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Jonathan White
Jonathan White

Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.

Name: Jonathan White

Occupation: Writer, active marine conservationist, sailor, and surfer

Hometown: Malibu, California

Residence: Orcas Island, Washington

College: Lewis and Clark (undergraduate), Vermont College of Fine Arts (Masters degree)

College major: Theater and literature (undergraduate), Creative Non Fiction (graduate)


Twitter: @JWhiteAuthor

Facebook: Jonathan White

Short bio: Jonathan White is the author of “Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean (Trinity University Press; 2017). He is an active marine conservationist, a sailor and a surfer. His first book, “Talking on the Water: Conversations about Nature and Creativity,” is a collection of interviews exploring our relationship with nature and features Gretel Ehrlich, David Brower, Ursula K. Le Guin, Gary Snyder, Peter Matthiessen, and others. White has written for the Christian Science Monitor, The Sun, Orion, Surfer’s Journal, and other publications. He holds an MFA in creative nonfiction and lives with his wife and son on a small island in Washington State.

How often do you fly? Usually 5-10 times a year, but while researching Tides, probably twice that.

How many countries have you been to? Most, although I’ve never been to Africa.

How many continents have you been to? All but Africa.

Earliest travel memory: Driving from LA to Cape Cod in a station wagon with six brothers and sisters.

Favorite American city: Oh, these favorite questions are always hard to answer, because I like different places for different reasons. I love Portland, OR, for its pedestrian-friendly downtown; Boston for its mid-size, friendliness and enclaves; New York for its buzz and entertainment; and any coastal city for its opportunity to be near the ocean.

Favorite international city: London, New York or Venice. I grew to really like London during several extended stays there for research.

Least favorite country: I went China four times for the tides book, and never really warmed up to it. There were some wonderful things about it, especially once I got out of the big cities like Shanghai and Hangzhou, but overall I never felt completely comfortable there.

I have no desire to go to: I don’t think there’s any place I wouldn’t want to explore.

Friendliest people in the world: Canadians.

Country with the meanest immigration officers: No question, U.S.!

Favorite World Heritage Site: Mont St. Michel, France.

Favorite airline: Alaska and Singapore Air.

Favorite aircraft type: Bigger the better.

Aisle or window: Window, definitely, so I can see out.

Favorite U.S. airport: Seattle, because it’s clean and I know it so well.

Favorite international airport: Singapore.

Favorite hotel: Hampton Inn.

Favorite travel credit card: Alaska.

Favorite island: Orcas Island, where I live!

Favorite beach: San Juanito, Baja Sur, Mexico.

Favorite National Park: I treasure all of them, but Yosemite has a special place in my heart because of childhood memories of camping there.

Favorite fancy restaurant: Wild Ginger, Seattle.

Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Matt’s in the Market, Seattle.

Favorite bar: The Oyster Bar, Eastsound.

Favorite fruit: Apple.

Favorite food: Caesar salad.

Least favorite food: I’m not good with unfamiliar or exotic foods, like duck’s beak or bugs.

Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): In the air: Water, lots of it (I never drink alcohol while flying). On ground: Lemon-drop martini.

Favorite travel movie(s): Dersu Uzala.

Favorite travel book(s): In Patagonia” by Bruce Chatwin.

Right now I am reading: “Democracy in America” by Alexis De Tocqueville and “How to Read Water” by Tristan Gooley.

Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: National Geographic and NY Times Sunday Travel section (I can’t think of any others that are specifically travel-related.

Favorite travel website(s)—besides, of course! Johnny Jet!

5 things you bring on a plane: Laptop computer, good book, good headphones (because the ones they give you are so lame), snacks, and a large bottle of water.

What do you always seem to forget? At the airport, I’m always forgetting what compartment or pocket I put my passport in.

What do you like least about travel? Security lines and frisking.

What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Nothing, please!

Most embarrassing travel moment:  I got on a plane once in Seattle, only to find out after I settled in that the plane was headed for Miami, not New York!

Worst travel moment: I was robbed in France. I didn’t lose everything, but I did lose my passport and camera. It took me at least three days to get a new passport—three days I didn’t have!

What’s your dream destination? Truly, there’s almost no place I don’t like, or where I couldn’t find something to like. Top on my recent list is southern Chile, the Orkney Islands (northern Scotland), and the Canadian Maritimes (Nova Scotia and New Brunswick).

Favorite travel charity: Any of them!

Best travel tip: Travel as lightly as possible. I’m always amazed at how little I really need! These days I travel with a small daypack and a carry-on. And I’m still trying to figure out how to edit that down to one bag.

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