When Opportunity Knocks

Over the weekend my sister and parents were in town!  It was great to see them, as I hadn’t since I moved to San Francisco.  We had a great time, mostly eating and walking around various parts of the city.  For me it was especially nice to visit new bars and restaurants with them, as I haven’t really done much of that due to my current state of poverty.  I plan to do a future blog post reviewing the various places we visited, similar to my earlier post I Left My Heart And Stomach in San Francisco.  Man, there’s some good eats in this town!

But for the moment I’m a little derailed by an email sent to me by my good friend Jill, herself a travel junkie and blogger behind Jill’s Awesome Week.  Rough Guides, a leading publisher of travel guidebooks and reference books, and World Nomads has an annual travel writing scholarship.  The point of the contest is to basically help jumpstart an unprofessional travel writer, and the prize package is amazing: three weeks in Southeast Asia writing a blog and helping to write Rough Guides Singapore.  Part of the time you are shadowing and mentored by fellow travel writers and bloggers, and part of the time on your own gathering research.  For me it is the opportunity of a lifetime.

I have no idea what my chances of winning are, but just writing the essay for entry is great practice so I have nothing to lose.  I have to write an essay, minimum 2000 words, about a personal experience based on the following:

a. ‘Understanding a Culture through Food’

b. ‘A Local Encounter that Changed my Life’

c. ‘Seeing the World through Others Eyes’

d. ‘Giving Back on the Road’

Option A or C I can do fairly easily.  As you’ve probably figured out, these two topics are central to my personal views on travel and the world in general.  I’ve even written in this blog about how central food is to my traveling experiences, and one of the reasons that I have been active in couchsurfing is to attempt to see how others live.  Option B would prove more of a challenge.  While I find the experience of travel in general to be life changing, I have trouble pinpointing a specific instance that was so.  And D is also not the best for me.  I’m a giver, and try to give back in what way I have, but my travels have been more, how shall I put it, selfishly inclined.  We did do some volunteering in Israel, but I wouldn’t count that as it was part of the predetermined Birthright itinerary.

I think I’ll do the first one and talk about food and culture.  I can probably get the fullest essay out of that one, and let’s face it, this girl likes to eat!

In addition to the essay I also have to submit an 800 word character essay on why I should be chosen and what the opportunity means for me.  I feel as though I could also write 2000 words on the subject.  Part of why I started this blog is that I love travel writing and have considered it as a career path for myself.  This scholarship is the opportunity of a lifetime, and winning it would mean getting a foot in the door and having an incredible experience.  Hopefully I can prove this to them with my character essay in a way that is original, and not shmaltzy or contrived.

Now I must get to work.  I have a week before the deadline.  I will publish the essays here as well for your reading pleasure.  Wish me well!

Good Luck and Happy Travels


6 thoughts on “When Opportunity Knocks”

  1. This is so exciting, good luck!!!! One thing, be careful about publishing your submission online, sometimes they say in the fine print that it can’t be published work.

    1. Yeah, I work well under pressure so deadlines are a good thing! Unfortunately, I didn’t read the fine print well and its not 2000 words, its 2000 characters. Including spaces! Argh. I do not work well with brevity.

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