Transitions Abroad's Writers' Guidelines and Contests Narrative Travel Writing Contest
for the 2016 Narrative Travel Writing Contest
$500 Grand Prize!
Competition for 2015 closed 2/20/15
|Photo of one of the artistically refurbished American school buses in Panama City, soon to be retired, from the The Death of the Red Devils, the 2014 Transitions Abroad Narrative Writing Contest winning entry by Darrin Duford.|
|Congratulations to the 2014 Narrative Travel Writing Contest Winners!|
| 2014 Theme: The theme for this year's contest is very broad and in keeping with our editorial. We wish to explore the idea of travel as a way to not only leave behind your material and spiritual preconceptions, but to use the opportunity to open up to ideas, aesthetics, and rituals which you have internalized into your own life going forward. What did you learn during your travels and did this fundamentally transform your perception(s) of the world? Do you believe that you may have touched your hosts in ways that may have transformed in some way their views of the world as well, or is that presumptuous as a de facto "outsider" to their rituals and way of life? As always, we encourage you to approach the subject in the empathetic way in which you traveled and stayed in host countries and homes. Please weave these ideas implicitly into a narrative if this relates to one of your experiences.
Editor's Note: We were very pleased and excited to receive many fine submissions during the past year, many of which were of exceptionally high quality. Judging the submissions in order of quality proved very, very difficult; the articles reflect a great deal of introspection, perception, empathy, imagination, and a desire for cultural immersion on the part of the authors. The winners wrote articles on the theme making use of different angles and their unique voices, covering a variety of countries. The judges' choices most clearly followed and expanded upon the theme of this year's contest.
2nd Place (tie)
|Travel and the Self by David Joshua Jennings|
2nd Place (tie)
|Before We Lived Barefoot by Susan Bonetto|
3rd Place (tie)
Witness a Crucifixion: Semana Santa in Mexico by Ted Campbell
3rd Place (tie)
Three Shared Experiences in Ethiopia by Anita Howard
|Congratulations to the 2013 Narrative Travel Writing Contest Winners!|
|2013 Theme: The contest begins with the experience of traveling to new locations, meeting local people, and immersing oneself in an empathetic manner within local culture(s) in an era in which it seems superficially that everything has been materially "discovered," either physically or virtually. Is it truly possible to discover any new location in this day and age in an empathetic and responsible manner? If so, where did you go, what did you discover, and how did you learn to interact with locals without disrupting their daily life and sacred rituals? Do you believe that you brought anything enduring from your own culture and unique humanity to the people who hosted you? Please weave these ideas implicitly into a narrative.|
The Secret Lives of Nomads by David Joshua Jennings
2nd Place (tied)
|The Motherland by Amanda Formoso|
2nd Place (tied)
|Inside the Monk’s Cave by Paul King|
An American Girl in El Salvador by Alison Konecki
|2012 Narrative Travel Writing Contest Winners|
|2012 Theme: Quite broadly, the transformational role of cultural immersion, empathy, and volunteering in the fabric of your travels abroad woven into a compelling story.|
|1st Place||To See the Queen by June Calendar|
|2nd Place||Tall Tales of Tallinn by John M. Edwards|
|3rd Place||The Himalayan Cock Fight by Liz Cleere|
|2011 Travel Writing Contest Winners|
| 2011 Theme: Professionals, freelancers, and aspiring travel writers are invited to write articles that describe how traveling in a slower manner and adapting to the space and time of natives has deepened your experience of both the people and the destination. One of the results of a slower form of
travel is the experience of "epiphanies" which change one's perceptions of the world, of others, and of oneself. We urge you to translate one of those moments or series of moments into a narrative, which will convey this view to many who still tend to see travel as a way to "do" as many countries, cities, and continents in the world as possible—as if travel was some form of competition or consumption.
Rather, Transitions Abroad has always believed that more experienced travelers and travel writers seek to engage more deeply in a destination by staying for a longer period and thereby immerse themselves in the culture and homes they are fortunate enough to visit. Learning to ask questions, share stories sad and humorous, cook, trek, learn a craft, work, volunteer, and participate in other daily activities or rituals is one way to deepen the travel experience and transform it into a two-way street in the process. The Slow Food movement born in Italy and its offshoots are one such manifestation of the urge now felt by many more travelers to participate in the daily lives of the host community and not simply as consumers of their culture and land.
|1st Place||Chinês in São Tomé by Chaney Kwak|
|2nd Place (tie)||The Kazakh Eagle Hunters of Mongolia by John Glinsman|
|2nd Place (tie)||Turkey, Blindness, and the Philosophy of Traveling Slow by David Joshua Jennings|
|3rd Place (tie)||On Learning How to Fish by Sarah Danielle|
|3rd Place (tie)||Sand and Pomegranates by Daan Nijs|
|Runner-Up||Puja: God and Money in the Indian Subcontinent by Stuart Braun|
|Runner-Up||Blue Cheese by Brenden Cooper|
|Runner-Up||The Timkat Coffee Club by Joanna Griffin|
|Runner-Up||Paths Exist by Kevin Kato|
|Runner-Up||A Mission With a Purpose by Thommen Jose|
|Runner-Up||Train Journeys in India by Shruti Viswanathan|
|2010 Travel Writing Contest Winners|
| 2010 Theme: The theme the contest relates to the core mission of Transitions Abroad, that has always been centered on educational, responsible, and cultural immersion travel. We were looking for pieces which reflected a respect for what you have learned from native peoples, their cultures, and/or their unique relationship to the land—and how you put your new awareness and empathy into action.
The focus of the travel narrative is to remain squarely on the people and land which had in some ways transformed your vision of the world and has led you to new realizations or epiphanies which may have inspired you to become a volunteer, a teacher, a writer, an aid worker, a foreign service officer, an international nomad, or any other activity influenced by your experiences abroad.
|1st Place||Accident on the Buffalo Trail by Michael Benanav|
|2nd Place (tie)||Monks, Rice, War by Jann Huizenga|
|2nd Place (tie)||The Collision by Tim Leffel|
|2nd Place (tie)||A Land About Stories by Elizabet Wendt|
|3rd Place (tie)||¡Oye Niña! by Seble Gameda|
|3rd Place (tie)||Strangers in Czech Lands by Pearl Harris|
|3rd Place (tie)||Finding Joy in Sucre by Mark Kennedy|
|3rd Place (tie)||Finding Refuge in Giving by Alyssa Martino|
|3rd Place (tie)||A Return to the Smallest Country in Africa by Miranda Paul|
|3rd Place (tie)||My Heart's Home by Sarah Seaton|
|2009 Travel Writing Contest Winners|
|2009 Theme: Professionals, freelancers and other talented travel writers are invited to write a travel narrative relating to the specific theme for this year's contest: "Travel in a Dangerous World: Myths and Realities." Many of our readers are independent travelers who are looking for travel ideas that take them to areas unspoiled by mass tourism, where they may meet and respectfully interact with local people who have not yet become cynical about the foreigners who come into their homes or lands. We are looking for stories written by authors who have taken a risk—or been told that they were taking a risk—when traveling overseas. How did you manage to stay safe even while engaging in a form of adventure travel that often involves finding oneself in remote areas of the world or in off-the-beaten-track areas of known cities and regions? One implicit question the articles should address is whether the world (at least that part of the world in which you have traveled) is truly more dangerous than it has ever been, or did you discover that governments and/or mass commercial media have exaggerated the threats for their own motives?|
|1st Place||Ancient Wonders by Victor Paul Borg|
|2nd Place||Beirut in the Baltics: Into the Wild Wild East of "Europe Minor" by John M. Edwards|
|3rd Place (tie)||Aluminum Recollections by Elizabeth Bernays|
|3rd Place (tie)||Armies and Allah in the Vale of Kashmir by Mark Hawthorne|
|3rd Place (tie)||Brave Eyes, Laughing Hearts: My First Encounter with Yemen by Sarah Shourd|
|3rd Place (tie)||Danger About Us by Zachary Haynes|
|Runner-Up||Dangerous Love in India by Lucinda Tikwart|
|Runner-Up||Guatemala City: The Aftermath of Civil War by Veronica Hackethal|
|Runner-Up||Long Live Pakistan By Sonya Spry|
|Runner-Up||Mouth to Mouth by Kristianne Huntsberger|
|Runner-Up||Pokhara Valley, Nepal by Donna J. Moore|
|Runner-Up||Road….what road? A shortcut from Ganzi to Litang, China by Jules Bass|
|Runner-Up||Saffron and Nukes by Nancy Penrose|
|Runner-Up||The Brandy Making Bee Keeper of Bosnia by John Webster|
|2008 Travel Writing Contest Winners|
|2008 Theme: Professionals, freelancers and other talented travel writers were invited to write a travel narrative relating to the intrinsic educational aspects of meaningful travel. We are looking for evocative and engaging writing in which sensitive immersion in the country, the people, the food, the land, the art, the rituals, and the culture in general play the leading role in the writer's self-discovery and enlightenment. We are looking for a well-crafted and inspirational story which should appeal to those who have traveled independently overseas with open minds, sensitive souls, and empathetic imaginations. The aesthetic and intellectual pleasures of discovery are of more interest to us in this year's travel writing contest than the sense of personal or cultural guilt over the many horrific situations to be found worldwide and covered in-depth in other areas of TransitionsAbroad.com.|
|1st Place||Education from the Streets of Giza by Alexander Breimann|
|2nd Place (tie)||The Aesthetics of the Empty Landscape by Alan Drop|
|2nd Place (tie)||Pray that the Road is Long by Luke Rodehorst|
|3rd Place (tie)||Coexistence by Claire Morris|
|3rd Place (tie)||Take me to America by Elizabeth Sharpe|
|Runner-Up||An Authentic Hill Tribe Experience by Laurie Weed|
|Runner-Up||The Buddha, the Dharma & the Sangha by Dorothee Lang|
|Runner-Up||Coffee: A Universal Language by Jenny Williams|
|Runner-Up||Feasting in Fez by Beebe Bahrami|
|Runner-Up||Finding Roots in a Foreign Land by Hassan Awaisi|
|Runner-Up||From an Ethnic to an African Island by Sandra Jackson-Opoku|
|Runner-Up||The Happiest Country by Cynthia Wolterding|
|Runner-Up||Hut of the Wanderer by William Orem|
|Runner-Up||Life and Death in Tana Toraja by Chris Dunham|
|Runner-Up||Market Hopping Around Lagos by Lola Akinmade|
|2007 Travel Writing Contest Winners|
|2007 Theme: Professionals, freelancers and aspiring travel writers are invited to write articles which describe a moment or moments which capture the sense of immersion in another culture. Whether as a traveler, a student, a volunteer, or as one living and working in another land, there are often moments when one loses a sense of one's own nationality and becomes aware of a common connection with the native people and their culture. Often the feeling of unity or empathy is brief and may just as suddenly transform into the realization of one's inescapable role as an outsider. We invite you to describe such moment(s) in a narrative where the people are the primary subject and the personal "I" disappears into the background.|
|1st Place||The Ultimate Journey: A Trip to the Heart of Tibet by Matthew Bowden|
|2nd Place||A Question of Tradition by Kim Foote|
|3rd Place||The Music and Rhythm of the Cuban Spirit by Darin Cook|
|2006 Travel Writing Contest Winners|
|2006 Theme: Professionals, freelancers and aspiring travel writers are invited to write articles which describe a life-changing travel experience abroad. One of the results of cultural immersion travel abroad is the experience of "epiphanies" that change one's perceptions of the world, of others, and of oneself. We urge you to translate one of those moments or series of moments into a narrative which might offer others inspiration to take the plunge overseas.|
|1st Place||An Exorcism in Zambia by Guy William Volk|
|2nd Place||Theater Street by Dominique Channell|
|3rd Place (tie)||The Visit by Laura Gomel|
|3rd Place (tie)||A Report from Northern Uganda by Kristin Anne Fleshner|
|Guidelines for the 2016 Narrative Travel Writing Contest|
TransitionsAbroad.com invites you to enter its 2016 Narrative Travel Writing Contest with a $500 first-place prize and no fee for entry.
Professionals, freelancers, and aspiring travel writers are invited to write an article which describes how traveling in a slower manner and attempting to adapt to the space and time of locals, their culture, and their land has deepened your experience of both the people and the destination. One of the results of a slower form of immersion travel is the experience of epiphanies that change one's perceptions of the world, of others, and of oneself. We urge you to translate one or more of those moments into a narrative which will convey this view to many who still tend to see travel as a way to "do" as many countries, cities, and continents in the world as possible—as if travel was some form of competition or consumption.
We are not looking for destination pieces that describe in flowery "amazing" terms your experience, moralistic essays on the pros and cons of a postmodernist view of travel, nor are we looking for travelogues or blog-like posts that are often too overly personal and self-involved to resonate with others on their own paths of discovery. We are looking for well-written inspirational pieces that will lead others to experience the sense of engagement as a global citizen. We are looking for a more "universal I" and not the "personal I" in a narrative voice — after all, the "universal I" is a huge component in all great (travel) literature that stands the test of time across cultures.
Accompanying photos that enhance the narrative are highly preferred, as the visual often adds a substantial component to a travel narrative on the web. Photojournalistic essays or accompanying videos will also be considered, and gentle (self)irony or humor is always appreciated.
Please include an optional bio of 1-3 sentences which reference your websites, blogs, books, and contact information in the body of the submission. We can include 1 link in the final winning version.
TransitionsAbroad.com will publish the top three winners' entries as well as those of the selected runner-ups. See past contests for examples.
Notification of your participation in the contest via Twitter, Facebook, or other social networking sites would be appreciated (see our links/buttons at the top and bottom of this page).
In this year's Narrative Travel Writing Contest, the first-place winner’s entry will receive $500 (USD), the second-place winning entry $150, and the third-place winner $100.
Any other articles selected as runner-ups will receive a $50 payment.
|Who is Eligible|
The Contest is open to professional, freelance and aspiring travel writers from any location around the globe and of any nationality.
|How to Enter|