Ask the expert

Jon Bowermaster

Fresh from the publication of his book Birthplace of the Winds: Storming Alaska's Islands of Fire and Ice, Jon Bowermaster is gearing up for a Cuban odyssey and, later this spring, a 60-day kayaking expedition in Vietnam. Jon's explorations include dogsled travels in the Arctic and Antarctica and first-ever raft descents in Chile and China. A resident of Paris and New York State, he is the author of six books and has chronicled numerous adventures (his own and others') for many popular magazines, including National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, and National Geographic Traveler.

Let me know when Jon posts answers!

Expedition Adviser

Dogsledding the Antarctic? Paddling the Aleutians? Rafting an untested Chinese river? You name it, author-explorer Jon Bowermaster's been there, done that. And now he'll help you plan your own adventure. But type fast—any day now he's leaving for a two-month trip to kayak Vietnam.


Do you try lower your profile when traveling? Is there a certain vibe or attitude you try to project?

—Anna, Columbus, Ohio

Dear Anna,

I think after some years of traveling you learn to adopt one of two vibes in a new place, based solely on your gut. Either open and engaging, approachable and friendly. Or eyes-down-on-the-ground, minding-your-own-business cool, never questioning but appearing to know exactly where you're headed.

Personally, I'm not one of those loud-voiced, backslapping sorts who seems to attract all the attention in a room, or on a crowded street. I tend to think I learn more by sitting back, paying quiet attention to all the new, intriguing stuff going on around me, observing. Sitting in the back of the restaurant looking at the crowd as it enters, keeping your head down sounds good…until you sense a good party brewing, one you wouldn't mind being invited to.

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