Wanted: Travel Narrative

Guide and luggage in front of 1970s UK tour bus

As I sit in the sunny dining room of JS Graustein, I relax with a warm cup of tea and settle in for our next Folded Word chat. #Wanted is the brainchild of that discussion. Since the Editor in Chief has taken over acquisitions, I wanted to find out what she’s looking for in submissions as we shift our editorial focus. This article will look in depth at the topics, length, and details for the perfect Travel Narrative submission. As JS and I got deep into conversation, one thing became clear with submissions of any kind: The submission must explore human interaction with landscape — with landscape as focal point. In the graphic below, you will find the formula for your travel narrative submission that will ensure it not only follows our submission guidelines, but fits with our editorial vision.

What will make a travel narrative submission successful?

  1. Short pieces: 500 words or less.
  2. Soft traveler: The narrative focuses on how the landscape and its inhabitants impacted the writer/traveler — a traveler who leaves the location how s/he finds it yet takes its echo home.
  3. Inter-relationship: Humans are not solo actors; they are impacted by and impact the rural/urban ecosystem around them. In this context, “ecosystem” refers to all living and non-living players on the place-stage. We are most interested in the inter-relationships between the landscape, its human residents, and its other residents — how they all impact and depend upon each other.
  4. Language of place: We encourage writers to use, in a natural way or as a title, a non-English word or two from a language spoken in the region visited (if applicable). The exploration of language and how it evolves in landscape is one of JS’s favorite ways to share the natural rhythms of a landscape.
  5. Pronouns: Flexible use is allowed when writing about plants, animals, and other natural features. Many languages apply masculine and feminine articles to non-human elements, which lessens the use of the de-valuing pronoun “it.” We are open to manuscripts that explore English ways to do this. Any linguistic device that gives value to non-human natural features will be of interest. (To explore the inspiration for this option, check out these articles from The International Ecolinguistics Association.)
Please note the direction of the “influence” arrows.

We hope that these guidelines (in connection with the instructions on our submission page) have given you clarity and inspiration. If you’re not typically a travel writer, we invite you to get out into your environment and write. Write about your interaction with landscape, the effect of landscape on society, and human exploration of landscape (both urban and rural). There is still magic in the landscapes we live in, work in, and love in…if we just look closer.

photo of Sarah Gibson

Sarah Gibson is Folded Word’s Publicity Assistant and Features Editor of the Folded Word blog. She is a 22 year old who resides in Beverly, Massachusetts. As a recent grad from Gordon College, she works in PR and marketing and spends her free time reading, writing, working and learning with Folded Word Press.

4 Comments on “Wanted: Travel Narrative

  1. Thanks for asking, Cheryl. We would love to see poetic travel narrative! We actually have a future #Wanted post planned specifically to talk about it, but for now: On the submission form choose “yes” for the question about needing specific spacing, and then mark your submission as “cross genre.” 🙂


  2. I’m also a keen enthusiast photographer, and have begun to combine my haibun with my own images, not in the form of haiga, but separately, threaded through the narrative. If my work is accepted, I’m wondering if you would also be interested in looking at some images to accompany the narrative.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We would be happy to look at the photos. Depending on how many there are and how you see them threading in, we would come up with different solutions for inclusion.


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