One of BATW’s newest members is Valerie Stimac, author of the new book, Dark Skies: A Practical Guide to Astrotourism.
Jules Older found her here on Earth and posed five questions …
- You write about space. Why not Vallejo or Virginia City? I started writing about space because I was looking for an area of tourism/travel writing where I could make a real impact and inspire travelers with information they can’t find elsewhere.
- Is space the new frontier of travel and travel journalism? Yep, absolutely! It’s one of the last new/great travel destinations that we’ll see opened up to civilians/general travelers in the next few decades. I get frustrated when people write off the market potential for space tourism. It will be a thing, and eventually it will be reasonably affordable for people willing to save up.
- Tell us about dark — your kind of dark. I’m actually afraid of the dark, funnily enough! So, I guess the question is “Why do you have so much passion for this subject?” The answer is because I think that when someone sees the Milky Way for the first time, it humbles them in a way that’s hard to replicate through any Earth-based travel experience. It reminds us all we’re quite small, and encourages us to take care of this wonderful planet we get to explore.
- Some advice, please: What are the worst mistakes you see travel journalists make? Infighting is a big one – poo-pooing travel media that don’t fit the ‘traditional’ career model because non-trads own their own websites, run travel blogs, market themselves as influencers, etc.
- Tell us about your new book. One rule — no modesty, please. Dark Skiesis, as far as I know, the world’s first guide to traveling for space on Earth. My mission is much bigger than just getting people to see the night sky. The goal was to create a book that opens travelers up to the wonders of the night sky/space and amplify it with a publisher who could put it in front of many interested people. Lonely Planet was a great publisher for that!