WMBTSG Day Four (Make comments to this post to participate)

Welcome to day four of the annual Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway. One lucky winner will walk away with The Travel Writer’s Collection from Ninth Moon and Writer Mama baseball hat!

Travel Writer’s Collection from Ninth Moon

The revised 6th edition of the bestselling classic. Considered an industry standard for over two decades, the Travel Writer’s Handbook is the place to turn whether you’re already a published author, an aspiring writer looking to break into print, or just an adventurous traveler whose stories could make great reading. One step at a time, learn exactly how to write—and sell—travel articles to newspapers, magazines, and websites.

Includes hundreds of tips on traveling and writing–and how to best enjoy both. A bonus: Includes twelve tried-and-true article formats and how to write them.

From the Travel Writer Marketletter “Unquestionably the best book on the subject.”

  • Trade Paperback, 2007
  • Updated, 6th edition
  • Over 75,000 copies in print
  • 6″ x 9″, 290 pages

“If you want to be a writer, write!” – Eccolo Leather Journal

Soft, cheek-brushing-smooth-leather, a bit smaller than our other journals. Light as a feather, but with sturdy paper–perfect for that next trip or tucking into your purse without weighing you down. Eccolo claims “it is not known how long ink will last on this paper because no sheet of it has ever been known to fade.”

  • 5”x6.75”x.75”
  • Acid free, heavy stock ivory paper, 125 pages
  • The color of a magical sunset

Wanderlust Green Tea Bath salts by Bluebird Bath Products. A delightful blend of natural ingredients to sooth away the aches of the day. Enough for two delightful (do-I-have-to-climb-out-of-here?) baths.


Writer Mama Baseball Cap from Writer Mama Stuff at Café Press

Original Writer Mama cover art by Claudean Wheeler, modified by Burton Haun


Today’s question: Ah, the travel-writing fantasy. We have all had one I bet. Some of us even live it. Please share yours fantasy or experience here. If you don’t have an interest in travel writing, how come? If travel is just not a possibility for you at this time, go ahead and grouse. Please share 50-200 words on how you feel about travel writing and your career. (No doubt this gift basket will inspire you!)

If this is your first post in the giveaway, please read “Da Rules.

Comments accepted until midnight PST on September 4th.

32 Responses to “WMBTSG Day Four (Make comments to this post to participate)”

  1. 1 Stacy Smith Rogers September 4, 2008 at 4:07 am

    I’m a lucky writer. I travel each night. Sometimes I go to faraway places where the air is clear, skies are blue and troubles are none. Sometimes I go to more familiar venues, particularly zoos where the animals know me by name. Other nights I travel on a magic carpet to mountaintops and valleys where white unicorns roam and undiscovered treasures lie. And, each night I lay my head on the same pillow that transports me to these destinations, where I meet my dimple-cheeked, wide-smiling daughter in my dreams. My four-year-old is my travel agent, and although I never know where we might end up meeting, I’m not concerned with packing all the right things. I rely on her guidance and know that all I need is a little imagination and a willingness to let go of the day’s stresses and join her on these wonderful journeys.

  2. 2 Theresa N September 4, 2008 at 5:24 am

    Being a travel writer to me would be a glamorous way of making a living. I would combine travels with events, Hollywood travel were to stay and eat with Oscars, fashion week travels in New York, London and Paris. Family travels the best place to see animals from zoos to safari’s and fun museum’s for kids. To offer something different I’d do a book on the best cold spot’s for romance.

  3. 3 Meryl K. Evans September 4, 2008 at 5:30 am

    Oh, how I would love to live in London for a few weeks and write stories about living life like a Londoner rather than as a tourist. I adore their accents and my interest in British culture — I would hope — would motivate me to write gripping stories.

    I thought travel writing was boring, but when I read examples in On Writing Well — I was amazed. But I have a long way to go to write like those examples.

    But travel writing won’t be happening — at least not in the near future. Raising three kids and having a full schedule doesn’t allow for such a luxury. I’d need to practice that writing style, too — otherwise I’d just be writing for myself.

  4. 4 Cathy September 4, 2008 at 5:38 am

    Who hasn’t dreamed of swinging from a vine in some rainforest? Or eating fried cicadas? Or swimming with the manatees? But dreaming it and doing it are two different things. And here’s the main thing: I’m too chicken to swing from a vine. And in the South, we listen to cicadas, not eat them. So, though I dream of being the adventurous sort, I’m afraid I haven’t really got the stuff to be a travel writer. (And that’s not even considering my direction-dysfunctional gene.)

  5. 5 writerinspired September 4, 2008 at 6:48 am

    I have always dreamed of jumping on a train and taking a cross-country trip, to experience new cities, people and their vibes. Road trips are another favorite of mine!

    We took a family trip to Paris, TN in July. Not exactly the locale that would inspire an article, but it is the backdrop to my novel. Driving home, we stopped in KY to visit the caves and that did inspire great topics for a travel piece, I’m just stumped on how to approach it.

    I’ve also been interested in writing about some of the beautiful parks in my surrounding towns, either as an allure to the hikers and bikers or as an essay on family bonding and tradition.

    And speaking of family, my brother is moving to Nicaragua next month and I plan to visit and ride a zip line through the forest. How’s that for an adventurous possibility?

  6. 6 Teresa September 4, 2008 at 6:57 am

    Ah, travel writing…the travel-the-world-for-free dream. I never actually even thought about it until I decided to sell my stuff, pack up the kids and move to Vietnam. Those seven months were filled with story materials, many that I’ve reconstructed on paper since our return. If I could just craft them a bit better I might be able to fund the next trip abroad.

    No harm in dreaming, eh?

  7. 7 anniegirl1138 September 4, 2008 at 7:01 am

    I have traveled more in the last year and a half than over the 43 years that preceded. I document in a rather dry fashions via my blog but I don’t look at the places we go as an opportunity to prep for a job with Frommer’s or Rough Guide. I see places as settings, people as characters. I have gotten some really great short fiction ideas on our journeys and there are places I know I need to return to in order to really finish these stories up properly.

    There is one place near Revelstoke, B.C. called Three Valley Gap that gave me the idea for a ghost story. The place reminded me a bit of The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO where Steven King first got his idea for The Shining. My late husband and I went there on our honeymoon. Not that my story is creepy but I liked the connection just the same.

    I set it in the roundhouse. The late owner of the place built it to house his collection of old railway cars. He even had the famous “Finger” car of PM Trudeau. The guide was a marvelous older gentlemen in old time garb who’d shown us around the replica of the mining town outside first. The place was dark and quiet because we were the last group that day. A terrific place to commune with spirits.

  8. 8 Heather September 4, 2008 at 7:28 am

    As someone who rarely travels further than the grocery store, I never considered travel writing a possibility for me. However, the summer I started freelancing, we decided to pack up the minivan and go (only two states away) on a long overdue summer vacation. My newfound writing career inspired me to take notes along the way, looking at everything through a writer’s eyes. Suddenly I saw all sorts of publishing possibilities, from travel articles to poetry to story ideas. In the end, I had not only an overflowing well of fresh ideas for my writing, but also an article and photos which sold to an online travel magazine. The article was reprinted in several regional newspapers as well, giving me some of my very first print clips.

    Travel is still a rarity for us, but after that trip, I saw family vacations in a whole new way. Travel writing can be done anywhere, even in your own backyard.

    Not that I’d mind a nice trip to Europe…

  9. 9 christinajclark September 4, 2008 at 8:49 am

    I am working on being a travel writer. It is something I have always wanted to do. I imagine myself sitting in a little beach cabana, sipping a fruity drink, typing it all up on my laptop.
    I take lots of notes whenever I do travel and write up my thoughts and impressions of a place. It’s great for the scrapbook and article ideas.
    Those of you with ideas, write up a little and pitch them. You might do better than you think or an editor along the way might give you those tips for polishing if you ask. Or, write up local attractions. You know where the best parks to play in and the kid friendly restaurants are. Start at home. That’s what I always try to do. Even with travel writing.

  10. 10 jeniferm September 4, 2008 at 9:24 am

    I’ve long dreamed of being a travel writer, but done little about it. I love to travel and do so as often as possible. New places are great, as are old favorites. Part of having done little is an uncertainty about how to write a travel article. I guess I need to read more of them. Well, there could certainly be worse types of homework.

    Being paid for a part of traveling sounds wonderful, but I also would love to share the places I love with people who might come to love them too. Win-win!

  11. 11 Beverly Smith September 4, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Sigh. Both my husband and I dream of travel writing one day.
    I can think of all kinds of places that would make wonderful fodder for my writing. I would love to experience what the characters in my fictional stories do. I’d do all sorts of exciting things and eat exotic foods and then travel to a remote place to ruminate on it all.

    The movie Misery comes to mind when I think of a wonderful, inspiring place to write. Ok, this would be without the mean, creepy lady! I would love to travel, but then I would always cap it off in a familiar, quiet place where I would gather my thoughts and just let them flow.

    Maybe one day! For now I am content to be a stay at home mommy and wife. I still find plenty to write about without going anywhere at all.

  12. 12 Chris September 4, 2008 at 10:39 am

    I guess I am going to go ahead and grouse! At the current time, I don’t have the means to travel, so the journeys I have taken have all been within.

    What have I learned lately from my inner travels? Well, I have discovered I can vacuum the whole house in exactly ten minutes, read a good chapter of a homework assignment while I exercise, buy everything I need at a discount store to be ready for my sons’ first day of school, catch up with my husband about our day while we make our boys’ lunches, learn some good self-help/parenting skills via audio tapes to and from work in the car, and can handle 11 projects within eight hours at work.

    It’s time to stop underestimating what we can do, ladies. Creativity is not just a part of our lives–it’s a way of life for us writer mamas.

  13. 13 Cheryl M September 4, 2008 at 11:03 am

    I am lucky enough to live in an area with lots of outdoor activities and attractions. I’m planning to write articles about visiting and touring around our area. I have written a few for free for local publications, but I would like to actually sell some. There are lots of family-friendly places to go like caves, lakes, and mountains and fun things to do like camping, hiking, biking,and skiing.

    So, you don’t have to travel far to write travel articles. I’m sure there is something interesting about anyone’s hometown to write about, such as a museum or nature preserve or just a great urban park.

  14. 14 Evelyn M. September 4, 2008 at 11:14 am

    To write wonderful books like “A Year in Provence” or “Under the Tuscan Sun” — this would be my dream. Of course I would have to live there to do my research! Travel to these wonderful places is not in the picture now but travel adventures, in surrounding states, usually herb-related quests, is definitely on tap! Now, how to write these adventures so readers hang on every word? This is the question!

  15. 15 Amie H September 4, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Taking a spin around the block for me is like taking a spin around the world. At the park I hear moms talking to their kids in French, Greek, Punjabi and Swahili. My neighborhood is the first stop for many people moving to Canada from abroad and represents many cultures. And being from the US, I am an immigrant here myself. After also living abroad in England and moving a lot, I tend to look at things like a traveler. It has helped my writing to take the less worn path in a new place and ask (and find out) “What’s around that corner?” Even if I don’t go that far I end up with some interesting stories. And I have had luck weaving these experiences into my articles – even if they weren’t specifically travel pieces.

  16. 16 Wendy September 4, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    While my friends got jobs and saved to buy cars our junior year in high school, I got a job in the sewing department at Woolworth’s and saved to go to Paris. It was nine days of baguettes and chocolat, chateaux and cathedrals and trying to tie a scarf to look chic.I promised myself that my passport would be filled with stamps from exotic destinations.Thirty years later I got a new passport and booked a tour the week before the departure date. As I dashed to the Gatwick Express, hailed a taxi to King’s Cross and made it onto the train to Edinburgh just before it left, I remembered that promise and felt the same sense of exhilaration and adventure that my teenage self felt. I made that promise again. I came home and sold $1200 of my books, DVDs and CDs on Amazon to start the travel fund. This time I think I’ll try writing instead of Woolworth’s.

  17. 17 Cara September 4, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    I guess I can’t really say I see myself as an up and coming travel writer, because to be honest, I’m not much of a world traveler either. I had my big fling in the 70’s, when as a student, I took the grand tour of Europe with some friends, a one-month Eurail pass, and not much money. From Berlin, Prague, Vienna and Dubrovnik, to Athens, Crete and Paris, I covered a lot of ground, had some great adventures, saw the world, and apparently sated my desire for further traveling.

    That being said, I recently submitted a couple of humorous pieces, detailing my more recent domestic traveling adventures with family in tow, to a travel anthology. Maybe I just needed to prove that I too still have travel tales to tell, even if they are a bit on the tame side now. These days, my travel itch is sated by watching Rick Steves on TV, while safely ensconced on my favorite sofa. If the experience doesn’t exactly give me something to write home about, at least I get most of the fun of traveling without all the trouble!

  18. 18 elizaj September 4, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    My fantasy would be a year long visit to some place. Like a year with the Amish in PA or OH. Or a year living at some exotic island bed and breakfast or mountain chalet.

    How is that for extremes?

    I have to admit though, I am much more a travel dreamer than a real life traveler.

    I like to read about those who travel. I even like to read travel writer’s books. But hopping planes, touring the globe, writing about this place and that place?

    I don’t think I have the knack for that.

  19. 19 Judy September 4, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    It sounded like the low hum of the Indy cars during Spring practice. This was impossible because it was October and I was in my hotel room, in a spectacularly refurbished palace just ouside the largest medina in the world. I was in Fes, Morocco. It was 5:00 in the evening and dusk was quickly turning into night. I opened the french doors and stepped outside onto my courtyard balcony. Lights in the hills surrounded me, the scents of lush green plants and sounds of the water below me registered, but they were eclipsed by the musical voices of the khotha calling people to prayer. I knew without being told; my body responded to the spiritual beauty of the voices coming from the minarets, something it recognized in a primeval way. It began to “vibrate”. As the song increased to a crescendo I found myself crying – me, a woman raised as a Christian.

  20. 20 Elizabeth M. September 4, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    I grew up traveling extensively and always thought I would be able to continue that as an adult but my financial situation has never allowed me to do that. We’ve only been on vacation a couple of times in the last 22 years. I love to write and I think I would thoroughly enjoy being a travel writer but alas, one has to travel in order to do that. Oh well. Such is life.

  21. 21 krysk September 4, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    I have this fantasy of being a roving journalist/writer – living in the outback one day, living in a yurt in Mongolia the next. The closest I ever came to this lifestyle was enrolling in a doctoral program in international education with the intent of studying schools in areas of crisis. I then became pregnant with my first child and all of a sudden studying the school system in Afghanistan didn’t look that realistic! I would like to add some more travel to our lives and my writing – I have never been afraid to pack my kids into some sort of a vehicle for an adventure – I just don’t know what to do with our explorations!

  22. 22 Laura September 4, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    I dream of writing, both on the banks of the lochs of Scotland, and on the streets of Paris. With this in mind, I have this picture frame/bulletin board hanging in my writing corner. In the frame are inspiration pictures, goals to achieve through my writing. In that frame sits a picture of the Eiffel Tower, and a picture of the bank of Loch Ness.

    For now, the furthest I travel to write is to my local Barnes & Noble, or to my favorite coffee shop (though I only drink tea & cocoa!). The only travel writing I do right now, is through the mists of my memories, or the unknown path of a short story. But I know that if I keep at it, need following B.I.C.H.O.K., then someday I will be writing as I sit in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, or trying not to drool too much, as I listen to the wonderful music of a Scottish brogue.

  23. 23 marnini September 4, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    I would love to travel and write about it but I think a few things would have to happen first. I would definitely have to get on an airplane for starters.
    My husband and I talk about buying an RV and traveling the country. I am sure if this happens I would be inspired to write about all the fabulous interesting places we visit.
    Who knows, one day I might be known as The Traveling Mama. Pretty Catchy isn’t it?

  24. 24 Renee September 4, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    I would love to write about travel, but unfortunately we just don’t travel that much these days with the kids still so young! It’s also the result of poor planning — I don’t query or get any assignments lined up like I should before we travel so I sort of drop the ball in that area. Nor do I have the organization to write something up once we’ve returned for a future sale. I would love to do it one day, it definitely seems like a dream job.

  25. 25 Christine Silva September 4, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    My idea of travel writing is the complete opposite of my current traveling situation. My ideal travel writing assignment would include a snazzy rolling carry-on with wheels that still work, a stylish handbag, and a speedy flight to somewhere special with a window seat all to myself. I would not pack sippy cups, coloring books, or diapers. I would stay in a lovely hotel with an actual view. I would flit around, discovering quaint locales, tasty morsels and entertaining distractions. I would write uninterrupted. I would have a blast. But though I imagine travel writers don’t often bring toddlers along, I can’t imagine traveling without mine.

    My current travel writing opportunities are probably more in line with the way most families travel so perhaps I should work from that perspective. We find family friendly destinations and muddle through long car rides, tasteless buffet meals and shared hotel rooms. Hmmmmm… I’m sure there’s an article there somewhere.

  26. 26 KristyG September 4, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Travel writing conjures images up in my mind of grand adventures, stunning landscapes, and interesting new friends. It is a subject I would love to investigate more. Right now, I am looking forward to the birth of my first child, so I am putting the traveling off for a bit. Although when he is old enough for a backpack, I’ll throw one on Dad, and we’ll be off. Fortunately, we have enough local attractions to investigate.

  27. 27 karen September 4, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Ahh, being a travel writer–you know, the Paris, Italy and Costa Rica kind–is something Ive dreamed about. But, for now, I’ve decided to start in my own backyard. When I chat with people about nice places they have been around where I live, it amazes me how many places people don’t go, especially when it’s so close. Gas prices make travel hard, but all the better to write about things within a stones throw.

  28. 28 Tiffani September 4, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    My dream travel writing job would combine two of my passions: writing and music. I’d love to tag along with an up-and-coming band to see what life is like on the road. I’m sure it’s not as glamorous as most people would expect.

    What’s it like to crowd onto a tour bus and be around the same people all the time? To be away from your family and friends? To see a new city every day or two? To meet new people? How’s the food? What do you do on the bus when you’re not sleeping? What about the business aspect? Is it all you thought it would be?

    At the end of the road maybe I’d get a signed CD and a book deal. And, who knows, maybe a liner note thank-you on their next album.

  29. 29 Alyce September 4, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    I am a writing hobbyist, and haven’t had anything published yet. I would love to be a travel writer, but with two small kids, travelling long distances is a rare occurrence.

    Fortunately, I have been blessed with an amazing husband who is brilliant in his career and his employer is sending him to Paris this winter. He is actually getting paid an extra fee to consult in Paris, and that fee will cover the cost of my airfare. In addition, my sister has generously agreed to watch my boys while I’m gone. This is the opportunity of a lifetime! I have dreamed of seeing Paris!

    I have been trying to imagine these past few weeks what I would write about while travelling. Will I journal at the hotel? Should I carry around a notepad, or would that seem weird? These are just a sampling of the many questions that have been running through my head while I’ve been dreaming of Paris.

  30. 30 PeggyD. September 4, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Right out of college I had the lofty dream of getting a Volkswagon van and traveling all over the U.S.A. I decided I would get a dog to be safer (instead of a guy), and go, just go as far and as many places as I could with my VW Westfalia. I moved to Eugene, OR to help out at my uncles stores, which just fueled my VW mentality. After realizing how important it was to have money and how unrealistic it would be for me to try to travel alone with a dog, with no steady income, I moved on to other lofty dreams and ventures.
    Now I am a mother of two small children and traveling to the grocery store can be challenging, let alone abroad. I miss it though. I studied in Norway for a year in college and welcomed the travel bug naturally. Being here in the states without the plans or even thought of travel, causes me to be a tad bit stir crazy, to put it mildly. But I escape in my mind and in the stories I am attempting to put into writing.

  31. 31 Mama K. September 4, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    My husband and I have toyed around with the idea of buying an RV and hitting the road with our five children for a year—or the rest of our lives! Since we homeschool, this would be the ultimate field trip! But, of course, we’d have to have some way to earn a living—“Honey, there ain’t no gas station no where that’ll let ya’ fill up yer gas tank fer nothin’!”

    Enter the “Travel Writer”: “Will write for gasoline. And food. And new shoes for the kids. And everything else we’ll need to live on the road.”

    How exciting, to think that we can drive anywhere in the U.S. and I can write about all of our adventures and get paid for it!

  1. 1 WMBTSG Drawing: And the winner is… « The Writer Mama Riffs Trackback on September 5, 2008 at 10:27 pm
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