Reading My Way Around The World

Although I’ve spent the better part of November with my face in my laptop, my head has been in hundreds of places, from Brazil to Ethiopia to Indonesia. My job this month is to read story submissions for The Best Women’s Travel Writing, Volume 9 (May, 2013), and I can’t tell you what fun it is accompanying these gutsy women on their journeys to strange foreign lands.

Speaking of strange foreign lands, this month I was in Los Angeles, participating in two readings for The Best Women’s Travel Writing Volume 8. During Q&A, an audience member asked, “What’s different about women’s travel writing?”

“I have strong opinions on this,” I told him. I really do.

Some of my favorite travel writers are men. Don George, Pico Iyer, Paul Theroux, Peter Mathiessen, Jeff Greenwald, Anthony Weller,Rolf Potts, Tim Cahill... I’ll stop there because the list is exhaustive. Still, to me, there is something undeniably special about the narratives that emerge from female travel writers. What I told the audience at Distant Lands in Pasadena (my new favorite travel store) is that I think when men write about their journeys (very generally speaking, of course), they often recount what they saw and experienced, whereas women write about what they felt and learned. What do you think?

I love the job of reading BWTW story submissions. Kudos to everyone who submitted stories this year. I’m blown away by the quality, and it’s going to be extremely challenging to choose the 30-some essays that will become next year’s volume. Entries are closed for Volume 9, but you can still submit your story for next year. And submissions are also still being accepted for The Best Travel Writing, Volume 10 (males welcome!) Submit here.

Speaking of The Best Travel Writing, I’m thrilled that an essay I wrote for Gadling was chosen for The Best Travel Writing, Volume 9! It’s a story close to my heart, about a trip I took to Alamos, Mexico. Volume 9 just hit bookstores. It’s available on Amazon, but please check your friendly, local, struggling-to-stay-afloat independent bookstore first.

  Order The Best Women’s Travel Writing, Volume 8   More info


To know another language is to have a second soul.” –Charlemagne, King of the Franks