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Conversations with Julie Kessler

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie L. Kessler. She shares her story with us below:

Julie L. Kessler grew up in Hawaii and California with a single mother and graduated with a B.A. in political science from the University of Hawaii, Manoa. After that, she received her Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She has traveled to 107 countries, lived in Japan and France, and spent significant time in Israel, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. After 25 years practicing as a transactional lawyer, Julie wrote a travel memoir, “Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight,” which won four book awards. She now spends most of her time, when not writing legal commentary for various publications, pursuing good food, good wine, and interesting people as a travel journalist. For several years she had a column, “The Traveling Life,” in The San Francisco Examiner, and her travel articles have also regularly appeared in The L.A. Times, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, The Vancouver Courier, The Asia Times, Westways Magazine, The Jerusalem Post, MoneyInc, Avid Cruiser, The Jewish Journal, and Travel & Leisure. Several times, she has been a guest on the Frommer’s Travel Show and The American Forces Network Radio. Julie also writes about luxury cars for Money Inc. When not circumnavigating the globe or driving fast cars, Julie enjoys her family and crazy canine not far from an airport in California.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
All roads have bumps despite one’s most diligent planning efforts. My mother died a few weeks after I graduated from university, and as I was raised as an only child by a single parent, her passing effectively left me alone in the U.S. This certainly shaped the road that followed as fending for myself became an economic necessity. So practical choices had to be made. It wasn’t until much later that I could pursue my first love, writing.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I write for several major media outlets as a freelance travel writer, mainly about off-the-beaten-path travels, food, wine, and adventure travel. I also write about small and mid-size cruises, which I enjoy, and luxury cars, since fast, shiny things are personal favorites. I’ve written various columns on the legal side, from free speech to immigration to female genital mutilation in East Africa. I have also interviewed several Supreme Court justices worldwide, from Israel to Papua New Guinea to Bhutan. Given my legal background and years of practice, I often bring a different perspective to my travel writing. I am most proud of raising a lovely, now adult daughter.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was mischievous and interested in seeing the world to find where I fit.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Instagram: @vagabondlawyer
  • Facebook: Julie L. Kessler, Writer
  • Linkedin: Julie L. Kessler

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