A sample of recently published works:

You Should Go to Croatia, Just for the Art. Here’s Why.

Happening upon a local artist at work.

Like most first-time visitors to Croatia, my eyes were fixated on the cool blue Adriatic. My husband and I dreamed of gliding along the coast, from Venetian-flavored Istria to sunny southern Dalmatia. Ferry hopping from one beautiful island to another was the lone agenda. foray into the fascinating world of podcasting. Keep reading…


Here’s my recent segment for Native Traveler on Sirius XM Canada:

Native Traveler podcast for Sirius XM Canada features Jess Simpson of aGypsyGene.

Housesitting in Southern Spain

Today at 7am ET: Liz is joined by guests Jess Simpson of AGypsyGene, Nomadic Matt& Dani of Globetrottergirls for an amazing show on the art of budget travel. Tune in to SXM Canada Talks channel 167 for tips, tricks, and travel inspiration! Listen here.



Bi-weekly column for Paste Travel, April 2017:
Pro Tips for Solo Travel

Working on a few stamps, in Milan, Italy.


Solo travelers know every journey encompasses a world of emotions, from exhilaration and liberation to fear and loneliness. Being out in the world without companionship allows us to connect more deeply to the type of traveler we want to be, on our own terms and timeline. Keep reading…



Feature story for Paste magazine, February 2017:
Immersion: Liverpool, England

There’s a famous quote about Liverpool from music writer and native son Paul Du Noyer that rings true today more than ever.

“Liverpool is a busker, deep down…When all else fails—and sometimes it does—this town will sing for its supper.”

From glory days as a shipping powerhouse during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when millions of immigrants arrived in search of work, to serving as a strategic hub during WWII, followed by post-industrial decline, Liverpool has soared high and fallen low.

Keep reading…

Bi-weekly column for Paste Travel, February 2017:

Travel Secrets: Love & Travel

Every couple remembers the first vacation together. The mutual decision to step outside hectic daily life and invest in intimate time can be a potent bonder and aphrodisiac. Travel has the power to bring new lovers as well as long-time partners closer and propel the relationship to a new level.

Keep reading…

Bi-weekly column for Paste Travel, January 2017:
Travel Secrets: Winter Wellness

Many of us skid into vacation with tires squealing. For weeks prior, we move at full speed to prep work and home life, sometimes just to enjoy one week away. What does this have to do with winter wellness? Everything. Stress, along with its ever-faithful companions—sleeplessness and poor diet—can weaken the immune system making us more vulnerable to sickness, especially during winter cold and flu season. Case in point: Zicam CEO M’lou Walker says the company recently surveyed U.S. travelers and found an astonishing 82% report getting sick while on vacation.

Keep reading…

Bi-weekly column for Paste Travel, January 2017:
Travel Secrets: Stay Connected

No topic animates pro travelers quite like this one. Sure, we love to share tales of hidden beaches and breathtaking hiking trails. But if you want to engage an adventurer in deep conversation, ask this question: What cellular and data plan do you use?

Keep reading…

Bi-weekly column for Paste Travel, December 2016:
Travel Secrets: Mindful Journeys

As we close the door on a year packed with relentless absurdity and unthinkable tragedy, most of us long for an escape hatch. We need a vacation. Not a trip where the travel glow fades as the return flight touches down. Like never before, many of us yearn for transformative journeys.

Keep reading…

Bi-weekly column for Paste Travel, December 2016:
Travel Secrets: Understand  Your Flight Rights

You’re standing in the middle of the airport with the word “Cancelled” flashing on the big rotating flight board in front of you. What now?

Travelers this holiday season will ask that question as delays and cancellations become more routine and luggage fails to appear on carousels. Even frequent flyers can feel lost when things go awry in that alternative universe known as “the airport.”

Keep reading…

Bi-weekly column for Paste Travel, November 2016:
Travel Secrets: The Holidays

Here we are, on the other side of a nerve-frazzling election season. Now is time to focus on the calendar’s next stress-inducer: the Holiday Season. This is the time when we gather around a table to engage in pleasantries with relatives we’ve spent the previous months engaging in far-from-pleasant political debate. Oh … the joy.

Keep reading…

Travel Feature for Paste magazine, November 2016:
What Thailand’s Year of Mourning Means for Visitors

His Royal Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand was often described as a “father figure.” He came to the throne in 1932, making him the world’s longest reigning monarch at time of death two months ago, Oct. 13.

The royal role was largely ceremonial, with few official political duties, which allowed the King to serve as a unifier in troubled times. As Al Jazeera recently summarized, during his reign, Thailand witnessed 19 coup attempts, including another government overthrow in 2014.

Keep reading…

Bi-weekly column for Paste Travel, November 2016:
Travel Secrets: Pack Like a Pro

Poet and musician Sharrif Simmons recalls a trip to Paris when he lugged around what he dubs, “a small apartment.” His suitcase was so overstuffed and unmanageable, it induced belly laughs among travel companions.

Most of us have a similar story—usually more than one. We can laugh at each other’s trip packing failures and we can also learn from those mistakes, like Simmons who now says “essentials only” is his motto.

Keep reading…

Bi-weekly column for Paste Travel, October 2016:
Travel Secrets: Make Your Money Go Further

Previously in this Travel Secrets column, we discussed ways to stretch every hard earned dollar while planning for a trip. This week, our focus is on making every dollar go further in the magical midst of travel.

Keep reading…

Bi-weekly column for Paste Travel, October 2016:
Travel Secrets: Trip-Planning to Make Every Dollar Count

Photo courtesy of Paste Travel.

Photo courtesy of Paste Travel.

A recent blue sky day in Milan’s Sempione Park prompted one of my travel companions to say, “You know, travel is the only expenditure that truly makes us richer.” That’s perhaps not a surprising philosophy coming from Laura, who happens to be a life coach dedicated to helping people evaluate their relationship with money and value. Keep reading…



Feature Column for Paste Travel, September 2016:
Travel Secrets: Protect Your Most Valuable Asset, Your Health

Sickness and Injury. Hardly sexy topics when it comes to travel. Yet anyone who has been waylaid with a bug or worse, or had an accident, while far from home is sure to give healthcare a premium spot on any trip’s checklist. Keep reading…

Feature Column for Paste Travel, September 2016:
Travel Secrets: Breaking Bread Around the World

Photo courtesy of EatAway.

Photo courtesy of EatAway.

For most travelers the experiences we remember most vividly are when we connect with locals. Swapping stories with a shop owner. Learning the area’s history while trekking with a native guide. Or simply solving the world’s problems from atop a stool beside a bar’s regulars.

These are the experiences that stick, providing insight into what drives a place and its people. Thanks to a new breed of “experience-sharing” companies, like-minded locals and travelers are finding it easier than ever to connect through one of the world’s most unifying passions: food. Keep reading…

Feature Column for Paste Travel, August 2016:
Travel Secrets: The World’s New Sharing Economy
Just as Airbnb has changed where we sleep when traveling, tech-driven start-ups are impacting the way we journey and explore destinations. From bus transportation to boat excursions, “sharing,” is the new “moving.”. Keep reading…

Feature for Mental Floss magazine, August 2016:
10 Destinations Too Popular for Their Own Good
From Peru to China, Italy to Antarctica, an over-abundance of tourism is causing havoc on resources. The swell of travelers has created the need for greater infrastructure: more flights, lodging, roads, and trash disposal. That means a growing number of destinations have been forced to make difficult yet strategically important decisions to balance present demand and economic gain with future sustainability. Keep reading…

Feature for Paste Travel, 07/27/16:
Travel Secrets: Navigating Red Tape Around the World

Photo courtesy of Paste Travel.

Photo courtesy of Paste Travel.

Embarking on a gap year or sabbatical to explore the world is the ultimate dream of the travel-obsessed. It’s a fantasy filled with adventure and discovery. Yet anyone who has pursued the dream knows the reality isn’t all champagne and sunsets.

Once fears of employment gaps, disappearing savings, and separation from family and friends are under control, then the challenge of actual travel begins. Let’s call it “red tape reality.” Keep reading…

Feature for UAB magazine, 06/16:
Pop Goes the Classroom

Illustration by super hero artist Ron Gamble.

Illustration by super hero artist Ron Gamble.


It turns out that Spider-Man, Marvel’s famous web-slinger, vanquisher of villains, is good at teaching college philosophy, too.
He pops in to ignite discussion on complex concepts he’s wrestled with for decades: good versus evil, the nature of virtue, and individual responsibility. Naturally, students are all ears in the presence of a superhero. Keep reading…

Feature for Paste magazine, 04/12/16:
Checklist: Marrakech

Spice souk, photo credit: Jason Bagby.

Spice souk, photo credit: Jason Bagby.

“It’s not easy to find.”

Reviews for every attraction in Marrakech’s old city, known as the medina, usually begin with a similar warning. Maps and navigation apps are fairly useless here, which is an indelible part of the Red City’s charm. Keep reading…


Feature for Paste Travel, 03/11/16:
Why You Should House Sit Your Way Around the World

Photo courtesy of Paste Travel. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Photo courtesy of Paste Travel. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

After completing three work stints, each based on volunteering a few hours of labor per day in exchange for free accommodation in an exotic destination, the time seemed right to sit. Housesit.

As with services designed to connect travelers willing to work for lodging with jobs, platforms to pair sitters with host homes are a powerful tool for travelers looking for value along with a unique vacation experience. Keep reading…


Feature for Mental Floss, 02/08/16:
What Do Flight Attendants Eat?

What is in those bags?

What is in those bags?

Mental_floss interviewed flight crew members across a wide range of carriers about eating habits and options in flight and during layovers. The responses run the gamut from pot-luck dinners in the galley to crafty tips for creating culinary masterpieces via hotel room coffeemakers. Keep reading…



Feature for Mental Floss: 12/28/15:
From Goat Dung to Face Cream: The History of Morocco’s Argan Oil

Moroccan argan seeds prepared for oil pruduction

Moroccan argan seeds

Argan oil’s rise from local resource to world-wide sensation didn’t happen overnight. It took centuries for the “liquid gold” to become the “new olive oil” for gourmands and the cosmetic industry’s latest it-girl, thanks, in part, to women who perfected their techniques over centuries and a female scientist turned industry-builder determined to protect the environment. More…



Feature for Paste Travel, 12/19/15:
Checklist: Rijeka, Croatia

Kantrida Swim Complex, Rijeka

Kantrida Swim Complex, Rijeka

As a once-vital port for the Austrians, Rijeka became a breeding ground for ideas and innovation, including the invention of the torpedo in 1860. Its strategic location deep within the Adriatic’s Kvarner Bay has long placed Croatia’s third largest city at the cross currents of Mediterranean and European culture. More…



Feature for Paste Travel, 12/14/15:
Checklist: Budva, Montenegro

Budva 033

Medieval town walls dramatically rise above the Adriatic’s blue waters, earning the old town of Budva the nickname, “little Dubrovnik.” Less touristy and expensive than its neighbor to the north, Budva exudes a laid-back, cosmopolitan vibe even in summer party mode.

During July and August, beaches are packed with Eastern European and Russian sun-seekers, so plan to visit in early fall or late spring to enjoy mild weather, wide open beaches, and diverse cultural events. More…


Feature for Paste Travel, 9/22/15:
Why You Should Work Your Way Around the World

workaway main

Long-term nomads find it possible to navigate the world on surprisingly tight budgets by employing strategies to stretch every dollar, euro, and kuna. It helps to choose destinations where cost of living is cheaper than at home, keep day-to-day expenses low, and limit splurges, but for many, the real trick is wrapped in a practice as old as humanity: the barter system. More…


Feature for Paste Travel, 7/20/15:
Checklist: Trentino, Italy

Trentino Sviluppo - Turismo e Promozione; Ale

Trentino Sviluppo – Turismo e Promozione; Ale

While culture-seeking globetrotters make tracks en masse to Milan’s duomo and Venice’s canals, another kind of traveler is busy reveling in Trentino’s great outdoors.

For adventure-seekers of all types—hikers and climbers, sailors and cyclists—Trentino is Italy’s most alluring region. Culturally Italian with an Austrian infusion felt most in architecture, cuisine and dialect, the area offers a fascinating mix of Mediterranean and Eastern European flavor combined with wall-to-wall mountains soaring skyward and views of deep blue lakes below. For Italians, Germans and Americans (albeit in small numbers) Trentino is Italy’s outdoor “it-girl.” More…

Feature for Paste, 5/6/15:
New York City for Southerners
Exterior Tipsy Parson Storefront

No matter how short the trip to sophisticated and busy New York City, Southerners are bound to crave the leisurely pace and friendly banter that’s such a seamless part of the Southern existence at least once during their stay.

Luckily, tapping into a down-South vibe in Manhattan is easier than you might think. More…


Feature for Paste Travel, 2/12/15:
Weekend Layover: Lucca, Italy

Image courtesy of Paste magazine.

Image courtesy of Paste magazine.

Seeing Lucca for the first time, visitors describe the feeling a bit like falling in love. The town’s physical beauty is almost overwhelming. With a Roman core dating to 180 B.C. surrounded by Renaissance-era walls and rolling green hills, this Tuscan jewel shines brightly at first blush and more so with each embrace. Simply said, Lucca coos with charm and whispers of romance. Keep reading…



More published articles:

Feature story for Birmingham magazine, May issue:
Life in a Tiny House: “More Doesn’t Mean Better”

Feature for Paste, 4/23/15:
Survival Guide: New Orleans Jazz Fest 

Feature story for Birmingham magazine, April issue:
Dinner Lab Debuts in Birmingham

Feature story for Birmingham magazine, April issue:
Hospitality at Heart of Magic City Art Connection

Feature story for al.com, 4/14/15:
Real Estate Agent Gets Big Recognition for Tiny Home 

Travel story for Birmingham magazine, March 2015 issue:
Road Tripping through Alabama
(bham mag – pdf road trip)

Feature story for Paste: 3/5/15:
It’s Nice to Have You in Birmingham

(16-page, oh yes!) Feature story for Birmingham magazine, March 2015 issue:
Has Birmingham’s Cultural Renaissance Only Just Begun?
bham mag – pdf bham artists)

Feature story for Paste, 2/10/15:
11 Insider Tips for Mardi Gras

Feature story for Birmingham magazine, Feb. 2015 issue:
The Weather Wild Card: Running the Mercedes Marathon

Feature story for al.com, 02/03/15:
Fundraiser Uses Boundary Pushing Art to Raise Money for Rape Response

Feature story for Paste, 02/03/15:
10 Tips for Airbnb-ing Around the World 

Feature story for Paste, translated into French, 01/23/2015:
10 Choses Que Vous Apprenez En Devenant Hote Airbnb

Feature story for Paste, 01/22/2015:
10 Things You Learn Being An Airbnb Host

Feature story for al.com; 01/22/15:
New Production ‘Slippery Slope’ explores hate to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day”

Feature story for Paste, 01/19/2015:
10 Absolutes for the Ultimate Sailing Adventure

Feature story for Paste, 01/16/2015:
Weekend Layover: Ojai, California

Feature story for Paste, 01/07/15:
10 Years After the Indian Ocean Tsunami: Tips For Surviving Disaster And Keeping It In Perspective

Feature story for Birmingham magazine, Jan. 2015 issue:
Discovering a Mutual Love of the Outdoors at Grayton Beach State Park: A Daughter Takes Her Mom On Her First Ever Camping Trip

Feature story for al.com, 01/04/15:
Artful Resolutions: Art Community Weighs in on the Coming Year

Published work, 2014:

Feature story for al.com, 12/23/14:

Artist profile for Birmingham magazine’s Dec 2014 issue:

Contribution on Bustle.com

Artist Profile


Interview with Jess

Upcoming Project

Photo credit:  Musgo Dumio_Momio/flickr