Hi, I’m Sandra Friend. For the past twenty years, I’ve been sharing my love of travel, hiking, and the outdoors with people like yourself through my articles, books, and photography.
While walking around Lake Okeechobee on the annual Big O Hike four years ago, I met my soulmate, John Keatley. I didn’t know it at the time. But that spring, we headed to the Appalachian Trail together to take on our lifelong dreams of a thru-hike. While we didn’t make it as far as we planned, our time together cemented our relationship. We’ve been traveling, hiking, and writing together ever since.
After years of going solo as a freelancer, it’s a delight to be part of a team. In addition to researching and writing several books and a handful of articles together, John and I write for and publish the award-winning website FloridaHikes.com, Florida’s top resource for the outdoors. We’ve started our own publishing company, Watula Press. We’ve also taken on projects to help tourism bureaus showcase their outdoors.
It’s our mission to inspire you to get outdoors, no matter how you like to do it: a scenic drive, a picnic in a park, an easy walk, a lengthy backpacking trip, a cross-state bike ride, or a paddle down a winding waterway.
- Immediate Past Chair, Freelance Council, Society of American Travel Writers
- Past Board Member, Florida Outdoor Writers Association
- Past Board Member, Florida Trail Hikers Alliance
- Past Board Member, Friends of Florida State Parks
- Member, Authors Coalition
- Member, North American Travel Journalists Association
- Life Member, Florida Trail Association
- Life Member, Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association
- Life Member, Trail Dames
Over the past twenty years, I’ve traveled to most of the United States with the intent of travel research. I have nine states to go: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, North and South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. Ironically, I saw the Pacific Ocean in South America before I saw it in my own country.
As for world travel, the fact that my sisters lived in Greece for some time got me there before I’d seen any other country but Canada. Since then, I’ve hiked on four continents – in Chile, Nepal, Germany, and U.S./Canada – and also traveled to the Caribbean, India, and Israel. After John and I met, we’ve been to Canada, England, Iceland, Ireland, Panama, Scotland, and Wales as well.