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Meet Therese Iknoian: 2019 NATJA Gold + Silver Medal Winner

Therese Iknoian Jumping For Joy In The Puna High Plateau In Argentina

Wordsmith, camera bug, storyteller, incorrigible cheesecake tester. Traveling the globe seeking unexpected, immersive travel experiences to share. Therese is a winner of numerous awards for travel photography and writing excellence — See her award-winning photography on her photography website here. To see all of her stories on HI Travel Tales, click here

Therese is always a magnet for children.

Here Therese Iknoian is in Somosomo, Fiji, getting immersed in the culture and doing what comes naturally — being a magnet for children.

Little did my parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages, exploration and cultures. Since that short trip, I have been to nearly 40 countries and once had friends complain that I filled too many pages in their address books (yes, old-style paper books).

Therese acting her age.

Yes, I also have a thing for kids rides anywhere in the world, though sometimes fitting onto or into them is a bit problematic.

Trained as a news journalist, I first spent a decade as a daily newspaper journalist also earning a Pulitzer Prize as a member of a news team. Ah, but the independent life called and I launched a freelance writing career, writing articles and authoring several books (and getting my master’s in exercise physiology). All the while trotting the globe on news-gathering and reporting trips, that age-old light bulb finally went on with a thunk of my palm against my thick head: Travel! Why aren’t I writing about travel since everybody always wants to hear my tips and stories?

My writing focus finally turned to travel with the launch of HI Travel Tales with my husband, Michael Hodgson. Today, I combine writing with photography – an art I honed as a college student when photos were still developed in a dark room (Google it) and processing meant chemicals, not Photoshop. I returned to photography in recent years, gravitating to street scenes, people’s faces, and shapes, shadows, and light that tell stories and “paint” a picture.

Therese Iknoian looking for the best photo angle.

Flowers on a Canadian Rocky Mountains hike begging for a photo — farther back, farther back, no farther!

Fluent in German, I also run a translation business (ThereseTranslates), working primarily with outdoor and sports companies. A bit of a French speaker, too, I love to learn some of the language wherever I go — gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! — often embarrassing myself (not to mention my husband) in the quest for cross-cultural communication.

Therese Iknoian Dolomites Via Ferrata Tridentina

Dolomites Via Ferrata Tridentina … way above terra firma.

As a writer, I have authored non-fiction books, including two editions of Fitness Walking, as well as Tai Chi For Dummies and Mind-Body Fitness for Dummies. I have also written for the magazines Fitness, Health, Backpacker, Women’s Day, Men’s Health, Parenting, and Shape, to mention a few.  I am a member of the International Food Wine Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).

Therese Iknoian Silhouette With Tripod

Night silhouette with tripod after a long night photographing building illuminations in Berlin.

My mantra on travel exploration stems from my father’s favorite saying: “I’ve been kicked out of better places than this.” 

Therese Iknoian on Essaouira city wall with camera

Climbing the city wall in Essaouira, Morocco, for a better angle. Photo © Lance Keimig.

Now that you’ve learned a bit about me, I invite you to meet my business partner, Michael Hodgson, who happens to be my husband as well as my favorite traveling partner.