Thank you to Laura Fraser for donating your book to the raffle for our Inspiration Travel Writing Contest. YOU can decide the WINNER of our VAGABONDS CHOICE AWARD– Click here to VOTE now! And GET READY for our Independence Writing Contest with BIGGER Cash PRIZES starting May 11!
Laura’s Travel Writing Tips
–I always travel with a camera and take a lot of photos. Sometimes they get published, but more often they give me details I might forget, like a visual journal.
–Speaking of journals, I always keep one. One of my biggest pleasures while traveling is to sit in a café and write in my journal.
–Be curious and friendly. Some of my best stories have come from meeting locals and chatting with them. I’ve ended up on a 5-day camel safari in the Sinai, learning how to make the best risotto in Italy, and visiting Sardinia’s Alcatraz all by just asking locals about their lives.
–Always remember that you’re looking for a story, not just describing a place. Stories usually come from the people you meet there, whether local shopkeepers, chefs, ethnomusicologists, historians, or scientists.
–Remember that when you pitch and write a travel piece, it can’t just be a destination. The question is always, what about Patagonia? (How is the Torres del Paine National Park recovering after the fire). What about Florence? (What if we looked at it through the eyes of George Eliot and her book Romola). What about Cuba? (What’s it like to take a salsa dance tour?).
–Pack light. I always take only a carry-on. I mainly pack black, unless it’s the tropics, with accessories (scarves!) to liven things up. Bring comfortable shoes and some little black flats for dress-up. If I’m traveling to Third World countries I usually take clothes I would otherwise give to the Goodwill and leave them there when I’m done with them, shedding them along the way.
–Write your story as soon as you get home, while it’s fresh. You may not sell it then, but get it down.
–Be mindful of your safety while you’re having adventures. Don’t drink too much with people you don’t know. Always know your way home and have some extra cash in your pocket to take care of yourself. Be careful where you walk alone.
Join Laura’s Italian Writing Affair workshop May 4-11:
Come to Umbria for a writing workshop–and a taste of la bella vita–with NYT-bestselling author and Italophile Laura Fraser and culinary expert Kris Rudolph. Spend a week writing and exploring farm-to-table cuisine, staying in a 17th-century stone villa amidst rolling hills on an organic farm. Eat, explore, and write to your heart’s content. Excursions include dining at the best regional trattorias, exploring local villages and the farmers’ market, visiting a winery, going truffle hunting, and spending a day in the town of Assisi. The writing workshop is intimate (maximum ten), for all levels, with a focus on writing from experience (personal essays, memoir, travel, family history).
More information: Eat Write Travel