Travels with Susan Spano

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Me getting older at a teaching conference in Ethiopia

Middlebury Institute of International Studies, May 2017

Hollywood Farmers Market

Roman mosaic from the Vatican Museums

Mt. Etna in beautiful Sicily

My sister's favorite place in Armenia

From the delightful Parajanov Museum in Yerevan, Armenia

Teachers from Proshyan School

Climbing into Surb Astvatsatsin at Noravank Monastery in southern Armenia.


Photo by Susan Schiffer

Dreaming of a white Christmas in Ashtarak, Armenia

From my Armenian Host Family's Garden

Smithsonian, April, 2014

Due in April

Jalama Beach, Central Coast, CA

David Hockney's Mulholland Drive: The Road to the Studio, 1980, LACMA

A market in western Sicily

Carpinteria Bluffs Preserve

Arnoldi's of Santa Barbara

La Serenissima

The French coast near Mont St. Michel

Delta of the Danube River, Romania

Powell Plateau on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon


The Libyan Sahara

Carrizo Plain, California

Potala Palace, Lhasa


I just got my MA in Teaching English from Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, CA, after finishing two years in the Peace Corps, teaching English to middle school students in Ashtarak, Armenia. I will never forget the wonderful friends I made there and, hopefully, the things I learned.
Now I'm headed to Rwanda as a U.S. State Department English Language Fellow. I'll be teaching English to Journalism and PR students at the Catholic University of Kabgayi.
Very exciting.
Cheers to all.

Author, columnist, traveler Susan Spano has journeyed the world reporting on culture, nature and the curious human race. She launched the still-running “Frugal Traveler“ column for the New York Times, then joined the staff of The Los Angeles Times which sent her to the City of Light from 2003 to 2006 to start the popular travel section blog “Postcards from Paris.”

After that she spent six months in Beijing studying Mandarin and researching stories in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics and then moved to Rome--her favorite foreign posting--where she wrote on everything Italian, from Caravaggio to mozzarella.

Her articles have been anthologized in collections like Making Connections: Mother-Daughter Travel Adventures and A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the Globe and have also appeared in the Financial Times, Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler and Redbook. She is the co-author of two books: Women on Divorce: A Bedside Companion and Men on Divorce: The Other Side of the Story.

Susan's new travel collection, French Ghosts, Russian Nights & American Outlaws: Souvenirs of a Professional Vagabond, came out in early May from Roaring Forties Press. It's a collection of some of Susan's best articles, described by Library Journal as "an inspiring, vibrant look at the myriad ways travel can impact and enrich our lives. This book is recommended for those with the travel bug, even if it's the armchair variety.”

People are talking about this book.
Tony Wheeler, co-founder of Lonely Planet, says,
"Susan Spano manages that most important travel writing feat: making you want to pack your bag, grab your passport and go!"
Mary Taylor Simeti, author of On Persephone's Island, adds,
"Urged on by a lively curiosity and a large dose of courage, Susan Spano introduces us to unusual destinations, often tempting and invariably interesting."

Check out her most recent article for AARP magazine on solo travel for women.

Here are other recent stories from the L.A. Times on Big Sur; find out about Fort Ord or spend a lost weekend with Spano on the Sonoma Coast.

Susan's 2014 edition of the Best Small Towns in the U.S. is in the May issue of Smithsonian magazine.

Susan Spano’s name might ring a bell. It appeared in the pages of the Los Angeles Times 941 times from 1998 through 2009, when Spano served as a staff travel writer and columnist. Before that, she wrote the Frugal Traveler column for the New York Times.

That's how Los Angeles Times travel writer Chris Reynolds begins his recent story about Susan Spano's new book French Ghosts, Russian Nights & American Outlaws.

For more on Susan's new book, listen to Arthur and Pauline Frommer interviewing her on everything from touring China off-the-beaten track to Susan's upcoming Peace Corps posting in Armenia. You can hear it at

Quick Links

Selected Works

Nonfiction, Travel, Human Interest
A new collection of travel essays by Susan Spano
Tracking Colette in Paris and Burgundy
A draught sinks Lake Powell, revealing lost wonders of Glen Canyon
Rome's Most Roman Neighborhood
Studying Mandarin in Beijing
Around the world and back to New York
Nonfiction Book
Divorce. Why do we do it? And what does it do to us? fourteen prominent writers have pondered these questions and have set down heir thoughts and personal stories, in this gathering of sometimes irreverent and always intelligent essays. "A disarmingly candid, invaluable collection." --Publishers Weekly
"Anyone who doubts that men, too, suffer in divorce should be required to read this." --Glamour Magazine "A rare, unusually focused anthology of original essays that both entertains and instructs." --Publishers Weekly