5 Minutes With Lesli Peterson of 365 Atlanta Traveler

For McCool Travel’s 177th travel interview, I am pleased to present Lesli Peterson. Honestly, I first heard about Lesli when I kept seeing “365 Atlanta Traveler” ranked above my articles in Google search results. A LOT! Then I heard other travel writers talking about Lesli and her work being phenomenal. We are both speaking at TBEX and I will finally get to meet this dynamo!
Lesli Peterson’s bio:

Lesli Peterson, Owner/Founder of 365 Atlanta Traveler, made her way to Atlanta over 20 years ago, after living in Germany, Japan, and six U.S. states. She relishes the discovery of obscure, offbeat and unwonted places, and she will chat up any willing stranger to uncover a new secret locale. After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.

Lesli Peterson of 365 Atlanta Traveler and family skiing
family skiing: Lesli Peterson of 365 Atlanta Traveler

Lesli Peterson of 365 Atlanta Traveler


I grew up in a military family, moving all over the world. If ever I had a hometown it would be Atlanta, where I live now.


Our kiddos (the younger ones, anyway.) Probably not the answer you expected, but it’s true. My husband and I chose this career in order to give us time to travel with our kids as often as possible. We homeschool them, and we consider it a privilege to have the freedom to teach them about geography, culture, history and science from the road. But the best lesson we offer them is that curiosity always trumps fear, that we are more alike that different with others in the world, and that those differences are treasures to be celebrated.


  1. While it was long ago, I went to high school in Japan. I love that country: the culture, the food, the countryside. It’s my dream to return with my kiddos and show them where I grew up.
  2. One of my most memorable vacations was in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. There is nothing like a grand, majestic place to bring perspective to life.
  3. Finally, close to home, it’s the North Georgia Mountains, where the Appalachian Trail begins. When the everyday gets chaotic and mundane, those mountains bring me peace.
365 Atlanta Traveler canoeing High Hampton
youngest Peterson family member doing the work. 365 Atlanta Traveler canoeing High Hampton


When our oldest graduated from college, we took all four kiddos to Nova Scotia. There, in a small Zodiac, we headed into the turbulent Bay of Fundy in search of humpbacks. The young ones were a little nervous with such huge waves, but we were in the hands of great guides. But when they appeared – dozens of them – their eyes changed from reservation to amazement. We were so close, and they were so BIG! I’ll never forget it. It was captivating in its own right, but seeing the kids’ reactions was truly the highlight.


  1. We use Uber in every city we visit, and find it invaluable.
  2. Outdoorsy is quickly becoming a favorite (at least until we purchase our own RV)
  3. AirBnB. They get a lot of flak, but when you travel as a family on long trips, there is nothing like the space a full house affords.


  1. Food and drinks tend to eat up most of our budget, so we try to cook our own meals (yay again to AirBnB and a kitchen) and save cocktail hour until we are back from the restaurant.
  2. We also don’t do much in the way of typical tourist destination visits. We seek out what truly makes a place unique, and that is usually free or very economical because it’s a natural or historic. Those stops are (mostly) more affordable.
  3. Finally, we are primarily roadtrippers. About once a year, we get on a plane for somewhere special. But we are usually traveling as a group of either 4 or 6 (when the “big kids” come along) and that gets pricey. So, we don’t cut back on travel…we just do it by land.


  1. Finding the less ubiquitous adventures in a location is what thrills me. Discovering what they are, and then trying to locate them. A hole-in-the-wall restaurant, a special hiking ridge, a deserted stretch of beach…my love of the hunt is real.
  2. Second, drinking local. We love to find a distillery or winery that is local. Most love having kids there, and accommodate them with lemonade…and a tasting is a very economical way to enjoy yourself while (literally) getting a “taste” of the local life.
  3. Third, hiking. We always make time for a hiking excursion!
Leslie Peterson of 365 Atlanta Traveler and family Whale Watching
Leslie Peterson of 365 Atlanta Traveler and family Whale Watching


“Curiosity > Fear


Fee.org (a peak into my passion beyond travel)

Lesli Peterson of 365 Atlanta Traveler, Daniel Peterson, and whiskey.
Lesli Peterson of 365 Atlanta Traveler, Daniel Peterson, and whiskey.

Thank you so much, Lesli, for sharing your travel advice and inspiration.
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McCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes travel interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons. Check out McCool Travel’s previous travel interviews. Previous 5 Minutes travel interview: Jan Schroder.

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