#MediaMonday – Teresa Bitler
Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from Teresa Bitler, an award-winning travel writer whose work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, TripSavvy, USA Today’s 10 Best.com, Wine Enthusiast, and AAA publications. She’s also the author of four guidebooks, a contributor to Fodor’s Arizona and The Grand Canyon and the travel features editor of Wander with Wonder, which is headed by fellow Media Monday profilee Susan Lanier-Graham.
So, Teresa, time to share!
Tell us how you got your start in writing? Tell us your story!
I’ve always loved to read and write, but never really considered being a writer until my friend’s dad told her she should be a journalist. We were maybe 12 at the time, and I thought, “No, I’m the one that should be a journalist! She doesn’t even like to write.” I stuck with that through college, but then, I met my husband. Life happened. It wasn’t until my youngest was about to start kindergarten that I realized how much I missed writing. My husband and I were investing in real estate on the side, and he put me in touch with the publisher of a real estate investing magazine.
If you want to know how I got into travel writing, believe it or not, I answered an ad on Craigslist to write a guide for Countrymen Press. I never realized travel writing was a thing until then.
What have been some of the most OMG stories you’ve covered?
Travel writing has opened the door to some amazing opportunities. I’ve flown in a World War II trainer, harvested grapes in Sonoma, attended an Apache girl’s coming-of-age ceremony, and toured the set of “The Vikings” in Ireland. But it’s more than those big moments. A few months before the pandemic, I found myself at a luxury estate in Jalisco, Mexico, and I thought, “I can’t believe I get paid to do this, to go to these places and write about them.”
Tell us about your guidebooks (and link to them)!
My first guidebook was Great Escapes: Arizona. To this day, my daughters say I traumatized them by making them tag along in the heat while I researched it. The second one was Backroads & Byways of Indian Country. It’s probably my favorite since it covers the entire Four Corners region and visits some of the Southwest’s best ruins. That book led to me becoming a contributor for Fodor’s Arizona and the Grand Canyon.
100 Things to Do in Mesa Before You Die just came out April 1, 2021. While a good chunk of it is dedicated to Mesa, I’ve also included things to do in the entire East Valley. My latest book, Fodor’s In Focus Grand Canyon, is due out this fall.
For our PR readers, what types of story pitches do you want?
Travel, near and far. Although I’ve written about Abu Dhabi and Argentina, I write almost exclusively about Arizona for TripSavvy and other outlets. I’m looking for info on restaurants, bars, hotels, and attractions. I also write about lifestyle, particularly the home. I’d be interested in seeing home décor, things for the home (kitchen gadgets), and organizational products.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Sacramento, Calif., but moved to Phoenix before my first birthday.
Where do you live now?
Mesa. I’ve spent most of my adult life in the East Valley, including Mesa, Gilbert, and Queen Creek.
Favorite TV shows or movies?
That’s a tough one. Right now, my husband and I are watching “The Chosen.” Love that. Oh, and “Cobra Kai.” I really want an “Eagle Fang Karate” t-shirt. As far as movies go, “Bridesmaids” is a favorite, and “Isn’t It Romantic” with Rebel Wilson cracks me up. I think it’s because it’s a spoof of all the ‘80s and ‘90s romcoms I watched.
What is something readers would be surprised to know about you?
- I sing in my car. I sing in the shower. I sing making dinner. I’m an awful singer, but I sing a lot.
- I met my husband when I was a temp at the engineering firm where he worked.
- As a 20-something, I wanted an aquarium full of penguins in my house. I can barely manage two dogs right now, so I don’t think that’s ever happening.
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