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GoNOMAD Writer Profiles

Helena visiting Hampton Beach in New Hampshire.
Helena visiting Hampton Beach in New Hampshire.

Helena Wahlstrom: Northern Wanderer

Helena Wahlstrom, GoNOMAD editorial intern, has been bitten by the travel bug ever since she was a little girl, when her parents first began taking her along on trips all over Europe and the U.S.

While she was too young to remember many of these trips, preferring to marvel at a fearless flock of pigeons instead of the local attractions, the family trips broadened her world, instilling a restlessness that refuses to fade.

Growing up in peaceful, isolated and freezing cold Finland, she welcomed the chance to hop on a plane whenever she could and head for more temperate climates. Over the years, she has continued traveling, putting the most distance between herself and her homeland when visiting Japan and Hawaii.

In 2005, Helena headed to Atlanta, Georgia to begin her studies in English. After two years, she decided a change of climate as well as major was in order, and despite her tragic aversion to cold, transferred to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she will be wrapping up her Journalism studies at the end of the Fall 2011 semester.

After graduation, the wide world awaits! While she has only been traveling within the States for the past four years, Helena looks forward to visiting places like Austria, the Netherlands, New Zealand and various locations in Asia.

Other than travel, Helena loves to write. In addition to her work at GoNOMAD, she enjoys blogging and fiction writing. She is also a voracious reader, spending most of her free time with her nose in books ranging from speculative fiction to nonfiction to fantasy to mainstream fiction, or blogs, online newspapers and magazines.

As a lifelong traveler and writer, Helena plans to continue seeing the world and writing about it, whether each new location is a plane ride away or just a stroll around the corner.

Here is what editor Max Hartshorne thinks of her.

Helena Wahlstrom: She's a Keeper!

She takes a story and really writes it.  Knows how to write a compelling lead, how to come up with the content, and always manages to find the right photos to go with her stories. I read through the pieces without any fear that I’ll have to rewrite them, or cut them, or do anything except read them like a reader, not an editor.  Beautiful.

Another thing that stuns me about Helena and some of the other great interns we have had is how facile they all are with keyboards, computers and working with data from the cloud.  Not intimidated, just plunge right in, and they create photo galleries, upload mailing lists, copy and paste massively, and in general, aren’t phased by the challenges that many of us oldsters cringe at. It’s marvelous!    

I can’t wait to recommend Helena to an employer.  As I’ve described other very talented, modest, easy to get along with women who have worked for us here–”She’s a keeper. Hire her. You won’t regret it!”
 Readuponit, November 10, 2011


Stories by Helena Wahlstrom:

See the World, Aid the World with Investours

Non-Profit Supports Entrepreneurs with Tour Fees

In 2007, Trip Sweeney proposed an alternative to “slum tourism,” one of the fastest-growing niche tourism sectors in the world, that tempts adventure-seeking tourists from wealthy countries to visit impoverished areas.

Instead of this form of tourism that more often than not offers no financial benefits to the people of these regions, and risks reducing local problems to nothing but entertainment for the wealthy visitors, Sweeney envisioned tours that combine the educational and cross-cultural benefits of tourism with microfinance, an innovative form of lending that allows impoverished people to take advantage of small-scale loans.


New Laws Loosen Travel Restrictions to Cuba

After the US loosened travel restrictions to Cuba in January, travel businesses are gearing up to service visitors to the previously difficult to access island nation. Those interested in seeing Cuba should make haste: as more and more companies begin to offer travel options to Cuba, the country, long frozen in time, will begin to thaw.

“As tourism opens up, new hotels and services will be built, new prosperity will come into play and the ‘Old Cuba’ will start to vanish. Travelers going there over the next couple of years will be witness to both the old Cuba and the new developing Cuba - a rare opportunity!” said Dan Austin, founder and director of Austin-Lehman Adventures, award-winning small group tour operator that will begin offering tours in Cuba mid-February 2012.

Read our luggage top six and this won't happen to you.
Read our luggage top five and this won't happen to you.

Luggage Top Six: Best Luggage for Different Travelers

Travel is a topic that lends itself to a variety of exciting tales, from the latest undiscovered paradise location to the mystery dish you sampled on your last trip. One all-important aspect of travel that’s often left out of the conversation is luggage.

The perfect luggage is convenient enough to erase itself from the traveler’s mind: it makes everything easier, allowing travelers to focus on what matters -- their fantastic journey. Bad luggage, meanwhile, can make it difficult to enjoy traveling, even if it’s only with us on our way to and from the airport.

How to find the perfect luggage and avoid these headaches? GoNOMAD presents the top six luggage for five different needs.

Omo, Tribewanted team member, makes banana bread by the fire. Photo by Tom Volpe
Omo, Tribewanted team member, makes banana bread by the fire.

Tribewanted Makes a Visible Difference in Sierra Leone

Many of us dream of changing the world, but shy away because the task seems too monumental. Tribewanted, a non-profit eco-tourism organization dedicated to bringing sustainable change to local communities, allows participants to effect real change on a smaller scale.

Focusing this year on Sierra Leone, Tribewanted participants, or tribe members, can make a visible difference in the life of a small fishing village.

Katia and Cecilia visit Bamberg, Germany during a Bikesherpa tour.
Katia and Cecilia visit Bamberg during a Bikesherpa tour.

BikeSherpa Combines Social Networking with Bike Touring Adventure

Social networking is used for just about everything these days, with online groups forming around every interest imaginable. Now bike enthusiasts can take that social group and go on a cycling adventure in Europe with BikeSherpa.

BikeSherpa, co-founded by Robert Reimann, aims to take the guesswork out of group tours. Using their site,, prospective tour participants can sign up, meet like-minded people, and create or join groups.

More Stories by Helena Wahlstrom

Hidden Europe: Five Traits Found in Most People from Eastern Europe

Many Ways to See Rome: Walking, Biking, Vespa, Bus and Boat

No Waves In Cuba: Sweetness and Blood by Michael Scott Moore

A Bump in the Silk Road by Suzanne M. Miller

The Perils of Loving a Free Spirit: Swept by Torre DeRoche

Ten Most Marvelous Monasteries

Facing the Congo in a Dug-Out Canoe

The Routes of Man: Walking the Length of Broadway

Summers Off: The Worldwide Adventures of a Schoolteacher

Route 66 Adventure Handbook, 4th edition



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