A sea captain licensed with the U.S. Coast Guard, Michael Wann has worked and traveled in Alaska regularly since 1992. Wann has toiled as a crab fisherman in the frigid Bering Sea and a salmon fisherman in rainy Southeast Alaska. He has gutted fish and packed salmon eggs in fish-processing plants in Kenai and Homer, and he's processed crab on floating processors in Southeast Alaska and the Bering Sea. He also has worked on the fish tenders and break-bulk cargo ships that travel through the Inside Passage to the Aleutian Islands and Alaska's most remote areas. He spent one summer working for Kenai Princess Lodge, a resort that employs more than 100 seasonal workers. He worked as a newspaper reporter for the Homer Tribune in Alaska; prior to that, he was a reporter for the Austin Business Journal and the Austin Chronicle in Texas. Wann has worked in the human resources department at American Seafoods Co. in Seattle and as a supply-boat captain in the oil fields of the Gulf of Mexico. He also was managing editor of The Prague Post , Central Europe's leading English-language newspaper. Currently he works as a travel writer and lives in San Diego with his wife, Laura, whom he met while packing salmon eggs at an Alaskan fish-processing plant.

Raised in Alaska, Wann moved to Texas with his family in 1980 and went on to attend Southwest Texas State University. He never got Alaska out of his system and was happy to return in 1992, imagining he would earn a small fortune working on a fishing boat. Like most travelers who go to Alaska without any idea what they're doing, Wann ended up gutting fish on a slime line. Undaunted, he went back again and again until he earned a captain's license.

Wann has traveled to more than 20 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Central America, as well as Canada and Alaska. He has driven to Alaska twice, flown there five times and traveled there by sea more times than he can remember. He also has hitchhiked the entire state from one end to the other.

Wann understands the art of combining work and budget travel to make a traveling experience both meaningful and affordable. In fact, he has funded all of his journeys by combining work and travel. In the late '80s and early '90s, Wann worked for a wine maker in Germany, taught English in Spain and volunteered in a nursing home for the Magen David Adom (the Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross) in Tel Aviv, Israel during the Gulf War in 1991. His job was to get residents into sealed rooms and put gas masks on them every time the Scud missile attacks began.