As a child, travel journalist Mark Chesnut often dodged discomfort by hopping on the nearest plane, train or bus. Raised by a single mother in New York State and navigating the world as a young gay boy in the 1970s, he is the first to admit that he often turned to travel as both a physical — and figurative — escape.
From creating imaginary airlines to “gate raiding” at local airports and posing as a female travel agent to get free airplane posters, Chesnut has long used his enthusiasm about travel to tap into his creativity — a skill that he puts to daily use while working as an award-winning freelance travel writer for publications such as HuffPost (formerly The Huffington Post), Forbes Travel Guide, Travel Weekly and TravelAge West, among others.
In this episode of Humans of Travel, Chesnut takes listeners along on his journey toward radical self-acceptance. He describes the challenges of coming out to his traditional-but-supportive mother, his transformative trips across the globe and how, through persistence, he was able to turn his passions into a career. We’ll also hear about how Chesnut’s role as a travel writer has shifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how he has dealt with the rise of “travel shaming.”
Note: Chesnut’s memoir, tentatively titled “Prepare for Departure: A Travel Writer’s Notes on Life, Death and Growing Up Different,” will be published by Vine Leaves Press. It will be available for pre-order in May 2022.
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Latin Flyer Travel Blog: LatinFlyer.com
ABOUT YOUR HOST
Emma Weissmann is Senior Editor of TravelAge West, a print and online magazine for travel advisors based in the Western U.S. She is also the co-host of Trade Secrets, a podcast created with sister publication Travel Weekly.
TravelAge West also produces national trade publications Explorer and Family Getaways, as well as events including the Future Leaders in Travel Retreat, Global Travel Marketplace West, the WAVE Awards gala and the Napa Valley Leadership Forum.
ABOUT THE SHOW
TravelAge West’s podcast, “Humans of Travel,” features conversations with exceptional people who have compelling stories to tell. Listeners will hear from the travel industry’s notable authorities, high-profile executives, travel advisors and rising stars as they share the experiences — the highs and the lows — that make them human.
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