Travel expert Chris Gray Faust is the former travel editor of USA TODAY and has worked for 20 years as a journalist. Contact her when you need a travel expert or travel writer.

Veteran journalist. Travel expert. Social media butterfly.   

My travels began at a young age, thanks to parents who were eager to see the country. We spent our summers taking long road trips, first in a smelly station wagon and later in rented RVs. We stopped at national parks and monuments, battlefields and big cities. While they didn’t travel overseas much, my parents felt compelled to visit all 50 states; I matched their feat in 2011.

When I wasn’t on the road, I had my nose in a book. I read National Geographic like a Bible, ripping out photos from places I wanted to go. Pictures of the Taj Mahal and Neuschwanstein Castle competed with members of Duran Duran for space on my wall. Even my Barbies had bags packed for adventure (forget the Dream House, my dolls had their own plane).

From Gossip Girl to Dream Job

Journalism appeared on my radar when my eighth grade English teacher, fed up with my constant talking in class, told me that I should combine chatting with writing and become a reporter.  My actual career started at age 16, when I got an internship at my local newspaper, the Edina Sun-Current. I rewrote press releases, placed ad copy on the page, and followed reporters around on their rounds. When I was a senior in high school, the paper gave me a column. And so it all began.

I studied journalism in college, but that’s not where I learned the craft. My real education came on the city desks of various regional newspapers, the York (Pa.) Daily Record, the New Orleans Times-Picayune  and the Philadelphia Inquirer. I covered everything: The state of New Orleans public school system, the 2004 PA governor’s race, the rescue of the Quecreek coal miners, the right-to-die saga of Terri Schiavo, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Later, I became an editor, running news and features sections until I scored my dream job: Travel Editor at USA TODAY.

Value Luxury: Unique, chic and boutique

 

But while I was coming up, the journalism world came crashing down. I watched talented colleagues get pink slips for years before my turn came. My layoff in late 2009 felt like an streetside execution, out of the blue and without cause. Luckily, I had started a version of this blog as an experiment. I’ve turned it into a place where I can share my expertise from a life seeking out unique, chic and boutique vacation experiences – what I call Value Luxury.

 

Now I ply my living as a freelance travel writer, editor and blogger, with a side of social media consulting. On the web, you can read my work at AOL Travel, CruiseCritic, the San Francisco Chronicle, Bankrate.com, the Independent Traveler, Budget Travel, the Adventure Collection, and Onboard. At newsstands, my name appears sometimes in Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, Porthole and various magazines put out by my former employer USA TODAY. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUponfoursquarePinterest and Instagram. I’m fascinated with how people communicate, and I’m always on the lookout for the next, next thing.

I have a partner in crime: My husband, photography enthusiast Don Faust. While he loves to travel as much as I do, he also knows that I get antsy if I’m in one place for more than a few weeks. We keep Seattle as a home base, where we live with two tabby cats, Jigs and Zane, in a mid-Century home with a view of Puget Sound. On sunny days, we can see the Olympic Mountains and feel like we’ve won the lottery.

Chris Gray Faust, Mardi Gras

Join my journey

I haven’t yet, though. So if you’re looking for a travel expert or travel writer, I’d love to work with you. You can hire me as a freelance copywriter, editor or digital strategist; I worked in the latter capacity at Microsoft for a year so I know how to meet KPIs, reach compromises with marketing departments and all that jazz. You can bring me in to speak about travel or talk about industry issues such as building a personal brand, iPad/iPhone apps (I’ve overseen three) or reinvention. Or you can ask me about covering your destination or property, either on the blog or as part of a social media campaign. Download my media kit for more information or read my clips.

Most of all, I invite you to share my journey with me. Sign up for my newsletter, leave a comment, reach out and connect. Let’s travel the world – together.