What better antidote to a frenzied business travel life than the pleasure of personal time with family, friends, or solo, in new or familiar places? A lifelong love of travel and my good fortune to visit so many destinations led to my long-running leisure travel columns and articles, and the opportunity to share my discoveries. Whenever I can as I travel, I wander without an agenda, looking for stories that inevitably emerge, often through chance encounters: the elderly owners of an exquisite furniture workshop tucked away on a hidden street in Florence, Italy; international champions practicing their craft at the rolley-hole marble “Super Dome” in tiny Tompkinsville, Kentucky; a villager on the locals train from Thonburi Station in central Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, a province on the famous River Kwai; a shop-keeper sharing the story of an impossibly-perched castle overlooking a pristine lake in Croatia; a burgeoning collection of island lore from colorful local story-tellers on islands throughout the Caribbean, and much more.

If you are an editor, I invite you to contact me about destinations you deem remarkable and stories you want to share with your readers. Reach me at bstark@traveling-writer.com or 608-335-4700.

Saskatchewan – Tracking a Trophy in the Wilds

The Misaw Lake Lodge brochure promised it all. Trophy northern pike and lake trout, a chance at elusive Arctic grayling, a protected wilderness of peaceful beauty and a guest limit of just sixteen at a Saskatchewan fly-in lodge bumping up against the 60th Parallel, so far north that the last road ends 125 miles south.

A Cape Cod Race Against A Kennedy

I ran a race against Senator Ted Kennedy and beat him. And it had nothing at all to do with politics. Pictures of the Kennedys aboard their sleek sailboats off the Cape Cod coast were ubiquitous: wind-blown hair, carefree smiles, gleaming white teeth. The Kennedys were known for their sailing prowess, and when it comes […]

A Folk Game Lives On

“During winter months when the water is low, I wade through river and creek beds around here. That’s when I find the best flint rocks,” explains Paul Davis as he and I chat at his favorite hangout deep in the lush rolling hills of southern Kentucky. Paul was born and raised in Tompkinsville, Kentucky, population […]

Culebra Island

Trekking Beaches and Making Friends on Laid-back Culebra Island

Culebra is a tiny island, a mere speck on some maps, a dot off the east end of Puerto Rico that is barely visible from aloft when you fly from San Juan to other Caribbean islands. I’ve probably not noticed it dozens of times as I’ve traversed the Caribbean, but recently I read a New […]


In Search of Nirvana On the Island of Java

Frankly, I had expected more than this from Buddha. I was teetering at the top of the Eighth Wonder of the World.  My journey to Indonesia had been long and the heat of the Javanese plains was oppressive. I expected at least a subtle arc of light when our fingers touched, a brief flash of […]