Friday, July 13, 2018

7 Questions With Cele Seldon, Co-Author of 100 Things To Do in Charleston Before You Die

Lynn and Cele Seldon make up the team that is Seldon Ink and have spent more than 25 years as travel journalists. With a keen focus on the Southeast and a particular love of the Carolinas, they have written hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles about the region. Their work has appeared in Southern Living, Taste of the South, The Local Palate, Cruise Travel, South Carolina Living, South Carolina Magazine, TrailBlazer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Charlotte Observer, various in-flight publications, and many AAA magazines. Their new book, 100 Things to Do in Charleston Before You Die (Reedy Press) was released in February 2018. Lynn also contributed to the highly anticipated anthology of essays honoring Pat Conroy, Our Prince of Scribes (University of Georgia Press), due out in Septmeber. Follow along on their adventures at or @seldonink. They are presenters at the Decatur Book Festival 2018, Labor Day Weekend.

1. How and/or when did you get you hooked on history?
I’m not sure I would say that either of us are hooked on history. But we are hooked on travel. And so much of travel is history-based. You can’t visit the South without getting a huge history lesson on the Civil War. And you can’t visit New York City without learning how our nation evolved with the arrival of the first immigrants. And you can’t visit Greece without a history lesson on ancient Greek civilization. You get my point. History is wrapped up in travel and travel is wrapped up in history. And we were both bitten by the travel (and history) bug as young adults.

2.  What role does history play or has it played in your personal life?
The opportunity to travel has opened up a world of curiosity. And much of that curiosity centers on history. How did cultures develop? How do (and did) people live, both in our own culture and in the cultures of others? History has made us stop to ask why, how, when, where. And we use that curiosity to constantly learn about the world around us.

3.  How is history part of your professional career?
In writing travel stories for magazines and travel books, like 100 Things to Do in Charleston Before You Die, we are constantly having to research the history of a place, people, building, attraction, customs, etc., and translate that into an interesting and compelling story of where to go and what to see. Although we travel and visit places to see what they offer today, it’s the history of the location or destination that complete our stories.

4.  Why is studying/knowing history important?
Everyone should have a curiosity in the world around them. The hows and whys are as important as the what and wheres. Life would be pretty boring if we didn’t question or ask about the past. And how can we make the future better without knowing how we got here in the first place. To me, they go hand in hand.

5.  What is your favorite period or aspect of history to learn about and why?
I’m kind of partial to the WWII era. As a Jewish woman, I’m fascinated by the Holocaust and all of its implications. And how the world changed after the war. It really was the beginning of a fascinating era. As a Southerner, the Civil War era is also part of my fabric.

6.  What sets Charleston apart as a destination?
Charleston has become the darling of the Southeast for her grace, beauty, history, and oh-so-Southern dining and hospitality. She charms visitors with her lush Lowcountry landscape, Civil War history, antebellum plantations, cultural and artistic opportunities, James Beard Foundation award-winning chefs and restaurants, shopping, and the gracious and welcome reception from residents. Naturally you can find tons of suggestions of where to go, what to see, where (and what!) to eat, outdoor recreation, events and entertainment, and where to shop ‘til you drop in our new book, 100 Things to Do in Charleston Before You Die, available on our website,

7.  How did you become travel journalists? Any advice for others who want to become travel journalists?
Lynn came by it honestly as a young army officer stationed in Germany who took advantage of being in Europe. He traveled around on weekends and started writing for Stars & Stripes, the Armed Forces newspaper, as a creative outlet. Once he returned to the states, he had amassed a portfolio of clips and decided to try making a career of it. I, on the other hand, went the easy route and married into his already established travel journalism business after a corporate career in marketing. As far as advice goes, visit a book store and buy magazines and study what they are covering. Research the publication, the editor, and the topics extensively. Then travel with your eyes wide open. Look for places and people (and history!) that inspire you. And that would make a good fit for your targeted publications. It really isn’t rocket science.