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Where Do the Best Travel Stories Come From?

by Eva Holland Mar 20, 2009
Just about everywhere, it turns out.

AND I DON’T just mean every corner of the physical world, either — they can be spun out of even the most unexpected moments, thoughts and connections in our own lives.

Case in point: last night I attended a reading featuring several contributors to The Best Travel Writing 2009, the latest in the popular series of Travelers’ Tales anthologies.

The readers — Jill Paris, Peter Wortsman, and Matador member David Farley — all shared their contributions to the book, and guess what?

None of them had to journey to the ends of the earth to find a compelling travel story.

From shopping for traditional Austrian attire, to a less-than-wild expat unexpectedly finding his inner cowboy through the expectations of his French in-laws, and even to a long walk in Italy bringing the writer back to his childhood “special ed” classes, each story stemmed from wholly individual experiences and insights.

None required major external drama — a coup, or a near-miss on a mountaineering expedition, say — to function as free-standing narratives.

It was a great reminder — for me and other aspiring writers — that when we’re in search of our next story, we shouldn’t forget to look inward, too.

Got a story to tell? Check out the submission guidelines for Travelers’ Tales, and don’t forget about our own Notes from the Road submissions call, too!

And hey, while we’re at it, take a look at My Chinese Clown, one of my favorite travel stories Matador has ever published.

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