide to Dominica
Afar, January 2016
Go soon, while the spectacular trails, dive sites, and waterfall grottos of Dominica ("Dom-in-EEK-a") remain uncrowded!
The quietest place in the US
BBC Travel: (Photos and text) Natural noises flow undisturbed by humans for quarter-hour stretches here. In fact, the park ranks first among the last dozen places like this in the continental United States. Nowhere in Europe does quiet – the undisturbed heartbeat of the land and its animals – still reign to such an extent. Activists are now pushing to make the Hoh the world’s first quiet zone, the sonic equivalent of a Dark Sky Reserve, by the park system’s centennial in 2016.
Somebody’s Nonna: Sharing Space and Time With Seatmates
APEX Experience Magazine: My essay on holiday travel and compassion fatigue kicked off Afar's Good Reads column for 2017!
Guyana: Running Naked in Paradise
Travelgirl Magazine, photos and text: From baby-cradle water lilies to stretch-limo river otters, South America’s only English-speaking country surprises. But can it push further – protecting its tropical rainforest and indigenous culture – with a clever carbon-offsetting plan?
In Pictures: Happy 50th Birthday, Dear Kenya
Yahoo: A slideshow of my images from the Maasai Mara, Samburu and Diani Beach.
Eyeball to eyeball with Canada’s migrating salmon
My brain froze as I submerged into the cold water of British Columbia’s Shuswap Lake. But the discomfort paled as I watched sockeye salmon – hundreds of cherry-tinted fish with moss-green heads – turn overhead like a kaleidoscope. At the end of an epic 4,000km journey, they were waiting to swim the final leg upstream to spawn and die.
Sailing into Polynesia’s heart by cargo ship
Travelgirl Magazine, text and photos: The Aranui moves purposefully among the islands, but I’m adrift. Seven years out of a catastrophic marriage, I still apologize to cupboard doors when I slam them too hard. It’s tedious — for me and for the love of my life, a wonderful man who doesn’t deserve this inheritance of mistrust and uncertainty.
Live & Learn
GEICO Now: Bring a sense of adventure and discovery to your next vacation with workshops that stretch your skills, from the kitchen to the corral and even the circus tent.
Contraband Cuisine: Why Pork May Be the Number One Threat to American Borders
Bon Appetit: Pigs always make customs officer Chris R. Richards’s blood run cold.
He can confiscate bush meat, $5,000 bird nests—even grave dirt—without much drama. But anything involving pork tends to get heated…and to skid quickly toward combustion.
“Take away their ham, and people shout, bang the table, and throw things," he says.
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... Read more travel stories.
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... Read more dive coverage.