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

Contact

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.

199 Comments on “About Me

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  1. I love your blog! It’s full of heart and honesty; very engaging and helpful content. Glad to have stumbled upon it.

      Thank you so much for the kind words!

    Hi! My name is Chantal and I found your blog at Pinterest. I automatically fell in love. I was searching for things about South Africa because I will go there in April 2018. Can you please help me? I need some advice of you. How about money? It’s something I still don’t really get. I live in The Netherlands, I’m 19 and I’m still studying. At the moment I’m really depressed about everything, the only thing I really like and what keeps me happy, is traveling and also thinking about the South Africa trip. Is there something possible to travel more? Through the world? Without money issues…

      Sadly money makes our world go ’round, and travel does cost money. There’s no way around that, really. There are ways to help defray travel costs (looking for deals, traveling in the off-season, staying in hostels), but there’s not really a way to travel the world without any money.

      Not sure whether this reply goes to Amanda or Chantal or both. If this reply goes to Amanda and not directly Chantal, Amanda, you might tell Chantal that sometimes travel can be done pretty inexpensively. Just a thought (sorry I ramble on here)…there are some ways to afford some travel. I’ve never been outside the US except for Montreal, Nova Scotia, and South Africa (and a couple of brief transfer stops along the way to/from South Africa.) You’ve done a great job of affording it and sharing how by the choices you’ve made, Amanda, tho’ as you write, it does cost. My own two trips to South Africa (from near Boston, MA) cost me almost nothing! The 1st one came about by accident. The minister of the church I was going to had a connection with friends in South Africa. He wanted to build some connections between our church and his friends and their churches in South Africa. He recruited/encouraged a few of us. I wanted to go, but said that I could not afford it. One of the others to make the trip had so many “travel miles” from his own journeys that he gifted me enough to pay for the entire travel. The church people and other acquaintances we visited were so friendly and hospitable, and the currency exchange rates favorable enough, that my nights and meals cost very little more than what I would have spent while at home. That trip was about 13 days all told and it was in 1999.

      The 2nd trip to South Africa came about 10 years later, in 2009. In part, it came about because of the 1st trip. Rotary International had a program called “Group Study Exchange (GSE).” Rotary International has changed the program since 2009, but it looks like some districts still offer it and there are also newer options such as “New Generations Service Exchange” & “Friendship Exchange.” There is also the long-time “Youth Exchange.” Each offers different interesting kinds of opportunities with varying requirements and costs. I’ll provide more info about GSE because it’s what I know and it gives Chantal and other readers a sample of what Rotary may offer. The GSE program we did was an amazing, unique, cultural and vocational exchange opportunity for “business people” and professionals between the ages of 25 and 40 who are in the early stages of their careers. I put “business people” in quotes to highlight that the phrase need not be intimidating. The team I led included a young fellow whose first loves were surfing & photography while he supported himself by working as a sales associate in sporting goods / outdoor recreation retail store. The GSE program provided travel grants for teams to exchange visits in paired areas of different countries. For four to six weeks, team members experience the host country’s culture and institutions, observe how their vocations are practiced abroad, develop personal and professional relationships, and exchange ideas. In a typical four-week tour, applicants participate in five full days of vocational visits, 15 to 20 club presentations, 10 to 15 formal visits and social events, two to three days at a “district” conference, three to four hours per day of cultural and site tours, and three to four hours per day of free time with host families. This was all “free” (i.e., at no cost) to the team members, who need not be Rotarians! Each Rotary district picks its own destination district in exchange with that host district. I think the district presidents worked it out at the Rotary International Assembly the year before. There was an application process for the leader of the trip, who had to be a Rotarian from the local district with some experience in the destination district (and whose expenses are all paid by Rotary). And there was an application process for the young professionals. It was competitive, and I cannot believe that with my limited overall experience and just the 13-day ten-years-old prior trip, I was chosen to lead this 31-day trip. The younger non-Rotarian team members also could not believe their good fortune to go on this trip! Just for the serendipity of it, I looked up Rotary Districts in the Netherlands. There are 7. By no means do all districts conduct exchanges each year. From what I can tell in a quick search, dating all the way back to 1968-70, there have at least been GSE exchanges between districts in the Netherlands and Mississippi USA, California-Nevada, USA; the Philippines; Australia; South Africa/Swaziland; and New Zealand. I don’t know about the number and extent of Youth and other exchanges and graduate fellowships between the Netherlands & other parts of the world, but it’s definitely worth a look!

      Our younger 23-year-old son is living on a very low budget, waits on tables & bar tends for his income, but has managed to travel around the US a bit. Two trips are to Savannah (one in the past and one coming up) to cover a music festival for not much money. It does cost, but he truly does them “on the cheap” and some expenses are absorbed by the fact that he’s a very good writer, knows about bands/music and a publication is engaging him to cover the festival and write about it.

      The most important thing I want to convey here is that there are low-cost travel opportunities in unlikely places to amazing places. Chantal, just keep your eyes open, do some more research and tell others about your interest!

      BTW, Amanda, our older son went to U. of Otago for a semester + some traveling in NZ. He brought & sent back pictures and told and wrote us about his journey. That plus other reading we’ve done have convinced my wife and I that we really want to go to NZ. We hope to go next March (2019). In the course of looking for some info, I found your blog/website. It’s great. I’m so grateful to have found it! It’s chock full of interesting and useful info of all different sorts. I’ve only just begun to read so much that is here. Thank you so much for sharing so much that you have experienced and learned!

      NOTE: please feel free to edit if you choose to publish this reply. I know it’s much longer than the other replies I see. Sorry! I just got going and couldn’t stop, but I hope you found it interesting/useful.

    Inspiring! Just stumbled across your blog. You have a fan. 🙂

      Great to hear it! Welcome. 🙂

    I found your blog earlier today and have spent the morning reading through your posts. I am from the middle of nowhere Northwest Ohio and have spent the past year preparing to move to Arizona and begin my adventure. My roommate and I have started a travel blog called The Hive and are always looking for awesome lady bloggers to look up to. You definitely have become just that for us. Greetings from Ohio!

      Aww thanks so much! Good luck with the move and the new adventure!

    Your next adventure is to become an amateur radio (ham radio) operator and that will lead you to friendships and more around the world (I am just a vicarious traveler). If you are in northeastern Ohio (Christmas tree country), a lot of clubs would like you as a member – you would be in heavy demand as a Christmas dinner speaker as well ! You are living the life.

    My fiancé grew up on a Christmas tree farm east of Cleveland – perhaps that is a thing in Ohio? I think it’s cool that you’ve been able to craft your own dream lifestyle that balances work, home, and travel. I’m working towards early retirement and then hope to do something similar. I’ve danced between slow traveling internationally, getting an R.V. and traveling across the U.S., or setting up shop in my hometown and then traveling for a month or two out of the year. Still figuring it out!

      Haha, well farming in general in Ohio is pretty big business, and pine trees do grow well here! 🙂

    Hi Amanda,
    I stumbled upon your blog while searching for the best ones and I must say it is a very inspiring and entertaining blog. Cheers for that!

    As I read through the About Me page, I could agree to a lot of things but one. Normal Life. It is great that you can balance the ‘normal’ life and the life of an adventure and travel enthusiast, but Normal according to me is a very subjective term. Those who have quit their jobs never found the life they led to be normal.

    THEY’RE living a life THERE which is totally THEIRS. I am particular about grammar too.

    But anyways, this is just to say that even I may not quit my job in future and travel, but I certainly won’t call that life Normal and be calm.

    I am from India. Someone who is living a kind of normal life here but is interested in a lot of other things, including travel. Trekking, Writing, Music, to name a few. If you wish, do check out my blog someday.

    Cheers.
    Apurva
    http://www.apurvaoka.com

    I can’t fathom why there is a huge amount of bloggers and supposed SEO professionals who are actually useless
    You are now part of my weekly website bookmarks, keep up the interesting posts

      Thanks, Saul. Glad to hear I’m not useless. 🙂

    Amanda, Oh my Lord! Aside from the many beautiful things about your blog, your header image is to die for! I also love that you didn’t give up your job to travel. That’s so reassuring for us part-time nomads!

    Hey Amanda;
    Just wondering why you invited me to like your facebook page and how you found me.

    Nice blog site. Hope you enjoy ours 🙂

    Love your travel philosophy.

    Pru & family.

      Hey there! Most likely you liked something I posted on my page (perhaps a photo or link). That’s the only way I find people to invite to like my page. 🙂

    Amanda, it feels like we are the same person ))) I was passionate about Harry Potter, Lord of the rings too. I like traveling a lot. Your Alaska photos are so impressive. You inspire me to do more for my traveling.

      Glad to hear, Peter! Happy travels!

    Love the site. You’ve definitely inspired me to get up and get out! 🙂

      Love hearing that! Happy to have you here. 🙂

    Hi Amanda,
    I have been enthralled reading your blog. You are a girl after my own heart…as well as an awesome photographer.
    Could you suggest the best LOTR tours you did around Queenstown. I have so enjoyed reading all of your NZ adventures and have great respect for your views.
    Many thanks,
    Mel

      Hey Mel! Thanks so much for the lovely compliments. 🙂

      As for LOTR tours around Queenstown… I’ve mostly just done things with Red Carpet Tours, who offer multi-day LOTR-themed tours through NZ (I have a review of them if you search my site!). For shorter trips, I’ve also heard good things about the Nomad Safaris tour to Skipper’s Canyon, or their “Safari of the Scenes.”

    Your site…It’s the best travel blog I’ve seen BY FAR. So well done and that header…beautiful! Just wanted to say thank you for creating a blog that shows a woman enjoying life on her terms. Yours is definitely one I’ll share with my young daughter who, at 8, already has a serious case of wanderlust. She begged me to let her have an outdoor adventure blog of her own and we have ended up doing it together as a great way to be creative and share our love of the outdoors. You are definitely an inspiration and I’m so happy I have stumbled on to A Dangerous Business!

      Aww thank you so much, Katey! I’m glad you stumbled upon my blog, too! 🙂