While Ireland’s remote northwest corner may arguably be the gem of the Emerald Isle, being stuck here with a five-kilometre travel restriction during the wild, windy, wet months of winter has made me yearn to be on the road again.
As a travel writer used to new sights, smells and sounds, my forced stay-at-home lockdown has been even more difficult to handle.
Thankfully, that may soon end, with in-country travel probably permitted before June and international travel by mid-summer.
So, with Covid vaccines being distributed and the travel industry gearing up for business again, I thought it would be an enjoyable idea to share some of my experiences and host a special writing workshop for those interested in submitting their travel stories to newspapers and magazines. Or simply developing your own travel blogs.
Hungry for publicity but with little cash to pay for traditional advertising, hotels, museums, restaurants, airlines and tourism agencies will soon offer free ‘fam’ (or ‘familiarization’) visits to travel writers and bloggers. So there’s no better time to polish your writing skills and take advantage of them.
I’ve focused on travel writing for the past ten years and have been fortunate to enjoy ‘fam’ visits across Europe, the US and the Far East, to exotic countries as diverse as Iceland, Morocco and India. During that time, I’ve penned upwards of 500 stories, both short news pieces and longer color features, including those focusing on city and regional destinations, as well as hotel, restaurant and entertainment reviews. They’ve appeared in publications as different as The Irish Times, JustLuxe, Upscale Living and Fodor’s travel books, as well as my own blog, World Itineraries.
Among my ‘Regional Destinations’ stories have been northern California and Jersey Island while ‘City Destinations’ have ranged from Washington DC to Montpellier in southern France to Ireland’s oldest city, Waterford.
Quirky features I’ve written have included a dreamlike stay among the mesmerising sand dunes of the Sahara Desert and a fascinating journey in the footsteps of Scotland’s most famous novelist, Robert-Louis Stevenson, author of ‘Treasure Island.’
Skills I learned working as a journalist for various newspapers in the US and Europe and later as foreign correspondent for The Times, London and The Daily Telegraph helped me develop new approaches to writing about places. What I learned is part of what I want to share during my workshop.
Writing about a luxury spa on the coast of Gran Canaria a rustic Mediterranean island retreat or an elegant riad in the heart of ancient Fez has given me ample opportunity to tackle diverse subjects.
As for entertainment, I’ve written about such dazzling and spectacular cabarets as the famous Le Moulin Rouge and Crazy Horse in Paris and a dynamic salsa festival along Romania’s Black Sea coast, not to mention music and theatre venues from Boston to Barcelona.
My practical, two-hour travel writing workshop, which will take place on April 10, will focus on some of the following subjects.
- Key elements of travel articles, from destination features to hotel, restaurant and entertainment reviews;
- Starting a blog;
- Effective strategies for research;
- Writing winning pitches to editors;
- Critiquing your own travel writing stories.
Come join us and learn the ‘write’ way to see the world. Join the Virtual Travel Writing Workshop.
And don’t forget to enter your travel story or memoir in this new competition, WAWA Love Competition, 1,000 euro prize money for 500 words.