Travel Writer. Digital Nomad. Black Penguin.
Author, speaker, and TV host, Andrew Evans shares stories from around the world on paper, pixel, and screen. A peripatetic travel writer, Andrew has completed some 50 assignments for National Geographic, reporting live from all seven continents and over one hundred countries. Some of his favorite adventures include live-tweeting his ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro, blogging his thru-hike on The Jordan Trail (from Syria to Saudi Arabia), traveling to remotest Polynesia with an 18th-century guidebook, and traveling a 12,000-miles overland journey from Washington, DC, to Antarctica using public transportation.
Andrew—a five-time Lowell Thomas Award winner from the Society of American Travel Writers—is a contributor to National Geographic, BBC Travel, NBC, The Chicago Tribune and The Boston Globe. He is the author of five books, including two bestselling guidebooks (Ukraine and Iceland). His award-winning memoir The Black Penguin tells the personal story of a devout Mormon boy whose religion had pre-ordained his life’s path: baptism, mission, Brigham Young University, temple marriage, and children. Andrew lived the life expected of him while balancing a growing awareness that his own nature as a gay man conflicted with his religion and heritage. He escaped bullying and frustration in the faraway places shown on the glossy pages of National Geographic—especially his dream destination Antarctica. After years of faithful church service and two years spent as a missionary overseas, he came out as gay and was excommunicated by his church (and for a time, his family). His personal memoir, The Black Penguin—equal parts coming of age, expedition journal, and his dream journey to the bottom of the Earth, while on assignment for National Geographic—tells his story.
Andrew also appears as on-air talent for the National Geographic Channel, hosting “World’s Smartest Cities” (a series focusing on the intersection of tech and geography) and “Hidden Gems”—a travel series that celebrates the lesser-known histories and cultures around the world.
A renowned influencer in the world of travel media, Andrew calls for traveling sustainably, open to experiencing the unfamiliar world with respect and mindfulness. Multilingual, Andrew holds degrees from Brigham Young University and Oxford University. When not on planes, trains, or the trail, he lives in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
Travel: A Bridge to Enlightenment
Discovering the broader world brings us joy and wonder, develops our intellect, and increases our empathy for one another. Yet, despite this new era of hyper-connective technology, we are becoming a more divided and less compassionate species. Authentic travel can be an antidote to hate and ignorance by teaching us to laugh at ourselves, to appreciate the limits of our own worldview, and to respect the knowledge and experience of different cultures and people. With vivid, visual, and humorous tales pulled from a lifetime of journeys to over 100 countries, travel writer Andrew Evans reveals how travel can truly change our lives—and the world.
Rejecting Rejection: Coming Out on Top
Adversity is part of life, and overcoming opposition is a skill that every one of us must learn, be it on the playground, in our communities, or in the office. Delving into his own personal journey, Andrew talks about his struggle growing up gay and part of a highly religious family. Pulling from his award-winning memoir, The Black Penguin, Andrew offers real-world solutions to coping with violence, bullying, and institutional oppression. Above all, he stresses the importance of self-discovery, building healthy self-esteem, and finding joy and contentment in life—despite the bumps in the road.
Photos: courtesy Andrew Evans