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 ( 
Mention the name Nashville, Tennessee, and the first things that comes to mind are invariable music, musicians, and songwriters.   Nashville is known far and wide as Music City, but it’s also the home to a full-size exact replica of the Parthenon in Athen
Nashville Parks & Recreation

Nashville is known far and wide as Music City, but it’s also the home to a full-size exact replica of the Parthenon in Athens. How this incredible architectural gem came to be dates back to the pioneer days when Nashville was dubbed the Athens of the South due to its passion for education and the arts.

Pebble Beach green #1
Pebble Beach Company

The name Pebble Beach conjures rolling greens, Cypress trees leaning towards a teal surf and a bucket list golf course. The legendary resort's water, energy, and materials programs have just received the 2017 International Association of Golf Tour Operators Sustainability Award for their green initiatives. Executive Vice President and Chief Administrations Officer, David L. Stivers talks with Elaine Masters about the award and the long-term sustainability efforts at the Pebble Beach Resort. 

Country Music Hall of Fame entry
Thomas Wilmer

The Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee is the Mother Ship where the entire history of country music, from the 1800s to present, is showcased and revered in the 360,000 square-foot multi-story facility.

Come along and discover the magic of this massive facility with guide and music aficionado George Daeger who knows his stuff as he plays in John Carter Cash’s band as well as his own with his brother, The Early Evening.      

Johnny Cash Museum

The Johnny Cash Museum is situated in the heart of downtown Nashville, Tennessee. Join Angela Dodson, Director of Marketing for an insider’s look at the Johnny Cash Museum and its premier collection of memorabilia. Dodson also shares insights about the soon to open (spring 2017) adjunct 4,000 square-foot venue dedicated to Patsy Cline.

Apple Fire--two Belgian waffles topped with tenders and apples
Pepperfire East Nashville

When Isaac Beard opened his Pepperfire Hot Chicken diner in East Nashville, Tennessee, there were only three or four other hot chicken diners in town. And the hot chicken craze was a strictly Nashville thing. Today, partly thanks to national TV cooking shows, the spicy-hot chicken craze has spread across the country. Join Beard as he talks about the history of Nashville’s XX Hot chicken craze.

Patrick Martin (left) with Tom Wilmer at his newest Nashville Bar-B-Que joint in downtown Nashville
Joe McGhee

Patrick Martin founded Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint in Nashville, Tennessee ten years ago. His cooking is such the rave around here that there are now four Nashville locations in addition to eateries in West Virginia and Kentucky. There are ribs, chicken and catfish at Martin's, but the pride of Patrick’s culinary talents is centered around his live-fire bar-b-que’d pulled West Tennessee whole hog, slow cooked in the pit for 24 hours.

Chaco Canyon's four-story tall Pueblo Bonito
Thomas Wilmer

Chaco Culture National Historical Park is located in Northern New Mexico near Farmington. Archeologist Larry Baker, Executive Director at nearby Salmon Ruins Archeological Research Center and Library talks about the once thriving community of as many as 20,000 residents.

Best Western El Rancho Inn, Millbrae, California
El Rancho Inn

A conversation with Art Schwass, General Manager at the Best Western Plus El Rancho in Millbrae, California. Schwass talks about the rapidly transforming hotel industry, competition from Air B&B, the growth of international independent travelers, and the explosive growth of online bookings. Schwass also talks about hotel’s Park & fly Program where guests receive up to 14 days free parking.

Clifford Nae’ole (L) with correspondent Tom Wilmer
jean Dickinson

Clifford Nae’ole works at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui as the Cultural Advisor.

Sacred Temple Complex at Mount Emei
Thomas Wilmer

A two-hour drive from the buzzing metropolis of Chengdu in Southeastern China is Mount Emei, one of four Sacred Buddhist Mountains. The mammoth mountain is home to 11 Taoist Temple complexes dating back more than 1,600 years, with a total of more than 30 Buddhist Temple complexes. China’s first Buddhist Temple was built atop Mount Emei in the 1st Century C.E. Come along and join my friend Miu Mei as we explore Mount Emei.


Tall Ship Lady Washington enters Morro Bay Harbor
Thomas Wilmer

Join the conversation dockside at Morro Bay Harbor with Jennifer Little of Discover Morro Bay Tourism Bureau, Mark Elterman with California Highway 1 Coast Discovery Route, and Morro Bay hotelier Joan Solu.

January and February are dubbed the “Secret Season” by local tourism industry folks.

The "new" Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco (circa-1910)
Palace Hotel


When the Palace Hotel first opened its doors in 1875 it was proclaimed the largest hotel in the world and San Francisco’s first luxury hotel. Destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, the hotel was rebuilt in 1909 and the grand dame of San Francisco lives on as the city’s most historic hotel and the place to see and be seen. Join Renee Roberts as she shares the hotel’s century long history that includes hosting luminaries from kings and queens, to Nikita Khruschev and the incubation of the United Nations.

D.C. Cabs
Wall Street Journal

Alexander Berko picked me up in front of NPR headquarters for a cab ride out to National Airport. Berko talks story about the dark days in the 1980's when Washington D.C. was known as the Murder Capital; former Mayor Marion Barry, and the struggles traditional cabbies face by brutal competition from Uber and Lyft, and most importantly his passionate pride for D.C., since emigrating from Ghana 39 years ago.

Science on the Streets of Pensacola Florida
Julie Henning

Join correspondent Julie Henning in Pensacola, Florida during the last weekend of the 2016 Foo Foo Festival. An anchor event each fall in Pensacola, Florida, the Blue Angel’s Homecoming Show signals the end of the tourism season and a time of milder temperatures and fewer crowds across the entire panhandle. 

Typical streetscape in Pingle Ancient Town China
Thomas Wilmer

Less than two hours from Chengdu in Southwestern China is the 2,000 year-old riverfront village of Pingle. Long ago it was a first stop on the fabled Southern Silk Road that stretched for five thousand miles from Chengdu to the Mediterranean. Come along and join my Chengdu based friend Mavis Liu Mei and Tiffiny Shi Shi as we explore Pingle Ancient Town.

Jill Rohrbach
Thomas Wilmer

Jill Rohrbach, a Travel Writer with Arkansas State Parks & Tourism, shares her insights and recommendations for experiencing Northwest Arkansas.

Jill talks about the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View and other cool destinations throughout the region. We’ll also tour through the majestic caves at Blanchard Springs Caverns, a short drive from Mountain View.

Hawaiian Ho’okipa Ambassador of Culture and Activities, Nani Kupihe
Thomas Wilmer

A visit with Sheraton Kona’s Hawaiian Ho’okipa Ambassador of Culture and Activities, Nani Kupihe on the Big Island of Hawaii. I will forever remember Nani and her sweet lyrical-way of teaching Hawaiian culture, and her most touchingly infectious Aloha Spirit. 

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas award-winning NPR Podcast travel show Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer via: 

White Sands National Monument Visitor Center
Thomas Wilmer

Just 50 miles from Las Cruces, New Mexico is the ethereal realm of the gypsum sand dunes that have engulfed more than 250 miles of the desert. White Sands National Monument preserves and showcases this dramatic natural earthscape. 

The legendary Our Dog Blue Chateau Morrisette wine
Thomas Wilmer

Chateau Morrisette is Virginia’s oldest winery. It's located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, 3,500 feet above sea level, an hour from Roanoke and two hours from Greensboro, North Carolina. When the Morrisette family opened their Floyd, Virginia winery in 1978, it was the only one in the state.

one of the fruit and flower shops on the north end of Bloor West village
Marshall Oxtoby

Rebekah Nolan reports from Bloor West Village, a small community of shops on the west end of Toronto. Initially home to the heart of the city’s Ukrainian community, Bloor West Village is now a multicultural hub. This enclave of mom and pop shops has existed since the 1920s and has a definite small town feel to it. 

Ryan Nakata drying Kona coffee beans at the Kona Historical Society's Uchida Coffee Farm
Thomas Wilmer

Just a short hop down the road from the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa is Kona Historical Society’s, Kona Coffee Living History farm, the onetime home of the Uchida Coffee farm founded in 1913.While staying at the Sheraton Kona, one of the most memorable nearby explorations was discovering how Kona coffee was grown and harvested by the pioneering Japanese farmers on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Native American sculpture, Cleveland TN
Thomas Wilmer

Southeastern Tennessee Cherokees share their passion for Cherokee culture. Join Jamie Russell a ranger at Red Clay State Park on the outskirts of Cleveland TN. Afterwards we’ll visit with Cherokee artists Stone Wolf and Walking Bear.

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. Join Sophia as she interviews a gaggle of kids on Costa Rican holiday eco-adventure.

A visit with Roger Rehmke, owner of Lodi Beer Company located in the heart of downtown Lodi, California. In addition to his passion as a brewmaster, Rehmke also serves as a beer judge, and operates a very popular restaurant in tandem with his Lodi brewpub.

Room with a View at St, Regis Princeville
Thomas Wilmer

When I first arrived I didn’t quite understand the reason why so many people rave about the Butler service that’s a standard compliment when you book a St. Regis Princeville suite accommodation. To unfurl the mystique behind the St. Regis’s premier Butler Service, I decided to meet with Stephanie Reid, the St. Regis Director of Public Relations and the resort’s Head Butler, Robert Ancheta for an in person tutorial in the art and science of butlerdom. 

Back in 1946 five year-old Jimmy Hawkins played the role of Tommy in It’s a Wonderful Life. Decades later the film was voted the most inspirational movie of all time by the American Film Institute. When it hit silver screen for Christmas season in 1946, it was a box-office flop and lost $500,000 even though it was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Giant Panda Research Base isa bamboo paradise
Thomas Wilmer

The Giant Panda is revered by not only the Chinese, but kids and adults alike around the world. The Chinese have long used the Giant Panda as a diplomatic ambassador of friendship. Correspondent Tom Wilmer explores the Giant Panda Research Base facility in Chengdu, China with locals Mavis Liu Mei and Tiffany Shi Shi.

Morro Bay's back bay estuary at sunset
Thomas Wilmer

January and February is when hotel occupancy, restaurant patronage, and tourists visiting the Central Coast is at a low ebb. Throughout the San Luis Obispo County, January is “Restaurant Month” with ample offerings of two-for-one dinners, and other hard to pass up deals. Many hotels offer overnight stays far below posted rates.

Vern Vierra in his St. Jorge Winery tasting room
Thomas Wilmer

Vern Vierra grew up on the family farm in Acampo, California near Lodi. Vierra opened St. Jorge Winery in 2009, named in honor of his grandfather. Honoring his ancestors who emigrated from the Azores, he naturally loves Portuguese varietals. His wine list includes Vinfandel, Verdelho, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and Syrah—all ideally suited to the Lodi terroir. The Mediterranean-styled winery is a popular wedding destination in addition to a popular spot on the Lodi Wine Trail.    

Lodi, California Mayor Mark Chandler
Thomas Wilmer

Lodi, California’s Mayor Mark Chandler talks about Lodi’s 150-year history as a premier grape growing region. Chandler shares insights on “Lodi Rules” pioneering sustainable grape growing practices that became a national model, his roots at Cal Poly, water conservation and re-use, and moderating development.