Story and Local Photos By Sandra Chambers
Travel Photos Courtesy Of Lynn and Cele Seldom
They’re living a dream life — in two worlds. For 20 to 30 weeks each year, Lynn and Cele Seldon travel to destinations across the United States, cruise to exotic ports or scuba dive in the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. For the rest of the year, they live the coastal lifestyle in Oak Island, where they kayak, catch and cook local seafood, and just relax under the warm Carolina sun.
The Seldons are a perfect team, both as husband and wife and as business partners in their travel journalism business, Lynn Seldon, Inc.
“Lynn is the right-brain, creative travel journalist and photographer, while I’m the left-brain side of the business,” Cele explains. “I maintain the website and social media outlets, do the marketing, story research and interviewing and travel logistics.”
They have found Oak Island to be the perfect location, not only as a base for their traveling business, but for them as a couple because they are “coast lovers.”
“I don’t often write about Oak Island,” teases Lynn, “because we don’t want other people to find out about it!”
Dream World #1 — Oak Island Before relocating to Oak Island almost eight years ago, the Seldons spent two years exploring the East Coast from Maryland to Delaware, to Virginia and North Carolina and as far south as Charleston, S.C. Growing up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Lynn says his criteria was that they had to be within a half-day’s drive back to Richmond, where his family lives.
While visiting Wilmington one weekend, they decided to check out Oak Island. Both Lynn and Cele agree it was love at first sight.
“We visited several weekends over the next year and in November of 2002 decided to rent a house for a month to see what it was like in the winter,” Lynn explains. Just two days before their rental lease was up, they found the perfect house, put an offer on it and moved to OakIsland within six months.
Even when the couple is at home enjoying the serenity and beauty of Oak Island, they are usually working, mapping out future stories, marketing, writing, etc. “We’re pretty much homebodies,” Cele admits. “We get our cultural and social fixes when we travel.”
Like most coastal residents, the Seldons are seafood lovers. “We’re just two blocks from the ocean and we back up to Davis Canal,” Cele explains, “so during the summer we have crabs every weekend, right from our own back yard.”
During the rest of the year they purchase fresh seafood from a local seafood market, Haag & Sons, located on the island. “They have incredible fresh fish, and are very knowledgeable,” Lynn says, “so we just walk in there and ask,‘What’s for dinner,’ and Jon, the owner, tells us.”
Cooking is one hobby the couple enjoys doing together. “We eat out so much of the time on the road that we like to cook for ourselves when we’re at home,” Cele says. “Lynn is the creative chef, while I’m the prep chef — I do all the chopping, measuring, cleaning, etc.”
Lynn and Cele feel they have found the perfect life in North Carolina. “We’re fortunate to be able to live wherever we want,” Cele says, “and we’ve found an oasis on Oak Island.”
Dream World #2 — The Life as Travel Writers Lynn’s freelance travel writing career began more than 24 years ago when he was in the Army stationed in Europe. During weekend jaunts, he decided to start writing about his travel experiences. On a lark, he sent a story about Crete, Greece, to the Armed Forces daily newspaper, Stars & Stripes, and they bought it for $50. From there, Lynn was hooked and launched a full-time career in travel writing.
In 2006 Lynn was named the Southeast Tourism Society’s Travel Writer of the Year, and in 2009 he won the Golden Pineapple Award presented by the Charleston Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. His stories have appeared in more than 500 publications, including Smithsonian, Cruise Travel, Southern Living, Travel&Leisure, USA Today, Wine Enthusiast, Scuba Diving, Southern Boating, various AAA publications and several in-flight magazines.
Although Lynn insists that his favorite place to visit is the next place he’s going, he does admit that he loves St. John in the Virgin Islands because of its beauty and because it’s where Cele and he honeymooned.
The only disagreement the couple seems to have is deciding what their favorite trip was this past year. Since Lynn is a diehard Braves’ fan, his favorite trip is not a surprise. “It was the Baseball Legends Cruise with MSC cruises,” he insists. Another favorite jaunt was a road trip he and Cele took to the college world series in Omaha, stopping every night on the way back to see a minor league game.
Cele’s favorite trip was their recent trip to Alaska — one week on a cruise ship and one week renting a car and exploring the Kenai Peninsula and Kodiak.
Another major cross-country adventure they took in 2007 was a 9,000-mile, three-month RV trip recreating John Steinbeck’s route in Travels with Charley. Although it began as a personal trip, it turned out to be several stories as well as a blog. “We no longer take vacations,” says Cele, laughing. “They somehow always end up being a story.”
Most of Lynn’s travel stories are focused on the Southeast United States and the Caribbean, cruise ship travel, the outdoors (including scuba diving, hiking, mountain biking and boating), spa travel, and food and wine travel.
Over the years, the Seldons have had the opportunity to interview several famous people, including top celebrity chefs Tyler Florence of the Food Network and Anthony Bourdain of the TV show No Reservations and author of Kitchen Confidential.
Lynn ’s most recent celebrity interview was with Pat Conroy in Charleston. “Pat was in town to promote his new book South of Broad, and a friend arranged for me to meet him over lunch,” Lynn explains. “Our four-hour lunch led to a burgeoning friendship and a possible new project for me — a novel on VMI (my alma mater) similar to Pat’s ultimate Citadel novel.”
Whatever the future holds for Lynn and Cele, they say they’ll probably never retire from travel writing. “We love what we do,” Cele stresses. “Travel is our passion, and we really are living a dream life.”
For more info visit Lynn’s website at www.lynnseldon.com .