Varenna ItalyItaly, in Other Words, Memoir Writing Retreat returns to its sumptuous location, Villa Monastero, in the tiny town of Varenna at Lake Como for its 2016 session from September 18th to 24th.

Workshop leader Kathryn Abajian says, “Picture yourself writing amid botanical gardens, lakeside with a cappuccino, or in your room with a view of peaceful Lake Como. Plan to enjoy thoughtful instruction, honest and supportive discussion and insightful excursions.”

March 6, 2016
7:00 pmto9:00 pm

Ethical Travel 2016Jeff Greenwald, founder of Ethical Traveler, invites us to Ethical Traveler’s annual “Best Ethical Destinations” awards event. It’s happening Sunday, March 6th, from 7-9 p.m. at the wonderful Book Passage in Corte Madera. Join (it’s free!) in celebrating this year’s 10 winning countries. Schmooze with ambassadors, browse the bookstore, and drink good wine!

Thanks to Michael Shapiro (travel writer, editor, photographer and interviewer) for letting us know that George Stone has been named the new Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Traveler. This is excellent news. I met George in New Zealand when he was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Travel Classics Conference, and was very impressed with his vision. Follow George on Twitter @travelersstone.

George Stone

George Stone

Here’s an interview at Skift in which George Stone talks about the kinds of stories he plans to run, his priorities, and the role National Geographic Traveler plays in the context of worldwide travel media.

Himalayan WritersJeff Greenwald is co-conducting the first Himalayan Writers Workshop with his friend and mentor, Laurie Wagner. “If you’re feeling bold, and want to shake up your life,” Jeff says, “here’s your ticket.” The workshop is from April 4th-14th, and as of today there are two spots left.

Camp MokuleiaRegistration has opened for the fourth annual gathering of writers and editors at Camp Mokuleia, a stunning but rustic beachfront retreat center on O‘ahu’s North Shore. 2016 dates are May 1 to 6.

This intimate writers’ gathering is led by Constance Hale, a native of Mokule‘ia. Daily workshops in fiction and nonfiction taught by nationally recognized authors. Additional sessions in poetry, children’s book writing, and developing your voice. A New York agent is available for coaching.

For Gold Rush Conf2016, the Gold Rush Writer’s Conference conference is April 29, 30, & May 1. Sign up by March 30 for the discounted rate of $165; after that it goes up to $185. Price includes a picnic supper, dinner and brunch, plus four workshops. On Sunday afternoon Erika Mailman talks about The Tourist, the Expat and the Native: A Traveler’s Guide to Writing Historical Fiction.

The conference is held at Hotel Leger in Mokelumne Hill, CA.

April 1, 2016

SATW logo

The deadline is April 1, 2016. Here’s SATW’s announcement for the 2015-16 SATW Foundation Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition:

The contest invites work in all types of media, including online and broadcast, not just print. All entries must be made through the BetterBNC Media Awards Platform. Electronic entries are required in most categories.

What’s new for 2016:
We have added a new category, Culinary-Related Travel, which recognizes coverage of travel that is focused on food, beverages, restaurants and other eating experiences that help define a destination. This is for individual work.

Atavist platform

February 26, 2016 | Leave a Comment

Aja Frost at Contently tells us about the powerful Atavist platform, a content management platform that’s “like Squarespace for longform stories, allowing you to drag and drop various elements like you were building an article with LEGO blocks.”

With the ability to embed images, add pull quotes, and include custom interactive maps, this platform lets you publish digital storytelling projects that look very professional. The paid version also lets you brand your work and include a paywall, potentially monetizing your content.

 

Night photographyHere’s a blog post from Light Stalking that provides the rundown on basics for getting started with long-exposure photography.

I’ve been using a Zoom Handy Recorder H4n audio recorder and Sony ECM-MS907 microphone to record interviews for the travel podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer.

But when I travel, I like to carry as little gear as possible, so I asked fellow travel writer, Dick Jordan (Tales Told from the Road), who shoots video with his iPhone, about using my iPhone instead of my (heavier, bulkier) Zoom. Here is Dick’s incredibly detailed and well-thought-through response — which he has allowed me to share.

headphonesMeagan Francis at Contently gives us the basics on podcasting: How much technical ability is required, how much time and money a new podcaster needs to invest, and how much money you can make from podcasting.

CatherineKarnow

Photo © Gary Drayluck

In another of the series of podcasts from the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference, I interview National Geographic photographer and conference instructor Catherine Karnow, who discusses her approach to composing photos, tips for photographing people, and how to communicate with photo subjects who speak another language.

She also tells us about her photoworkshops in Italy and Vietnam — which sound like a blast, with lots of opportunities for interacting with locals, as well as ready-made photoshoot set-ups, great food, and Catherine’s expert instruction. VietnamcoverAnd we hear about the surprising and deeply moving experiences Catherine has had photographing victims of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Check out her beautiful book, Vietnam: 25 Years Documenting a Changing Country.

Farley-at-BPIn this podcast from the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference I interview David Farley, travel writer and author of An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town. Farley tells us how he researched his book — the true story of his search for a unique holy relic, the foreskin of Jesus, which went missing from an Italian church under mysterious circumstances. Irreverent Curiosity(Check out the National Geographic special about Farley and his search for the holy foreskin.)

ShakespeareLooking for a travel writing subject with a news hook? Smithsonian magazine lists ten destinations with related anniversaries in 2016, from the Folger Shakespeare Library  (2016 marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death) to Carnegie Hall (2016 is its 125th year) to America’s national parks and monuments (the National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary in August).

BATW-TFP coverBy the way, Bay Area Travel Writers offers a free download of their new 4-color publication, Travel Features and Photos: California’s National Parks, Monuments, Trails, Seashores and Historic Sites.

 

 

DonGeorgeinAfrica“Truly great stories succeed in extracting meaning from the everyday,” said Don George at National Geographic‘s Intelligent Travel. “They are also the record of two corresponding journeys: a journey in the outer world and a journey in the inner world. And the travel writer’s story is built upon the interplay between these worlds and journeys.” This article is an opportunity to learn about storytelling from a master.

Aaron Williamson Flickr Photo

Aaron Williamson Flickr Photo

A big Thank-You to Dick Jordan at Tales Told from the Road for his article about how to get landline messages on your smartphone.

 

find-me-unafraid-cover“Jessica Posner grew up a middle-class American in Denver. She hadn’t seen much of the world, and when she had an opportunity to study overseas she chose to do political theater work in Kenya. Jessica ended up living in a slum with no streets, no toilets, no running water, no electricity and no public services. Then she got malaria.”

I recently had the opportunity to learn more about this remarkable young woman, who went on to transform Africa’s largest urban slum and change the lives of many of its residents. Read more in the article I wrote about Jessica for The Women’s Eye.

Global Adventure

January 25, 2016 | Leave a Comment

LifeisaTripTravel writers Judith Fein and Paul Ross have some wonderful photography on their site, Global Adventure. While you’re visiting, check out Judith’s book, Life is a Trip.

NewYearsGinny Soskey over at Hubspot offers a list of 16 Professional New Year’s Resolutions You Should Actually Keep, and provides resources to help. My favorite is #2: Write something every day.

“Don’t know what to write about?” Ginny asks.  Here are tools and resources to help:

2016typewriterContently offers five writing challenges that will help motivate you, provide milestones, and connect you to a supportive writing community. Happy 2016!

 

The National Park Service turns 100 in 2016, and San Francisco’s Bay Area Travel Writers have joined the celebration with a new publication: Travel Features and Photos: California’s National Parks, Monuments, Trails, Seashores, and Historic Sites.

The full-color 128-page magazine-style publication covers both world-famous properties like Yosemite, Carmel Mission, and Hearst Castle and lesser-known gems like Eugene O’Neill’s Tao House, Little Petroglyph Canyon, and the Empire Mine.

It’s a terrific publication — with fascinating articles and beautiful photography — that will inspire your travels in California. (I may be biased; I contributed to the content with articles about viewing bald eagles in Klamath and strolling among the many national historic sites along the San Francisco waterfront.)

Don George in BurgundyIt may be cold outside, but you can relive the sultry days of summer by listening to recordings from the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference. I’ll be publishing a series of them in coming weeks on the Lowell Thomas Award-winning podcast Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer.

I enjoyed interviewing conference faculty such as Jim Benning, Janis Cooke Newman, David Farley, Jeff Greenwald, Catherine Karnow, Paul Lasley, and others, and am excited to share our conversations. And I’m always happy to help promote the conference, which I’ve attended more than once, and love.

Bohr-in-ItalyListen in as I interview author Marianne Bohr about her book, Gap Year Girl: A Baby Boomer Adventure Across 21 Countries. We discuss planning an epic trip, logistics, personal safety, and more on the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on NPR.org.

JeffGreenwaldListen in as I interview travel writer Jeff Greenwald; we discuss ethical travel, travel writing, science fiction, and more on the to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer featured on NPR.org.

Jeff Greenwald, co-founder of Ethical Traveler, has published six travel books, and is an instructor at the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers conference. Join Laurie McAndish King, Associate Producer for the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer as she talks with Greenwald. He shares the creation of the Ethical Traveler, inspired by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, and its impact on issues ranging from the Tasmanian logging industry to the Cambodian sex-slave trade.

CallerSmart logoCallersmart offers a directory of international country codes and ISO codes for calling and texting internationally. The company offers a reverse lookup phone book app. The website also provides phone scam alerts and videos of famous songs featuring phone numbers, including the 80s classic “867-5309/Jenny” by Tommy Tutone, embedded here for your listening pleasure:


  • BATW offers free download:

    Bay Area Travel Writers' latest anthology celebrates national parks and monuments in the Golden State — a tribute to the National Park Service on its 100th anniversary in 2016. Get your free PDF here or buy the 4-color printed book.
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