Many Doors into Travel Writing

09/05/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I actually stumbled into travel writing myself. My passion for travel and my innate curiosity led me down this path. When I was in the church choir I thought my choir director believed I was a genius. I was about 8, and I thought he called me "Terry the Wise." Later, I learned he had called me "Terry the Why" because I was always asking questions. As a travel writer, I'm able to ask questions and get answers -- usually -- unless it's a touchy subject like "where do you think my luggage could be?"

When you tell someone you're a travel writer, the frequent reply is either "Yeah, I've been meaning to do that" or some other variation. If you really do have the ambition to write, a reputable writing conference can be a great place to get your feet wet or hone your skills.

Next week is the 18th Annual Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference in Corte Madera (near San Francisco), California. The 4 day conference runs from Thursday August 13 to Sunday August 16, 2009. It costs $635.00.

There's a one day intensive on Wednesday August 12th for travel writing or photography. I'm taking the photography intensive because my Canon G10 currently knows far more about photography than I do, so I've opted for the photography intensive.

I signed up for the Book Passage conference after hearing about it from one of my editors. It has a reputation among editors, publishers and writers as the finest travel writing conference in the world.

I'm attending to learn more about the business of travel writing and to improve my writing. I still inadvertently clutter an article with a stray adverb (like inadvertently) or a high fallutin unnecessary adjective or two. My editor insists she works with a meat cleaver instead of a pen.

Occasionally I get an edit back and realize my editor has turned the rump roast I filed into a filet mignon. (When I filed it, of course, I didn't see all the limp verbs and fat adjectives that kept my copy from flowing.)

Faculty includes Pauline Frommer, Rolf Potts, actor/photographer Joel Grey and many other distinguished writers, editors, photographers and bloggers. Conference coordinator Kathryn Petrocelli describes the conference as "a place to learn about the craft, hone skills, make excellent connections, learn from the best in the business and have a phenomenal time all the while."

Speaking of a phenomenal time, I believe alcoholic libations are available during evening recess. How I miss my graduate school days -- higher learning, parking tickets at UCLA and Happy Hour at Acapulco in Westwood Village.

For more information, visit the Book Passage website: or call: Kathryn Petrocelli, Phone: 1-800-999-7909, ext 233