We received hundreds of amazing travel tales about the kindness of strangers in our lockdown writing challenge. You’ll read the winning stories soon, but for now, meet the travellers behind them...
When the coronavirus lockdown hit and travel slowed to a halt, we decided to run the Wanderlust Writing Challenge here on the site.
Rather than a straightforward ‘competition’, the challenge was a two-week travel writing inspiration session, featuring top travel writing tips from author Peter Moore, team Wanderlust’s favourite writing advice and a daily travel writing prompt geared towards helping you craft the perfect story to send in.
The theme was 'kindness of strangers', and we saw it in spades. We received hundreds of entries, read through them (anonymously), and were overwhelmed not just by your creativity, writing ability and storytelling – but also by just how many wonderfully kind, generous and welcoming people you’ve met on the road, and how these people truly do shape our travel experiences.
It was a near-impossible task to narrow down our final shortlist, but here we are. We’ve selected three runners up, to be published on wanderlust.co.uk over the next week, and two winners, who you’ll see published in an upcoming issue of Wanderlust magazine.
Alison Monroe is a primary school headteacher from Kent. She enjoys travelling with her husband to countries that are off the beaten track, putting pins in her world map and learning to pronounce place names the way the locals do.
Alison’s travel adventures have regularly featured in her school assemblies. She has climbed an active volcano, slept in a yurt at 10,000 feet, danced with the Maasai, and tracked the elusive Indri lemur. When not travelling, Alison treads the boards with her local operatic society and is a newly converted e-biker.
Matthew is a part-time traveller and amateur writer based in Yorkshire, where he works as a product professional in the aviation industry.
With an academic background in languages and international relations, Matthew's annual leave is typically spent exploring emerging destinations throughout Europe and beyond - including a particular interest in post-Soviet states.
Michelle works in IT at the Open University. A memorable, three-week trip through Western Australia provided the inspiration for her Wanderlust Writing Challenge entry.
A shameless country-counter (44 to date), aspiring travel writer Josh has been satisfying his addiction to travel ever since graduating with a degree in English Language and Literature.
For him, travel and literature are the perfect fit. Nothing makes him want to grab his backpack more than a good, inspiring read. When not on the road, Josh can be found in his native Cornwall, either reading about his next trip or saving for it at his job in the local village shop.
Maggie lives with her long-suffering partner in Angus, Scotland, where she works as an adult learning manager.
Her greatest passion in life (apart from her little grandson) is picking up her backpack and heading out in the world to make memories. She just can’t wait to get on the road again! She also loves to be outdoors nurturing her plants, walking in the hills or just leaning and travel-dreaming at the garden gate.
And a huge, heartfelt thanks to everyone who took part, and allowed us to read their work. We hope you enjoyed the Wanderlust Writing Challenge as much as we did.
P.S. If you’d like to give it a go, without the competition element, you can follow all the writing prompts and top tips here.
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