2022-2023 Western Candidates

Ruth Carlson

Running for Chair


Thank you for considering me to represent the Western Chapter. For over three decades I’ve been traveling the world and writing articles about my adventures for magazines and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Bon Appetit, the American Airlines inflight magazine, The American Way, and SFGate.com. When Covid made international travel impossible I authored two books, Secret San Francisco: a guide to the weird, wonderful and obscure and Secret California: a guide to the weird, wonderful and obscure.


Acceptance into SATW was a career highlight and if elected, my focus will be on listening to your concerns. Previously I served on the Bay Area Travel Writers (BATW) Board of Directors where I focused on professional development opportunities, networking and bringing in new members.


SATW is so large it can be difficult to maneuver, and I want to make it easier for members to receive the support they need in these fluid times. Some of the priorities colleagues have raised are increasing communication between editors and writers and promoting peer reviews of pitches to strengthen publication success rates.


Thanks to its incredible members, the Western Chapter of SATW is poised to successfully navigate the rapidly changing world of travel writing.

Rob Rachowiecki

Running for Chair


My name is Rob Rachowiecki and I am excited to announce my candidacy for the Chair position on the Western Chapter Board. I am looking forward to working congenially with other board members and volunteers as well as the management team to keep the Western Chapter running smoothly. I have years of experience in working in administration positions and have had volunteer roles with SATW. I have been an Active member for a quarter of a century and am ready to expand my volunteerism for this outstanding organization.


Some of you know me as a chap with a British accent. I was born in England but visited the USA in 1974 and somehow never left. I have made my home in Tucson, Arizona since 1989.


My first published (and paid) travel writing was about a British schoolboys expedition to Greenland in 1972 but the majority of my travel writing career has been authoring guidebooks. I feel that the breadth of coverage that a guidebook entails will stand me in good stead if you elect me to hear, communicate, report and resolve your membership in the Western Chapter. I respectfully ask for your vote.


If you have any comments, compliments, questions or just want to give me a hard time – please reach out and I’ll get back to you.

Barbara Barrielle

Running for First Vice Chair


In all honesty, my statement is simply that I want to be involved and do good work for SATW, an organization that has given me more than I imagined. I am just back from Alaska like all of us fortunate attendees. My selfie headshot is from there and my memories are vibrant now but will surely last forever. It was there I realized the gift I am given over and over again by these experiences and it is about time I gave back. That’s it.


I write extensively but finally feel there is balance and I can work to lift up others and both share what I have learned and continue learning from my colleagues. The friendships and memories we take away may be simple but grow over years. We watch out for each other, care deeply, share information and we seek opportunities that raise us all up. I want to do more of this.


This position may prepare me for something more but, if elected, I will look at ways to add dimensions to our Professional Development, keep it fresh, edgy, funny and breaking barriers while learning the solid fundamentals.


We can complain about the changes and challenges in our chosen profession but the bottom line is we are doing something we choose to do and really have been given the gift of adventure, exploration and wonder that makes out lives full and rich. It is our responsibility to share that with each other and our readers. I hope to be active in facilitating this more.

David Lang

Running for First Vice Chair


I have been a SATW member for 11 years. I served as the 2nd Vice Chair of the Freelance Council for two terms until last year. During my tenure, I organized annual meetings for our members in destinations such as the heavenly West Virginia, bucolic northern Japan and onboard a cruise ship in the Caribbean! I was also the Chair of the 2016 national convention in China, remember by many who attended as one of the best conventions we have ever had! I firmly believe in volunteering my services and donating my time to make SATW a better organization for everyone. I would be very honored to have your vote!


I have a political background and worked for different levels of elected officials for a decade, before setting up my own political consulting and public affairs firm. I turned to travel writing about a dozen years ago, as traveling and exploration of the world has always been my passion. I currently write a travel column for the Sing Tao Daily, one of the two largest Chinese daily newspapers published in North America. I have also contributed regularly to the Chinese edition of Travel+Leisure, published in Shanghai, and other online outlets.


I was born and raised in Hong Kong, finished high school there, and pursued my higher education further in Canada, England and the United States. I have a master’s degree in international Relations awarded by the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE). I am a passionate soccer fan, have attended five World Cup competitions and watch the English Premiere League weekly. I will be in Doha, Qatar for the 2022 World Cup games at the end of this year. I am also a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films. I live in Los Angeles.

Teresa Bergen

Running for Secretary


I’m a writer based in Portland, Oregon. I joined SATW in 2014, just before the Iceland convention, as a member of the Western Chapter and the Freelance Council. I’ve served as keeper of the clips for the Freelance Council since 2017. My travel writing interests include sustainable travel, vegan hotspots, outdoors, old cemeteries, fitness, wellness and interacting with animals. I’m the author of Easy Portland Outdoors and co-author of Historic Cemeteries of Portland, Oregon.


Joining SATW greatly expanded my horizons as a travel writer, and I’ve made both personal friends and helpful professional contacts. I appreciate the educational and travel opportunities SATW continues to provide. As Western Chapter secretary, I would support my fellow board members however possible and strive to take accurate minutes. In additional to my writing degrees and experience, I am a hotshot typist, thanks to Mr. Thomas Medina, my eighth grade typing teacher.

Maribeth Mellin

Running for Secretary


Why am I running for Secretary? Because I joined SATW back in the 90s and have served on a board exactly once. It’s time to help out. I was Western Chapter Secretary several years ago and established great bonds with the other board members while rewriting the bylaws, organizing meetings, running contests and other tasks. The Western Chapter members are fun, talented and prolific. I’m happy to help manage the chapter and increase its value for all members.


I’ve been covering travel professionally for three decades. After a rewarding stint delving into legal, medical and social issues, I took on a freelance Travel Editor position and embraced the inevitable addiction. I’ve authored more than a dozen travel books and contributed to innumerable publications and websites. Moving into the digital world has been a challenge, which makes Professional Development so invaluable. I’ll do everything I can to make our sessions interesting and educational. Meetings give us an unbeatable camaraderie. They will get my full attention as well, as will the many organizational details. Looking forward to seeing you all soon.