My name is Deborah Guber and I work as an Associate Professor of Political Science at The University of Vermont, where I teach classes in American politics, including political parties and elections, public opinion, and environmental policy.
I am the author of numerous scholarly articles and a book titled, The Grassroots of a Green Revolution: Polling America on the Environment (The MIT Press), but travel has become an integral and very enjoyable part of my personal life. The journals I maintain here are a reflection of that.
Where have you been in Europe?
Since 2006, I’ve visited more than 150 cities and towns in Europe, including the following countries: England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy.
Here’s an interactive map of the destinations I’ve written about in my journals:
Where are you going next year?
This summer, I am finally joining my two great loves—Italy and my fiancé, Jed. Trust me, it will be an epic adventure!
Do you always travel solo?
No, but I do so frequently. It does get lonely at times, but I love the freedom and independence to do whatever I want, whenever I want, whether it’s spending too many hours at the Louvre in Paris, or lounging lazily on a deck chair in Venice. It’s truly been one of the most rewarding and empowering experiences of my life.
Incidentally, as a single woman I believe in using good common sense, but I’ve never felt threatened or unsafe anywhere I’ve ever been in Europe, even late at night. I’ve never been robbed, only rarely been cheated by waiters and cab drivers, and only once did I suffer a broken heart—an admirable record, all in all.
- Tips for Solo Women Travelers (Rick Steves)
- Solo Travel: Six Reasons to Wander Alone (Matador Network)
- Traveling Solo: A Manifesto for the Modern Woman (New York Magazine)
- Yes, Please. Party of One (New York Times Magazine)
- Best Countries for Solo Travelers (Travel + Leisure)
What kind of camera do you use?
I use a Nikon D5300 along with a Nikkor 18-200mm lens with built-in vibration reduction (VR). It is a compact digital SLR and although the lens is somewhat heavy, the combination allows me to shoot everything from a wide angle to a tight zoom without the necessity of switching lenses.
Hundreds of photographs from my European travels can be viewed on Flickr, a select group of my very favorite pictures can be seen here, and a few are available through Getty Images. My work has been licensed to a number of travel publishers, including Lonely Planet, Condé Nast, Bradt, Rick Steves, and Dorling Kindersley, as well as other multimedia outlets such as Rosetta Stone, Thompson Reuters, The History Channel, and The New York Daily News.
- 12 Great Digital Cameras for Travel Photography (Adorama Camera)
- Best Digital Cameras for Travel (Travel + Leisure)
- Travel Photography Tips (National Geographic)
- 79 Travel Photography Tips You Shouldn’t Leave Home Without (Digital Camera World)
- How To Keep Camera Gear Safe While Traveling (Digital Photography School)
Where do your readers come from?
Since this is a travel blog, it’s interesting to note that my journals have been read in all 50 U.S. states, and on 6 continents in 184 countries, including Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand, but also in Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, Brazil, India, China, Luxembourg, Tunisia, Singapore, Qatar, Morocco, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Romania, Venezuela, Pakistan, Uganda, Monaco, Iceland, Cambodia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Bulgaria, Croatia, South Africa, Mongolia, Estonia, Madagascar, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Syria, Brunei, Vanuatu, and Cuba to name just a few!
How can I contact you?
I am always grateful for feedback. You can comment directly on this or any other post at The Independent Traveler, or you can reach me by e-mail at:
You can also find me on a number of social media sites:
28 thoughts on “About Me”
I learned of your site from your entry on Rick Steves’s site. I am traveling to London and Paris in a few weeks, solo, and getting very excited. Your information and well-written blogs are wonderful! I will take your advice as often as possible. Thank you!
I found your blog through Rick Steve’s site. I LOVED your photos on FLickr. You are a very talented photographer. What camera do you use? I am planning a trip to Italy in 2009; I look forward to your notes on Italy.
I too thought your pictures are just amazing! I would also like to know which camera you are using. Looking at your pics, it makes my Sept trip to Italy so much more anticipated!
I found your blog through Trip Advisor, and just wanted to say thank you! I will be traveling to Italy (with 4 days in Rome) for the first time this September for my honeymoon, and have gathered a wealth of information and insight from your postings. I am even more excited now than I was before finding your site (if that’s possible), and am much less apprehensive about the uncertainties of the trip (getting lost, not knowing the language, etc.). It is most appreciated!
I have been reading your blog about your trip to Italy.
You are an amazing, creative writer. I have enjoyed the
humor immensely. I would give anything to be able to
write like you. Where do I begin? Probably back to grade
school and pay attention to my English teachers.
I have thought of taking a creative writing class but not sure
if I have the skills at the ripe age of 54.
I have written down names of some the restaurants in Rome
that you went to. I am not through reading all of your stories
and haven’t even gotten to your Florence trip yet.
Thanks for sharing. I will email again whenever I finish
reading your site. Love your photo’s too!
I also discovered your blog on Trip Advisor. Enjoyed reading all about your travels in Italy. I am headed there next May. I found it not only useful but also very funny and enjoyable. I am envious of the detail you included. I find myself starting trips with a goal of keeping a journal or blogging about it while on the road or when I get back, but I often find myself not finishing what I started. What’s your secret? Are you keeping a hand-written journal while you travel? Whatever it is, you do an excellent job.
I happened on your site while searching Antica Murrina jewelry. You have a beautiful shot of the exact necklace I own. And then I saw your photos. And then I read your travel entries. Thank you for such an inspiring travelogue. I’m a professor too, but feeling a little low on artistic creativity lately. It may have something to do with Law. Thanks again for this fresh breeze.
I am thrilled to have found your wonderfully informative and entertaining website — I think you may have just allayed all my fears about my upcoming trip. Although I’ve been to Europe several times, I’ve never gone alone, but I’m planning a month-long solo stay this April in Paris, and your great postings have answered so many questions. I’m planning several day trips to Northern France’s Gothic cathedrals and lately my nerves have been overwhelming my enthusiasm — your blog has helped restore the balance and the anticipation. Thanks for your terrific writing and inspiration!
Ditto on all of the above–I found this on the Rick Steves site, and I LOVE this blog! My husband and I are traveling to London and Paris this summer for three weeks, and I was thinking about staying and touring more of the UK on my own after he leaves (he has to go back to work right away and I do not). This blog has been bookmarked to visit for inspiration and encouragement to do just that. Thank you!
I stumbled across your site & FLICKR page on tripadvisor’s Paris forum. I’m so very impressed and now even more excited about my next Paris adventure. 5/2011… my 4th time to my favorite city in all the world, and most likely my first time traveling solo…. Your more recent Paris photos took me back to places I’ve been, they took me to a few I have on my list for next time & now thanks to you I’ll be adding a few more special places! I appreciate you sharing your travels with the world!
Hi Deborah, I chanced upon your entries on Tripadvisor and it led me to your blog site. It is really inspiring and enjoyable reading about your travels. Your style of writing is delightful and wistful; it was easy to visualize and imagine your journeys with every word you wrote. Last year, I travel to USA – San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles on free & easy. This year, I’ll be going to Italy – Venice, Florence & Pisa and Rome. Seeing that you’ve travelled and explored exciting places on a yearly basis, I feel very motivated to travel to a different place every year! It makes me wonder where you will be heading to in 2011. :D
Thanks so much for your kind words. You will absolutely fall in love with Italy! I made a second trip there myself last summer, although I haven’t had a chance to write about it just yet. This year, I’m planning to go to Germany and Austria–to Bavaria mainly, plus Salzburg and Vienna. I can’t wait!
Best of luck to you in your travels!
I love your travel posts….are you not going to update this site with your latest adventures?? Please, do so!
You’re a wonderful writer and I’ve loved reading about your travels. I’m taking a two-week solo trip to England next month and was starting to feel nervous and apprehensive, but having read your journals I feel much calmer about the whole thing. Thank you so much!
You have inspired me! I’ve never been to Europe and made a plan to visit the UK with my mother when she retires (Dec 2014), which means that I’m planning now for a trip that won’t happen until April 2015! I’ve got the itch to travel, though. So, I thought, “What’s stopping me from going to Europe solo a year before I take the UK trip with Mom?” The answer: nothing. Now I just have to decide where to go and whether I want to travel by bike or train.
That’s exactly what I thought the moment I decided to go to London for the first time: “What’s stopping me from traveling on my own? Absolutely nothing.” Go and have the time of your life!
How about a bike tour of Tuscany? This sounds wonderful: http://tuscany-biketours.com/
I have so enjoyed reading about your travels and looking at your beautiful pictures. I’ve done my research and just purchased a Nikon D5200 with a Nikkor 18-140 VR lens. What have you found is the best way to carry your camera around? I’ve read so much about pickpockets that I’m a little apprehensive about having such a nice camera with me but also want to take great pictures! We are going to Italy (Rome, Florence, Pompeii) and London this coming spring.
Thank you so much for writing! I’m glad you enjoyed the site.
I’m thinking about upgrading my own camera before next year’s trip to Italy, and the Nikon D5200 is the one I have my eye on, so please let me know how you like it.
I must admit that I’ve grown more lax about carrying my camera through the years. In the beginning, I bought a PacSafe strap and I used a LowePro bag across my shoulder with a waist belt as well for extra security. For the past few years, though, I’ve just stashed it in a Baggallini tote bag. I’ve never had a problem, but I am careful not to leave my camera hanging on the back of a chair at restaurants, and I rarely hand it off to anyone, even if they offer to take my picture. If you’re concerned, though, take a look at what PacSafe offers. They have a number of anti-theft bags:
Here, too, are some good suggestions from Digital Photography School:
Their tip about changing storage cards often is a good one. I use 8 GB Sandisk SD cards and I fill one every few days (I take A LOT of pictures!). I copy whatever I’ve taken to an iPad or to Flickr every night, and when I’m done with a card I store it in my hotel room safe, that way if anything happens to my camera, my pictures are secure, and those to me are priceless and irreplaceable.
Great tips! Thanks so much, and I will post back about the camera. Looking forward to receiving it this week and can’t wait to try it out.
I read your trip report on the TA Rome Forum, which prompted me to revisit your blog and enjoy your beautiful pictures again. You are such a gifted writer! Our trip to Italy is later this month. I wanted to post back about the Nikon D5200. I really love the camera. I’ve had a chance to work with it a bit and learn the settings. It seems to be very easy to use, and I know I’ll get great photos with it. I found a PacSafe bag that we took on a trip to London several years ago that I thought would be too small to hold this camera, but it actually fits very well, so I’m going to use that.
One question I had for you. On your night shots like the ones of the Ponte Vecchio and the Arno with the lights reflected in the water, do you use one of the camera’s scene settings for that, or do you have to do those in manual mode? I would love to come home with some photos like that. I know there is a night landscape mode but I don’t know if that’ll be sufficient. I unfortunately don’t have anything near like that at home to go take practice photos of!
Again, thank you for taking the time to post your reports. I’m looking forward to more in the future!
Thank you so much for returning to the blog to post about your Nikon 5200! I’m hoping to upgrade to the very same camera in the next few weeks, so I’m happy to hear that you like it so far.
Here are a few tips on getting a great night shot:
1. Pick the right moment
The best pictures at night are taken shortly after sunset, but before the sky has darkened to black. I prefer a rich cobalt blue sky, but the window of opportunity for the best light is short, at best fifteen minutes. Stake out a position in advance and get your camera ready.
So you can plan ahead, here’s a website that will tell you when the sun will set on any date, anywhere in the world: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/astronomy.html?n=215
2. Experiment with lowering the exposure
This may depend on the camera model you use, but with Nikon DSLRs I’ve found that lowering the exposure a notch or two (from 0 to -0.7 or -1.0) will intensify the color in the sky. Just be sure to move it up again as the sky darkens. The LCD screen on the back will give you an accurate sense of how things look.
3. Slow the shutter speed for reflections on water, and for a star effect on street lights
Normally, I keep my camera on Program Mode (P on the dial), never on Auto. But if you’re shooting the Ponte Vecchio or some similar scene where you’d like to capture a reflection in the water below, switch to Shutter Priority and slow the shutter speed way, way down (you’ll need a tripod for this). Everyone’s camera works a little differently, but some instructions for the Nikon D5200 can be found here: http://goo.gl/DCcR6z
Slowing the shutter speed will iron out the ripples in the water and give you a beautiful, glassy effect; or if it’s the ocean, the waves crashing against the rock will look misty. A slower shutter speed will also create a natural star (or halo) effect around street lamps.
Here are a few shots I took with a slow shutter:
4. Buy a small tripod and a wireless remote control
It’s essential that your camera remain completely still when taking pictures in low light, especially if you’ve slowed the shutter speed. There are lots of small, portable tripods with flexible legs that you can fit easily into a day bag. Mine is a GorillaPod by Joby (http://goo.gl/gEAAL5). Depending on where you are, you could also rest your camera on a flat surface. In Florence, I used the stone walls of the Ponte Santa Trinita, the bridge just to the west of the Ponte Vecchio.
Quite often, I also use a wireless remote control to take the picture, that way my hand doesn’t risk shaking the camera when I press the shutter.
5. Buy a large storage card and take lots of pictures.
For every great picture I take, there are many more that just don’t work out. Have plenty of storage cards on hand and then shoot away! You can always delete the fuzzy, out-of-focus ones later. Besides, practice makes perfect!
Best of luck, and let me know how you make out!
I so appreciate your taking the time to help and give me so much detailed information. It is really very helpful. I suspected I might need some type of tripod and remote. I love that the GorillaPod is so light and portable. I’ve got an Amazon order ready to go! I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks, Deborah!
You’re welcome! Say hello to Florence for me. I’ll be back again soon.
I love the adventure nature you are shown in your blog. I enjoyed browsing throw the site and wish you all the best and luck. Now you have more hits hopefully from North Africa. I hope when things stabilize in Libya you are welcome to visit.
Hi Debbie! Heard you were the world traveler, thought I’d check out your blog. Really enjoyed reading through your entries, Been to London perhaps a dozen times, have enjoyed it immensely. Your narrative reminds me of some of the enjoyable sites I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing, and suggests that there are still some interesting sites I need to visit. Will keep your recommendations in mind when I visit Europe again soon!
Hi Howard! What a blast from the past. It’s good to hear from you. :)
I just came across your blog and it’s wonderfully written! I was hoping for more of your 2014 Italy trip; did you ever write anymore about it?