John A. Vlahides has been a cook in a Parisian bordello, a luxury-hotel concierge, television host, safety monitor in a sex club, French-English interpreter - and he's one of Lonely Planet's most experienced and prolific guidebook authors.A native New Yorker who lives in San Francisco, John has... show more
John A. Vlahides has been a cook in a Parisian bordello, a luxury-hotel concierge, television host, safety monitor in a sex club, French-English interpreter - and he's one of Lonely Planet's most experienced and prolific guidebook authors.A native New Yorker who lives in San Francisco, John has contributed to 18 Lonely Planet guidebooks since 2003, ranging from California and the western United States to the Dubai City Guide. He is co-host of the TV series Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled (screening on National Geographic Adventure), for which he shot the pilot in Morocco, and the first season's closing show in Madagascar, where he cracked a rib wrestling a bull. "When researching a guidebook, my favorite thing to remember is that I'm a folklorist whose job it is to freeze-frame cultures in a specific period in history," says John. "We guidebook writers record how people live, what they eat, how they entertain themselves. This by its nature is ephemeral, constantly in flux. We're the record-keepers for the day-to-day. That's really cool."John is co-founder of the Northern California travel website 71miles.com and founding contributor to Trazzler.com. He also appears on San Francisco's ABC7 (KGO) to talk about travel around Northern California. He previously co-produced a monthly TV travel segment, called "One Night Stands with John Vlahides," on San Francisco's KRON 4 News Weekend. He has also represented Lonely Planet on various television and radio networks, including CNN and ABC (Australia). His travel articles have also been published by Condé Nast, King Features Syndicate, Wanderlust, Sydney Morning Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Sunset Magazine, among others.John studied cooking in Paris with the same chefs who trained Julia Child, and is a former luxury-hotel concierge and member of Les Clefs d'Or, the Paris-based union of the world's elite concierges. When not talking travel, John sings tenor with the Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Symphony Chorus, and spends his free time downhill-skiing and hiking the Sierra Nevada, touring California by motorcycle, and sunning on the beach beneath the Golden Gate Bridge."One thing you should do before you die is immerse yourself in a place where you don't speak the language, and be forced to discover inner strength and courage you never knew you possessed," John says. "After all, travel is ultimately about self-discovery."