Tom Wilmer

Host of Journeys of Discovery

Host of the Lowell Thomas Award-winning NPR digital media travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, Wilmer has also produced the on-air travel show for KCBX since 1989, and served as digital-media travel host for KRML in Carmel, Calif.

The Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer podcast is also featured on the NPR ONE mobile app, iTunes, Stitcher.com, player.fm (UK) a selected "Best Travel Roundup Podcast" and more than 20 other podcast channels around the world. Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer travel show covers a wide array of subjects including agriculture, culture, arts, science, history and cuisine.

In addition to winning the 2015 & 2013 Lowell Thomas Award--Best Radio Travel Show, Wilmer is the recipient of more than a dozen prestigious industry awards for radio and video, and the prestigious Tourism Australia/QANTAS "Henry Lawson Travel Writing Award" for the best North American feature about Australia as a travel destination.

Wilmer was Travel Editor for Central Coast Magazine in California from its inception through 2008, and Travel Editor at Las Vegas Magazine (1998 - 2003), he has also been a frequent contributor to numerous upscale lifestyle magazines including Tahoe Quarterly, and Arizona Foothills, and former Home Section columnist for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, and locally has produced features for New Times, The Tribune and other regional publications.

Author of three books: Romancing the Coast, California Coast Getaways, and Wine Seekers Guide to Livermore Valley. Wilmer has also produced numerous lifestyle magazine features and more than 1,500 newspaper travel feature stories. His Knight Ridder Syndicate travel features have appeared in more than 40 North American newspapers, including the Toronto Star.

His on-location shows have ranged from the Arctic to African safaris, in the wheelhouse of the Rainbow Warrior II, flying in WWII bombers, navigating a micro light above Victoria Falls, sailing around Grenada, hiking through the wilds of Malaysian jungles and exploring remote atolls and isles throughout the South Pacific. His feature, recorded live at Harland & Wolfe Shipyards in Belfast Northern Ireland, celebrating the centenary of the launch of the Titanic was the recipient of a Best Travel award from Outdoor Writers Association of California.

Recent video/audio Awards:

  • First Place Award for Best Short Video- Pinnacles National Park 2015.
  • Wilmer and his video partner, Simo Nylander produced a video for National Park Service's Alcatraz Cruises 2015
  • In-depth video audio series for the Morro Bay National Marine Estuary Winner of 2015 "Best Outdoor Video"
  • Award from Outdoor Writers Association of California, along with "Best Short Video" award for Morro Bay Estuary Water Quality feature
  • Amgen California bike race commercial 2016
  • First Place "Best Outdoor Radio Feature" Saving Cecil's recorded live on location in Botswana
  • Second Place "Best Outdoor Radio Series" for Audubon Rowe Sandhill Cranes, First Federally Funded Wild Mustang Refuge, Heartland Shooting Range Grand Island, Nebraska. Awarded by Outdoor Writers Association of California

Professional Membership:

  • National Press Club, Washington D.C. (www.press.org)
  • Vice President (SF) Bay Area Travel Writers (www.batw.org)
  • Board of Directors Outdoor Writers Association of California (www.owac.org) 

Nashville is so much more than just the epicenter of the Country Music scene. The town, passionately dubbed Music City, is a Mecca of sorts for every musical idiom imaginable. It’s an extremely hip and happening destination where more than 700 people arrive every week to take up residence in Music City. And there's also a fascinating historical architectural underpinning that gives the town a certain elegance.

Book cover "The Company She Keeps" by Georgia DuranteCredit Courtesy Georgia DuranteEdit | Remove

View from Painted Sky Inn
Beverly Langford / Back Yard Photos

Burnet County’s Highlands Lakes Region is less than an hour’s drive from the urban buzz of Austin, Texas but it’s a world apart.

Hiking, biking, boating, fishing, and camping are popular pastimes in Burnet County.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer at the newly renovated Painted Sky Inn, situated on the shores of Lake Buchanan, for a visit with innkeeper Denise Lewis and her friend Craig Harris.     

slaughtered elephant
Thomas Wilmer

  Recalling the tragedy of Cecil the Lion’s death stirred me to post on my NPR Podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, the radio broadcast interview with two Big Game photographic safari guides in Botswana.

Join trackers, Dave Luck and Map Ives in Botswana’s Okavango Delta as they talk about the evolution of Big Game Safaris from hunting to capturing photographic images as the best hope for the future of Africa’s big game.  

Tim Chapman covers Muriel Boatlift
Battle Vaughn / Miami Herald

A conversation with award-winning Miami Photographer Tim Chapman (retired 2012), recorded in the jungles of Costa Rica back in 1993.

In celebration of 26 years reporting around the world for NPR affiliate KCBX in California and the NPR podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, we are featuring an ongoing “Best of" series from the tape archives.

www.museocr.org

Gloria Calderón is the Director of the Museo de los Niños in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Gloria as she talks about the engaging hands-on children’s museum, her passion for the country, and the work-in-progress to create an adjunct museum showcasing the former prison’s story.

The Children’s Museum opened in 1994 in a long abandoned former prison with an evil history rivaling the world’s worst hell-holes of incarceration.

Costa Rica flower
Thomas Wilmer

Jim Damalas with Greentique Hotels in Costa Rica talks about the trend setting hotel group’s four distinctive properties, set within four of the country’s five tropical forests, and the group’s intrinsic philosophy of trendsetting environmental sustainability.  

Villa Blanca is set high in the cloud forest, while Si Como No Resort and Wildlife Refuge in Manuel Antonio National Park is Cliffside overlooking the Pacific.

Esencial Costa Rica

Fourteen year-old Sophia Aquino from Coral Gables, Florida had lived the Costa Rica experience through dreamy pictures and stories--that is until her mother surprised her with a birthday-present trip to explore the jungles and towns of Costa Rica.

Dramatic architecture at Kauffman Center Kansas City MO
Thomas Wilmer

Join NPR Podcast host Tom Wilmer for a visit with Alan Carr who shares cool things to do and see in Independence, Missouri.

It's the home of the Harry S. Truman Library, and the historic gateway to the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails.

American Jazz Museum

  Situated in the heart of the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District in downtown Kansas City, Missouri the American Jazz Museum shines a light on the epicenter of the roots of American Jazz. 

Sprint Center KC MO
Thomas Wilmer

  Celeste Lupercio, Director of Sales, Marketing and Events takes us on a fascinating journey of discovery at the interactive, very much hands-on College Basketball Experience at the Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Experience are located inside the Sprint Center.

Back in the latter 18th century, black players often played on baseball teams alongside whites. But segregation took an ugly turn in the dawning days of the 20th century and blacks were barred through Jim Crow laws. 

Melissa Corbin

While exploring the culinary landscape of San Antonio, Texas Associate Producer-Melissa Corbin meets with Alamo Beer Brewmaster James Hudec to discuss his career and what it takes to make a pure and honest beer. Come along as Melissa reveals the craft behind this Texas icon. Music underbed by Two Tons of Steel

Thomas Wilmer

Kansas City style, hickory smoked barbeque is the stuff of legend. Down home fare includes white bread, beans, onion rings, fries, and the local delicacy Burnt ends.

The incredibly delectable burnt ends could easily make a meat eater out of an ardent vegan.

Strip mall and tiny storefront barbeque joints are dotted across the city.

Some of the legends are utterly unpretentious but it’s standing room only at lunchtime and for sure when the Chiefs or Royals are playing home games.

The city’s love affair with barbeque joints has been going on for decades.

Thomas Wilmer

Tom Wilmer reports from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Nelson-Atkins maintains more than 35,000 works of art, and houses one of America’s premier collections of Asian Art.

Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer reporting from St. Vincent de Paul’s summer camp, Circle V Ranch Camp located just across the road from the entry to Santa Barbara County’s Lake Cachuma Park.

Thomas Wilmer

 Join correspondent Tom Wilmer reporting from St. Vincent de Paul’s summer camp, Circle V Ranch Camp located just across the road from the entry to Lake Cachuma County Park. The summer camp is dedicated to serving kids from the California Central Coast and Los Angeles.

Arroyo Grande, California historian, Jim Gregory spent years researching the lives of 52 Civil War veterans who settled in Arroyo Grande in the years following the war. The culmination of Gregory’s exhaustive research is his just released book, Patriot Graves—Discovering a California Town’s Civil War Heritage.

Thomas Wilmer

 Dunlap, Tennessee is just a half hour drive from Chattanooga, but it’s a world apart.

For close to a century, coal mining was the driver here in the rural community of Dunlap, Tennessee, but by the early 1990's the coal industry was history. The old coke ovens, built in 1902 remain as decaying relics of a time when more than 400 locals were employed in the mines.

Thomas Wilmer

  The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) in Chattanooga, Tennessee offers daily excursions along an historic route that first opened to rail traffic back in 1858.

It was the railroad’s strategic importance that led to the Civil War Battle of Chickamauga that was fought here back in the fall of 1863. 

Thomas Wilmer

  The International Towing and Recovery Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee features famous tow trucks, including the world’s largest wrecker, a WWII tank recovery tow truck, and the world’s oldest tow truck. 

Thomas Wilmer

Christopher Young, National Park Service Resource Education Specialist at Chickamauga National Military Park at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia talks about the Civil War battle in the fall of 1863 at Chickamauga on the outskirts of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Thomas Wilmer

National Park Ranger Lee White specializes in the human aspects of the Civil War soldiers, what they ate, the clothes and boots they wore, the diseases that killed them by the thousands, and their emotional state of being as documented in their poignant letters home.

Ron Coley

  Ron Coley, producer of the acclaimed PBS documentary “River of Innocence” chronicling the San Marcos River in Texas has spent the past 40 years studying the legendary Aquarina Springs Lake on the outskirts of San Marcos.

KCBX

Willy Mays, Jackie Robinson, Bessie Smith—"The Empress of the Blues", Dr. Martin Luther King and his wife Coretta, Samuel L. Jackson, Dr. Emma Wheeler, and pro football player Reggie White—they all have one thing in common, and that’s their connection with the Tennessee town of Chattanooga.

Associate Producer, Elaine Masters reports from San Diego--It started when nine-year old Dan Schlossberg was watching the World Series with his dad. Hanging on every play his dad explained changed his life. 

212 Market

Sisters, Sally and Susan Moses and their mom, Maggie had a vision to open a trend-setting restaurant in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee

The family envisioned a farm-to-table model, about two-decades before the concept became a nationwide trend.

Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Tennessee with Cindy Dupree, Director of Communications for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

Ms. Dupree and Tom visit the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in Greenville, the Bristol Motor Speedway, and the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Tennessee. 

Thomas Wilmer

 A short drive from Chattanooga, Tennessee is the town of Cleveland. A drive down the main drag reveals a sleepy, slow-paced community with old brick buildings and enchanting homes right out of a Jimmy Stewart, Frank Capra flick.

Melissa Corbin

    

  The chain of missions established along the San Antonio River form the largest concentration of Catholic missions in North America, and have recently received global recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
Come along and join Melissa Corbin, Associate Producer for the NPR podcast travel show Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer as she explore the Missions' history and how they are beginning to feed more than just the mind.

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