Fall 2017: Secession movements, South American awards shows, desert conferences and Italian food tours

It's been awhile since I updated here and I have to admit, I'm laughing a little bit at the "me" that wrote the previous post. It's been an absolute tornado of a fall, and though I'm exhausted, I am positively buzzing. I found the work I was looking for, which I know can change on a dime, so I don't want to be too enthusiastic. But, still, it's been a great few months!

I picked up two regular gigs that have greatly freed up my income goals along with my brain space: I ghostwrite a travel blog for a luxury travel company and ghostwrite food blog posts for a SoCal-based food blogger with a penchant for food science. Some of my editorial work pays better, but the security and stability of these gigs is invaluable, along with the fact that I don't have to sell my own ideas.

 Jackie Bryant

Jackie Bryant

In October, I was present for all of the political unrest in Barcelona, which was truly surreal, especially during the demonstrations I attended. I have never been in a territory that was in the middle of declaring independence and, though I have a LOT of thoughts on the subject, I'll sum it up thusly: both sides are extreme and manipulating the majority population that is very much in the middle. I have no love for Spanish nationalists, but Catalan nationalists are not behaving properly with the very real lives they hold in their hands. It's a sad time for a city and region that has had a hard year dealing with financial problems, tourism issues and terrorist attacks. To have a personal connection to this makes it all the more strange. 


After that, we ran our first trip to northern Italy for Salt & Wind! My mom came, which was really fun, and everything truly went off without a hitch. It's exhausting to run these trips but we have a crazy line-up for next year and I can't wait to show more people around Aida and my favorite haunts in Europe.


I also traveled to Bogota, Colombia, where I attended the World's 50 Best 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America awards. It was fascinating to return to the city I visited 10 years ago and to see how much has changed, particularly in the food scene and with the security situation. It is a goal of mine to spend more time traveling in Latin America next year. I wrote about the experience for New Worlder.


I just returned from Tucson, where I attended a small conference for travel writers called Travel Classics. Though I've been motivated all year long, it was the energizing boost I needed to recalibrate some work and ideas and find more higher-profile and better-paying work. This isn't an easy gig, but it's entirely possible if you're good and hungry enough (and if you file clean and on time, of course). The industry is changing but there are still a lot of publications that are willing to pay for good work.

I have retained and grown my love for Tucson and the southwest that I discovered late last year. I would like to do more border stories, so I've roped my husband into a southwest road trip over the Christmas and New Years holidays that will span all of Arizona, some New Mexico and the Navajo/Hopi nations. I can't wait to travel with him and finally explore together, as we've both been solidly on our work grinds.

I also won some awards! The San Diego Press Club awarded me four first and second place wins in a variety of food and travel categories for pieces I've written in the last year, which is cool. My piece on tiki in San Diego for Thrillist San Diego is currently on display at the rum exhibit in the San Diego Maritime Museum, which is exceptionally cool.

I've published a lot since the last post. Here are some highlights.

More about landrace corn for KCET's The Migrant Kitchen series

An ornery but talented and genuine natural winemaker for VICE Munchies

My interview with Albert Adria, about his new restaurant, Enigma, was published at New Worlder

My treatment on vermouth culture in Barcelona went live at Eat Sip Trip (USA TODAY 10 Best)

On the new UCSD Jacobs Medical Center for Contract Magazine

Cannabis cocktails at Well+Good

Visiting the Italian lake district for Thrillist