Julian Smith has been writing since he learned to read, and traveling since his first family trip to Cape Cod as a toddler. A pre-college summer in Brazil sparked a love affair with (and in) Latin America, fueled by a stint studying the cloud forests of Costa Rica. Days after wrangling a degree in biology from the University of Virginia, he found himself hopelessly entangled in a self-publishing venture that resulted nine months later in the one-pound, eight-ounce On Your Own in El Salvador, the first in-depth guide to the country.
Moon Ecuador came two years later, inspired by a trip the length of the country in 1996. Since then, he's made many friends in the country as well as climbed Cotopaxi and scuba dived in the Galapagos Islands, which he counts high among the most incredible places he's ever been.
He has contributed to Outside magazine, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic Traveler, New Mexico Magazine, Road Trip USA, Online Travel Planning for Dummies, and other publications. His Moon Handbooks Four Corners won the Society of American Travel Writers' Lowell Thomas Award for best guidebook in 2004. He also managed to earn a master's degree in Wildlife Ecology along the way, studying grizzly bear tourism on the coast of British Columbia.
As far as normal jobs go, Julian has done pretty well. He's worked as a Canyonlands National Park ranger, guided tourists through the Central American rainforest, and tried (in vain) to protect the vegetable garden of one of the richest men in the world from marauding rodents. Along the way he's found himself freezing atop Kilimanjaro, meditating in a Japanese Zen temple, and doused with rum in a Cuban santería ceremony.
He currently lives in Santa Fe, NM, where he gets outside as much as humanly possible.
Jean Brown was born in London and raised in a small village in Hertfordshire. In school, she studied map-making and was fascinated by geography. To this day she carries scores of maps in her head.
Jean went on to study at Liverpool College of Art before completing a teaching qualification, all the while traveling throughout Western Europe. Inspired by the many tales of her fellow student travelers, Jean set out for South America, where she taught ESL with the English Teaching Theatre in Brazil. She participated in televised English classes, becoming a minor celebrity in southern Brazil in her mid-twenties.
Shortly after, Jean found her home in the Andes. After thirteen rewarding years in education, she moved to the Ecuadorian coast to run the Salango Archaeological Study Center. She continued to travel extensively, exploring the length and breadth of the country and seeking out most of the lesser-known hot springs. Some of her most memorable adventures include paddling down the Shiripuno River in a dugout canoe with a dozen Huaorani Indians, as well as her very first kayaking lesson, where she ended up swimming after her kayak in a Class Three river.
Her extensive knowledge of Ecuador eventually placed her in the travel business. Based in Quito, Jean has been a part of Safari Tours for sixteen years. She frequently surprises locals with her knowledge of the country, and has been referred to as “a walking encyclopedia of Ecuador.” Her office often resembles a social club, full of people sharing new information and tales of their travels.