As far back as I can remember, I’ve had “wandering fever”.  An avid reader as a child that carried into adulthood, I’ve traveled the world on printed pages and am now trying explore them in person. I probably spend as much time reading and researching a destination as we actually spend on a trip, if not more. I want to know the cheapest way to get there, unique things to explore, the best local restaurants, and the neatest, while still affordable, place to stay.

When I was a senior in high school, the school had a senior trip to Europe planned – Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. My parents told me if I wanted to go, I would have to earn the money myself. Within a week I was hired on at the local Wendy’s and worked countless evenings to earn the money for that 10-day trip. I look back and wonder how many months I worked to pay for that quick glimpse into that other world and centuries of history. Returning from the trip, it probably took me a week or two of work just to pay for the dozens of rolls of film that I took from the trip. I still have that album of photos and flip through it every now and I’m so glad that I took the time to type up little notes and add them to the album so I am reminded the names of places we visited.

I received my magazine journalism degree with a minor in English from MTSU, and met my future husband, Wally Dudiak, while waiting tables the year after I graduated. I worked with the Murfreesboro Home & Business Journal for a while, and then spent over four years at Horse World Saddlebred magazine traveling the country to cover horse shows.

I had always loved old stuff and visiting my grandparent’s house was like stepping back a century. During my travels around the Southeast, I noticed there were no antique or destination guides in Tennessee and surrounding states. I was ready for a change of pace, so I created “The Busy Bee Trader” as a monthly magazine for antique stores to advertise their businesses. I was dumbfounded when it actually took off and 18 years later is still going strong!

March 2012 Busy Bee Trader front cover

About 18 years ago, Wally became partners at Miller’s Grocery, A Country Café in Christiana, Tenn., as the head cook, and helped grow the restaurant into a booming dining destination. His mouth-watering Southern-style dishes, complemented by his partner’s divine award-winning homemade desserts put them on the map. The fact that is was in a century-old grocery store added nostalgia and atmosphere.

Miller’s Grocery, Main Street, Christiana, Tennessee with a Hudson parked out front

Wally and I were married almost 16 years ago and luckily, he also has an affinity for travel. No children came along for us, but we have made up for it with dogs and cats to keep us company/crazy. In 2006, we moved from Christiana to Greenbrier, Tenn., to the family farm, homesteaded around 1810 by my Clinard forebears and passed down through the family. This was my grandparents home and I always spent a week in the summer with them, and I have so many wonderful memories.

The Clinard house, photo circa 1941, was built around 1906 by Benjamin Boyd Clinard.

We tried to restore the old farmhouse, but finally decided it was beyond help and built fresh with a farmhouse/coastal type house. We are still working on fixing up and taking down the old buildings and have created a blueberry, asparagus and blackberry patch as part of our future sustainable living plan. We are also beekeepers, much to Wally’s dismay – but he has become more accepting as he has learned to be better clothed before stirring them up.

We built our farmhouse/coastal style house where the old house used to sit.

In 2011, due to the long commute, Wally sold his portion of the Miller’s to his partners, so now the neighbors and I are the recipient of his delicious cooking. Many months when my Busy Bee work is done, we line up our pet sitter and head out to explore the Southeast and beyond. We especially love the beach and fresh seafood, so our final destinations usually involve sand, sun and platters of raw, steamed and fried delicacies from the ocean. We’ve trekked Apalachicola, Florida to New Orleans several times and love the quiet beaches and friendly people there. We stop along the way to do Busy Bee work, introducing the magazine to new businesses and visiting our advertisers.

Appetizers at Up the Creek Raw Bar in Apalachicola, Florida

So far, our favorite tropical destination is Soliman Bay, Mexico, located about an hour and a half south of Cancun down Hwy 109 and just 15 minutes north of Tulum. We’ve been spending a week or two each year at Nah Uxibal vacation rental on Soliman Bay for probably eight years, and it is our tropical home away from home. Nah Uxibal, “The House of Good Energy”, is owned by a couple from California and we have become fast friends with them. I help with their marketing and promotions for Nah Uxibal as I love helping spread the word about our favorite destination.

Nah Uxibal vacation rentals on Soliman Bay, Mexico

In 2011 we had were fortunate to visit some amazing places and mark a few biggies off our bucket list.

Jamie and Wally at Yosemite, June 2011

We still have tons of places we want to visit, so stay tuned… and “Follow Me!”


7 thoughts on “About

  1. Debbie Hendrix

    would love any information you have on the heads of robertson county, TN. my mother was dorothy davis, dau of elizabeth frances wilson, daught. of mary ann head, daughter of robert head, son of hiram head. i can go back further.. i believe there is some connection to jesse james head..thanks! Debbie Hendrix

  2. Even when I wrote for the Busy Bee, I didn’t know you love travel so much. We have a lot in common — antiques and travel — and my husband and I love to eat in out-of-the-way places, too! Thanks for posting. Soooo interesting! http://ohtheplaceswesee.com

  3. Susan-Marie Fonzi

    I just read your piece, “Exploring Massa Lubrensa,” where you were hiking with Lucia Perotta. You mention Villa Murat and the group of Americans who were staying there. I was one of those Americans, there with my aunt, two cousins and my best friend. We spent a wonderful afternoon with Lucia and took photos together, one of which she posted on her website. We waked the same streets you did and loved every minute of it and everything about Villa Murat and Massa Lubrensa. It was great fun to see your photos and to know that we were remembered. Thank you!

    • Thanks so much for your comment! I couldn’t remember where Lucia said you were from, but she was so excited to get to come and spend the day doing your massages (and that was quite a trek from Naples for her!). We’ll be seeing Lucia in a few weeks – we stay at Nah Uxibal on Soliman Bay in Mexico, and always look forward to spending time with her and her great massages! She’s a sweetheart! Keep following my blog and you’ll probably see more familiar sights. I’ll share them over to her page. You’ll have to come visit her on Soliman Bay for a beach getaway (you can read all about it on my blog). The vacation rental we stay at is http://www.nahuxibal.com and owned by a California couple.

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