About Me

Amanda headshot

“It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to.”

— J.R.R. Tolkien

No matter how much we like to control and predict things about our lives, the fact is that traveling is often unpredictable. It's surprising and messy and beautiful all at the same time.

I really identify with the above Tolkien quote – when you travel, you really never know what might happen! – and took inspiration from it for the name of my site.

Who am I?

My name is Amanda, and I like to travel.

Oh, you already figured that part out? Okay then. Here's the brief history of my life:

I grew up on a Christmas tree farm in a small Ohio town with a good football team and even better marching band (go Raiders!). Nothing incredibly exciting happened there, except for the time in the early 90s when my neighbor (who was a mob boss) got shot and killed in his driveway.

I was the geeky, smart kid in school. I liked horses and books and Harry Potter. I did competitive gymnastics and auditioned for school musicals. I wore a lot of tie-dye and teal mascara.

Amanda headshot

It was in high school that I decided that I wanted to travel. I was obsessed with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and vowed that I would save my money so that I could go to New Zealand after I graduated. I ended up going to New Zealand with my mom for two weeks in 2005, and I've been swatting at that pesky travel bug ever since.

Since that first big adventure abroad in 2005, I have been to more than 60 countries on 6 continents, and am always on the lookout for my next big adventure.

BUT, I'm not a full-time traveler or “digital nomad.” In fact, ever since I started this blog in 2010, I've either been working full-time, in school full-time, or working/freelancing from a home base in Ohio. As much as I love traveling and having adventures, I also enjoy coming home to sleep in my own bed, drive my own car, and cuddle with my kitty (and I guess my husband, too).

(I did try to be a digital nomad once, but it didn't end well.)

When it comes to travel, there's no “best” or “right” way to do it. You could fly 10,000 miles to have an adventure, or you could simply walk down the street and discover something new. Unlike some travel bloggers, I've never given up my “normal” life to travel long-term.

And guess what? You don't have to, either. You don't have to quit your job or leave your loved ones behind indefinitely in order to be a traveler. And hopefully this site and my stories will convince you of that.

(Check out my 10-Day Adventure Project, where I focus on amazing trips you can take with 2 weeks or less of vacation time.)

Amanda headshot

Some more fun facts about me:

The important things:

  • I have a journalism degree under my belt, which I hope to one day use to rid the world of bad grammar and “there, their, they're” confusion.
  • I also have a master's degree in hospitality and tourism management.
  • I have a minor in German, but can't speak it very well at all.
  • I like to consider myself to be mildly adventurous and open to new things (though not necessarily when it comes to food).
  • I live near Cleveland, Ohio, and love the city; I love it so much that I started a second blog about it: Cleveland Traveler

The less important (but probably more interesting) things:

  • Before I was a blogger, I worked full-time at a newspaper as a copy and layout editor; I started out editing obituaries.
  • I love the scent of freshly-cut grass.
  • I have been bungee jumping five times, and am always up for doing it again.
  • I took Irish Step Dancing lessons in high school.
  • I really hate all things “Twilight.” (See here if you do, too.)
  • To contradict the previous statement, I like chick flicks, no matter how corny or predictable they are.
  • I can write my name upside down.
  • I like crossing things off lists (like my bucket list).
  • I am awful at video games.
  • I have a ginger cat named Weasley.
Amanda headshot

Read these posts

Want to get to know me EVEN BETTER? Check out these posts:

And go check out my travel timeline if you're curious about where I've been!

What is A Dangerous Business?

A Dangerous Business is a travel blog that was begun in 2010 because I was bored at work. I was working as a copy editor at a newspaper at the time, and really needed a creative outlet. My blog was purely a hobby for the first few years of its existence, but I began looking at it as a potential business by the time I decided to go back to school to get my master's degree.

After getting my master's in tourism management in 2013, I decided to only work part-time and focus more on my blog. I went full-time as a blogger in late 2015.

Today, A Dangerous Business is one of the top travel blogs on the internet, getting more than 250,000 visitors per month and being promoted to an audience of more than 100,000 followers on social media. I've partnered with brands and destinations all around the world (learn more on my Work With Me page), have spoken at conferences and events like the New York Times Travel Show and TravelCon, and have been featured on sites like Travelzoo, The Huffington Post, and USA Today Travel.

In 2021, A Dangerous Business was awarded a Gold Award for Best Travel Blog in the 2020-21 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition, which is hosted annually by the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). ADB had previously won the Silver award in the same category in 2018.

The main goal of A Dangerous Business is to show people how to fit more travel into the lifestyle they already have. I cover global destinations and bucket list-style trips, and always focus on how people can realistically replicate these adventures themselves.

I'm also a big proponent of responsible tourism. If you want to learn more about my own pledges towards sustainability, check out my environmental disclosure.

Amanda headshot


Want to get in touch with me? Here's how:

You can email me at adangerousbusiness [at] gmail [dot] com, or fill out my contact form.

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Other fun stuff

Want to know where all in the world I've been? Check out my Destinations page, or my Travel Timeline.

Want to know what goes in my backpack or suitcase? Check out my Packing List page! It lists all my favorite gear, and is also where you'll find my trip- and destination-specific packing lists.

Curious about where I turn to search for flights or book a hotel? Head over to my Travel Resources page for lots of great tips and secrets.

Want the low-down on my favorite places to stay all around the world? Find my personal recommendations on my Where to Stay page.

And, lastly, if you'd like to work with me in some way, check out my Work With Me page.

*Note: My new headshots (which you'll see throughout the site, including on this page) were taken by the super-talented Jessie of Jadie Foto. The watercolor illustration you'll find behind my new newsletter sign-up box was done by the lovely Candace Rose Rardon.

205 Comments on “About Me

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  1. Hello! I found your blog while researching an upcoming trip to Spain and Portugal. I wanted you to know how much I love your travel writing. Another thing I really appreciate is how easy it is to read and not be interrupted by heaps of pop up ads. I have been to blogs where there so many pop ups I simply move on and find information elsewhere. Thanks so much for that and sharing your wonderful adventures. I have bookmarked your blog and I’m sure I’ll be using it again and again.
    Yours in travel,
    Diane Sanderbeck

    Hi Amanda, I noticed that you have been to Sintra Portugal. A few questions:

    We (two senior couples) are going to be in Lisbon in mid October. We want to spend a day in Sintra and see the sights including the Pena Palace. We have a rent-a-car but we’re told that parking in Sintra is very difficult. One of our group can walk but doesn’t do well with hills and too much walking. We talked to a tour guide with a mini bus but he told us that he can’t go to the doors of the sites, just the main entrance (quite a walk from there). We also contacted a Tuk Tuk, but they had the same issues.

    What do you recommend?

      Hi Jeff! Hopefully you’ll see this response! I assume you already read my post about Sintra (https://www.dangerous-business.com/sintra-day-trip/). In that, I definitely agree that you probably don’t want to drive to Sintra, as it’s very hard to find parking and would still require lots of walking. For Pena Palace, it’s true that any tours or private drivers would only be able to drop you off at the entrance, which is at the bottom of a big hill. Pena Palace does offer a shuttle from the park entrance up to the palace entrance, though, which sounds like it would be what you need. I believe it runs every 15 minutes, and costs an additional 2 or 3 Euro per person to ride.

    I’d like to do your 10-day Southwest US itinerary, can it be done in Winter (Dec 25-Jan 2, specifically)?

      It can be, yes, but note that there’s a chance you may run into snow/ice in places like the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce (it will definitely be cold at Bryce!). Generally all the parks are open, though, unless a really big snow storm comes through. I would book hotels in advance, though, as that’s actually a popular week to travel in the Southwest!

    Dear Amanda,
    I found your -3 Days in Lisbon -itinerary very informative and helpful.
    Planning to visit Madeira (through the Lis) in October and hope your advises will help me to have my short stay in Lisbon very productive.Thank you very much.Best,Valeria Los Angeles

    Enjoyed your blog on Florida Keys 7 day trip immensely. Long ways from ALBERTA but now on bucket list. Thank you.

    Hi Ananda
    I too gave done a solo travelling a lot I’ve visited places like

    I happened upon your blog when I did a quick search about Scottsdale. I really enjoyed your style of writing, and the Tolkien quote got me too! I miss You have a new subscriber!

    Thinking about retrireing in Belize. Could use your help.

      I’m just a travel writer. I’m afraid I cannot give any advice on moving to/living in Belize, because that’s not an area of expertise for me.

    How long does it take for the download info to come to my email? I’ve done it twice and so far nothing.
    thank you, in advance, for your help.
    It’s the 12 itinerary for the great plains, Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas
    SarahLynn Lunderman

      Hi Sarah! It’s usually automatic, but sometimes the confirmation email can get caught up in spam filters. If you can’t find it there, shoot me an email ([email protected]) and I can send the PDF to you.

    You are so very helpful and give great practical information. Thank you! are planning driving tour of the southwest. About two weeks of driving and seeing mostly national parks in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. We have an itinerary but would like to map it out for timing. Do you know if there is a free place to actually do this and get the mapped itinerary, not just a listed itinerary?

      I would probably just start with Google Maps, to be honest! It’s the easiest way to get an idea on timing. As for mapping something out that you can take with you, look into AAA’s TripTik. These used to be printed things you could get from AAA, but now they have a site and even a phone app. I’m not sure if they’re free to use, but you could try it out!

    I love the way you write – very genuine, and I’m definitely going to follow your advice for Zion!