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Travel Writing Scholarship 2014 - Euro Road Trip Winners Announced!

WORLDWIDE | Friday, 6 June 2014 | Views [29415] | Comments [29]

We realize that the travel writing realm is a very difficult one to break into, which is why we decided to shake things up a bit this year and send three writers on assignment, instead of just one.

This opportunity captured the imaginations of wordsmiths the world over – so many so that we actually had to bring in more judges! However, their efforts were rewarded with an overwhelming number of fantastic essays. Aspiring writers, you have done it again and gone and impressed the pants off us.

As a travel company, sometimes we think we’ve heard it all, and yet your experiences and your stories prove otherwise. We would like to thank everyone that entered this year because no matter what your travel experience or where you are on your travel writing journey, your stories have the power to inform, to inspire and to give the world a new perspective.

One thing to remember folks!

This is a travel writing scholarship, not a straight writing competition.

This scholarship is about finding the aspiring writers, the raw talent, with the most potential to develop their skills and be molded through the mentorship experience; individuals who each could use this opportunity to hone their craft, refine their technique and become better writers.

As always, there will be differing opinions, there will be questions asked, but know that we spend countless hours debating this and wish we could send everyone shortlisted (and even some that aren't!).

Please feel free to leave your congratulations to the winners and the shortlisted entries below. However, if you have any other comments, concerns, program feedback or trollish rants, please email us at scholarships@worldnomads.com.

Now, without further delay...

Please join us in congratulating the 3 winners of our 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Rachel, Amanda and Jarryd!

Rachel Ecklund, Amanda Richardson and Jarryd Salem are headed to Berlin to learn from Lonely Planet author Alex Leviton then off on solo 10-day road trips around Europe - congratulations guys!

They will receive:

  • A 2-day custom Travel Writing course in Berlin with mentor Alex Leviton
  • A 10-day bespoke road trip across Europe including transportation through GoEuro and accommodation with Hostelworld.
  • Round-trip airfare from their country of residence to Berlin.
  • Enrollment in the MatadorU Travel Writing course (with 3 months unlimited access to the course).
  • Travel insurance for the duration of the trip from World Nomads.

We can't wait to read all about their adventures in Europe!

Winning Story:

Beluga Smile by Rachel Eklund (USA)

Judges' comments: This essay nailed the pacing of a born writer perfectly. Every word forwards the story, which sets Alaska up as the main character, not the writer. We loved this piece for the sense of community that it portrays to the audience - we could see the beach, taste the whale, understand what living in a small Alaskan tribal village is like. Rachel’s writing is quite poetic and prose-like (but not overwhelmingly so) and there was no reliance on clichés or adjectives to tell this powerful story.

UPDATE! Read Rachel's blog about her adventures on assingment in Europe.

Winning Story:

Wrong Side of the Wall by Amanda Richardson (USA)

Judges Comments: From the very first paragraph, this essay hooks you in. So many travel stories share the best moments, or maybe an awkward experience, but this story tackles what feels like to be hated for what and who you are in another place. Amanda’s piece is emotional and evocative without being cloying. As you are drawn into the Arab Quarter with her you can’t help but feel uncomfortable too and the ending reminds the reader that religion and politics are learned and not inherited.

UPDATE! Read Amanda's blog about her adventures on assignment in Europe.

Winning Story:

Never-Ending Horizon by Jarryd Salem (Australia)

Judge's Comments: Jarryd’s got that magical quality of both a born adventurer and a born storyteller. This essay is not about any specific travel experience, but about a bond forged with the set of wheels that enabled all of those travel experiences. The reader can’t help but want to jump in that van and join the adventure. He is in our view, a diamond in the rough, his unique voice and perspective, along with the comedic timing made this story one that every generation of travelers can relate to and feel nostalgic for.

UPDATE! Read Jarryd's blog about his adventures on assignment in Europe.

The Shortlist

(in alphabetical order)

The top shortlisted entries will receive enrollment in the MatadorU Travel Writing mini course.

On the Road Again by Alanna Tynan (Canada)

Camouflage by Alexandra Scale (Australia)

The Bus by Ann Foo (Australia)

Only in Mongolia by Candice Linton-Smith (China)

The Bride Wore Red by Katherine Rosenbaum (USA)

Mbale’s Boys to Men by Charlotte Bossa (Uganda)

Love in High Definition by Danielle Barr (USA)

An Anthology of Rain (or, The Wicklow Mountains) by Emily Cook (USA)

Rumble by Garrett Grams (Vietnam)

Why One Does Not Exercise on Holidays by Jamie Pantsaras (Australia)

Holy Cow by Jessica Andrews (UK)

Head in a Jar by Kelly Chastain (USA)

My First Foreign Bribe by Kris Mole (UK)

How to make it hurt so good by Lady Talece Bell (USA)

The Crimson Waters by Lawrence Edmonds (UK)

Legends of Light by Lindsey Edson (USA)

The Tajik Horsemen by Marius Fossum (Norway)

A Grand Canyon by Mark McLinden (UK)

Where India and Pakistan Meet by Mihaela Nenciu (Romania)

A Friend in Hand by Rebecca Melrose (Australia)

Blood by Rhiannon Tuffield (Australia)

2014 Travel Writing Scholarship by Samyukta Somvanshi

An Alternative to Trinkets by Samuel Simon (Spain)

The Dancer and the Poet on Chicken Street by Santiago Nocera (USA)

The Sky Burial by Stuart Beedie (Australia)

Night Sailing in the Norwegian Sea by Vicky Inglis (UK)

Washing off the Dirt by Yvonne Colley (Australia)

Travel. Learn. Create.

For all of you aspiring creatives, check out our Scholarships page and sign up to hear about our latest opportunities, tips, advice and interviews with industry professionals in the fields of photography, travel writing and filmmaking.

And if you're lucky enough to be mentored by one of our industry professionals, it could kick start your career!

About WorldNomads.com

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Congrats to the winners :D

  perpetuallyperipatetic Jun 7, 2014 3:20 AM


Congrats to all the winners :)

  amrithasindhu Jun 7, 2014 3:44 AM


Aw well done everyone. But I was sure that I would have seen this one on the list: http://journals.worldnomads.com/josh-a-h/story/113210/South-Korea/A-New-Gourmet#axzz30Y9ZPh5B

  izzyabraham Jun 7, 2014 3:57 AM


Congratulations to the winners! have a fun trip to Europe! :)

  Hannah Wasielewski Jun 7, 2014 4:07 AM


Congrats to all the winners
and for worldnomads, I wait for the next scholarship...

  ojanrajawali Jun 7, 2014 4:13 AM


I get the feeling these pieces were chosen at random. Of course I say this because mine wasn't chosen but still- it's better than the winning three.

  Gerard Jun 7, 2014 4:41 AM


Congratulations to the winners.. And my personal favourites of the list were 'how to make it hurt so good' and 'blood', really fantastic you guys!

  kamakshi Jun 7, 2014 4:45 AM


Congratulations to all the winners, and the shortlisteds! I look forward to reading the winners' entries from Europe. :)
And I think it reflects well on the quality of entries received this year when I say I enjoyed reading many of the shortlisted ones just as much as (dare I say 'more than'?!) the winning entries! Well done, everyone.

  amis Jun 7, 2014 4:48 AM


Congratulations all winners, including top topics!
I will be following all your adventures! (Y)
Cool! :)

  saida Jun 7, 2014 5:23 AM


Awesome stuff. I do have to say that there were a bunch from the entries I've read which I thought were really great reads and would have won or even just made it to the shortlist. Could they have been missed? At any rate, congratulations to those who won! Looks like a great opportunity!

  Sapphire Jun 7, 2014 8:10 AM


Congrats to the winners! I loved 'Beluga Smile' and 'Wrong Side of the Wall", they were very nicely written. But how did 'Never-Ending Horizon' win? There's a mistake in the very first paragraph (and again in the last paragraph), the author had written "he needn't of bothered". Seriously? Call me a grammar nazi but this is a writing competition, surely any kind of mistake (no matter how small) should be scrutinized and should not be tolerated? Just my opinion, but I think there are better stories that should have taken that third place.

  anna Jun 7, 2014 12:42 PM



  luthfiyyah azizah Jun 7, 2014 2:46 PM


Congratulations, all!
But is it only me or did anyone else find several shortlisted entries more deserving of the top honors? In fact, there were some other entries I'd read that I was sure would find a mention here and now I'm really surprised that they didn't.
Also, this being a writing competition (I remember the rules insisted that top notch grammar was a must), I'm shocked that one of the winning entries has multiple grammatical mistakes.

  Dan Jun 7, 2014 4:16 PM


Congratulations y'all. You're going to have a amazing time

  Seyi Jun 7, 2014 7:02 PM


Congrats to the winners :) I hope you have an amazing time and put this extreme learning opportunity to good use :)

  natania Jun 7, 2014 7:40 PM


Comment #6 Gerard, I agree with you. There were some impressive entries that were overlooked. As Stephen King said, the adverb is not your friend, but perhaps the judges disregarded their own criteria.

  Yikes Jun 8, 2014 1:11 AM


Congratulations to all the winners. People should be happy for others, not jealous. All three stories were great reads and very creative. Have fun in Europe guys. :)

  Ashley Jun 8, 2014 9:28 PM


"Beluga Smile" and "Wrong Side of the Wall" are well-written stories, so congratulations, Rachel and Amanda!

But WHY did Never-Ending Horizon win? It has grammar, punctuation and capitalization errors. One of the shortlisted entries deserves to take its place. The judges didn't seem to spot these errors. Add to that what happened last year, when the winner misled readers and judges into thinking that his name was Jonathan (a key point in the story) even though his name was Andrew.

I'm losing faith in this competition.

  Faith Jun 9, 2014 2:01 PM


Great job everyone! Looking forward to read more next year! :)

  Ella Jun 9, 2014 9:09 PM


Well done to the winners! Hope you all have an amazing time. I'm now looking forward to having another go next year

  leifr Jun 11, 2014 6:03 AM


Hello All,

Just to address some of the comments above. Firstly, we are aware of the grammatical errors in Never-Ending Horizon. We argued internally, aware of the fact that we might cop some grief for picking this entry. We are also aware of our own rules and the high standards we set. After numerous internal arguments and debates, we decided to go back to what we want this scholarship to be. An opportunity to find raw talent and give them the chance to learn from an industry professional. In Jarryd we saw such raw talent. We saw a unique voice and decided he deserved an opportunity to help iron out some of his grammatical deficiencies and support his desire to become a better writer. Your comments are fair, but our decision was not made lightly and we stand by it.

Chris Noble
General Manager

  Chris Noble Jun 11, 2014 3:06 PM


Congratulations to the winners! And glad to be a part of the shortlisted candidates. Hope I can do better next time. Cheers!

  epicurean1508 Jun 11, 2014 4:20 PM


Thanks for clarifying, Chris. I was a little curious whether your team actually missed the grammatical and styling flaws in one of the top entries.

I deem the people pointed it out, not just to be mean to the writer nor question your team's judgment, but rather to give merit to those other aspiring writers who took the time and effort to submit creatively engaging AND grammatically-correct entries. At any rate, it is still on your team's discretion which entry is really worthy of that Euro trip and your decision is final.

I guess what could work well in the future is for the contest criteria to be laid out clearly (re: How much weight should we put on grammar? How important is casing? Can I just do whatever I can to hook you in and make you feel that I am a potentially good travel writer?) so that participants will know what they should focus on when writing their stories.

Anyway, huge congratulations to the winners and I hope the trip and the scholarship would help you on your aspirations.

  Kendall Jun 11, 2014 5:18 PM


Congrats! have a quality time :- D

  NAN Jun 12, 2014 9:51 PM


Congratulations !!!!! You just do it
And this is because you believed in your self and followed ur ambitions without doubts
My wishes to everyone who have hopes to reach their aims :)

  opheliac Jun 14, 2014 5:08 PM


A hearty congratulations to the winners! Enjoy Euro travels!

  stardust Jun 15, 2014 8:46 PM






congratulations to the winners!! May we all continue to keep writing to our heart's content sharing our travel experiences for another to learn from :)

  carolepng Jul 31, 2014 12:56 AM


Hi. I was wondering if we retain full copyright to the pieces we posted for the competition? I'd like to submit mine to a travel magazine. My submission has quite a lot of views but I'm not getting anything out of it, and I think a longer version of it might stand a chance of getting published elsewhere. Am I allowed to do this? Thanks!

Yes, of course you can enter it elsewhere.

  Greig Aug 26, 2014 4:35 AM

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