About Kontje

Craving dark chocolate, as usual
Craving dark chocolate, as usual

I am Irene Kontje, a traveling chocoholic currently living in New York City.

I was born in New Jersey, grew up in Maine, went to college in Boston, moved to California for ten years (Oakland, San Francisco), did a couple years of graduate school in Arizona (Thunderbird, for an International MBA), spent two plus years after that in Europe (Netherlands, France, Spain), and somehow landed fifteen years ago on the wee island of Manhattan.

After a failed attempt to move to Spain in 2009 (thanks a lot, global economy) and a pleasant four-year detour in Durham, North Carolina, I returned to NYC at the start of 2015.

My loves are reading, writing, history, photography, and taking history-themed trips, camera in hand.

I hope you enjoy my little articles, essays, musings, and photographs.

I’d be delighted to hear from you. You can reach me at kontje@yahoo.com.


Freelance writer, editor and photographer

25+ years of professional experience in non-profit, small business, and corporate settings

MBA, Thunderbird School of Global Management

BA, Communications & Philosophy, Boston College

Teacher of English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) – Grade Pass A CELTA, June 1-26, 2009, IH Seville, Spain; IH Business English Training, June 29-July 3, 2009, IH Seville, Spain

Get your little butt out there!

16 Responses to About Kontje

  1. Jose says:

    Your photo slide show is a gem
    I have watched it at least 4 times. Very expressive, very beautiful.
    A lot of good feelings in those pictures. You are a natural, keep on clicking. Thank you so much.

  2. Gonzalo Perez says:

    I was there. Your writtings and pictures took me there.
    Next time will make sure i dont miss any of it.
    Best of everything to you.

  3. Miriam says:

    Thank you for telling us about these places and more importantly inspiring us with your wonderful words of magic to travel and see with our own eyes. A good writer inspires and you have opened up my door to another world. Keep trecking!

  4. shaughnessy says:

    Hi Reenie,
    Your mom is in the hospital. Pete or Margret would like you to call them.
    Cousin Jane

  5. Hi Irene,
    I’m a professional travel writer based in Philadelphia and I just gotta say,you rock! Your site is fun, informative, visually stimulating and worth reading. Can’t wait to visit “your” Seville & Madrid.

    You can check out my writing on my website, http://www.staciafriedman.com, my blog, http://www.StaciaSleptHere.blogspot.com or at http://www.TheCityTraveler.com

    Happy Trails!

  6. Jack says:

    Hi Irene!
    Love the travelogues. You look fantastic! Glad to hear about your travels in Spainish summer. I was a little pre-occupied last summer and now it is March already. where does the time go?

  7. Sally Spencer says:

    Hi Irene,
    We worked together for a VERY long week in New York last year and recently I have wanted to contact you. Since you left your job I wasn’t sure what continent you were on. But I recently found out you were back in NY. I am not on facebook or other social networking media. Could you send me your e-mail address so we can connect?
    Thanks, Sally

  8. Daniel Kontje says:


    Wonder what line of Kontje’s you are from. My grandmother was Mae Irene Kontje.

    Daniel Kontje

    • Hi Daniel! We descend from the Gerhardt Kontje line. Are you from Johan? Feel free to write me at kontje@yahoo.com. All the best – Irene

      • Daniel Kontje says:

        Hello, just saw your picture in google images and revisited this link. Did not realize you responded years ago, sorry, my bad. I just finished reading a letter you sent me Nov 10, 1997 with family history info. Also have letters from your younger sister Lauren from Sept 23, 1997 and Oct 25, 1997. When Lauren was 15 she was corresponding with my wife Barb via email and I think this prompted the letters I have. I have family history from Howard Kontje. He is from the Johann line like myself. His line is Johann who had a son John who had Howard. I am through Johann whose other son was Henry, Henry had a son Henry who had a son Robert who had me. I would love to share all this kontje family info I have if you are interested. We need a way to get my e-files and hard copies to you. My goal one day is to organize all of this information I have and include all the information I can get for the Gerhardt line. Howard sent me history on your line but it would be good to have someone from your line critique it for accuracy. Let me know if you are interested. Thanks. Daniel.kontje@cox.net.

  9. Are you related to the deceased George and Irene Kontje from Bayonne NJ. They were my aunt and uncle.

  10. kontjetravels says:

    Charlie, I am sending you an email. Thanks so much for posting a message here!

  11. Jack Ricci says:

    I am also from The Gerhardt Kontje Family that was from Bayonne and Jersey City NJ. Gerhardt was my Grandmother Elsie’s Father. I would love to hear more about how you are related.
    Jack Ricci

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