John A. Vlahides has been a cook in a Parisian bordello, luxury-hotel concierge, television host, safety monitor in a sex club, French-English interpreter, and he is one of Lonely Planet's most experienced and prolific guidebook authors.
A native New Yorker living in San Francisco, John has contributed to 18 Lonely Planet guidebooks since 2003, ranging from California and the western United States to the Dubai City Guide. He is co-host of the TV series Lonely Planet: Roads Less Travelled (National Geographic Adventure), for which he shot the pilot in Morocco, and the first season's closer in Madagascar, where he cracked a rib wrestling a bull.
"When researching a guidebook, my favourite thing to remember is that I'm a folklorist whose job it is to freeze-frame cultures in a specific period in history," says John. "We guidebook writers record how people live, what they eat, how they entertain themselves. This by its nature is ephemeral, constantly in flux. We're the record-keepers for the day-to-day. That's really cool."
John is co-founder of travel websites 71miles.com and Trazzler.com. He appears on San Francisco's ABC7 (KGO) to talk about California travel. He previously co-produced a monthly TV travel segment, "One Night Stands with John Vlahides," on San Francisco's KRON 4 News Weekend. He has represented Lonely Planet on various television and radio networks, including CNN and ABC (Australia).
His articles have been published by Conde Nast, King Features Syndicate, Wanderlust, Sydney Morning Herald, and San Francisco Chronicle, among others.
John studied cooking in Paris with the chefs who trained Julia Child, and is a former luxury-hotel concierge and member of Les Clefs d'Or, the Paris-based union of the world's elite concierges. When not talking travel, John sings with the Grammy-winning San Francisco Symphony, and spends free time downhill-skiing and hiking the Sierra Nevada, and sunning beneath the Golden Gate.
Fez, the Galapagos, Sardinia, Northern California