Vertical headshot

Teresa Otto

Travel Writer and Photographer

Location icon United States

I am a freelance writer and photographer with a background in medicine and an unquenchable thirst for travel. If you have a need for health, healthcare, nutrition, lifestyle, or travel articles, I can provide grammatically-correct articles and accompanying photographs on time.

When I'm not traveling, I enjoy caring for my very demanding rescued pets, biking, quilting, weaving, and watching short-track speedskating.



Distinctly Montana
Orphan Train Riders Out West

By 1854, an estimated 34,000 abandoned or orphaned children filled New York City's streets. Many of their parents had immigrated to America, lured by the promise of free land out West.

Distinctly Montana
Montana's Grain Elevators

Across the Great Plains in both the U.S. and Canada, up to 30,000 prairie skyscrapers dotted the landscape during their heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. Today only about a third of the old wooden grain elevators are left.


My Itchy Travel Feet
The Ultimate Mississippi Gulf Coast Road Trip 3-Day Itinerary

Are you looking for a Mississippi Gulf Coast road trip itinerary? You know how baby boomer travelers feel about road trips, especially if beaches and southern cuisine are involved. Teresa Otto shares her experience traveling along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, also known as the Secret Coast, on a three-day road trip.

11 Best Things To Do In Lake Pontchartrain's Northshore Region - TravelAwaits

St. Tammany Parish, also known as Louisiana's Northshore, is an easy day trip from New Orleans across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. Northshore begins on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, a 630-square-mile body of water that's the second-largest inland saltwater lake in the United States (after Utah's Great Salt Lake).

Why You Should Visit Meteora, Greece - TravelAwaits

Meteora, Greece, is stunning and otherworldly - and James Bond was here. Need I say more? The landscape is as dramatic as the climbing scene in For Your Eyes Only. Bond (Roger Moore) scales a 1,300-foot rock cliff to recover a British encryption device from the villain's hideout.

13 Best Things To Do In Istanbul - TravelAwaits

I fell in love with Istanbul in 1996. Compliments of the U.S. Army, I was sent to Wurzburg, Germany, for six months. I made the most of every free weekend I had traveling in Europe. While in Germany, I took the dreaded mandatory fitness test and happened to get a perfect score on all three events: push-ups, sit-ups, and the 2-mile run.

9 Tips For Staying Healthy While Traveling, According To A Retired Physician - TravelAwaits

It's imperative to feel comfortable and safe while traveling. Medjet provides premier air medical transport, travel security, and crisis response memberships, providing peace of mind for an affordable price. In December of 2018, I retired from practicing medicine. As an anesthesiologist, I spent my days in an operating room putting people to sleep and waking them up when their surgeries were finished.

Best Things To Do In Mandeville - TravelAwaits

Mandeville, Louisiana, sits on the northern edge of Lake Pontchartrain and is an easy day trip from New Orleans. If you take the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, the trip from New Orleans to Mandeville is 35 miles long, with an impressive 24 miles of it along the causeway.

11 Best Things to Do in Ocean Springs MS | 2021 List & Photos

OCEAN SPRINGS, MISSISSIPPI - Rumors circulated that Al Capone spent time here. He ran rum from the barrier islands in the Gulf of Mexico. Then in 2005, a local fisherman, Michael Pluckett, fished Capone's wallet out of Davis Bayou. We know Elvis was here, too.

This Tiny Ghost Town Is The Perfect Place To Stay When Visiting Big Bend National Park

I thought Montana was big until I moved to Texas. When I began planning a trip to Big Bend National Park, I discovered the park was almost a 10-hour drive from my house near Houston. And Big Bend ranks in the top 10 for the biggest national parks in the lower 48, so I expected getting around to its attractions would take time.

How To Spend A Perfect Day In Pascagoula, Mississippi

Well before the town of Pascagoula was established in 1892, the Pascagoula tribe lived here along the river. Only traces of them are left now. Did they move westward, succumb to disease imported by European explorers, or become absorbed into the Choctaw Tribe? Or, as local suggests, perhaps they committed mass suicide in the Pascagoula River.

How To Spend A Long Weekend In Beautiful Ocean Springs, Mississippi

On my first evening in the nearby coastal town of Pass Christian, straight down Highway 90 from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, the chef at Whiskey Prime struck up a conversation. He stayed and rebuilt his life here after Katrina. "People are good here, laid back.

Hot Air Ballooning: 11 Things To Know Before Your First Time

According to author A. A. Milne, "Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon." My first hot air balloon ride was a gift from my mother-in-law. She had a knack for giving her son and me great birthday gifts since our birthdays were two weeks apart.

How To Spend A Perfect Day At Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Within the Yellowstone ecosystem, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area offers visitors 188 square miles of pristine wilderness. It is overshadowed by its famous neighbor, Yellowstone National Park, about 110 miles to the west. For visitors to Bighorn Canyon, that is a good thing. Visitors to Yellowstone numbered 3.8 million in 2020.

How To Spend Two Perfect Days In Hoi An, Vietnam

Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. TravelAwaits participates in affiliate programs with various companies. We may earn commission when you click on or make purchases via links. Growing up, I remember seeing the killed and missing in action counts on the evening news -- back in the day when changing the channel meant getting up to turn the knob.

12 Best Things to Do in St. Petersburg, Russia - 2021 List & Photos

St. Petersburg, Russia - Once the country's imperial capital has been nicknamed the Venice of the North, the City of White Nights, and the Palmyra of the North - all fitting names. Over the course of 300 years, it has had several official names. Tsar Peter the Great named the city St.

From Livingston To Yellowstone, 14 Best Stops In Paradise Valley, Montana

Paradise Valley links Livingston, Montana, with Gardiner, Montana, and the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park -- the only entrance open all year to private vehicles. Paradise Valley is certainly scenic with the Yellowstone River running through a fertile valley with rustic barns and majestic mountains towering over the valley on either side.

16 Incredible Things To Do In Historic Helena, Montana

Helena, Montana, started with a gold rush in 1864 and became known as the Queen City of the Rockies because of its grand architecture. Its cathedral, art and history museums, capitol, and more also speak to the city's rich history.

8 Must-See Attractions In Historic Concordia, Kansas

Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. The first time I drove through Concordia, Kansas, I noticed the "Home to the National Orphan Train Complex" sign on the outskirts of town. A quick Google search showed it wasn't open at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning.

How To Spend A Perfect Weekend In Beautiful Bozeman, Montana

Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. Bozeman is a trendy city in Southwest Montana. With great museums, restaurants, and boutique hotels, Bozeman is a perfect place to spend a weekend. For outdoor enthusiasts, the area's pristine rivers and mountains provide ample opportunity to enjoy Montana's deep blue skies and fresh air all year round.

9 Best Experiences In Historic Butte, Montana

Butte, Montana, has a rich history -- both literally and figuratively. Nestled against the continental divide in the Rocky Mountains, Butte boomed in the 1800s with the discovery of gold. Butte's main industry is now tourism. It's eager to share the town's rich history of mining, millionaires, and immigrants in an amazing array of attractions and experiences.

6 Tips For Visiting D.C.'s Military Museums, Monuments, And Statues

Being retired military, I usually visit military museums, war memorials, and monuments to great American leaders in Washington, D.C. So you don't wind up navigating the capital like a ricocheting pinball, here are a few tips for visiting the city, followed by popular military attractions listed by neighborhood.

Yellowstone National Park in Spring, Fall and Winter - PLAY STAY EAT

Yellowstone National Park in Spring, Fall and Winter Story and photos by Teresa Otto The Other Three Seasons to Visit Yellowstone National Park Electric Peak with Roosevelt Arch (photo by Teresa Otto) Our nation's first national park, Yellowstone National Park, has been captivating visitors since 1872, and with good reason.

7 Tips For Finding The Best Turquoise Jewelry In New Mexico

When it comes to buying turquoise, knowledge is power. If you're in New Mexico, begin, like I did, with a guided tour of the Turquoise Museum -- or, at the very least, bring these tips for finding the best turquoise jewelry in New Mexico along with you.

At the National Museum for Funeral History, nothing is certain except for death

"Any day above ground is a good one," according to the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston, Texas. The museum's exhibits range from hair art to hearses, and serve as a reminder that, as Benjamin Franklin once said, "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

7 Best Experiences On The Trans-Siberian Railway

For an epic adventure, we recommend a Trans-Siberian rail trip from Europe to Asia across more than 4,000 miles, through the Ural mountains, past Lake Baikal, through the Gobi Desert, across the Mongolian steppes, and into China. Here are seven of the best experiences along the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Passion Passport
Badlands National Park Guide, South Dakota - Passion Passport

South Dakota is home to some prime examples of Americana - Mount Rushmore, the Corn Palace, Wall Drug, and the event of the year - Sturgis' motorcycle rally, where chaps are standard but other clothing is optional. It is also home to one of nature's finest examples of badlands.

8 Tips For Your First Trip With An Elderly Parent

After my father passed away, my mom and I decided to try one trip together to see a speed skating event. It was such a success that we went on to attend World Cup competitions in Canada, Bulgaria, China, and Japan. Here's what I learned about travel with an older parent along the way.

How To Spend A Perfect Day In Huntsville, Texas

Learning about famous residents, taking in a few museums, and enjoying some time in nature makes for a perfect day in Huntsville, Texas. The Sam Houston Statue, the Texas Prison Museum, and more make this town a unique stop on I-45.

7 Must-See Things In Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park

Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. Japan is one of my favorite countries to visit. It is culturally rich and extraordinarily beautiful. I often traveled with my mom. Japan was one of her favorites, too, in part because of the respect and kindness she felt while there.

8 Incredible Gardens To Visit In Portland

Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. Portland, Oregon is called the City of Roses for good reason. In the late 1800s, a large pink hybrid tea rose, Madame Caroline Testout, made its way to Portland from France.

7 Beautiful Reasons To Visit The Cathedral Basilica Of St. Louis

Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. St. Louis is home to the Gateway Arch, St. Louis-style ribs, a population that consumes more barbecue sauce than any other in the nation, and two historic Catholic cathedrals. St. Louis was founded by immigrants from France, Ireland, and Germany and named for St.

9 Best Walking, Hiking, And Biking Trails In Billings, Montana

Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. Whenever I mention that I am from Montana, people comment on how beautiful the mountains are, how nice Glacier National Park is, or how much they love Yellowstone.

11 Best Things To Do In Waxahachie, Texas

Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. Waxahachie is named after the Waxah Indian tribe and the Coosaw tribe's word hachie, meaning creek. It got its start in 1850, along the banks of the Waxahachie Creek as an agricultural town.

How To Spend A Perfect Long Weekend In Gorgeous Moab, Utah

Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. Located in eastern Utah, Moab is surrounded by natural beauty, rugged landscapes, and national and state parks that are ideal for photographers and outdoor enthusiasts. The terrain is a product of erosion, with softer rock yielding to water and wind, leaving behind arches, striated canyon walls, hoodoos, and towering monuments.

9 Reasons You'll Fall In Love With The Red Lodge, Montana Christmas Stroll

Related: Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. Editor's Note: Unfortunately, this year's Red Lodge Christmas Stroll was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but be sure to include this magical event in your 2021 holiday plans! Red Lodge, Montana, with a population of about 2,300 people, lies in the shadow of the Beartooth Mountains.

How To Spend A Perfect Weekend In Red Lodge, Montana

Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. Red Lodge started as a Crow Native American hunting, worshiping, and resting place well before Europeans settled. The town's name comes from the red clay-covered tepees the Crow people used. Just like many towns in the Territory of Montana, Europeans settled in Red Lodge because of mining.

Passion Passport
A Visitor's Guide for Yellowstone in Winter - Passion Passport

Most summers, Yellowstone National Park is overrun by visitors. Bison jams back up traffic and bear sightings make the two-lane highway a parking lot - not the kind of vacation any of us aim for. Touring Yellowstone in the winter, on the other hand, is magical.

Russia 30 Years (And 30 Pounds) Ago

Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. Back in 1990, when it was the U.S.S.R., my best friend and I traveled with a group to Leningrad, Moscow, and Kyiv. Fast forward nearly three decades. Two friends and I booked a private trip through Travel All Russia.

From Dinosaurs To Homesteaders: 7 Great Historical Museums In Southeastern Montana

Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. From Ekalaka to Hardin, seven museums take visitors from prehistoric, dinosaur-roaming days to back-breaking homesteading days to the bloody days of the Little Bighorn Battle in the unforgiving and beautifully austere land of southeast Montana.

7 Amazing Places To Visit In Beautiful Sicily

Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. My mom was a huge fan of short track speed skating, and I am a huge fan of traveling. We explored the world together at the intersection of skating and travel one international competition at a time.

7 Fabulous Reasons To Visit Yellowstone National Park In The Fall

Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. Yellowstone National Park, our nation's first national park, is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined. More than half of the world's active geysers lie within the park's 2.2 million acres. And the greatest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states calls Yellowstone home.

Passion Passport
Patmos, Greece: Land of Pilgrimage & Pastry - Passion Passport

Patmos is an island of Greece found in the Aegean Sea and belonging to the Dodecanese group, off the coast of Anatolia in Turkey. Patmos holds special meaning for Christians from Greece and beyond. In 95 AD, Roman emperor, Domitian, exiled St. John to the prison island of Patmos for preaching Christianity in Ephesus, Turkey.

Making the Move from Montana to The Woodlands, Texas - PLAY STAY EAT

Making the Move from Montana to The Woodlands, Texas Story and photos by Teresa Otto (unless otherwise indicated) OVERVIEW of The Woodlands PLAY Golf in The Woodlands EAT and Drink at B52 Brewery near The Woodlands Living in Billings, Montana Dramatic sandstone cliffs along the Yellowstone River in Billings Montana with storm clouds overhead and ...

8 Fantastic Stops On A Luxurious Silk Road Rail Trip

Related: Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. Reading about Marco Polo's Silk Road travels conjures up images of desert oases with bustling markets, mosques, minarets, and, of course, merchants with long-lashed camels bearing precious cargo. The Silk Road was actually many trading routes linking China and the Far East with Europe and the Middle East.

Stuck at Home? Visit These Military Museums and Monuments Virtually

(This article by Teresa Otto originally appeared in Military Officer, a magazine available to all MOAA Premium and Life members. Learn more about the magazine here; learn more about joining MOAA here.) COVID-19 packed a powerful punch affecting all aspects of life, including travel.

Passion Passport
A Day Trip to the Door to Hell: Turkmenistan's Darvaza Crater - Passion Passport

The Turkmenistan government hid it for more than 40 years. To be clear, it was in plain sight the whole time, but off the radar for the few Western tourists that ventured into rural Turkmenistan. Called the Door to Hell or Gate to Hell by locals, Darvaza Gas Crater is a 225-foot wide and 65-foot deep gas-belching, fire-breathing pit.

My Itchy Travel Feet
Visit Little Bighorn on a Road Trip From Billings, Montana

If you're roadtripping in Montana , visit Little Bighorn on an exploration of Big Sky Country. It's a somber lesson on what happens when two cultures collide. Teresa Otto, from The Nomads Daughter , shares her experience visiting Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument plus tips on how to get there.

13 Best Things to Do in Southeast Montana - 2020 List and Images

Montana (MT) is a big, diverse state with 147,000 square miles, a little over a million people, seven Native American tribes, and a changing landscape from mountains to plains. A climber's paradise, Montana is home to 244 peaks from 10,000 to nearly 13,000 feet in elevation and 100 named mountain ranges, many of which are part of the Rocky Mountains.

11 Best Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park - 2020 List and Images

In the 1960s, aerial views of Yellowstone National Park revealed a caldera, a super-volcano, of enormous proportions, measuring about 30 by 45 miles. Evidence of human settlements in the park date back 10,000 years, but an explorer with Lewis and Clark, named John Colter, was the first person of European descent to visit the area in the winter of 1807 to 1808.

Burying the hatchet: A Montana tomb honors an unknown soldier from the Battle of the Little Bighorn

I had lived in Billings, Montana for 20 years before I discovered the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located an hour southeast in the private town of Garryowen (2012 population: 2). I'd visited similar monuments in Arlington, Virginia, and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, but I didn't have to go far from home to pay my respects to one of the first casualties of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

My Itchy Travel Feet
How to Spend Three days in Hoi An, Vietnam

Vietnam is a destination that speaks to travelers for a number of reasons, but has an especially emotional connection with Americans. Visiting the country today is an eye-opening experience for many.

My Itchy Travel Feet
Visiting Japan's Jigokudani Monkey Park

Japan is one of the world's most intriguing travel locations. With a staggeringly vibrant blend of traditional and modernity, the country has just about something for everyone, and then more. On a visit to Japan, people normally spend their time exploring the ancient temples as well as the modern architecture that makes up the country's major cities.

In the Know Traveler
Making the Most of a Nine-Hour Layover at Seoul's Incheon Airport - In the Know Traveler

I wanted a Goldilocks layover on a return flight from Vietnam - not too long and not too short. I never imagined the nine-hour layover at Seoul's award-winning Incheon airport would be just right. Deplaning after an overnight flight and in search of a restaurant to kill a few hours over breakfast, I noticed a Korean Transit Tour kiosk, aka, the answer to my prayers.

My Itchy Travel Feet
Exploring Hildene on a New England Road Trip

Updated 05.07.2020: Add exploring Hildene mansion and farm to your New England road trip. Vermont has long been known as a charming area to visit, and it is a very popular tourist destination on the East Coast.

The Yums
Ingredients for Success at Harper and Madison, Billings, Montana | The Yums

For owner Joanie Swords, love is the first ingredient. Joanie brought Harper and Madison to life in a former neighborhood market dating back to 1925. She also set out to perform an experiment. If the focus was on love - love of staff and patrons - rather than money, would the restaurant succeed?

Heartfelt Shopping in the Kingdom of Jordan

A pashmina for the pet sitter, check. Sterling silver earrings for my sister, check. A mosaic for my mom, check. These souvenirs from Jordan complete my list for shopping in Jordan. Souvenir shopping is a memorable way to interact with people no matter where you travel.

Chersky Stone - One Step at a Time in Siberia

I didn't expect to shed my coat on the switchback trail half way up the mountain. It was October. And it was Siberia. It had snowed yesterday, but now the sun was peeking out and the weather glorious. We were on a mission.


fyi50+ The Original Online Senior Magazine * follow your interests
Five Things to Tell (and Confess to) Your Anesthesiologist - fyi50+ The Original Online Senior...

One life-threatening reaction to anesthesia, called malignant hyperthermia, runs in families and is triggered by certain medications your anesthesiologist can easily avoid. Discuss any postoperative nausea and vomiting you've had. Avoiding some common anesthesia drugs and giving medications will minimize your upset stomach. Mention postoperative weakness, too.

fyi50+ The Original Online Senior Magazine * follow your interests
5 Things to Ask Your Anesthesiologist - fyi50+ The Original Online Senior Magazine * follow your...

By Teresa Otto~ If you have a surgery scheduled, you will most likely meet your anesthesioliogist before you head into the operating room. Together, you'll decide upon the best type of anesthesia based on your surgery and underlying medical conditions. This is a good time to answer some questions, and ask some of your own, as well.

Barton Associates (en-US)
Barton Associates: Hobbies That Travel Well

Just because you're on the road doesn't mean you need to set aside hobbies you enjoy. Wondering what hobbies are particularly amenable to a locum tenens' lifestyle? Here are eight portable ways to enjoy your free time away from home.

Barton Associates (en-US)
Barton Associates: JCAHO is Inspecting the Hospital, Now What?

As luck would have it, your assignment coincides with a Joint Commission (TJC) inspection. The organization is beefing up protocols, tucking away all that equipment stored in a back corridor of the operating room, and double-checking expiration dates on medication vials. They don't have time to coach you.

Barton Associates (en-US)
Barton Associates: Is a Career as a Locum Tenens Physician for You?

Asking yourself these five questions and reflecting on your honest answers will help you decide if a career as a locum tenens physician is a good fit for you. Do you embrace travel by plane or car, even with its hiccups, because you view it as an adventure?

Barton Associates (en-US)
Barton Associates: 7 Ways to Show Your Value in the Operating Room

You seem to fit perfectly in the organization's anesthesia department and hope to extend your stay. From learning a surgeon's preferences, to properly documenting the care you give, here are seven ways to show you're a valuable member of the surgical team:

Barton Associates (en-US)
Barton Associates: Three Attainable New Year's Resolutions for a Locum Tenens Clinician

Most New Year's resolutions fail by January 12th, at least for resolutions involving exercise and dieting. Other popular resolutions, such as improved money management, stress management, and working on relationships, barely fare better. Overall, 80 percent of all New Year's resolutions are history by the end of February.

Barton Associates (en-US)
Barton Associates: 5 Ways to Cope with Being Away from Home for the Holidays

You're on assignment over the holidays and not able to join family and friends at home for the festivities. These five ways will not only help you cope with being away, but will help you thrive during this special time of year: Virtually join your family and friends via JusTalk or Skype.


Great Escape Publishing
How I Found My Photo Niche (And Started Selling Stock Images)

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt To say I have an unquenchable thirst for travel would be an understatement. I feel alive when I'm on the road. So several years ago, during a particularly grueling 24-hour shift at the hospital, I googled "travel photography."


The Savvy Retiree
5 Ways to Downsize for a Digital Nomad Lifestyle

5 Ways to Downsize for a Digital Nomad Lifestyle Before I retired from practicing medicine, I began looking for a home base for travel in South America. I wanted a location that was safe, had first-world healthcare, would allow me to brush-up on Spanish, and had a rich history and culture.

Facebook icon Linkedin icon Instagram icon Resume icon Email icon