For most of my life, I’ve been trying to combine three passions: that of teaching, of writing, and of traveling. They’re not exactly opposed to each other, but they often jockey around as my schedule permits: one day, I’m teaching my students document design, the next day, I’m writing a freelance article for someone, and the next day. I’m off writing about an unusual hotel. They don’t often collide–until now.
For this consummate bookworm afflicted with perpetual itchy feet whose day job is equal parts writing a dissertation and teaching (well, should be equal parts….), I was so excited to find out that I’d been invited to lead a nonfiction writing workshop at the ever-amazing Go Girl Travel Network’s Women in Travel Summit (side note: it’s in Boston from March 27-29th).
The Women in Travel Summit (WITS) is the creation of Go Girl Travel Network, an online community of adventurous, independent women around the world who strive to live globally (in whatever ways they understand the term–physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc.). WITS educates, inspires and connects female travel bloggers (or female traveler allies–you certainly don’t have to identify as a female to come) together, while also providing a forum for travelers, bloggers and industry professionals to grow relationships with each other. The Summit features three conference presentation “tracks” that participants can choose from, including:
- The Traveler: How to travel on a budget, finding a job abroad, traveling solo, choosing ethical travel solutions.
- The Blogger: How to maximize your SEO, basic HTML coding, travel vlogging, using social media.
- The Entrepreneur: Building your personal brand, creating a following, working with travel companies.
This year, I’m presenting in the Blogger track. And my topic? Here’s a hint: it’s one of my FAVORITE topics to discuss with my writing students (And one they usually try to avoid at all costs)….
Revision! In my session, I’m hoping to reintroduce and help writers rediscover the art of revision, an often overlooked but integral part of the blogging process. I’m envisioning it more as a round-table than a presentation, per se, because what I’m hoping to do is model it after the creative writing workshops I did in my MFA. No one sits at the head of the table, no one takes control of the conversation, and everyone gets a chance to speak. Blending my academic experience with my love for sharing travel stories…I honestly don’t think there could be anything better than this.
Plus, and here’s the more important thing, the voices of women, minorities, and people of color haven’t always been represented very well in the travel industry, and it’s places like these where I believe real change and an embracing of other perspectives and ways of knowing can start to happen. For instance: Think of three famous travel writers (except maybe Elizabeth Gilbert, who always seems to come to mind because of her 2006 travel memoir Eat, Pray, Love). So other than that, are any of them women? People of color? People who aren’t of privilege? Or just people who aren’t concerned with conquering other people and places? Digital media–and blogging in particular–has a unique opportunity here, then, to change the way people see the art and act of travel. Here’s hoping the second annual WITS can spark the fire.
The summit will be held on March 27-29, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts at the Revere Hotel Boston Common. Tickets (which you can buy here) are $159 for bloggers/writers and $199 for general admission. Oh! And every attendee gets one of these beauties, too.
I’d love to see you there–and maybe even do a little writing while we’re at it!
Yours in travel,