I like to think that my life took a turn for the better when I went to the Sultanate of Oman in 1991 to work in the Reports Section of the Information Centre for the Ministry of Water Resources. As an art director, (I had been in graphic design for 15 years) I assembled scientific texts and graphics into publication form, working with a team of expatriate and Omani Graphic designers. During that time, I had an opportunity to explore the country, both through my job and through weekend wadi bashing. (For those of you not familiar with this common expatriate activity, the act of wadi bashing consists of finding a wadi--which is the Arabic term for river, or river bed, since many do not have continuous flowing water--where you can have a picnic or camp.)
After two years, having amassed a great deal of information about this little known Arabic country, I decided to publicize Oman through writing, photography and artwork. In 1995 I prepared an exhibition of photographs and illustrations which was shown throughout New England at schools, libraries and cultural fairs, and in 1998 at the National Council on US-Arab Relation’s presentation ceremony of the International Peace Award given to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the Sultan of Oman.
In 1996, I returned to Oman to write the first English language travel guide to be published in the United States, the Maverick Guide to Oman, published by Pelican Publishing of Gretna, LA. The book went through two editions.
From 1998, I lived in Oman working in inbound tourism. I managed a small company specializing in cultural/adventure tours. Here I designed itineraries, scheduled and conducted tours, organized fam-trips (promotional tours for industry professionals), created brochures, posters, banners and other marketing material and promoted same, and trained incoming staff as tour guides. I also gave public lectures and slide shows to various cultural and social groups on inbound tourism in Oman using my photographs and illustrations. I have also written magazine articles for travel publications and was a regular contributor to the Day Out column in Oman Today. After the 9/11 tragedy, I returned home to the US and for several years conducted tours to Oman for the National council on US Arabic Relations in Washington DC.
I am married and have children spread all over the map from the US to Singapore. My wife, Letchmi, and our kids love to travel together and will go wadi bashing at the slightest provocation.
I love to write and speak. I have written a couple of screenplays that I am trying to sell and am putting finishing touches on my first novel, an Indiana Jones-type of adventure set in Oman.
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