Announcing the Third Annual I Must Be Off! Travel Essay Contest!

If you're looking for the 2017 Competition, go HERE! 

It's that time of year again: time to type up those travel articles, travel anecdotes and travel reflections. If it's about travel, we want to read it. We want to read about that place that changed you.We want to read about the experiences you can't wait to share with other travelers. Whether your work is humorous, informative, quirky or profound--we want to read it.

Previous Winners and Placers:

"Oh, Calcutta" by Paola Fornari
"The Scarlet Mile" by Gillian Brown
"Bodrum, Turkey's San Tropez" by Jack Scott
"The Children of Chitwan, Nepal" by Hannah Thompson-Yates
"God's Own Country" by Saahil Acharya

Travel Writer Catherine Sweeney
The 2015 Judge -- Catherine Sweeney of Traveling with Sweeney

Catherine’s passion for travel goes back to her childhood in the Chicago area when her family crisscrossed North America on extensive road trips. Today, as a boomer woman traveler she approaches new destinations as well as familiar favorites with eager anticipation and youthful enthusiasm. On the Traveling with Sweeney website, Catherine and her husband/frequent travel companion (affectionately known on their blog as Mr. TWS) aim to inform, entertain, and inspire seasoned travelers as well as those considering their first travel steps. Through their compelling photos and stories, they highlight the best of destinations, food, wine, history, culture, and the arts with a particular focus on North America and Europe. Catherine is also founder and editor of Boomer Women Travelers, a collaborative site for women of the baby boomer generation to share their travel experiences.

Submission Guidelines:
  • Maximum 1200 words
  • Edited to the best of your ability for spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • Up to three photos may be submitted with your entry. Photos not necessary to win.
  • Previously unpublished work only! Blog posts are considered published.
  • No entry fee. Yes, that's right. You have nothing to lose.
  • Open to anyone worldwide, but you need a PayPal account
  • Entries must be in English
  • One entry per person
  • Deadline for submissions: July 15, 2015 (Now closed to submissions!)
  • Send entries with a 50-word third-person bio to with the heading TRAVEL ESSAY CONTEST. Entries will be read blind by this year's judge, travel writer Catherine Sweeney It is not necessary to delete identifying information from your entry. If your name appears anywhere, it will be removed before it's forwarded to the judge.
  • Word doc, docx and rtf files only please. 
  • Finalists announced in August 2015. Winners announced in September 2015.

The Prizes: 
  • The Top essays will be published at I Must Be Off! (Authors retain copyright.)
  • Second place prize: $50
  • First place prize: $200
  • Readers' Choice Award ($50) based on unique hits and comments tallied on September 30.

Good luck and happy writing!

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire), an episodic adult cartoon about a man struggling with expectations. Allen's writing has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Indiana Review, Night Train, Quiddity, SmokeLong Quarterly: the Best of the First Ten Years anthology, Prime Number Magazine, [PANK] blog, Necessary Fiction, Word Riot, Bootsnall Travel, Chicken Soup for the Soul and lots of other good places. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize twice.    


  1. Christopher, I'm delighted to take part in the contest as this year's judge. I've really enjoyed the top-notch essays of the previous winners and placers and I can't wait to read the new entries!

    1. So pleased to have you judging this year, Cathy!

  2. "I Must Be Off!" has been included in our A Sunday Drive for this week. Be assured that we hope this helps to point even more new visitors in your direction.

  3. This sounds awesome as usual! Happy to post a badge on my website if you like!!

    1. Hey, Red! Yes, that would be great! Greetings from Barcelona! Will pm you when I get home.

  4. Thank you for sponsoring this contest. Will e-mail entries be acknowledged?

    1. Hi, Helen and Lorri,
      Yes, you will have already received yours. All entries that meet the guidelines receive a confirmation.
      All the best and good luck!
      Christopher :)

  5. If you have not received a confirmation at this point, is that an indication that your essay was not accepted? Or possibly went to spam?

    1. Hi, Rhonda,
      Are you Pamela Hensley? If so, no worries. Your essay was received and is still in the running. We'll be announcing semifinalists next week. Finalists on August 1.

  6. No I am not! I am Rhonda and my e-mail address is Please let me know if you received my submission or not. I resent it today. Thanks!


Post a Comment

INSTRUCTIONS FOR LEAVING A COMMENT: To leave a comment, first choose how you would like to do so by clicking on the drop-down menu Comment As and select your provider. In many cases this will be Google if you have a gmail account. The quickest way to leave a comment is to choose Anonymous. Then write your comment and click on Publish. Then the blog will ask you to confirm that you are not a robot. Do this. You might have to click on some rivers or dogs, but it takes only a moment or two. Then click on publish again. You're all set. This should work.

Popular Posts