WSGT recently launched its new Independence Travel Writing Award with $1000USD in prizes and two new judges. Contestants are telling their stories of finding independence both abroad and close to home; share your own to win!
After so many inspiring entries in our final Gratitude Travel Writing Contest, our judges Richard and Annelise have narrowed it down to the top ten finalists.
Winners will be announced next week on our blog.
THANK YOU MY LOVE FOR LEAVING ME by Andrea Carolina Seleme
Thank you my love for leaving me…
Have you ever been so in love that exploring the world was just out of your mind? Well, me too and I ́m very happy to say that everything has changed. I was born and raised in a town of the north of Argentina, where people are very religious and conservative, where the main objective of the youth is getting marry and having children to meet the expectations of the parents. My family is not different from that and I believe that having an own family is just wonderful for anybody when is fruit of real love…
KUALA LUMPUR’S SON by Kathryn Hodgson
The sky was filled with crimson paper lanterns, swaying in the hot, sticky breeze of Kuala Lumpur. Beads of sweat formed on occasional tourists passing by in their khaki shorts as Malaysians and Chinese people, as old as the earth, hunkered by their stalls. I admired the golden writing on those lanterns high above me; we had arrived in Chinatown….
THE GREAT WALL: TOO FAR TO SHOUT by Gabriella Brand
“It takes stamina to climb,” said the Chinese tour guide, looking up into the eager faces of my ninth graders, American students from a private school in New England. We were about to hike part of the Great Wall of China on a brisk March morning. Eighteen students,two guides, two teachers and me. The grumpy principal. “Big, strong boys will go the farthest,” said the second guide. Our three clowns – Roxy, Ted and Philip – started to guffaw and flip their crimson school caps into the air. “That’s us,” they joked. In fact, they were probably the least athletic of all the students and the least competitive as well. A few girls grimaced at the guide’s sexist comment, then vowed to walk faster than any of the boys. Rival teams formed and the two teachers got caught up in the fun….
GRATITUDE FROM ON HIGH: A BIRDSEYE VIEW IN CANADA by Brandon Fralic
It’s been awhile. Not since we’ve spoken – I feel your presence every day – but since we last met on the road. My best adventures always involve you. From Germany to Japan; my home in the Pacific Northwest to the streets of Boston, I have been so fortunate to travel and meet you in countless people, countless places. In Siena, my first international trip, I found you in a glass of vino. Oh, the times we had, wine-stained night after night. Come sunrise I’d push you away, my head throbbing, thankful for nothing but the bed I laid upon. Yet the privilege to travel and learn through new experiences is not to be taken for granted…
GRATITUDE WITHOUT LIMITATIONS IN VIETNAM by Lolo Pope
Travel has taught me not to make plans. Travel has taught me to be grateful for the spontaneity of living a life without expectations and without limitations. To not make plans or to not have expectations does not mean to not have goals, but anyone that has traveled one tiny toe off the beaten path has learned the difficult way that trying to stick to hard and fast plans is nearly impossible. And that’s okay! I am grateful every day for this lesson in learning to let go of expectations. “Letting go” means to release expectation of what something maybe should be and to learn to soak up each moment of every day for what it truly is…
HOSPITALITY IN SAUDI ARABIA by Sarah Jenkins Sisco
Of all of the places I have travelled, none has been stranger than Saudi Arabia. The rules of society baffle and the culture follows a secret map that’s never shown to me. I was surprised to end up here and feel anything but miserable. And yet, it is the very miserableness that makes me grateful for the ray of metaphorical sunlight which illuminates my life here….
CHASING SUMMER IN ARGENTINA by Hussein Hussein
Do you want to go on a treasure hunt? It is an adventure with clues strewn across the globe. Clues laid out over the course of a decade, on four continents and a menagerie of cities. I laid them out myself but, the funny thing, is I didn ́t realize what I was doing. I now recount the story, now onto its 20,000th mile, on the #81 Colectivo, or bus, in Córdoba, Argentina where the air is rife with sing-song dialects of Spanish….
PARIS, FRANCE IS CRYING by Rebecca Earley
It has been two weeks, but when I close my eyes I can still hear the sirens. I was sitting in a café on rue de Bretagne with three friends visiting from the U.S. and England. They had just finished telling me how they had almost canceled their trip to Paris, because they were nervous about traveling alone without their boyfriends. “What if the Airbnb host kidnaps us? What if we end up in a dangerous neighborhood? How do we know we will be safe?” These were their questions, to which I replied, “Come on, don’t be ridiculous. It’s Paris….”
Dear random Facebook stranger,
You don’t know me except through the blog posts I link to my Facebook page. I don’t know you except for the comment you wrote regarding a recent post of mine. I wanted to thank you for that comment. It woke me up. It changed my outlook. It transformed everything, really. I’m a world traveler….
VIETNAM SNAPSHOT: THE HUE TO ADVENTURE by Eliana Shahrabany
So we, two lively backpackers, or as I labelled us budding ‘Rational Internationals’ were on our way to Huế (pronounced ‘Hway’), an understated city in the centre of Vietnam. The cosy flipside to the pandemonium of Hanoi. Puns such as ‘Hue to go!’ would be common to the ear amongst Westerners….
Tell your story in our new Independence Travel Writing Award and you could be on the next finalist list! Stay up-to-date with WSGT and find out who the Gratitude Contest winners are through our blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and youtube channel!