Meet the winners.
As many of you know, each year we try to shake things up a bit and this year we presented you with an entirely new kind of brief - to write about a Travel Discovery (more commonly known as the 'hidden gem'), a specific place or experience from your travels that you think others would enjoy and replicate based on your inside knowledge.
We were looking for entries that contained both a story and a singular Travel Discovery - the information along with the narrative. While we were introduced to some awesome places in the judging process, many of you missed the point of the brief entirely - and presented us with a well-crafted story only. And no matter how good your writing skills are, if you can't follow the brief, you can't do the job.
On the whole this year, we were very impressed with your writing skills and your essays and encourage each of you to keep honing your craft - and stay tuned for more opportunities from us in the future!
Every year we struggle to decide on who we feel might benefit the most from the assignment and from our mentor's time and experience. This is incredibly difficult because it involves finding the right balance between writing ability, intent and trying to interpret where someone hopes their writing will take them in life. This is after all, not a writing competition, but a scholarship opportunity. There are many of you that we would happily send off to be mentored by John Vlahides, but in the end, we could only choose three.
So, without further delay, please join us in commending this year's winners and the shortlisted entrants. Evelyn, Sarah and Neel will be joining Lonely Planet author John Vlahides in a 3-day travel writing workshop in San Francisco followed by solo 10-day writing assignments across the U.S.
Growing up mostly on a caravan park, buried in a valley of the Scottish borders, I knew what 'nothing' looked like well. The nothingness of empty cupboards. The nothingness of dead air in the night-time. The nothingness of your own company in a place without television, without telephones, barely a ...
Evelyn's entry had a very strong opening and gave readers a clear window on her life, who she is, and why we should listen to her. She’s got real raw talent and managed to convey both the events of her story, and how these had a lasting personal affect.
Mont Salève, like many things in Geneva, has a bit of an ongoing identity crisis over whether it is Swiss or French. Technically, the mountain, which sits just outside Swiss lines and casts its shadow on Geneva, belongs to France. But I couldn’t find public transit directions to the mountain on ...
Neel began with a good question that made us want to keep reading - are we in Switzerland or France? – just the kind of question that makes for good travel writing. Though the piece could be improved with some more linguistic color, it clearly conveyed an unusual story, and painted a lovely picture of an unexpected discovery.
“The Schwules Museum, one of the largest and most important cultural institutions documenting LGBT culture from around the world, is located just a short walk from Nollendorfplatz”, the guidebook promised...
Sarah's writing was concise and direct, and pulled us right into the story. The work succeeded because it didn't try to do too much. The narrative was cohesive and clear. We also liked that her travel discovery was not only about a place, but also about an inward journey.
Congratulations to the following shortlisted applicants.