Worldwide travels begin in Morro Bay

Worldly he is not, but a man of the world, absolutely. Tom Wilmer, travel journalist, is based in Morro Bay between adventures. He’s circled the globe four times interviewing interesting people and experiencing exotic places.

Engage him and “Tug — the Wonder Dog” in conversation on Morro Bay’s Harbor Walk and he has tales of roaming back alleys of Shanghai, China, trawling for shrimp in frigid Alaskan seas and accepting the King of Morocco’s invitation to cover his golf tournament. He was almost mugged in Atlanta and won high Australian praise for riding with Aussie Cowboys. He was humbled in India when he realized the Coke proffered by a merchant equaled $50 in American currency and blessed when Lady Luck ensured his helicopter didn’t crash into the Kahayan volcano. His favorite interview was meeting the real Santa Claus in Lapland, Finland.“You never know where life leads you,” Wilmer said. “I always wanted to travel. I heard you could get paid to travel by working the fisheries. I was 25 and needed money to fix up my old farmhouse near the Canadian border.”

Arson took his farmhouse and fueled his 25-year wanderlust. After losing everything, he realized possessions didn’t equal one’s worth. Writing was a therapy that transitioned into a career with purpose.

He and wife Beth came to the Central Coast to help her ill parents. They stayed longer than anticipated. Wilmer wrote for New Times and was travel columnist or editor for the Telegram-Tribune, Las Vegas Magazine and Central Coast Magazine. At one point, he realized he’d visited every bed and breakfast between Los Angeles and San Francisco. “Romancing the Coast” was published in 1994.

His more exotic travels began while ghostwriting for a New York Times columnist. With the pitch that he was already writing and shooting for print, he landed his KCBX/NPR radio travel show 20 years ago. Today, his adventures are also available on You Tube.

His latest project is a winery series. “The Wine Seeker’s Guide To ... Livermore Valley” is the first guide published by www.RiverwoodBooks.com and sold at Coalesce Book Store.

Wilmer’s portable guide introduces the wine seeker directly to the producers, more than their varietals. He understands the consumer often selects a favorite wine after an enjoyable visit with the winemaker. Discovering new friends before meeting them at the tasting room is what Wilmer’s wine seeker series is all about.

Reach Judy at 801-1422 or jsalamacha@yahoo.com.