Hi! I’m Ailsa. A Scottish author, editor, and fact-checker based in the Canadian Rockies, I’ve been working on a middle-grade nonfiction book about the women through history who’ve gone on big adventures.

From aquanauts to desert explorers, you can learn about the lives of the women in the book in the popular series I initiated for Atlas Obscura, by joining the 33,000 others who follow the Instagram and Facebook pages, and (very soon) by reading the book (available to pre-order now).

These days, I work full-time as an environmental writer for the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative — a nonprofit protecting wild spaces and wildlife in North America’s western mountains.

Before working with Y2Y, I was the branded content editor for Matador Network. At the world’s largest independent travel magazine, I produced digital campaigns for clients like Visit California and REI.

In 2018, under the Carlyle Norman Scholarship, I was a Banff Centre resident of the Mountain and Wilderness Writing program with Tony Whittome and Marni Jackson. In summer 2020, I’ll be spending three months in the Yukon as the Berton House writer-in-residence with the Writers’ Trust of Canada.

I contribute to Outside, BBC History, National Geographic Traveler, JSTOR Daily, Time Out, Mental Floss, and Roads & Kingdoms. Typically I write about nature and place, from the rise of North America’s coywolf to why I think everyone should spend their holidays sleeping alone in a car.

I’m also a freelance fact-checker for Harper’s Bazaar, Harper’s Magazine, Cosmopolitan, and so on.

I studied law at Edinburgh and Copenhagen universities, graduating cum laude in 2009 and specialising in women’s and human rights.

Home for now is Treaty 8 — Jasper National Park. There, I live on Patti Smith quotes and bike rides in the woods. I’ve also lived in Seoul, Berlin, and the Greek islands. I won’t mind if any of those places want to take me back.

I’m represented by Jackie Kaiser at Westwood Creative Artists. The bio photo above is by Ryan Bray. And yes! I’m available for freelance work if the project fits.

Project - Drawing 1 (72)
In Berlin, my old home



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  2. Alisa, I think I should’ve spent more time in Argentina, but it’s a very long story … well, one that spans some of the five years I spent in Chile. However, I’m very glad to have spent time in the B.A., the city is sufficiently large that I think the place requires a good amount of time to explore every neighbourhood, every street, and get those little stories. Dreaming of Argentina is a great thing, especially if there are also dreams of the pampas, as well as the vinyards up in the Andean foothills. Cheers to you, “in der deutschen Hauptstadt, überhaupt eine meiner liebsten Städte”! 🙂

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