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What are you looking for in the way of travel and outdoors coverage?

As The Seattle Times’ new travel and outdoors editor, I’d like to know.

I’m no newcomer here, but I’m open to new ideas. I’ve been with the Times for 20 years, contributing travel writing for most of that. I served 10 years as our Northwest Weekend editor, and most recently as outdoors editor.

I’ve spent most of my life around Puget Sound, where I live on a salty old sailboat with my wife and two cats. A few weeks ago, my spouse took me to dinner at the Space Needle to celebrate a benchmark birthday that makes me an official “O.F.” (“Old” is the first part of that; the second part has to do with wind, but nothing to do with sailing.)

I hadn’t been up in the Needle for decades, though I was there when it first opened for the 1962 World’s Fair. I have a slightly traumatic memory of being dragged as a wide-eyed child into a bunny-hop dancing line, hopping spasmodically at the Needle’s base behind a woman in a beehive hairdo.

This dinner at the Space Needle was a new eye-opener — the steak and salmon were outstanding (no longer is it “the diner in the sky”) and the experience was just plain fun. A revolving restaurant with a view of every mountain peak around is a brilliant idea on a pristine, cloudless Seattle evening. It reminded me that there’s a lot to love about our Northwest.

So what are your favorite places that deserve celebrating? What new places do you want to learn about? Nearby, and not so nearby.

A few years ago we refocused our travel coverage on our Northwest stomping grounds, along with the rest of the West Coast, plus Hawaii and Mexico — the destinations most visited by our Washington state readers.

Our travel section has won some top national awards with that formula. Are we on target with what you want to read? Add a comment below, or email me at (Postal address is P.O. Box 70, Seattle 98111). I’d like to hear from you, newcomers and old-timers alike.

Some things won’t change. I’ve always been proud of our company’s longtime pledge that our travel writers won’t accept free trips or lodging. It keeps us independent and helps produce local travel writing you can trust.

People often ask, “What’s your favorite destination?” It’s hard to say. But one of my favorite memories is from right here in Washington, when I backpacked a 25-mile section of Mount Rainier National Park’s wildflower-lined Wonderland Trail a few summers ago with my daughter, who’s in her early 20s.

I was born in Washington and never wanted to work anywhere else. I never stop feeling lucky. Thanks for coming along on the trip.