Luxe Beat Magazine MAY 2015 - Page 114

Michael Cervin Featured Journalist By Maralyn D. Hill M ichael Cervin and I met in 2009 while attending a conference. We have since been on several press trips and conferences and have served together on a board. So, interviewing Michael is more like interviewing a longtime business friend than a new acquaintance. He’s an accomplished author and wine writer, diligent about getting his thoughts down while they are fresh, working out, and having fun. Maralyn: How did you discover your love of wine, which led to travel? Michael: Curiously, I discovered my love of wine when I moved to Santa Barbara and ended up working weekends at a wine tasting room. The winemaker was available and helpful to me, and I ended up giving winery tours and became fascinated by the process of grapes turning into wine. As for travel, I had no concept I’d end up writing travel books. I was heading to Germany on a wine-specific trip and I asked the newspaper I wrote for if they would want a wine-travel article. To my surprise, they said yes, and everything literally snowballed from there. The point being, you never know where the path will take you. But as long as you are willing to take step after step on an uncertain road, 114 you might find yourself in territory you never expected. water each day, which helps with mental acuity. photography should inspire people to explore far beyond their boundaries. Maralyn: Are you more passionate about writing or photography? Michael: Whereas I started writing early. I received my first check when I was just 14 years old for a poem I wrote before I ever picked up a camera. Of late, the challenge, patience and often immediacy of photography have captivated me. The old proverb of a picture being worth a thousand words is absolutely true. But for me, you can’t have one without the other; a camera and a pen are a mighty combination. Maralyn: Where is your favorite place to travel? Michael: Though I’ll travel anywhere in the U.S., I adore New Mexico because of its food and amazing history and the Columbia River Gorge outside of Portland for its sheer diversity and beauty. Internationally, I am in love with Switzerland and Austria. Fortunately, I get sent to places I never expected, and any new place we travel to means a new learning opportunity. Maralyn: What is one of your favorite experiences while traveling? Michael: I was fortunate to visit the Great Wall of China. I was a guest of the Chinese government, and so my guides were always with me. But when we arrived at a portion of the Wall, about two hours outside of Beijing, they let me roam free. As I ascended the wall, the throngs of people were intense. To my right was the popular part, and a literal wall of people were slowly moving in that direction. To my left was less crowded, but steep and uneven, though still crowded. I went left and walked and walked and walked. Eventually, I was one of only a few people on a desolate portion of the Wall. Alone and nearly isolated, it was a memorable experience, as I could see portions of the wall snaking out across the mountains, away from the throngs of tourists. Alone with my thoughts, I was able to get into a groove, a subject I later recounted on my global travel blog. Maralyn: What is your writing process? Michael: Mornings are most productive for me. I aim to be at my desk by 6 a.m. After a few hours, I’ll work out (run, cycle or power-walk). Then it’s back to my desk until noon-ish. After a lunch break, it’s back to work until around dinner time, when I make dinner for my wife (which also provides a creative outlet). My wife works evenings, so it’s often back to the desk until 9 p.m. or so. Throughout the day, I take about four 10-minute breaks, where I get outside and walk and stretch. And I routinely consume two liters of Maralyn: If you could be anyone else, who would it be? Michael: Not to sound trite, but I have no interest in being someone else. Being me is already a fulltime job, and I still have so much to learn to become a better version of myself all the time. Maralyn: What motivates you to be a luxury journalist? Michael: Much of that motivation comes from the desire to let people know some of the places they may not have ever thought of in their travel plans. Not everyone has the means to travel, nor to travel at the luxury level, and travel writing and Maralyn: Tell us about a favorite dish from your travels. Michael: I don’t usually have a favorite anything. But I vividly