On the Written Road

The Written Road is a blog started by travel maven/mogul-in-the-making Jen Leo. The blog focuses on travel writing and features useful tips and market leads.

Jen still has the occasional posts but most of the daily heavy lifting is left to Abha and Nicholas. They manage to carry on the quality writing about writing about traveling. Any aspiring travel writers would be well served to check in on the site now and again. Plus, Nicholas is from Ohio, which, as you may know, is a hotbed for emerging travel writers. Ohio: It’s a great place to leave!

I’ve followed the Written Road blog for the past 3 years. It’s helped clear the muddy waters of exactly how one might make it as a…

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Live from Bangladesh…It's ME!

Not really. Not yet.

I talked with the producer of the World Vision Report radio program today. It looks like I’ll be filing two reports during the trip.

One before I leave Bangladesh for Cambodia in which I’ll introduce my idea and talk about the Bangladeshi factory that I visit.

And the other once I’m home, which will cover my experiences in Cambodia, China, and a summation of the adventure as a whole.

Of course all of this is subject to change. Will the experience at the Bangladeshi factory be the same as the experience at the Cambodian? If so, that’s one story not two. I expect they will be much different (other than the fact everyone I meet will think I’ve lost it when I tell them…

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One of my pre-trip goals is to have the know-how to create audio-slideshows. Mission accomplished!

Windows XP comes with a nifty program called Windows Movie Maker that makes the entire process really easy. The audio is from an old podcast that many of you have heard already recorded using Audacity. I expect the quality of future recordings to be better because I have had more practice reading for the radio and I purchased a nice mic and minidisk recorder.

For the record, I find this recording to be a bit corny. My fiance does to. She really thought the “Kill it! Kill it!” portion of the adventure could use some work. I think I sound like a stoned Mr. Rogers.


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Where I'm writing to

As years go, 2007 is shaping up to be a big one for me personally and professionally.


* I’m getting married. Does it get any bigger than that? Mark your calendars for 09/08/07 (It’s like a countdown, but a countdown to what. Blast off? Hugs? The Bomb? Self-Destruct? My doing the coffee grinder in the middle of a circle of adoring wedding goers chanting, “Go Kelsey, it’s your wedding. Go Kelsey, it’s your wedding.”?)

* Annie, my wife-to-be, and I just bought a house (more on that in future posts). Yeah, so I’m growing up, but that doesn’t mean the travel writing gig goes.


* This blog sponsored by BootsnAll about my travels to Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, and other places in between.

* I hope…

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Writing: Where I'm coming from

’06 was a good year all around. My writing continued to snowball towards bigger and better markets. Overall, not too shabby even though I only left the country once for less than a week.

In March at the Erma Bombeck conference in Dayton I made the contact that would eventually lead to my being published in the Christian Science Monitor. The great thing about having been published in the CSM is that everybody has heard of it. Now when I send a query letter to an editor it doesn’t look like I’m making up publications. The Key West City Paper, the Daily Advocate, The Hub, yeah – no one had ever heard of ’em.

The CSM experience also led to a staff writing position at Glucose that lasted 3 months until…

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Fantasy Kingdom

Fantasy KingdomMy whole “Where am I wearing?” idea stems from the disparity between Us and Them. What’s really strange is when you find out that all of the Them’s are not so different than all of us Us’s.

Over half of Bangladesh’s 130 million people live in poverty. But that didn’t stop the Them’s that aren’t so different than us Us’s from spending $65 million to build the amusement park Fantasy Kingdom. It has all of the things we We’s, and you know who you We’s are, love about amusement parks – greasy food, semi-maintained roller coasters manned by people who really don’t give a crap. And the entrance fee is only $3!

I’m so there.

If this sounds like an experience in which…

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I'm the Great Touron King

“In the land of tourons, I am the Great Touron King.” These were the first of my very own words to make it to print. What follows is the rest of the column, a sort of Touron Manifesto, if you will. This is the common thread that I like to think that runs through all of my writings and all of my travels.


Travelin’ Light: The Land of Tourons
By Kelsey Timmerman

A touron is one part eager tourist and one part well-meaning moron. You yourself have likely been a touron at one time or another.

If you’ve ever…

…set out on a trip over 2 weeks long with 3 pair of underwear…

…thought visiting a nude beach would be a good idea…

…spent an entire flight with your knee jammed into the chair in front of you to keep a six year old from reclining…

… been to a Drag Show with your mother…

…been in a room full of people where You were the only one not staring at YOU…

…stepped out your front door and made a complete fool of yourself…

…you might be a Touron.

Faced with a deluge of new sites, smells, sounds, and behaviors, a tourist turns touron because of an enhanced curiosity and innocent unawareness. The farther behind we leave the familiar, the more touronic we become.

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The Touron Recording Studio

When I recorded a piece on playing soccer in Honduras for the World Vision Report radio program this past fall, I went to a “professional” recording studio. Now that I have some of my own equipment, I’ve been cut loose to record myself.

Easier said than done.

For the first time ever, a behind the scenes look at the Touron Recording Studio (oh, and if you aren’t sure what a Touron is GO HERE).

10 essential items for your home studio:
Recording Studio2
1. A tent and enough room to pitch it.

2. An autographed picture of Punky Brewster to hold the story you will be reading, and, of course, for, you know, inspiration. “Every time I turn around…” Gotta love Punky.

3. An…

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What sex is your text?

Paste some text into the Gender Genie and find out.

I did.

When it comes to writing it just doesn’t get any more manly than this opening paragraph from one of my columns…

The fer-de-lance is the most feared creature in the jungles of Honduras. One bite has enough venom to kill three to five men. There are five of us in the canoe. Six, counting the snake.

The Gender Genie gave it 75 hairy-chest beating man points to 0 female points. Basically, it makes Hemingway look like a ballerina.

But before I go and enter myself into a bullfight feast your eyes on this girly intro:

With a long, toothy smile #2 looks up at me as if to say, “Do it again.” The pilot whale, slightly larger than…

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Transitions Abroad

Transitions AbroadMy piece on volunteering at Casa Guatemala that appeared in the Nov/Dec issue of Transitions Abroad is now available online.

TA is a handsome glossy chalk-a-block full of content. I’m not just saying that. You can go page after page without running into an ad. Good for the reader, not so good for the writer – the pay ain’t great. Even so, I’m happy to be a part of this issue.

The issue is titled the Responsible Travel Issue, which almost makes me feel like I’m something greater than a culture trippin’ Touron. Almost.

Here’s a passage from the Editor’s letter:

Travel has the potential to bring much-needed economic benefits to developing countries and to foster cross-cultural awareness, dialogue, and understanding—all of which make for the…

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