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Brandon Wilson

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Member Since: Apr, 2006

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  Brandon Wilson

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Follow your dreams. There are plenty of naysayers and lots of excuses not to push the limits. But half the battle is your commitment–10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, as they say. It’s amazing what can be accomplished once we focus and take that first step."


Background Information

BRANDON WILSON is the Lowell Thomas award-winning author of a series of four travel adventure books, a photographer, explorer and adventure-travel writer whose stories have appeared in international anthologies, magazines and newspapers, and across the Internet. A voracious explorer of over 100 countries, he’s particularly passionate about inspiring others with the possibility of discovery through long distance trekking.

Born in western Pennsylvania, he developed wanderlust at an early age, and has spent much of his life traveling while not living in Hawaii.

His fascination with what he calls “slow, deliberate travel” began when he and his wife Cheryl became the first western couple to trek a Buddhist trail 650-miles across the Himalayan Plains from Lhasa, Tibet to Kathmandu in 1992. The peripatetic writer has now thru-hiked ten of the world’s great long-distance trails, including the Camino de Santiago twice and Via de la Plata across Spain, as well as St. Olav’s Way across Norway. He was the first American to hike the 1150-mile Via Francigena from England to Rome, and in 2006, he and a friend re-blazed the 2600-mile route of the First Crusades from France to Jerusalem on a walk for peace, naming it the Templar Trail.

Their adventure was chronicled in Along the Templar Trail, the 2009 Lowell Thomas Gold Award-winner for Best Travel Book (Society of American Travel Writers Foundation) and a ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Finalist (adventure/recreation). Other books in his travel adventure series include the latest, Over the Top & Back Again: Hiking X the Alps (2010), a 2010 Finalist for Book of the Year Award (travel essay), ForeWord Reviews,  Dead Men Don’t Leave Tips: Adventures X Africa (2005); and Yak Butter Blues (2004, 2nd edition 2005), his debut book, which won an IPPY Award. A Spanish edition was published in 2010. All books available in hardcover and paperback; also available from Amazon Kindle.

Life When Hell Freezes Over, his story about his year of purgatory spent living in the Arctic, appeared in They Lived to Tell the Tale: True Stories of Adventure from the Legendary Explorers Club (The Lyons Press/Globe Pequot, 2007). He was also honored to write the introduction to On a Donkey’s Back, a collection of poetry and paintings by and about the lives of Nepalese porters, (Yileen Press, 2008).

His photos have won awards from National Geographic Traveler and Islands magazines. His 50-page photo essay on Spain’s Via de la Plata was featured in Naïve & Abroad: Spain, Limping 600 Miles Through History by Marcus Wilder (2008).


 
He's a member of the prestigious Explorers Club.              

              

Wilson has been interviewed as an adventure travel expert by worldwide media, including:

 • The Joey Reynolds Show, WOR (New York)

• Talk Radio with Michael Dixon, WGN (Chicago)

• MSNBC Travel with Christopher Elliott

• “Get Serious! with Tina Vindum” (San Francisco)

• Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

• Honolulu Star-Bulletin

ORF-TV (Austria)

• Nice Matin (France)

• CNS Rome (Italy)

• Gudbrandsdølen Gagningen (Norway)

• Balkan Bulgarian Television, Sofia (Bulgaria)

• Glas Public Voice, Belgrade (Serbia)

• Alanya TV Nightly News (Turkey)


Birth Place
Sewickley, PA 
Accomplishments

Published Works:
• Over the Top & Back Again: Hiking X the Alps (2010, Pilgrim's Tales)
• Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace (2008, Pilgrim's Tales)
• Yak Butter Blues: A Tibetan Trek of Faith (2004, second edition Nov. 2005, Pilgrim's Tales)
• Dead Men Don't Leave Tips: Adventures X Africa (Nov. 2005, Pilgrim's Tales)
• Story, "Life When Hell Freezes Over", (part of the anthology) They Lived to Tell the Tale: True Stories of Modern Adventure from the Legendary Explorers Club (2007, The Lyons Press/The Globe Pequot)
• Essay, "Thoughts from Along Life’s Trail: War and the Environment Within" (part of the anthology) Wounds of War: Poets for Peace (2006).
• Introduction to "On a Donkey's Back" (a book of poetry and paintings by and for the porters of Nepal), Yilleen Press, 2008
• Photo essay with fifty-photos from the Via de la Plata featured in Naïve & Abroad: Spain, Limping 600 Miles Through History by Marcus Wilder, (book, 2008)

Awards:

• Over the Top & Back Again was short-listed for 2010 ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award (travel essay)
• Along the Templar Trail won gold for 2009 Best Travel Book, Lowell Thomas Travel Writing Competition, Society of American Travel Writers Foundation
• Along the Templar Trail was shortlisted for 2008 Book of the Year Award, ForeWord Reviews
• Yak Butter Blues is an IPPY (Independent Publisher) Award-winner
• Wilson's photographs have won awards from National Geographic Traveler and Islands magazines.

Additional Information

In 2006, Brandon Wilson completed a 2620-mile walk for peace from France to Jerusalem. The story of his inspiring walk is told in Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace, named 2009 Best Travel Book Lowell Thomas Travel Writing competition (SATWF).

Contact Information
c/o Pilgrim's Tales, Inc.
P.O. Box 854 
Volcano HI 96785   US
Contact Author: Brandon Wilson
Favorite Links

Over the Top & Back Again: Hiking X the Alps
In 2009, Brandon Wilson and his wife set off on the Via Alpina, a 111-day thru-hike across Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France, and Monaco–with the plan to arrive at the long-awaited Mediterranean Sea in September before the snows covered the trail. The couple trekked the equivalent of halfway across the U.S. over mountain terrains in extreme conditions, from freezing temperatures high atop Alpine passes to dreaded Föhn winds, hail, ice fields, snow, and more than 40 days of rain—and this was summer weather. As always, there were injuries and a daily mental challenge to complete 20 kilometers, a virtual marathon, knowing it meant climbing yet another formidable mountain again tomorrow. For the record, they ascended and descended 211,000 meters total—the equivalent of climbing 12 Mt. Everests from sea level in just 3 1/2 months. Then again, who knew lethal ticks and cow patties could prove even more dangerous? 2010 Finalist for Book of the Year Award, ForeWord Reviews

Along the Templar Trail: Seven Million Steps for Peace
Author Brandon Wilson and his 68-year old French friend set off in the footsteps of history on an incredible 2620-mile (4217-km.) trekking pilgrimage for peace across two continents and eleven countries. Join them as they walk an ancient trail followed by Templars, Romans, pilgrims, and traders on their way from France to Jerusalem. It's a journey with unique challenges. This two-continent trek takes them from the canals, rivers and forests of Europe to the bleak high deserts and parched, rugged countryside of the Middle East. Temperatures soar from near-freezing to nearly 100 degrees. Wild dogs roam the steppes, Israel and Lebanon exchange bombs, while the potential threat from terrorism and deadly viruses make them question their mission. A Lowell Thomas Award-winning look at travel with meaning.

Yak Butter Blues: A Tibetan Trek of Faith
What does it take to survive? More than you could fathom. YAK BUTTER BLUES: A Tibetan Trek of Faith (2005 IPPY award winner, Pilgrim’s Tales, November 2005, 2nd edition) is an inspiring true story by Brandon Wilson. Join a couple and their Tibetan horse, as they become the first Western couple to trek an ancient 1000-kilometer pilgrim’s trail from Lhasa to Kathmandu. This incredible odyssey provides a riveting tale of human endurance and a first-hand look at a Tibetan culture teetering on the edge of extinction. Little could prepare them for this ultimate test of resolve, love, faith…and very survival. An IPPY Award winner.

Dead Men Don't Leave Tips: Adventures X Africa
What does it take to follow your dreams? "DEAD MEN DON'T LEAVE TIPS: Adventures X Africa" by Brandon Wilson (Pilgrim’s Tales, November 2005) is an edge of your seat tale about one couple's seven month honeymoon dream odyssey - 10,000 miles across Africa from top-to-tip. After their "ship of fools" safari turns into a nightmare, they set off across Africa alone. And that makes all the difference. DEAD MEN DON'T LEAVE TIPS takes readers onto the crazed roads of African adventure and into the hearts of its people-while transforming the "travelogue" into a raw, penetrating, more poignant genre.






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