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. That work became Backroads of Paradise, a travel narrative about her journeys along Florida’s backroads (available for pre-order and on shelves October 4).
Cathy is the Arts & Entertainment editor at Creative Loafing Tampa.
Before that, she spent 12 years at Gabber Newspaper, where 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 aggravated elected and appointed officials. 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.
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.