Welcome! You’ve reached the site of award-winning freelance travel writer, tour guide and author James Ullrich. This is the online home for updates on his teaching schedule, public appearances, travel articles, and general info on seeing the best of Europe independently and on a budget! This site also includes info on both of his novels, “Dangerous Latitudes” and “The Vanishers”.
James’ travel writing has been commissioned and published in nationally distributed publications including The New York Examiner, World War II, Writers Weekly, Aviation History, Renaissance, Global Aviator, Travel Post Monthly, Military, and Weider Publishing Group among others.
He’s also contributed European-based travel guide material on popular websites and blogs including Travel Addict, Vagabondish, Compass, Backpacker, InTravel, and Writer Abroad. He contributed a weekly blog post to Vagablogging ( www.vagablogging.net ) for 2 years. The May/June ’14 issue of Business Jet Traveler for which James contributed an article for just won the 2014 Folio Award for Best Full Issue of a Travel or Transportation Consumer Magazine, and in 2015 won a Silver Solas Award for travel writing.
In addition to writing and guiding, James teaches classes on affordable independent travel to audiences interested in getting more out of their travel experiences for less cost.
Originally from Chicago, he’s previously worked as the Chief Managing Staff Writer for the Chicago Music Guide and served graduate internships in the Political Affairs Office of the US Embassy in London and the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence.
His first novel, a suspense/thriller set in Prague called The Vanishers, was finished in 2012. The next year he published his second novel, Dangerous Latitudes, an adventure about a travel writer’s quest to locate a lost city in the Amazon.
In his free time he enjoys wandering through Europe with a backpack and a journal. He hangs his rucksack in Seattle.
INTERVIEW WITH JAMES
Q: How did you get started in travel writing?
A: That’s the question I’m asked most often. It happened by accident when I decided to blend my two favorite things, writing and traveling. I’d always had a knack for writing; it’s what came the most naturally to me. I was always good at painting a picture with words and telling a story. When traveling I kept a journal (something I recommend to all writers and travelers). One thing that marked my travel experiences was a tendency to have encounters with interesting people, to find myself in strange or funny situations, and to observe a lot. So before I knew it I was writing down some of my stories for friends back home. They liked them and told me I should try to get published. I submitted some of my reports from various places, and to my surprise, they found interest. Lots of people write about their travel experiences, and some of them do it really well, but never get published or noticed. I think it was my approach to the writing that helped to set me apart.
Q: Did your interest in travel begin early?
A: Yes, pretty much from the very beginning. I think the curious, vagabond impulse is either hardwired into your brain, or it isn’t. As long as I can remember, the idea of packing a bag and going off somewhere far from home was tantalizing. My dad traveled a lot for work, and he’d go off to rather mundane places like Omaha and St. Louis, and as a toddler I found the names of these cities thrilling. I’d stand near the door in my Superman pajamas and watch him leave with his suitcase, off to exotic Omaha and mysterious St. Louis, and dream of the day when I’d be able to have adventures. There was something about the notion of being free that captivated me. Needless to say, I eventually found out Omaha and St. Louis were not terribly exotic or mysterious. I’ve since broadened my horizons.