In Xizhou, Yunnan, China, with two elderly women.

Photo by Bessie Hwang

I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself so you know who you might be traveling with.

In 1974 I was a wife and mother working full-time as a secretary for a land developer. Then my parents, God bless them, gave me a good camera and a trip to Kenya and Tanzania. I was hooked! Travel and photography became my passion.

I wrote an article about my safari and doggedly sent it to magazines until, two years and 14 rejections later, New Woman magazine published it. Thus encouraged, I continued to travel, take pictures, and write about my adventures while working my way up into a management position with an environmental consulting firm.

Suddenly and unexpectedly laid off in 1985, I decided it was a good time to change careers and follow my dream. By then I was pretty well established as a professional photojournalist, so I decided to “take my show on the road,” so to speak. I began planning trips and escorting groups to parts of the world I wanted to see, but couldn’t afford to visit. I enjoyed the research, I liked writing and designing the tour brochures, I enjoyed the camaraderie of being part of a group sharing a common interest — and I absolutely loved the travel and photography aspect. What a dream job!

I’ve since given up the writing (too much work, too little pay), after 160 articles for magazines such as Travel & Leisure, Travel Holiday, Westways, Delta Sky, and Tours & Resorts. Now you might see my photography in National Geographic Traveler, International Wildlife, and other travel and wildlife-related publications. I also license my images to tour operators for use in their brochures — Mountain Travel-Sobek, Geographic Expeditions, Overseas Adventure Travel, Wilderness Travel, and others. And my work is represented by several stock photo agencies.

I've now visited 130 countries on all seven continents and am in my 36th year of planning and escorting tours worldwide. So many countries, so little time . . .


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