Worldwide Call for Entries: 2015 Narrative Travel Writing Contest from Transitions Abroad

TransitionsAbroad invites you to enter its 2015 Narrative Travel Writing Contest with a $500 first-place prize and no fee for entry.

Professionals, freelancers, and aspiring travel writers are invited to write an article which describes how traveling in a slower manner and attempting to adapt to the space and time of locals, their culture, and their land has deepened your experience of both the people and the destination. One of the results of a slower form of immersion travel is the experience of epiphanies that change one’s perceptions of the world, of others, and of oneself. We urge you to translate one or more of those moments into a narrative which will convey this view to many who still tend to see travel as a way to “do” as many countries, cities, and continents in the world as possible—as if travel was some form of competition or consumption.

Rather than seeing travel as competition or a materialistic exercise in one-upmanship, Transitions Abroad has always observed that more experienced travelers and travel writers seek to engage more deeply in a destination by staying for a longer period and thereby immerse themselves in the culture and homes they are fortunate enough to visit as guests. Learning to ask questions, share stories sad and humorous, cook, learn a craft or language, work, volunteer, and participate in other daily activities or rituals is one way to deepen the travel experience and transform it into a two-way street in the process. The Slow Food movement born in Italy and the aesthetic spirit of the Slow Movement are a manifestation of the urge now felt by many more travelers to participate in the daily lives of the host community and not simply as consumers of their culture and land.

We are not looking for destination pieces that describe in flowery “amazing” terms your experience, moralistic essays on the pros and cons of a postmodernist view of travel, nor are we looking for travelogues or blog-like posts that are often too overly personal and self-involved to resonate with others on their own paths of discovery. We are looking for well-written inspirational pieces that will lead others to experience the sense of engagement as a global citizen. We are looking for a more “universal I” and not the “personal I” in a narrative voice — after all, the “universal I” is a huge component in all great (travel) literature that stands the test of time across cultures.

Accompanying photos which enhance the narrative are highly preferred, as the visual often adds a substantial component to a travel narrative on the web. Photojournalistic essays or accompanying videos will also be considered, and gentle (self)irony or humor is always appreciated.

Please include an optional bio of 1-3 sentences which reference your websites, blogs, books, and contact information in the body of the submission. We can include 1 link in the final winning version. will publish the top three winners’ entries as well as those of the selected runner-ups. See past contests for examples.

Notification of your participation in the contest via Twitter, Facebook, or other social networking sites would be appreciated (see our links/buttons at the top and bottom of this page).

Contest Prizes
In this year’s Narrative Travel Writing Contest, the first-place winner’s entry will receive $500 (USD), the second-place winning entry $150, and the third-place winner $100.

Any other articles selected as runner-ups will receive a $50 payment.

Who is Eligible
The Contest is open to professional, freelance and aspiring travel writers from any location around the globe and of any nationality.

How to Enter
Submit an original and previously unpublished essay from 1,000 to 5,000 words. Supporting photos in .jpg or .gif format are welcome to illustrate the experience and are considered part of the essay submission. Please do not embed the photos for the travel essay in the .doc files.

To enter the Contest, attach your essay in Microsoft Word format or copy and paste it into an email as a last resort. Please include your the essay title, full name, complete postal address and phone number in both the email and Word document and add a brief bio if you so choose. Please type “2015 Narrative Travel Writing Essay Entry” in the subject description of the email and send the email to

The Contest begins April 1, 2014, and all entries must be received by January 15, 2015. Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc. will require first-time Worldwide Electronic rights for all submissions which are accepted as contest winners and for publication. In addition, Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc. will reserve the right to reprint the story in a future publication. The writer may republish the unedited submission as desired six months after initial publication on

Editors of will judge entries based upon the following criteria:

  • Sensitivity to the people and culture being described
  • Ability to engage the reader
  • Literary quality
  • Rich photographic/video illustrations

Winners will be notified by phone, mail, or email by January 22, 2015 for publication in March due to the time required for all writers spanning the globe to send in Agreements and payments to be cashed.

Contest Terms
There is no entry fee required for submissions.
Decisions of the judges are final.
Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc. is not responsible for late, lost, misdirected, incomplete, or illegible email or for any computer-related, online, or technical malfunctions that may occur in the submission process.
Submissions are considered void if illegible, incomplete, damaged, irregular, altered, counterfeit, produced in error, or obtained through fraud or theft.
Submissions should be previously unpublished, either in print or on the Web.
Submissions will be considered made by an authorized account holder of the email address submitted at time of entry.
The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners—along with any others accepted for publication—will be paid by Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc. either by check or Paypal as preferred by the author.
All federal, state, and local taxes are the sole responsibility of the Contest winners.

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