MEET NANCY J. REID & LISA D. SMITH
Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith, Big Blend’s mother-daughter editor and publishing team, write articles, film and produce videos, and host Big Blend Radio. Topics covered include national parks and travel destinations, nature and wildlife, history and culture, music and the arts, food and drink, business and marketing, youth education, natural health and empowerment, home and garden, sustainability and the environment.
Though they will both swear to being 21 years old, Nancy and Lisa have over 50 years of combined experience in travel and tourism, retail, hospitality, entertainment, marketing and publishing. Nomadic in spirit, they have traveled extensively and lived in various cities in the USA, as well as in Kenya, South Africa, England and Mexico.
It all began when Nancy, a successful wildlife artist, writer, and photographer, led tours from Los Angeles to Kenya, East Africa. This ultimately led to her moving to Kenya – bringing a young 1 ½ year old Lisa along – and working out in the field for writer and conservationist Joy Adamson, of ‘Born Free’ fame. Nancy was the past editor of the “Born Free” newsletter and wrote conservation articles for other publications throughout the early seventies.
Unfortunately, Joy Adamson was murdered, and the unrest in Kenya made it time for a change. Nancy and Lisa relocated to England, and toured Scotland, England and Wales on a fundraising and conservation awareness effort for World Wild Life Fund, using Nancy’s wildlife paintings and photography. Nancy and Lisa then did a fundraising tour for the National Cancer Association of South Africa. They later settled in South Africa where they started a magazine called ‘Splash!’ – a travel, lifestyle and leisure publication. Eventually, due to political pressure, they left South Africa and returned home to California.
Once in California, it wasn’t long before the old ‘publishing bug’ took over, and in 1997, Big Blend Magazine was born. Since then, Nancy ‘Madam Geek’ and Lisa ‘Social Secretary’, have enjoyed traveling throughout the country and Mexico, and have published regional coloring-in / activity books for children, a print magazine called ‘The Blend Magazine’ which grew into ‘Southwest Blend Magazine,’ ultimately growing in size and readership to what is now Big Blend’s Radio & TV Magazine.
Responsible Tourism Advocates: Today, on a quest to boost sustainable national tourism along with promoting the protection and funding of our public lands and historic sites, Nancy and Lisa, along with their pink sock monkey travel mascot ‘Priscilla Queen of the Road’, are on a life long quest to visit all 417+ National Park units and their gateway destinations on their Spirit of America Tour. At each National Park area they visit, they host Big Blend Radio shows, produce videos and articles for their quarterly digital interactive Spirit of America Magazine, and travel resource website www.NationalParkTraveling.com.
Ambassadors of Excellence: As ambassadors for Quantum Learning Network’s ‘8 Keys of Excellence Character Education Program’ that embraces the challenge of bringing excellence to 50 million children and young adults, Nancy and Lisa avidly gather stories that define the various keys of excellence including: Integrity, Failure Leads to Success, Speak with Good Purpose, This is It – Live In the Now, Commitment, Ownership, Flexibility, and Balance. Connecting communities with responsibile tourism, in an effort to boost education and local economies, they also implement the 8 Keys of Excellence in their ‘Smart Partnering for Tourism Success’ seminars. For more about the program at www.8Keys.org.
So who does what? If it’s a ghost story, a weird holiday, a tale of myths and legends, or an insight on how Mother Nature works – you know you are reading Nancy’s writing. If it’s a round-up of new indie music, a road trip route or destination piece, a downtown walk or nature trail – that’s Lisa’s work. From cooking to crime fiction, neuroscience to winemaking, they both share in the research for radio interviews – as well as playing various roles in radio plays. Video work is collaborative with Nancy in the production seat, and Lisa working behind the lens.
From humble beginnings in 1997 as a North San Diego County print publication that morphed into a print and online Southwestern resource, Big Blend is now completely digital and national and international in coverage with the two quarterly and interactive publications – Big Blend Radio & TV Magazine and Spirit of America Magazine, the resource websites www.BlendRadioandTV.com and www.NationalParkTraveling.com, along with Big Blend Radio and Video.