Behind every VIA article there's an intrepid reporter risking sunburn on an exotic Tahitian cruise, indigestion on San Francisco's best food tours, and over-exfoliation in the West Coast's most relaxing spas. These are the men and women who lived to tell the tale.
What's the opposite of trendy, ostentatious, and au courant? That's where you'll find freelance writer Eloui Roberts. She's slept surrounded by retching, seasick passengers riding third-class on the ferry from Shimonoseki to Pusan, lived for a month in the nation's first trailer park while on assignment for Smithsonian magazine, and feels Fort Bragg is the best north coast alternative to Mendocino. She made an exception to her no-frills rule—for research purposes only, mind you—to ride in a cushy sleeper car for a report on Amtrak service. She also spent a weekend in Chico, Calif., exploring its galleries and the pride of the town-sprawling Bidwell Park. Roberts spent her childhood on airplanes as her father shuttled the family to jobs in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Pakistan before settling in Berkeley, California.