John Lee John Lee

John Lee

Award-winning Vancouver travel writer, Lonely Planet guidebook author and professional content creator for hire.

A cathartic 1997 trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway – six nights of autumnal forests, grumpy provodnitsas and warm potatoes served by beady-eyed babushkas at paint-peeled stations – convinced me to write my first travel story. Almost two decades later, I’m still writing – and I’m still inspired by the same itch-like curiosity that drove me to board that legendary locomotive all those years ago.

Stories are still my bread and butter – I’ve giddily told readers about experiences ranging from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to a crowded Cairo karaoke bar (where I sang You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling – you won’t find it on YouTube). I’ve also helicoptered over the Yukon, whiskey-tasted in Northern Ireland, built igloos in British Columbia and fallen off a Segway (twice) in Singapore.

John Lee snowshoeing on Grouses Mountain

Photo credit: Dominic Schaefer (www.dominicschaefer.com)

But I’m not bragging (well, maybe a bit). Alongside the storytelling, I’ve developed a strong desire to help others plan their travels – which means I take my guidebook work with Lonely Planet and my travel column with Canada’s Globe and Mail (where I answer a different reader question every week) very seriously.

I’ve also developed a few keen areas of interest. Trains (I wonder where that started?), craft beer, street food, quirky attractions and budget travel are recurring themes in my stories – although I haven’t met many topics I didn’t want to write about (except golf).

Helicopter Photo

The job has changed over the years, of course. I’m now very active on Twitter, I’m an enthusiastic photographer and I managed to win an international award when I started making videos a couple of years back. It added to a gratifying array of additional accolades from the Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC), the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), Visit Britain and the formerly-named Tourism British Columbia (okay, now I’m bragging).

Alongside the photography, videos and social media, I’ve also diversified in other ways. I’ve run walking tours, been interviewed about travel on TV and radio and been profiled in magazines and newspapers. I’ve also created sharp content for websites, niche magazines and travel-related companies.

And alongside my frequent and ever-enjoyable expeditions, I still find the craft of writing just as satisfying. That’s part of the reason I’ve continued to work with many of the same editors over the years. I still love the trips – but I’ve never stopped working on my words.

John Lee sitting in a pub.

Photo credit: Jeff Topham (www.jefftopham.com)

Awards

2014: Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) Awards: three runners-up citations

2013: North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) Awards: two silver awards and two finalist citations

2012: North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) Awards: silver award and finalist citation

2011: Canadian Tourism Commission Northern Lights Award for best online video on Canada

2011: North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) Awards: gold award

2010: North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) Awards: silver award and two awards of merit

2009: North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) Awards: two awards of merit

2008: Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) Journalistic Achievement in Responsible Tourism Reporting Award

2008: Visit Britain: Best Story on the UK runner-up.

2008: North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) Awards: first place winner and two awards of merit

2007: North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) Awards: two awards of merit

2005: Tourism British Columbia Travel Media Award

2005: North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) Awards: award of excellence

Publications

John’s words and images have appeared in more than 125 newspaper, guidebook and online publications worldwide.

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