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,, (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. (
  • Vice President (SF) Bay Area Travel Writers (
  • Board of Directors Outdoor Writers Association of California ( 
elegant historic homes abound in Little Rock's Quapaw Quarter
Thomas Wilmer

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a visit with John Mayner Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. Mayner talks about Little Rock’s economic development and vitality. Cliff Fannin Baker founder and interim producing director of the Little Rock Repertory Theater talks about the town's live theater history and evolution.

Quaint motels in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan
Thomas Wilmer

Sault Ste Marie, Michigan is situated just about as far north as you can go before bumping in to the Canadian province of Ontario. Actually if you’re paddling your canoe and the wind blows you off course you’ll make landfall in the sister city of Sault Ste Marie, Canada. Join Correspondent Tom Wilmer in Sault Ste Marie. Linda Hoath, Executive Director of the local Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

Lake Huron viewed from Michigan Upper Peninsula village of Hessel
Thomas Wilmer

Correspondent Tom Wilmer reports from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, not far from Lake Huron. Our journey starts at Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Master Brewster and owner of Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub at Camp 33, Lark Ludlow’s beers are so popular she can’t keep up with demand, and some of seasonal brews are now brewed year round, like her delicious Raspberry Wheat Ale. We’ll then head over to Les Cheneaux Culinary School in the lakeside village of Hessel, situated on the shores of Lake Huron.

Buffalo River
Thomas Wilmer

The Buffalo National River, situated in Northern Arkansas is free flowing for more than 135 miles. It’s one of North America’s last remaining undammed rivers.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer on the banks of the Buffalo River for a conversation with National Park Ranger, Joyce Umbach, and Ben Milburn the owner and operator of Buffalo River Outfitters.

Oaks at Ojai entry
Thomas Wilmer

Modern Aerobic exercise was the brainchild of Sheila Cluff back in 1959. Ms. Cluff was teaching middle school P.E. in Ottawa, Canada when she devised a plan to enthuse her students by putting skating routines to music.

A conversation with Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan talks about Detroit’s renaissance, and visiting towns like Ann Arbor, Frankenmuth, and Traverse City.

Lorenz also shares his passion for Michigan’s “True North” destinations such as Sault Ste Marie, one of North America’s oldest towns, fondly dubbed “The Soo”, in the heart of Michigan’s legendary Upper Peninsula.  

San Luis Obispo Blues' coach Dan Marple
Katya Cengel

From tying up teammates on buses to sleeping on the side of the road, life in baseball's minor leagues isn't easy. Join NPR podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer associate producer Katya Cengel in a conversation with San Luis Obispo Blues' coach Dan Marple. 

St. Ignas, Michigan harborfront
Thomas Wilmer

St. Ignace, one of North America’s oldest communities, settled by the French in 1671, is situated in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The town of 2,400 overlooks the Straits of Mackanac. Discover why the midst of winter is an amazingly popular time to visit St. Ignas.

Kodak Corporation

  Host of the NPR Podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer met up with Georgia Durante, at of all places, a summer camp for kids run by St. Vincent de Paul in the hills above Santa Barbara, California where she talks about her best selling book, The Company She Keeps chronicling her amazing life journey. 

Georgia Durante grew up in Rochester, New York, and her modeling career commenced when she was just 13 years old.

KUHS Hot Springs Arkansas

NPR podcast host Tom Wilmer reports from Hot Springs, Arkansas at KUHS L.P. 97.9--KUHS is a trend setter as the station is Arkansas’s first solar powered radio station. Come along and join the founders of Hot Spring's community radio, Cheryl Roorda and Zac Smith.

Arnis Robbins at Evie Mae's Pit Barbecue
Thomas Wilmer

Evie Mae’s Pit Barbeque on the outskirts of Lubbock, Texas specializes in slow cooked Brisket. It used to be that the main place you’d find brisket was in Central Texas at legendary diners like Clem Mickeska’s in Temple and Belton, and Johnny’s in Salado. Out here in West Texas it’s been the capital of killer steaks, but the playing field is expanding and owner Arnis Robbins is leading the charge with delicious BBQ brisket. 

CG 4A glider on display at Silent Wings Museum
Thomas Wilmer

Close to 14,000 glider aircraft were manufactured for combat roles in the European theater of WWII.

The gliders first saw duty in Italy and subsequently played a vital role in delivering troops and material during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Only five glider aircraft remain in the world and one is showcased at the Silent Wings Museum in Lubbock.

Chuck Wagon at Lubbock
Thomas Wilmer

From his roots in Sweetwater, Texas Dr. Carl Andersen went on to become a Methodist Minister, and a subsequent career as a college professor at Texas Tech. An addiction to alcohol led to his contemplating suicide, and a month at Hazelden treatment center in Minnesota in 1982 utterly transformed his life. 

Bill Boyd, Boyd Gaming Group
Boyd Gaming Group

Bill Boyd, chairman of Boyd Gaming Group in Las Vegas, shares his family’s intimate involvement in the gaming industry Bill Boyd's father, Sam Boyd (born in 1910), moved the family to Oahu when Bill was in first and second grade.

Honolulu is where Sam Boyd became intimately involved in the local, under-the-radar Hawaiian gambling scene—and this relationship would play a critical role in Boyd Gaming Group’s success decades later.

U.S.S. Potomac at Port of Oakland
Thomas Wilmer

The USS Potomac served as the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Floating White House” from 1936 until his death in 1945. How the USS Potomac came to reside in Oakland, California is a fascinating journey.

Following a ten year stint as a Coast Guard patrol boat, the Potomac saw duty as a Caribbean ferry, Elvis Presley private yacht, and a stint as a drug smuggler that ultimately led to its sinking while tied up on Treasure Island.

Teresa Stephens at Cast Iron Grill
Thomas Wilmer

Teresa Stephens, owner of the Lubbock, Texas Cast Iron Grill recounts her fear of the homeless. She confronted her phobia and wound up embracing the homeless and made major sacrifices to feed those in need. Join correspondent Tom Wilmer at the Cast Iron Grill in downtown Lubbock as Teresa shares her poignant tale of personal sacrifice that ultimately enriched and transformed her life through serving the homeless.  

tractor on display at Bayer Museum of Agriculture
Thomas Wilmer

The Bayer Museum of Agriculture in Lubbock, Texas is the Smithsonian of all things Ag from primitive McCormick Reapers to state of the art computer assisted John Deere Cotton Strippers.

Nebraska windmill
Thomas Wilmer

The iconic windmill has been a part of western landscape since the mid 1800s.

Tanya Meadows at the American Wind and Power Center in Lubbock, Texas, and Jim Stark at the Kregel Windmill Factory Museum in Nebraska City, Nebraska share their passion for the iconic windmill that transformed the American West. 

Dinosaurs at Texas Tech university
Thomas Wilmer


Join correspondent Tom Wilmer reporting from the Museum of Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Come along and join Dr. Gary Morgan CEO where he shares his passion for the multidisciplinary showcase of everything from giant dinosaurs to a premier collection of Southwest and Native American Art. 

Quynh and David Rathkamp
Thomas Wilmer

Quynh and David Rathkamp made a dramatic transition in their lives. They both gave up successful medical practices to save the world one beer at a time. 

They started the Save the World Brewing Company in Marble Falls, Texas and their business became the first 100 percent philanthropic production brewery in America with all net profits earmarked for worthy causes such as Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels. 

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.

John Osborne Lubbock Texas
Thomas Wilmer

Lubbock, dubbed the Hub of West Texas is a thriving community of 250,000 where arts, culture, and live music are intrinsic to this college town that was and remains rooted in agriculture.

Join John Osborne, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance for an insiders look at the town’s diversity of attractions for locals and visitors alike.  

Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, Texas
Thomas Wilmer

 80 percent of Texas grapes are grown here. Twenty five percent of the country’s cotton, and yes, beef is big here too.

And this is why Lubbock is the home of the National Ranching Heritage Center, but Lubbock is much more than Ag.

Texas Tech State University’s 40,000 undergrads add a vibrancy to downtown nightlife. 

Wesley Keegan Tailgate Beer
Tailgate Beer

Wesley Keegan distributes a wide array of craft beers around the state of Tennessee, while the overseas market is clamoring for his brews to the point that they are rationed and sold only by the single can in England.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer for a visit at Tailgate Brewery in Nashville with owner Wesley Keegan. Tailgate averages 30 beers on tap, and rolls out at least two new beers every week.

Join correspondent Tom Wilmer in Nashville, Tennessee at the Black Abbey Brewing Company for a visit with founder, Carl Meier as he share’s the brewery’s signature beers, and connection with 16th Century Martin Luther, his wife Catherine, and modern day Frothy Monkey coffee.

Austin Smith & Tom Wilmer talk hot chicken
Joe McGhee

It’s hot chicken, big brews, and frozen craft-cocktails at Party Fowl in Nashville, Tennessee

At Party Fowl restaurant in Nashville Tennessee, hot is an understatement, as they have refined the art of serving “Nashville Hot” southern fried chicken to a fine art. 

U.S. Navy submarine rescue vessel at Morro Bay
Thomas Wilmer

Larry Newland, Executive Director of the Morro Bay Maritime Museum Association talks about the new museum facility on the Embarcadero, scheduled to open in 2017. He also talks about the historic vessels on display. 

Thomas Wilmer

Skateboarding has a long and complex history.

It has evolved from a little known hobby, practiced by California teenagers in the 1970s, to a popular international sport. 

James Hudec and John Russ
Melissa Corbin

Eat.Drink.Give. That's the mission of Culinaria San Antonio where Associate Producer, Melissa Corbin of Corbin In The Dell, meets some of the finest San Antonio folks who make the city a premier culinary destination in this episode of Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer.     

Perla Batalla performing live in Ojai CA
Claud Mann

NPR podcast host, Tom Wilmer met up with Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Perla Batalla in Ojai, California. Come along and join Perla as she shares her musical journey through life.