Justin  Schmid

Justin Schmid

Justin has made his living as a writer since 1997. He started his career covering crime, city hall and features for newspapers in Arizona. Today, he writes for a nonprofit organization, writes online articles and does freelance work for a variety of print publications.
For YCN, Justin writes mostly about travel and the Phoenix area. His goal is to combine the skills and quality control of a trained, experienced journalist with the flexibility and freedom of an online content producer.

You can also visit Justin s blog at WanderingJustin.com.
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Arizona State University, bachelor of arts - broadcast


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  • Four Great Overlooked Movies You Should See Now
    If you've had enough big-budget blockbusters, check out these four overlooked movies.
  • Six Things I Always Do in Yoga Class
    In nearly 15 years of practicing yoga, I’ve picked up a few habits that can help the growing number of people trying it for the first time.
  • Filming Locations from 'A Game of Thrones' to 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'
    Find out what it's like to visit movie settings around the world - and share your thoughts on any locations you've visited.
  • Questions to Ask Before Traveling to Vietnam
    Thinking about traveling to Vietnam? Then ask yourself a few questions to figure out if it will be a thought-provoking experience or just culture shock overload.
  • Dreamliner Versus Dreamliner
    Boeing hypes its 787 Dreamliner as a great advance in passenger comfort - and airline cost savings. Find out how two different Dreamliners compare to each other ... and whether there's substance to the promises.
  • First-ever Arizona Mountain Bike League Off to a Fast Start
    Thirty days ago, Nicole Linebaugh wouldn’t have even called herself a mountain biker. But her fourth place finish in the inaugural Arizona High School Cycling League race proves the potential of high school mountain bike racing.
  • Life as a Cubicle Drone Is My Biggest Health Challenge
    For the most part, I live a healthy lifestyle. What stands in my way from excelling, though, is being stuck behind a desk at work.
  • First Person: Steps to Learn to Play Guitar
    Find out how you can learn to play guitar - from someone who's been through all the challenges of struggling with a musical instrument.
  • Star Trek into Darkness - Why I Didn't like it (Beware Spoilers)
    When the credits rolled on "Star Trek Into Darkness", I lost interest in seeing another J.J. Abrams-directed Trek movie. Find out why someone who liked the first movie in his re-boot disliked the latest in the franchise.
  • Could New Manager Make Man U Harder to Hate?
    Could incoming Manchester United manager David Moyes make one of soccer's most-polarizing teams harder to hate?
  • A Quick Guide to Turku, Finland
    If you visit Finland, make sure to include a few days in Turku to your itinerary.
  • How I Missed My Best Chance to Invest in Gold
    Just a few years ago, I hesitated to invest in gold. And it's now one of my biggest financial regrets.
  • Gear Review: X-Fusion Slide 29 RL2
    X-Fusion is trying to make a name for itself in mountain bike suspension. Is it just another upstart doomed to fail again Fox, Rock Shox and the rest, or do X-Fusion forks deliver on the trail?
  • Three Great American Soccer Cities
    If you're a soccer fan living in a city without a Major League Soccer team, here are a few travel ideas to help you get your futbol fix.
  • Tips for Picking the Right Travel Backpack
    When I travel, having the right backpack is crucial. These are my tips for picking a backpack that's right for you.
  • Outdoors, Dining, and Entertainment in Phoenix
    As a long-time Phoenix-area dweller, it drives me crazy that travelers associate my home with golf, shopping, and spring training. The area will reward travelers who look beyond chain restaurants and golf courses.
  • 6 Steps to Vacation-Proof Your House
    I learned a hard lesson about making my house vacation-proof during a two-week international trip. Find out how I now try to keep my house safe and sound while I travel.
  • SCUBA Diving for Beginners – Sites and Advice
    Though many of renowned SCUBA diving sites are in far-flung corners of the globe, divers can find some right in the U.S. Here are some top picks from an association of SCUBA instructors.
  • Summer in Finland: 5 Things to Do
    Planning a trip to Finland? Here are five activities that can add some fun to your itinerary.
  • Five Tips to Plan a Summer Adventure in Norway
    Norway isn't a destination many Americans have discovered - yet. Once outdoor travelers figure out how much fun they can have in Norway, that should change. Get some tips to plan your Norway adventure.
  • Visit a Volcanic Crater - 3 Sites in the Western U.S.
    A visit to a volcanic crater is a way to remind yourself that the earth is alive. Here are three great places to see evidence of the forces that shape the world.
  • 3 Great Places for Summer Camping in Iceland
    If you like camping, a summer visit to Iceland could be the perfect vacation for you. Find out about three great places across Iceland where you should skip the hotel and sleep in a tent.
  • Jeju, South Korea: 4 Cheap Things to Do
    Travel guidebooks sometimes call Jeju “the Hawaii of South Korea.” Though it falls short of Hawaii’s scenery, visitors will still find a lot to enjoy. It has everything from a city of nearly half a million people to plentiful outdoor recreation.
  • Increase Blog Traffic - 3 Easy Steps
    Though great content is critical to build a blog audience, there are a few other steps every serious blogger should embrace.
  • 5 Places to Stargaze Near Phoenix
    Light pollution from cities can spoil a stargazing experience. But Phoenix, despite its sprawl, has plenty of places where residents can get away from the light. Here are some of the best places around central Arizona to find a slice of dark sky.
  • The Real Cost of a Trip to South Korea
    Considering a trip to South Korea? Find out what you can expect to spend for transportation, accommodations, and other parts of your trip.
  • Cheap, Fun Things to Do in Seoul, South Korea
    A visit to South Korean city of Seoul will keep you entertained and engaged throughout a stay of any length. And it's easy to have fun without blowing your budget.
  • The Hunger Games Books - Why They’re a Hit
    The quality of The Hunger Games trilogy forces me to re-think my prejudice of books with huge mainstream appeal - and especially my disdain for “young adult” literature.
  • 6 Tips for Teen Solo Travelers
    If you have the urge to travel, there's no reason you can't get started young. Here are some travel tips for teens interested in checking out the rest of the world.
  • Arizona Travel: 4 Destinations Beyond the Grand Canyon
    The world knows Arizona as the Grand Canyon state. But there’s far more to its natural beauty than just one landmark. These are four of my favorite overlooked Arizona travel destinations.
  • Nightwish Debuts on U.S. Billboard Chart at #27 with "Imaginaerum"
    Symphonic metal band Nightwish has defied the odds by having its Imaginaerum album debut at #27 on the U.S. Billboard chart. It's not the sort of music that usually hits the charts so high.
  • Three British Columbia Day Trips from Vancouver
    There's more to British Columbia than the city of Vancouver. Get beyond the city limits and the shopping to find active adventures north and west of the city.
  • "A Game of Thrones" and Beyond - the Funniest Characters
    There's more to "A Song of Ice and Fire" than just evil doers and heroes. There's also comic relief. Here's a look at some of my favorite funny characters. Who are yours?
  • 4 Unusual Reasons to Visit Hawaii
    Hawaii builds its tourism reputation on sand, surf and sun. But there are other reasons to put it on your list. Here are a few activities to get something different from your visit to Hawaii.
  • Six Cool Things to Expect During a Visit to Tokyo
    If your travel plans take you to Tokyo, you’re in for a treat. It is every bit the jam-packed megalopolis you expect. But its residents add a friendly warmth that will surprise visitors. Here are six things that stood out for me during my visit in 2011.
  • 4 Tips to Get Through a TSA Pat-Down Smoothly
    If you object to the TSA's body scanners, you can opt for a pat-down before you fly. Here are some tips to make the process bearable for both you and the TSA officer.
  • Six Thoughts on U.S. Versus Sweden Women's Soccer Match
    Here are some things to ponder after the U.S. women's national soccer team drew 1-1 with Sweden during a friendly match at University of Phoenix Stadium on Nov. 19.
  • 10 Things to Know About the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
    If your travels take you to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, here are 10 things to know so your trip is convenient and, just maybe, a bit of fun.
  • Favorite Books of 2011
    2011 was a good year for reading, with authors releasing some great work. "Blacklands" by Belinda Bauer stands above in a crop of excellent choices.
  • Three Travel Destinations for Beer Snobs
    Though it's easier than ever to find high-quality craft beers, beer aficionados should travel to find selections that are only released in certain areas. Here are a few destinations that microbrew fans can count on for rare and unusual brews.
  • 8 Favorite Quotes from "A Song of Ice and Fire"
    Find out some readers' favorite quotes from the George R.R. Martin series "A Song of Ice and Fire" books - and chip in with your own.
  • Three Places to Tour a Submarine
    Every submarine is a remarkable technological achievement, but it's truly the personnel who make the machine. Attention to detail, education and dedication are the essentials to keeping subs at sea. And touring a sub is the best way to appreciate it all.
  • A Game of Thrones - 7 of the Saddest Deaths (SPOILERS)
    Don't get too attached to any character in George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. He's willing to sacrifice any character for the good of the plot. He'll kill characters you love, elevate those you hate, and maim just about anyone.
  • Itinerary - a Long Weekend in Portland
    It takes more than an extended weekend to get a good handle on all the Portland, Ore., area can offer. But it's enough for a good introduction to the region. This four-day itinerary can jump-start plans for an active traveler.
  • A Game of Thrones - 6 of the Most Evil Characters
    George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series "A Song of Ice and Fire" is brimming with badness. There are swarms of characters oozing with evil, and readers - and now television viewers - can spend their time debating which ones are the most foul.
  • 6 Essential Items for Smart Travelers
    There's more to packing for a trip than loading up on travel-sized toiletries. Here are a few items that should be in every carry-on.
  • 6 Thoughts on "Oxford" Commas - and People Who Love Them Too Much
    Sorry to break it to you, grammar nerds, but the Oxford comma just isn't that important. Here's why.
  • Three Places in the U.S. To Hike Lava Caves
    If the summer heat is getting to you, get some hiking miles while staying cool by visiting a lava tube. Here are three of many places you can find one of these natural wonders in the United States.
  • Three Fun Activities Near Portland, Oregon
    Portland, Oregon, and its nearby areas offer plenty of fun for travelers. Sports fans and outdoor adventurers should check out these three activities.
  • Digital Camera Review
    Sometimes, a compact digital camera is ll you need. The Fuji XP10 takes decent photos and videos - and lives up to its rugged reputation.
  • New Qantas Flights Offer a Quicker Connection to Australia
    East Coast and Midwest travelers have plenty of reasons to be excited about the new Qantas flights from Dallas-Fort Worth. They can get to Australia without a stop in Los Angeles, saving some time and potential headaches.
  • Itinerary for Active Travelers - Flagstaff, Ariz
    Some destinations can help you stay fit and active. Flagstaff, Ariz., is one of them. Even if you arrive with nothing but hiking boots, you can easily stay on the move. This three-day itinerary will keep you burning calories.
  • Smaller Planes, More Flights: The Facts Behind Flight Delays
    What's the story behind flight delays? Many experts blame the the rise of the small airliner and the regional jet.
  • Your First Intercontinental Flight - What to Expect
    So you've decided to take your first intercontinental trip. Your adventure starts with a long flight. Here's what you can expect from a long time in the air.
  • 4 Great Arizona Mountain Bike Rides
    No matter when you visit Arizona, you can always find great mountain biking somewhere in the state. Here are four of the state's best rides.
  • Things to Do in Phoenix, Ariz. - Fighter Combat International
    The Phoenix area works hard to cultivate a reputation for sunshine, golf and shopping. But Fighter Combat International might have out-of-town visitors calling the Valley a destination for dogfighting.
  • Guide to Flagstaff's Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort
    If you're new to Arizona and are eager to try the state's few ski resorts, Flagstaff should be high on your list. Here's what you need to know.
  • Circling the World Flying Standby in 48 Hours
    On Feb. 25, four people from Phoenix will race each other around the world headed in opposite directions. The only rules? You have to fly standby in 48 hours or less.
  • Three Great Ski Resorts West of Denver that Are Worth the Drive
    There's not much time left to ski this year. If you're planning to catch some snow, the ski resorts west of Denver are great choices to get your fix. Here's what you can expect from a few of the popular resorts.
  • Link Exchanges a Waste of Time for Bloggers
    Somewhere, bloggers got this weird idea: that having gobs of links to other blogs would help them. But chasing link exchanges wastes time and clutters your website. Genuine interaction with other bloggers is a better promotion strategy.
  • Writing Tip - Avoid Turning a Powerful Phrase into a Cliche
    "Above and beyond" is more than a lyrical and evocative phrase - it's part of the selection criteria for the Medal of Honor, which is the highest U.S. military decoration. But people ignorant of their origins misuse these powerful words every day.
  • Glacer Tour Review: Franz Josef and Falljökull
    The world's glaciers are melting. But what's the big deal? Well, spending a day on New Zealand's Franz Josef Glacier or Iceland's Falljökull will give you a new appreciation of these huge, icy masses.
  • How to Pick Your Next Travel Camera
    A great photo is the best souvenir you can get while traveling. These days, getting a photo that's at least close to great is easier than ever. But only if you pick the right camera for your abilities and goals.
  • How to Be Smarter Goalie
    Giving up goals is inevitable for hockey goalies. Here are some tips for staying confident even when the puck gets by.
  • In Search of Arizona's Best Marathon
    If you're registered for this weekend's P.F. Chang's Rock '˜n' Roll Marathon, I've got bad news: You signed up for the wrong race. The race you should be running is the 10th Annual Lost Dutchman Marathon on Feb. 20.
  • 5 Great Day Trips Near Phoenix, Arizona
    The Phoenix area is a great place for visitors to use as a base for exploring central Arizona. It's close to many destinations that are worth a drive away from the sprawling urban areas. Here are some local favorites.
  • Two Years of Driving a Subaru - Lessons Learned on and Off-Road
    Two years of driving a Subaru has taught me a lot about the brand. Here are some facts that can help you decide if a Subaru is the right car for you.
  • 48 Hours in Tucson, Arizona
    Don't let the common anti-Tucson sentiments of people from Phoenix fool you: Tucson is a very cool city with a lot to offer. The scenery is spectacular, and there's a lot to do. Here is a sample of activities you can try during a 48-hour visit.
  • Review - Scottevest Travel Pants
    Scottevest makes travel clothing designed to make travelers able to easily carry more with them, with a bit less baggage. When I spotted a sale on the company's Flex Cargo Pants, I ordered a pair to to see if it's all hype.
  • Ducks 3, Coyotes 1: Game Review
    I rarely get out to Glendale to see the Phoenix Coyotes play. Though the team is last in its division, I checked out Tuesday's game against the Anaheim Ducks. Here are impressions I took away from the game, which Phoenix lost 3-1.
  • Three Destinations to Get a Taste of Extreme Foods in Australia, New Zealand and Iceland
    Eating unusual foods is a great way to make your travels memorable. And some destinations make it easy to challenge your tastebuds. Here are three of my favorite countries for putting my palette to the test.
  • Vacations Are a Race Against Time
    For Americans, vacations are a race against time. We're against the clock to cram as much into as little time as possible. And while rushed travel is better than no travel, this makes us miss out on many of the finer points of our destinations.
  • Airport Needs to Cut Specialty Lines, Improve Signs
    During a recent flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, I had a reminder that the security screening processes are concocted by people who are disconnected from reality.
  • Call People "Consumers" at Your Own Risk
    I hate being called a "consumer." It connotes greed, sloth and corpulence. Businesses should think of their customers according to the products and services they offer, not one hideous catch-all word.
  • The Case for Running Up the Score in Sports
    A columnist for The Arizona Republic angered readers by suggested its bad sportsmanship to run up the score. But some of my best memories as an athlete come from being overwhelmed by far superior opponents.
  • Beckett's Table is a Welcome Restaurant Addition to Phoenix, Arizona
    It's hard to get excited about new restaurants in the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix. Each one seems to be a contrived spin on "comfort food." I expected more of the same from Beckett's Table when it opened. The staff, menu and ambiance proved me wrong.
  • Review - The Dust Devil Mountain Bike Race Series
    DCB Extreme Adventures just wrapped up its latest Dust Devil series of mountain bike races. Here's what I learned from entering the final race of the series.
  • Where to Eat in Reykjavik, Iceland
    Dining out in Iceland's capitol city can be pricey. But there are a few places serving extremely tasty - and even healthy - meals that won't break your travel budget.
  • Arizona's History Riddled with Defunct Sports Teams
    The Phoenix Suns are the poster boys for successful Arizona sports teams. Most of our other teams are mired in mediocrity except for one World Series from the Diamondbacks. And these are the state's most epic sports failures.
  • La Mansion Offers Luxury in Costa Rican Jungle
    I'm not much of a luxury traveler - I like it rough. But a glimpse of La Mansion Inn in Costa Rica convinced me of the benefits of some occasional swankiness.
  • New Zealand is a Great Winter Escape for Americans
    Snow is great when it first starts falling. But give it a month, and you'll be ready to get away from it. So where should you go? New Zealand.
  • Travel Tip - Essential Items for Emergencies at Sea
    A cruise ship adrift at sea brings up the question - what are some handy items travelers can pack to deal with similar situations?
  • Review: Rating the Airlines - IcelandAir Through US Airways
    My recent travels have allowed me to sample many different airlines, foreign and domestic. Last month, I rated American Airlines through Delta. This month, it's IcelandAir through US Airways.
  • 4 Great Mountain Bike Trails Near Phoenix
    The Phoenix area is peppered with mountain bike trails. Even in the middle of the city, it's possible to get away from it all on a twisting, rocky trail. Here are four popular spots for mountain bikers of all levels of ability.
  • Review of the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Ariz
    The Musical Instrument Museum could've been a welcome addition to the bland museum scene in the Phoenix area. Some poor choices in theme and organization doom it to mediocrity, though.
  • Review: Two Years Traveling with a Pentax Digital Camera
    I've used a Pentax K100D Super digital SLR for more than to years. Here's what I've learned, and how it applies to the Pentax K-x, the company's latest digital SLR.
  • Travel Destination - Baltimore's National Aquarium
    If you've ever wanted to see a shark or a stingray, but are afraid of getting eaten, stung or seasick, visit the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Md. There, you can get close to the creatures of the deep.
  • Bike Preview - the Raleigh XXIX
    The 2011 Raleigh XXIX (say "29") could convince mountain bikers to take the plunge on a lot of different concepts: twenty-nine inch wheels, single-speed gearing and the unusual chainless belt drive.
  • Review - Rating the Airlines
    My travels over the last few years have allowed me to sample many different airlines, foreign and domestic. Here is Part 1 of a series covering several different airlines I've tried in recent years.
  • 3 Places to Get a Great Vegan Meal in Phoenix
    I love meat and fish. Dairy products are awesome. But now and then I feel like skipping the animal products at mealtime. Here are three restaurants in the Phoenix area that can satisfy me. And they'll do the trick for just about any open-minded omnivore.
  • 10 Strategies for Better Writing
    If you want to make a living as a writer, you'll need to break a lot of English 101 habits. Here are 10 concepts to break the shackles of academic writing - and make your prose more powerful than ever before.
  • 3 Bizarre Buildings in Phoenix, Ariz
    Despite its short history, the Phoenix metro area has amassed some unusual architecture. Here are three of the best-known odd buildings you'll find in the Valley of the Sun.
  • Four Air and Space Museums in Arizona
    For a sparsely populated state, Arizona has a lot to offer when it comes to air and space museums. The Pima Air Museum is the best-known of the bunch, but there are others that are worth a visit. Here's a look at them from north to south.
  • Gourmet Hot Dogs Could Become Next Dining Trend in Phoenix, Arizona with Maui Dog
    It seems like a new gourmet burger shop opens in Phoenix every few weeks. But now Maui Dog might herald the same trend for high-end hot dogs.
  • 4 Ways to Liven Up Your Vacation
    When you're traveling, look for something more memorable to do than just hitting the beach, shopping, strolling the museums or eating. Here are my methods for doing something really fun while traveling.
  • 4 Great Desserts Around the World
    Trying new foods is an essential part of traveling. And new desserts? Even better. Here are four of my favorite spots from 66 degrees north to the bottom of the world.
  • Harris Interactive's Obesity Study Turns Junk Science into Scary Headlines
    The Body Mass Index is only a step above boring a hole in someone's head to let the fat spirits out. But the mainstream media keeps running stories about it rather than dismissing it as junk science. Here's the latest example.
  • Review - the Discovery Channel Show "Dual Survival"
    When I first heard about The Discovery Channel show Dual Survival, I was intrigued. And I haven't been disappointed with its two stars, the situations or the smart advice they offer in each episode.
  • Three Essential Bits of Wisdom for Buying a Digital Camera
    People who are buying digital cameras often get fooled into thinking more megapixels means more image quality. That's wrong - here's what you really need to know about megapixels and other camera specs.
  • Discover Three Great Independent Mexican Restaurants in the Phoenix Area
    Here in Arizona, Mexican food doesn't even count as ethnic food. It's just part of our everyday dining. And we don't have to settle for chains. Arizona's best Mexican food comes from locally owned restaurants. Here are three of my favorites.
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