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Coming (very) soon! The Wanderlust Writing Challenge 2020

If you love to travel, love to meet the locals on your adventures, and now need something to stave off stay-at-home boredom, then the new lockdown-friendly Wanderlust Writing Challenge is for you...

Share your story about meeting the locals for the Wanderlust Writing Challenge 2020 (Shutterstock)

These last few months have been strange, to say the least. Particularly since we’re all staying at home, unable to do the things we love most, including travel.

We’ve been celebrating our previous adventures and the excellent trip providers behind them with the #WishIWasThere campaign, but now we want to celebrate more of the people who make our travels so special: locals we meet on the road.

So, in the next couple of weeks we’ll be launching the Wanderlust Writing Challenge to do exactly that. Hopefully, it’ll help stave off some of that stuck-in-the-house tedium, too…

What does the Wanderlust Writing Challenge involve?

Time to recall your local experiences... (Shutterstock)

Time to recall your local experiences... (Shutterstock)

Firstly, this isn’t a typical ‘writing competition’. It won’t be open for months on end. In fact, the whole challenge only lasts two weeks.

The challenge will begin with 12 days of inspiration and guidance, based around one theme: the kindness of strangers. Each day, we’ll be sharing a new writing prompt, some bespoke travel writing advice and inspiration created exclusively for the challenge, to help you craft a 500-word story about a past travel experience involving the locals.

Perhaps a kind stranger helped you navigate a market, or saved you from getting horribly lost? Maybe you were awed by a local sanctuary owner in Borneo, or a quick chat in a Paris café made a real impact? Whatever your tale, our aim is to help you craft it into a brilliant piece of travel writing. 

If you want to set yourself a fun challenge during lockdown, then we hope you’ll take part and get those creative juices flowing. There’s no pressure to follow every bit of expert advice we share each day, though you’ll still have to wait until it’s been shared to submit your story.

Once the 12 days on inspiration and advice are complete, there'll be a submission window of two days to get your final story in. We’ll let you know where to submit when the challenge officially launches.

When does the challenge start?

The challenge will kick off on Monday 1 June at 10am, and will lead up to the submission dates: Saturday 13 June and Sunday 14 June. 

This bit is really important: any entries submitted before the submission dates, or to any of Wanderlust’s general contact email addresses, won’t be considered. We’re a small team – who get LOTS of emails – so we’ve set up a unique email address just for your entries.

There’ll be more details on when and how to submit your writing when we officially launch.

What will I get for taking part?

Could a conversation in a Parisian café spark some creativity? (Shutterstock)

Could a conversation in a Parisian café spark some creativity? (Shutterstock)

The winning entry will be published in the print edition of Wanderlust travel magazine, and on wanderlust.co.uk, later this year.

The winning writer will also get a one-on-one mentoring session via Zoom with Wanderlust’s co-founder and editor-in-chief Lyn Hughes. You could chat about your travel writing aspirations, your favourite trips – or even just get a sneak peek into how the mag is made.

Four runners up will also have their stories published on wanderlust.co.uk later in the year. The winner and four runners up will also receive a Wanderlust goody bag, filled with a few travel prizes.

Who can take part in the challenge?

Anyone can take part in reacting to the writing prompts, revisiting memories from past trips, testing their travel writing abilities, chatting about the challenge on social media - though the only entries that will be considered eligible for publication are from amateur travel writers only.

What do we mean by amateur? Well, if you’ve been paid for any form of travel writing, or teach writing in any form, then you’d be classed as professional.

Why just amateurs? Well, we want the challenge to be fun for everyone, and it might be disheartening for a novice travel writer with zero experience to 'compete' against a seasoned pro. Any pros who want to take part, why not share your top tips and advice on Twitter, using the hashtag #WanderlustWritingChallenge?

Who’ll be reading my story? 

Markets are great places for interacting with people on your travels (Shutterstock)

Markets are great places for interacting with people on your travels (Shutterstock)

The team at Wanderlust, including editor-in-chief Lyn Hughes, will be reading the entries and selecting their favourites. We’ll share a bit more information about what we’re looking for when the challenge officially launches.

I have questions already. Where can I ask them?

The challenge will officially launch on Monday 1 June, with all the information you need to get started. Hopefully, that will answer any burning questions you have.

In the meantime, you can always reach us on Twitter @wanderlustmag and Instagram @wanderlustmag, using the hashtag #WanderlustWritingChallenge. For now, all you need to do is think back to your past experiences...

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