I’ve just heard there’s still time to sign up for the 20th annual Book Passage Travel & Food Writing & Photography Conference. An amazing line-up of teachers includes LA Times travel editor Catherine Hamm, actor-turned-travel writer Andrew McCarthy, SF Chronicle travel editor Spud Hilton, NYT contributor David Farley and many others.

I was a student at the first Book Passage travel conference in 1992, when I met the inimitable Jan Morris who became a mentor and friend. In 1999, I began teaching at the conference and this will be my 12th year on the faculty. This conference launched my career as a travel writer, and my book A Sense of Place was born on the sun-splashed Book Passage piazza. It’s always a highlight of my year.