Kari’s Background

Kari Martindale is a writer, ESL instructor, and lover of all things language.  Her educational background includes a Master’s in Linguistics from George Mason University and various certificates and diplomas in foreign languages, linguistics, and translation.  She is multi-lingual to various degrees of fluency in Spanish, Arabic, and German; along with possessing tourist-level communication and/or novice reading skills in several other languages.  Her professional background includes translation, analysis, TESOL, and owning a small business.  She volunteers at her daughter’s school, she is a veteran of the US Air Force, and she is the spouse of an Air Force retiree.  She guffaws on a daily basis.


Favorite authors: Bill Bryson, Carl Hiaasen, Jeffrey Archer, Dr. Seuss

Favorite children’s books: Jeremy Draws a Monster, Ain’t Gonna Paint No More, Wonder, The Lorax, I Wish That I Had Duck Feet, The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler, A Good Day.

Favorite illustrator: David Catrow, Jerry Pinkney.

Which books most influenced my life: The Forgotten Door, A Wrinkle in Time, The Mixed-Up Files of Basil E Frankweiler, A Walk in the Woods, the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure series.

Most recent book to make me laugh: The Road to Little Dribbling (still reading because I’m a hella slow reader these days).

Most recent book to make me cry: My Sister’s Keeper.

How I write: I write to total silence as much as possible, and I do a disturbingly large amount of writing in the bathroom. When the mood strikes, I write; when it leaves, I stop. Lately, I’ve been getting inspiration for the Flash series every time I see a new sketch from the illustrator. Sometimes he’ll send me a doodle, and then a book appears out of that one single doodle.

Favorite quote: “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” -Muhammad Ali

How many countries visited: 30-some

How many US states visited: all 50, and some territories

Favorite foreign country: I love a lot of countries, but my favorite is Spain.  I particularly love Barcelona, and the Basque country.

Favorite state: I can’t choose.  I love PA, because that’s my home state.  I love Alaska and Utah for their landscapes.  Just this past spring, I fell in love with Washington state.

At the top of the bucket list:  Peru.  Patagonia.  The Great Wall of China.

Solo travel or group travel? I like it all, but I particularly love traveling with my family. I love mother-daughter trips!

Favorite way to travel: ROAD TRIP!

Favorite souvenir: I don’t collect just one thing.  Looking around my office now, I see magnets, cardboard skyline cards, flags, photographs, maps, postcards, a pillow, perfume bottles, trinkets from the Middle East, a mug, pens, and more… and there’s always SGH!


I find it essential to keep a sense of humor about my travels. Whether I’ve walked several miles in the heat of August in Rome to a restaurant that’s closed, or found myself trekking through an unexpected snowfall and flooded trails in sandals and socks in Croatia, or driven way out of the way to the wrong city, I need to be able to laugh about it. Remember that the most memorable trips aren’t just the ones with amazing views–they’re also the ones that go awry.

But more practically, know your travel party and know yourself. It’s important to understand each member in a travel party so that everyone has a great time. Know yourself: Where are you willing to splurge and where aren’t you? Figure out how to spend your money ahead of time. If you’re a foodie, maybe stay somewhere cheap and splurge on restaurants. If you’re looking for amazing service and views, splurge on the hotel. If you’re not looking forward to a long flight, splurge on your ticket to make it a direct flight if possible, perhaps with extra legroom or an upgrade.