Category: On travel

It’s Penguin Awareness Day!

By Midge Raymond,

January 20 is Penguin Awareness Day, and it’s more important than ever that we celebrate (and work to protect) these amazing animals.

If you’ve read My Last Continent, you’ve met the Adélie, gentoo, chinstrap, emperor, and Magellanic penguins. If you’ve read The Tourist Trail, you got to know Magellanic penguins very well. Last November, John and I were delighted to meet a new species: the Tawaki, or Fiordland-crested penguin. (Tawaki is the Māori name, meaning crested; these birds are found only on the South Island of New Zealand.)

The amazing Tawaki live in the rainforest, nesting under tree roots and bushes. They hike from the ocean across sandy beaches, over sharp rocks, and up steep banks to get to their nests. Sadly, there are only about 3,000 of these incredible penguins left on earth.

The Tawaki are endangered due to several factors, including predators on the island (non-native species such as stoats, possums, rats, and feral cats), climate change, and human disturbance (from tourists to the fishing industry). Tawaki are very shy, and it’s rare to see them — and when you do, you have to be very careful to keep your distance; if they come back to shore to feed their chicks and a human is near their path to the nest, they will get frightened and return to the ocean, leaving their chick to go hungry.

How can you help penguins like the Tawaki stay with us forever?

  • Consider giving up seafood; even cutting back will help. You’ll save more fish for the birds, and you’ll help insure that penguins and other creatures don’t get killed by fishing nets and longlines.
  • Be a respectful birdwatcher. Visit penguins with guides who know how to keep a safe distance, or learn about their habitat so that you can be sure to stay out of harm’s way.
  • Do all that you can to combat climate change (see the Climate Reality Project and Cowspiracy for some good tips).
  • Support conservation efforts like the Center for Ecosystem Sentinels, which monitors penguins and works on the ground to ensure protections for them.

And keep learning! The more you know of these majestic creatures, the more inspired you’ll be to help save them. Join me in Patagonia in October to meet Magellanic penguins up close and personal at the largest colony in the world. This journey will be a small group of travelers who will meet with local researchers to learn more about their work with this colony, and with any luck, we’ll get to meet Turbo the Penguin as well (the inspiration for the Admiral Byrd character in My Last Continent). Learn more here.

Happy Penguin Awareness Day! (And thanks to John Yunker for these wonderful photographs.)

Vegan dining in Fremantle, Perth, Western Australia

By Midge Raymond,

While wandering around the lovely Fremantle neighborhood just outside of Perth, we were thrilled to come across Chic Pea Vegan Cafe, which is located in the must-see Fremantle Markets.


This tiny little place has limited seating and a short menu, but everything is fresh and made to order.

It was a perfect day to sit outside, and we enjoyed the message on the sidewalk table just in front of the cafe.

The chick-pea wrap was delicious, a big healthy salad served inside a huge toasted flatbread.

The pasty was equally delicious, served hot and bursting with Indian-inspired spices.

While several of its main attractions are prison-related, Fremantle is a great place to shop and a beautiful coastal region visit — and especially to eat (it’s also home to this vegan ice cream shop).

  Category: On travel, Vegan
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Vegan dining in Sydney: The Green Lion Pub

By Midge Raymond,

Sydney is a fantastic place to enjoy vegan food, and among its treasures is The Green Lion pub, located in the Rozelle neighborhood (about an hour’s walk or 20-minute bus ride from Sydney’s central business district).

You can order food from the bar downstairs, but the dining room is upstairs, where the remnants of the former Red Lion Hotel can be seen behind the bar.

All the beer and wine served at the bar is vegan.

And the menu is mostly pub food in all its glory, from vegan burgers and dogs to pizza. The “chicken” burger was fantastic, as were the fries it comes with.

Slightly healhtlier but no less delicious was the “chicken” caesar salad, with homemade creamy dressing and crispy vegan chicken.

The Green Lion also has delicious-looking desserts, which (alas) we didn’t save room for. But the lovely atmosphere nearly tempted us to stay until dinner to eat again.

The Green Lion is an absolute must when you visit Sydney. In the meantime, follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

ACP is headed to New Zealand and Australia

By John Yunker,

We’re excited to once again be headed Down Under to meet with authors and readers.

We have two events planned that all are welcome to attend:


Christchurch, New Zealand

Writing about Animals: Literature’s evolving relationship with the animal kingdom

November 10th, 3 to 5pm

At the University of Canterbury

New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies

Engineering Core Lecture Theatre, Building E12


Perth, Australia

Sunday Session

November 26, 4 to 5:30 pm

At the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre


If you have any questions or would like to meet us along the way, please contact us.

Join us for Penguins & Patagonia in October 2018!

By Midge Raymond,

Save the dates: October 29 to November 6, 2018!

Join us and Adventures by the Book on a journey through the majestic land of Patagonia and immerse yourself in the setting that helped inspire My Last Continent and The Tourist Trail.

When John and I volunteered at the Punta Tombo penguin colony in Argentina, helping with a penguin census of the largest Magellanic colony in the world, our experiences with the land, penguins, and dedicated scientists inspired our novels, The Tourist Trail and My Last Continent. Now you can join us for a chance to see this spectacular colony firsthand, learn about its incredible history, and find out how to help conservation efforts in this extraordinary part of the world.

You’ll also have the opportunity to see and experience wildlife in ways you never imagined as we travel from Buenos Aires to Punta Tombo to the UNESCO World Heritage site Peninsula Valdes, where penguins, rheas, guanacos, foxes, sea lions, elephant seals, orcas, and many more stunning creatures reside. We’ll have a uniquely intimate experience with nature based at the private estancia Rincon Chico, accompanied all the way by a team of experienced local guides. (Note: While we’ll experience a lot of wildlife, we won’t be “roughing it” — the activity level will be light to moderate, and the accommodations will be lovely!)

And if you’re up for a further adventure into the icy places of My Last Continent and The Tourist Trail, there is an optional add-on excursion to Antarctica!

This literary & wildlife adventure includes…

  • Welcome dinner & tour in arrival city Buenos Aires
  • Penguin & wildlife excursions, including whale watching, with local guides
  • Signed copies of My Last Continent and The Tourist Trail 
  • …and so, so, so much more!

Reserve your spot before January 31, 2018, for a $300 discount — reservations are limited as this will be an intimate, exclusive tour. Learn more here, and feel free to contact us or Susan McBeth ( with any questions you have.