About Travelers’ Tales Staff
James O’Reilly has been a traveler since infancy, and a storyteller almost as long. Born in Oxford, England, in 1953, he savors the early memory of walking as a five-year-old boy across the tarmac at Shannon Airport in Ireland and gazing up at the huge triple tails of the now-defunct Constellation aircraft. The smell of fuel and Irish fog and the amazing sight above him must have made a deep impression because he’s been traveling willy-nilly ever since. After emigrating from Ireland to the United States, he grew up in San Francisco, where he was schooled by Jesuits, nuns and assorted yogis and eccentrics in the ’60s. His eclectic education was formed as much by growing up in a large Roman Catholic family where he was the second of seven children as it was by being an omnivorous reader who was studying Eastern religion and meditation by his early teens. He traveled a great deal with his family – to Ireland, England, Scotland, and Canada – before heading off to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where, among other things, he spent a semester in Salamanca, Spain.
At Dartmouth, James met his good friend Larry Habegger, with whom he has collaborated since 1982 on projects ranging from radio shows to mystery serials, newspaper and magazine columns to world adventure travel. Since 1985, O’Reilly and Habegger have co-authored the nationally-syndicated travel column “World Travel Watch.” In 1993, they co-founded the publishing company Travelers’ Tales with James’s brother Tim, and have since worked on more than 100 books together, winning many awards for excellence, including the prestigious Lowell Thomas award for outstanding travel book. James has been an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) since 1990, and is a former board member of the Tibet Information Network.
James has visited over forty countries and lived in four. Among his favorite travel memories are visiting headhunters in Borneo, rafting the legendary Zambezi River in Zimbabwe, enjoying a meal cooked by blowtorch in Tibet, and hanging out laundry with nuns in Florence. He has made traveling with his own family a priority, and together he and his wife and three daughters have roamed all over Europe. He lives in Leavenworth, Washington, where he is usually conspiring to be somewhere else.
Larry Habegger was born in Minneapolis in 1952 and grew up in Minnesota’s landlocked expanses. As a child he dreamed of seeing a mountain, seeing the ocean, and playing Major League Baseball. He saw his first ocean and mountain when he was 14 on a family trip from Minnesota to Florida. The closest he got to the Big Leagues was when he flied out against future Hall of Famer Dave Winfield when they faced each other in their teens in American Legion Baseball.
After graduating from Dartmouth College with a degree in English, he decided to see as much of the USA as possible, gradually making his way to San Francisco. He thought he would wait until he had seen more of America before going abroad, but an off-hand comment from a friend who was leaving in a few days for Central America set a spark to the kindling. In days, he was off on a whirlwind journey that took him from Mexico City to Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. Those sleepless nights on buses haunted his waking dreams, and upon returning to San Francisco he began planning his next escape.
Habegger began publishing his writing about adventure and offbeat travel in 1980. His travel stories have appeared in magazines and newspapers in the U.S. and abroad, including Outside, Travel & Leisure, and the Los Angeles Times. In the early 1980s he co-authored mystery serials for the San Francisco Examiner with James O’Reilly, his old friend from Dartmouth and former disc jockey partner. Since 1985 their safety and security column, “World Travel Watch,” has been syndicated in major newspapers in five countries. In 1993 Habegger and O’Reilly founded the publishing company Travelers’ Tales with James’s brother Tim. Larry and James have worked on more than 100 titles, winning many awards for excellence, including the Lowell Thomas Award for best travel book of the year. For many years, Larry has been an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the Bay Area Travel Writers.
Habegger has visited more than fifty countries and six of the seven continents, traveling from the frozen arctic to equatorial rain forest, the high Himalayas to the Dead Sea. He lives with his family on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco where he has served on the board of directors of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers, a neighborhood community group, and is president of a grassroots organization formed to protect and maintain Telegraph Hill’s world-famous Grace Marchant Garden. He is also on the board of directors of The Fund for the Tiger, a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving the wild tigers of India and Nepal. He travels whenever possible, feeling that exposure to the greater world and its diverse cultures is the best way to understand yourself.
Sean J. O’Reilly was Born in 1952, in England, and educated in the UK and the United States. He graduated from the University of Dallas and attended the Braniff Graduate School for advanced studies in Theology.
CEO and Founder of the Auriga Distribution Group, Redbrazil.com, Johnny Upright, and Fifth Access, he is a forceful advocate for a return to the wisdom of the past as it might be reinterpreted by science. A former member of the naval reserve intelligence community, he is a long-time editor for Solas House and Travelers’ Tales.
An ex-seminarian, stockbroker, and prison instructor with a degree in Existential Phenomenology and Psychology, he is the author of several controversial non-travel books, including <i>How to Manage Your Destructive Impulses with Cyber Kinetics; Authority; Creativity and the Third Imperium;</i> and <i>The Time War: How a New Understanding of Politics and the Soul Could Change America</i>. He is also a patented inventor, a devotee of good humor and all things sacred and profane.
His editorial credits, with James O’Reilly, Larry Habegger, and Tim O’Reilly, include many award-winning travel books: The Best Travel Writing Volume 10, Travelers’ Tales China, Hyenas Laughed at Me and Now I Know Why, Travelers’ Tales American Southwest, Travelers’ Tales Greece, Travelers’ Tales Ireland, Travelers’ Tales Grand Canyon, Traveler’s Tales Danger!, Travelers’ Tales 30 Days in the South Pacific, Pilgrimage, The Ultimate Journey, Testosterone Planet, and The Road Within. Widely traveled, Sean has wandered through China, the islands of the South Pacific, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. He lives in Virginia, in sight of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with his wife, three of his six children and two dogs.