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 Handbooks 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.