I started The Catholic Traveler in 2005 to bring together my two passions, the Catholic faith and travel. It’s been more rewarding (and more work) than I ever imagined.
On my group pilgrimages I’ve traveled with devout Catholics, fallen away Catholics, soon-to-be Catholics, and even anti-Catholics. I’ve traveled with Protestants, Muslims, Agnostics, and those who couldn’t care less. I’ve traveled with seminarians, priests, deacons, and nuns. I’ve traveled with a real princess, a few Emmy winners, a pro football player, a college football coach, a somewhat famous actress, and accomplished writers. I’ve traveled with newborns, people in their eighties, and every age in between. Together we’ve celebrated weddings, a return to the sacraments, and conversions. Along the way, I’ve made some great memories and even greater friends.
I’ve been interviewed by the BBC, FoxNews, and New York Times. I’ve been written about in the Smithsonian. I’ve had a photo I took featured in National Geographic Traveler. I’ve also written a ton of travel articles for various publications.
But what makes me happiest is that I get to help you explore your faith through travel.
Here are 11 random things about me…
- My name is Mountain – seriously.
- My mother was a punk with purple hair, combat boots, and all. She ran some record stores called Turtle’s. My dad was a rock star – the Rolling Stones came to Chicago to see him play. Now my mother is the Director of Religious Education at my home parish and my dad is the Music Director. She still has the boots and he’s still a rock star.
- I am a convert from nothing. My parents brought me into the Church when I was in high school. I was thrilled. I mean what teenage boy wouldn’t love to spend his Saturday mornings in RCIA classes that begin at 8 a.m.? I received the trifecta of sacraments on Easter 1991, the next morning I woke up with mono and didn’t go back to church for years.
- I worked in the music industry for over 10 years. I started with the coolest job in the world, hanging out in a record store with all my friends. Then I moved up to the record label, WEA (Warner Brothers, Elektra, Atlantic) working alongside artists such as The Cure, Depeche Mode, and Björk. I’ve been to hundreds of concerts and met more rock stars than I care to remember. My favorite experience was spending the day with Moby and taking him grocery shopping. After a ‘promotion’ to inventory manager, I realized that side of the music industry was not for me, quit my job, and left for Italy the next day. I stayed until I ran out of money – which only took three weeks.
- I DJ’ed around Atlanta for many years spinning in clubs, underground dance parties, and full-on raves. I still have over 1,000 records and my turntables are always set up and ready to go.
- I am married with three girls, two here with us, and one watching out from above.
- Despite some ridiculous drama that nearly ended my marriage just 24 hours after saying “I do,” my wife and I met Pope John Paul II. I’ve kissed the ring of Pope Benedict XVI twice, and I’ve finally ‘met’ Pope Francis. Twice!
- I spent time in the PR world and got to work with some amazing clients, including the Vatican and Pope Benedict!
- My favorite places to visit are Omaha, Nebraska (no really!) and Paris. My dream travel destination is Tahiti and someday I’ll make it there.
- I have flown over the Atlantic more than 80 times, I am friends with an international pilot and I am still terrified of flying. It’s silly, I know.
- After nearly 40 years of living less than 30 miles from where I was born in Atlanta, I just up and moved my family to Rome, Italy. I did it for you, more than anything.