I’m glad you’re here! Read on to learn a little bit more about me and what I do.
I am an award-winning writer, photographer, and teacher. I am also a traveler, by either heart or experience (sometimes I’m not sure which!) and I abide by a globally-minded feminist ethos in everything I do: by living carefully, living mindfully, and living compassionately. I write to inspire, to have fun, to catch interesting details and share them, to notice beautiful people, places, and experiences, to find beauty in the world where I can, and to teach other travelers to respect the places they tread and to think critically about the privilege of a traveling life.
This is why I write – to inspire and be inspired, to ask questions about how and why we travel, to find beauty in our complex world, and to never give up the childlike wonder of traveling. I’m an interesting case–I love to think about travel and writing almost as much I love actually doing the traveling and the writing.
What’s My Story?
Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, the furthest I traveled was to California (once, I think, for my aunt and uncle’s wedding) and to New York (and then Florida!) to visit my grandma. My penchant for travel arrived, quite unexpectedly, during my college years at the University of Georgia: after a summer-abroad program that took me to the shores of lovely Valencia, Spain, I decided to pack up and move to the very small, intensely gorgeous Mediterranean island of Malta to work at an international English school, where I fell madly in love with Mediterranean pizza, the Maltese language, and my international cohort of teachers (many of whom I still travel with today!).
After graduating from college, I accepted a position as a visiting English instructor at a university in Cartagena, Colombia, where I learned to love empanadas, García Marquéz, dancing (though I’ve still got two left feet), and, a little bit unexpectedly, teaching.
I completed my MFA in Creative Nonfiction (with an emphasis in travel writing) from the University of Arizona in 2009 while teaching writing courses to undergraduates and working as the nonfiction editor for Sonora Review, our national literary magazine. A year later, I decided I wanted to know more about writing and how people actually learned to write, so I decided to pursue my graduate degree in Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English and graduated in August 2015. As a writer who can’t get away from the rhetoric of place and who loves digital media, I wrote my dissertation on professional travel bloggers and how they adopt or reject the concept of Dean MacCannell’s “tourist gaze” in their writing, photography, and videography. If you’re into such scholarly things, I invite you to read more about my scholarly work here on my site.
For three years after that, my husband (who, you guessed it, is a fellow writer and teacher) and I moved to Florida, where we taught at a small liberal arts college and had our first baby, Riley James. Though we learned to love the swamplands of Florida, we didn’t love the politics that came along with teaching in a small college, so last year, the three of us packed up and moved back to the Sonoran Desert. Now, I’m back at our alma mater, teaching in the program that helped shape me as a writer in the first place!
Living in the Sonoran Desert is interesting, that’s for sure. It’s both magical and frustrating (and, let’s face it, hot), depending on the day, but most of the time, we love it. When we aren’t working, we like to take quick jaunts down to Mexico for the weekend with our fellow writer friends for fresh mangoes, sandy beaches, and lots of Spanish. I, of course, do lots of the talking (and I love every minute of it). We’re also teaching our little guy, Riley, who just turned one year old, to love the world as much as we do (see the details about my current life & times below ⬇️ ⬇️).
In addition to keeping up with my website, teaching, working on a few media campaigns and sponsored trips each year, I spend my free time writing for a number of blogs, in-flight magazines, and literary journals. And I LOVE doing this kind of work – I love thinking about my responsibility as a traveler and my capabilities (as well as limitations) that come with this privileged and amazing work. I hope that comes through in my writing.
Where Am I Now?
At the moment, I live with my husband Ryan, who is an artist, a graphic novelist, and a poet (check out his co-run literary journal of experimental poetry, The Offending Adam), and our one-year-old son, Riley. We share our home with two fabulous furry friends, an orange tabby named Giuseppe and a big gray pixiebob named Luigi (both of whom were wild kitties when we adopted them). We have no idea what the future holds for us, but with me as the spontaneous extravert, Ryan as the more stay-at-home bookworm, and Riley as the newest addition to the group, I’m sure we’ll land in exactly the right place!
Where Have I Traveled?
Since I studied abroad in Spain during college ten years ago, I have made enough money scrimping by, taking part-time jobs, and working as a freelance writer to travel to over 35 different countries. That number still amazes me. As someone who is not at all wealthy or getting someone else to foot my travel habit bill, I am humbled and honored to do this work I do–and I hope it carries me through for the rest of my life.
I’ve spent time living and teaching in Europe and South America, and I’ve traveled throughout North America, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. There’s still so, so much more to see.
What Do I Believe About Travel?
I am, first and foremost, an independent traveler (although I do participate in a few media trips a few times a year). I believe in traveling slowly, in savoring moments, in trying out new languages, in getting lost for no particular reason, in visiting those little-known places, in leaving positive impressions, in finding laughter in unexpected encounters. I believe in participation, in immersion, in confusion, in giving up what we can to gain the beauty of new experience, and in looking forward to those unexpected meaningful, memorable moments that happen when we simply let go and live. I believe in learning about local foods, working sustainability to leave small footprints, and connecting with local communities.
And I am committed to helping other curious people believe that they, too, can make their dreams come true.
And I can’t wait to meet you and hear about your journey, too! Email me at kristin [at] kristinwinet [dot] com if you’d like to chat, get some advice on traveling, or just share tips, books, or awesome resources. I’d love to hear from you!
Yours in travel,