Gayle Keck knows how to open a bottle of Champagne with a sword. She’s also a Lowell Thomas Award-winner who writes about travel and food – preferably both at the same time. She has sipped fermented mare’s milk in Kyrgyzstan, dug for truffles in Italy, crafted wine at Napa Valley’s “Crush Camp” and munched her way through every continent except Antarctica, which seems far too focused on frozen food.

Gayle has written for Gourmet, National Geographic Traveler, AFAR, Islands, Executive Travel, GQ, ForbesLife, Four Seasons, VIA, 360, Cruise Critic, Independent Traveler, the  Zagat San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants guides and AARP The Magazine. She’s a frequent contributor to the Washington Post, where she created a monthly column on travel magazines; her work has also appeared in The Guardian (UK), USAToday, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, San Francisco Chronicle, New Orleans Times-Picayune and other major newspapers. Her pieces have been selected for the anthologies Best Travelers’ Tales 2004 and Best Women’s Travel Writing 2008. Her story, “Pirates of the Mediterranean,” won a Lowell Thomas Award; her feature, “A Certain Sparkle,” was honored by ASJA as the Outstanding Lifestyle Article of 2013; and her story, “The F**k of the Irish,” won the Travel Classics competition. She also blogs here.

Gayle has visited 49 US states (sorry, North Dakota) and more than 55 countries – though her favorite trip was a flight from Chicago to San Francisco, when she met her husband on the airplane.

Read about Gayle’s thoughts on travel writing, in this interview with Rolf Potts.