AN INTERVIEW WITH TAM WARNER MINTON
Almost by definition, writing is a solitary endeavor. When I started my blog, Boomeresque, I didn’t realize it would introduce me to a tribe of other baby boomer travel bloggers.
Many are “virtual” online friends, but thanks to blogging conferences and travel, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a growing number of them in real life, including travel blogger and underwater photographer, Tam Warner Minton.
I finally met Tam in real life at the recent Milwaukee Women in Travel Summit. Tam’s blog, Travels with Tam, is included in a recent list of inspiring travel blogs for women. Her travel writing has also been featured on Midlife Boulevard.
One of Tam’s main travel interests and areas of expertise is scuba diving. Part of my fascination with her enthusiasm for scuba is that the one time I tried to snorkel in the open ocean, I had a panic attack.
water weenies like me, Tam shares her underwater world through her first rate underwater photography. She gets really up close and personal with denizens of the deep, affording her readers a “you are there” experience without getting wet.
Tam agreed to answer some questions for Midlife Boulevard readers.
1) Please tell us about your life before your blog, Travels with Tam.
What a saga you are asking for! Short version: I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, married at 21 and moved to Dallas, which continues to be my “home base”. For many years I was a travel agent, and enjoyed the travel perks that came with that job back in the day.
After I had children, I went back to school, earning both Bachelors and Masters degrees. I was a University Lecturer at the University of Texas Dallas, teaching gender, race and criminology. I then spent several years in private practice after getting a Certificate in College Counseling from UCLA.
I have loved to travel since I was a tot. My husband and I spent a lot of time traveling, taking our children to exciting and educational locations. As an empty nester, I travel even more.
2) When and how did you become interested in scuba diving?
I became fascinated with scuba from seeing Jacques Cousteau television documentaries as a child. I have spent a lot of time at the ocean since childhood. The idea of being able to go down there, into the blue, and meet creatures face to face excited me!
I had no idea I’d ever be able to do it, but once I got under water, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get back underwater. I love it.
3) How did you acquire your photography and underwater photography skills?
I wanted to capture the underwater world and remember my time there. I quickly fell in love with underwater photography. Everything is different, so you have to learn an entirely new way of seeing and understanding light.
When underwater, light is everything. I’ve been taking photos underwater for about 15 years now, and I now feel that I am somewhat proficient.
The main lesson? You have to get close to the animal. If you are more than 3-5 feet away, your photo will be shades of blue with no real color.
4) What is your go to photography equipment?
I actually just switched my equipment from smaller “point and shoot” cameras with manual capabilities, to a seriously cool Olympus OMD EM5 Markii mirrorless camera with a Nauticam housing.
That makes no sense to someone who isn’t into photography, but learning to use this higher level, professional camera and housing is incredibly exciting for me! I also always carry a GoPro, they really are amazing little cameras!
5) Do you generally travel solo or with others?
I have traveled with my family, my husband, and now, mostly solo. We took our children on many exciting adventures, and both of them are also divers. My husband had a double lung transplant almost four years ago, and since then, my travels have mostly been solo.
Randy (Tam’s husband) can travel with me as long as he is two or three hours from a transplant center, but obviously when I go to remote locations like Indonesia, that is not possible. He no longer dives, which is understandable!
6) What are your favorite diving locations and why?
All of them. I’m completely serious. All dive locations have their unique characteristics, and I often go back more than once.
Cozumel is a favorite, Indonesia, and the Revillagigedos Archipelago, a remote location off the Los Cabos peninsula. Every spot is wonderful in its own way, whether it is color, or exotic animals, or big animals! I love it all.
7) How can we go on a dive trip with you?
Yes, and they don’t even have to dive to get their feet wet. Snorkeling is awesome as well!
I have teamed up with Red Travel Mexico to host a trip to the Sea of Cortez. I expect it to be an amazing trip.
We will snorkel or dive Cabo Pulmo, a marine park that has made an incredible comeback from near desolation, explore islands, pristine beaches, and see waterfalls.
We will then head to La Paz to snorkel with Whale Sharks and Sea Lions! It is a fantastic opportunity to see pristine beauty, enjoy the ocean and beaches, explore, and see the Gentle Giants of the ocean, Whale Sharks.
The trip offers everyone something: snorkeling, diving, beach time, exploring, and great company. If you like the ocean and enjoy diving or snorkeling, this will be an exciting trip.
The link is http://redtravelmexico.com/
ARE YOU READY TO GO SWIMMING WITH WHALE SHARKS!?!