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Kimberley Lovato
I grew up in Burbank, California, only a stoneís throw from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. While friends had posters of movies stars and rock idols on their walls, I had pictures of places I wanted to visit. The Matterhorn and The Eiffel Tower adorned my closet doors until I moved away for college, and I still have the bulging, creased manila folder with the label 'Places To See' that I started when I was 16 years old.

Writing, like travel, was in my blood early on, but I didnít realize it. At a young age, I wrote plays and stories with my neighborhood girlfriends, and interviewed neighborhood celebrities like the postman. We even wrote our own 'mad libs' that made us laugh hysterically for hours. It was my father, an accomplished television writer, who encouraged me to pursue writing as a career. 'If you wish to be a writer ... write!' He advised. Like any good daughter, I waited another 10 years to heed this advise.

After university and a stab at corporate life, I came to my senses. I worked as a reporter for a weekly newspaper for several years, and began freelancing for various online and print publications in the US before moving to Europe in 2004.

I am a regular contributor to Tampa Bay Illustrated Magazine, a lifestyle magazine in Tampa, Florida that indulges my wanderlust and lets me write travel related features 2-3 times per year. It was on assignment for TBI that I fell in love with the journey and the destination. Not hard to do at the foot of a 500-year-old castle in an ancient priory overlooking the Dordogne region of Southwestern France.

Since then, I have made a hobby/career of traveling and writing about people, places and food. I contribute to various online eZines, and have recently completed a book about the Dorodgne and its fabulous cuisine and people. I am also the creator of an expatriate blog in Brussels called, A Broad In Belgium that recounts my musings and life, some complaints and comparisons, but mostly perspectives as an expatriate in this fabulous city.

To be clear, I make no money at this - Just enough to subsidize my 'travel habit' as my husband calls it. But I am rich beyond my wildest dreams. The people I have met, the places I have seen and the memories I savour are priceless. My posters have come to life and then some.

By the way, I still do mad libs with my 10-year-old daughter, and they still make me laugh out loud.

Stories Published:
Life Through Expat Eyes
The Editorial Team

*The contributors' countries listed above, refer to each individual contributor's current country of residence, whereas the flag next to their name denotes their nationality, the country where they were born and raised!