Jeff Greenwald has traveled extensively through five continents, working as a journalist and photographer. In addition he has prepared exhibits, lectures and educational programs for San Francisco’s Exploratorium, the University of California, The Body Shop, and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.
In the course of his travels, Jeff has had the opportunity to participate in a number of unusual projects. In 1979, during his first trip to Asia, he designed urban playgrounds for UNICEF and the Nepal Children’s Organization. Several months later, arriving in Thailand during the outbreak of the Khmer civil war, he served as a volunteer water engineer at Khao-I-Dang: the largest of the Cambodian refugee camps.
Between 1980 and 1983 Jeff lived in Santa Barbara, California, serving as Cultural and Features Editor of the Santa Barbara News & Review. Following this he edited an international art journal called Art/Life, ultimately leaving that magazine to publish and edit a limited-edition art portfolio called eye.
In the Spring of 1983, he was awarded a Journalism Fellowship by the Rotary International Foundation, and departed for Asia. During this 16-month residence he lived in Kathmandu, Nepal, and made excursions to the Himalaya, India, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Japan and Indonesia. The resulting articles appeared in GEO and Islands magazines.
His first book, Mr. Raja’s Neighborhood: Letters from Nepal (John Daniel, 1986), is still in print. Shopping for Buddhas, first published by Harper & Row in 1990, was reissued in 1996 by Lonely Planet Publications; the new edition won the Lowell Thomas Gold Award for Best Travel Book of 1996. The Size of the World–a chronicle of his around-the-world overland voyage (Globe Pequot, 1995 & Ballantine, 1996)–was a national bestseller, and won the 1995 Lowell Thomas Silver Award. This was followed by Future Perfect: How Star Trek Conquered Planet Earth, released in June 1998 by Viking Penguin. Jeff Greenwald’s travel writing is widely anthologized, appearing in The Kindness of Strangers, In Search of Adventure, Salon Wanderlust, and many volumes of the award-winning “Travelers Tales” series. A collection of his best short travel writing, Scratching the Surface: Impressions of Planet Earth from Hollywood to Shiraz, appeared in 2002.His latest book, Snake Lake, was released by Counterpoint in 2010.
In 2003, Jeff began performing Strange Travel Suggestions, an improvised monologue based on his adventures. The critically acclaimed show has continued to draw sold-out houses through 2011. In January and February 2005 he worked for Mercy Corps, assisting victims of the tsunami in Sri Lanka. His dispatches are archived on both the Mercy Corps and Ethical Traveler website.
Jeff Greenwald now divides his time between California and Asia, publishing stories and essays in a wide range of magazines and newspapers. He is also Executive Director of Ethical Traveler, a global community dedicated to exploring the ambassadorial potential of world travel.