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I came home from the Aleutians to find all sorts of good news waiting.

Last week, we learned that Up Here and Up Here Business have been nominated for a combined five National Magazine Awards and nine Western Magazine Awards. At the WMAs, two of my Up Here features, The One Who Jumped and ‘I Found the Sweet Life,’ are nominated in the Human Experience and Travel and Leisure categories, and Up Here and UHB are both nominated for Magazine of the Year – Alberta/NWT. Up Here Business was nominated for a further five Kenneth R. Wilson Awards, including Magazine of the Year – Professional.

I’m also excited to be filling in for the next while as Outside’s online “Adventure Adviser” columnist. I’ll be writing two short pieces each week, answering questions about travel and outdoor adventure, and my first two columns are already up: Should I be worried about sinkholes? and Does beer attract bears? Send me a question if you’ve got one!

Meanwhile, the April/May issue of Up Here includes my feature about the current state of Yukon mushing: End of the Trail? And I have two features in the May issue of Up Here Business, including the cover story about the Yukon’s growing “knowledge sector.” They’re not online yet, but you can check out the cover.

Finally, check out my friend Sam’s story about the Yukon’s homegrown Filipino basketball league. The North just keeps getting more interesting the longer I stay here.

espanola booby sunset 1 small
I got home earlier this week from an incredible assignment: a Galapagos cruise with Lindblad Expeditions. I’d heard big things about the islands, and they lived up to the hype. I’ll be writing more about the trip soon – in the meantime, here’s a photo I took of a group of Nazca boobies (cousins of the famous blue-footed boobies) at sunset.

I’ve been home for less than 72 hours, but tomorrow I’m off again, to Anchorage and then the Aleutians, on a three-week reporting trip. I’ll get back to Whitehorse in early May, just in time for the Yukon summer to get rolling.

More stories and photos coming soon!

I’m really excited about this one. My story about the Yukon Quest’s handlers – the support crews who work behind the scenes throughout the race – is now live at SB Nation Longform. Check it out:

No Sleep ‘Til Fairbanks

Elsewhere, Vela has a hot new redesign, and we’re also soliciting suggestions for female-authored books that are overlooked in the usual best-of books lists.

My feature in the February issue of Up Here Business is now online; it’s about a new fresh fish truck that’s finally bringing the local catch to Whitehorse. I also have a long Q&A with the Yukon’s top expediter in the March UHB, and a couple of small items in the March issue of Up Here.

Finally, at World Hum, I was pleased to publish Brian Kevin’s The End of Wend, an essay that ponders what the crunchy mag’s demise says about travelers and travel publishing.

It’s been a hectic start to 2013: Lots of work on the go, plus I spent two crazy weeks on the road in February during the Yukon Quest. I’ve got more travel on the horizon, too.

Gearing up for 2013

I’ve got lots of news to kick off the New Year. Most importantly, my temporary position at Up Here / Up Here Business wrapped up on December 21 – so I’m back to full time freelance writing. I learned a ton during my ten months on staff at the magazines, and I’m looking forward to applying that knowledge as I jump back into the self-employment fray. (I also expect to continue working closely with my editors at Up Here and UHB as a freelancer.)

Earlier this week, my latest went live at Outside: It’s a big winter service package called 40 Frozen Experiences of a Lifetime. And in December, I was thrilled to contribute a short essay to the “Why’s This So Good?” series over at Harvard’s Nieman Storyboard: Why’s This So Good? No. 68: Jonathan Lethem and the Godfather of Soul.

I’ve got big plans and a busy travel schedule for 2013. First up, in February, a couple of assignments will take me back on the Yukon Quest trail again. Looking forward to it!

The story that resulted from my Stewart-Cassiar research trip is now online! (The print mag should be available by the end of this week.) It’s about a planeload of gold gone missing in the wilds of Northern B.C.

Check it out: What Happened on the Iskut?

This is the Bell II Lodge, my home base for a reporting trip down the Stewart-Cassiar Highway into northwestern B.C. a couple weeks back. It was an amazing spot, and I can’t wait for the story to come out in the next issue of Up Here at the end of this month.

Meanwhile, a couple of my recent Up Here Business stories are now online: Into the Wild, about the business of wilderness tourism in the North, and Staking a Claim, about several groundbreaking new agreements between mining companies and First Nations. Check ’em out.

My story about a strange Arctic suicide is in the Oct/Nov issue of Up Here, on newsstands next week. It’s also now online: The One Who Jumped.

This was a tough one to work on, and a major departure from my usual travel-focused writing. I hope you like it.

Happy Birthday, Vela!

Vela Magazine turned one year old last week, and we’ve been busy celebrating with the launch of a Twitter account – @VelaMag – and a blog to go with our Facebook page. And, of course, there’s still the magazine itself: My most recent story there is called Three Kites on the Ice, and it’s about a kite-skiing expedition that attempted to set a new record for Arctic travel. Check it out!

Elsewhere, my feature from the August issue of Up Here Business is now online: Big Booze Ambitions (PDF). It’s about the Yukon’s growing craft beer and spirits industries. The September issues of both magazines are out now, too – I’ve got a feature in Up Here, “My Nahanni Luxury Cruise,” that’s not yet online, and a shorter historical piece on an obscure bit of Northern history: How the Trumps Struck Klondike Gold. What, you didn’t know that Donald Trump owes his millions to the Yukon?

I’m settled back home in Whitehorse after a busy few months of work/travel that took me from the Yukon to Alaska, the Northwest Territories *and* Nunavut – the ultimate Northern summer.

I’ve got a short essay on Outside’s website about the ultimate river trip gone awry, and why the movie has endured for four decades.

Also: Tomorrow I fly to San Francisco for the annual Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference! I attended for the first time five years ago, as a brand-new aspiring writer with just a couple paid clips to my name. Looking forward to spending time with friends and colleagues there again this year.

My feature in the July/August issue of Up Here is called ‘I Found the Sweet Life’ and it’s about the week I spent living among the seasonal tourism workers of Skagway, AK. It features drinking games, creative use of tarps, and a 200 lb. St. Bernard named Bronco. (It’s not online, but I had a fun time putting it together.)

I’ve also got a feature story in the July issue of Up Here Business, about the changing face of Whitehorse retail and food/drink businesses: Let Them Eat Brunch. Also in that issue, I wrote about the impact of the Parks Canada budget cuts on the Yukon tourism economy, and the arrival of a new Filipino grocery store in town.

Meanwhile, a couple of my shorter pieces from the June issue of UHB are now online: The Perils of Northern Branding is a short business advice column (!) about common Northern business names, and Ship Day in Skagway is about how the businesses in that small port town operate on their own unique daily rhythm.

More to come – the August issue of Up Here Business lands on newsstands this week, and the September issues of both magazines are in the final stages of production.