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Peter Heller

Consult with me

Peter Heller is an award-winning adventure writer and the author of Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love,Life and Catching the Perfect Wave, which chronicles the year he spent learning to surf at age 48 and his travels from Southern California down the coast of Mexico. He’s also written two bestselling novels, The Dog Stars and The Painter. His next novel, Celine, will be published by Knopf in March, 2017.  He holds an MFA in poetry and fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop. He's a longtime contributor to NPR, and a contributing editor at Outside Magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure.  His other nonfiction books  include The Whale Warriors and Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet’s Tsangpo River.  Peter lives in Denver.

Posts by Peter Heller

You asked...we answered!

  • 1
    What's your most exciting or surprising travel experience?

    Well, I’ve been an adventure travel writer for so long, and that’s kind of our bread and butter: surprising and exciting and crazy, skin-of-your-teeth experiences. One of the funniest was when I was on assignment for National Geographic to cover the eco-pirates of Sea Shepherd and a crew member lifted a tarp off a weapon on the deck and it was a serious catapult. I looked concerned and he said, “It’s for garbage. Don’t worry all the garbage is organic.” Two days later all the welders came on deck and welded a blade called the Can Opener to the bow. Not so funny.

  • 2
    What's the most underrated destination in your opinion?

    Huntington Beach/Seal Beach in Southern California. For learning to surf. Everyone thinks of this part of Orange County as a destination for pro surfers. Seal Beach has, seriously, one of the best surf schools in the world for the serious learner who wants to pick up good skills quickly. I tell all my friends to go there and make a week vacation of it.

  • 3
    Who would you choose as a seatmate on a cross-continential road trip?

    First, my wife. She came with me on the surf adventure for my book Kook and was a such a great, unruffled, good humored and fun companion that we got married on the trip. If two people can travel beautifully together, their marriage is usually awesome. After Kim, I would choose Bruno Troadec, my French surfboard shaper. He is up for anything and his running comments on American culture are hysterical.

  • 4
    What is the most important thing you've learned from traveling?

    Nothing ever goes as planned. Appreciate what’s going on right now. Bring your best. Be kind. Have a sense of humor. Be certain you and your gear are going to get wet. So: traveling is exactly like life.