Cathy Salustri works out of Gulfport, Florida, but her love of Florida stretches across the state. Her travels take her on foot, bike, boat, or car to places the Interstate bypassed long ago, as well as those spots where natural beauty has survived the onslaught of overpopulation. She attended the University of Central Florida, and earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Tampa before embarking on the adventure that is the Florida Studies Master’s program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Cathy has written travel pieces for USA Today, Visit Florida, regional magazines and local press.
Under the guidance of Florida scholar and writer Gary Mormino, Cathy wrote what she calls “possibly the least academic master’s thesis ever,” logging almost 5,000 miles retracing driving tours from the WPA Federal Writer’s Project Guide to the Southernmost State in search of Florida’s forgotten destinations. She is currently under contract with the University Press of Florida to turn her travels into a travel narrative.
Cathy recently left her job writing for one of the final family-owned papers in the state, the Gabber Newspaper, where for 12 years she covered hyperlocal news. During her tenure at the Gabber, she penned an opinion column, Hard Candy, and wrote a monthly in-state travel piece. For fun (and profit) she attended local city council meetings and aggravates elected and appointed officials. While she misses those things, her blog gives her ample opportunity to state her opinion, she still travels the state, and those elected officials will still find a reason to get aggravated. She’s currently working on a nonfiction book about her experiences in Gulfport while at the Gabber. She’s also working on a series of pulp fiction novels about a mythical Florida town, Mermaid’s Key.
Cathy teaches digital photography and also lectures about Florida around the state and, close to home, at Eckerd College’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). She also offers what she calls “casual photography” services for special and everyday events such as bridal showers, birthday parties, and other celebrations.