Saturday, March 12, 2016

Announcing the Fourth Annual I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition!

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. We're looking forward to your best writing.

Previous Winners and Placers:

"A Leaf on the Wind" by Joel Hindson
"Burning My Boots in Cabo Fisterra" by Gabriella Brand
"Discovering Hến Rice in Central Việt Nam" by Chris Galvin
"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 Paola Fornari
The 2016 Judge -- Paola Fornari

Travel writer Paola Fornari was born on Ukerewe Island in Lake Victoria, Tanzania. She has lived in a dozen countries over four continents, speaks five and a half languages, dabbles in several others, and describes herself as an expatriate sine patria. In every new posting, her curiosity leads her to explore every corner of her host country, and experience as much ‘real life’ as she can.   

Her travel and lifestyle articles have appeared extensively online, and in print magazines as diverse as Cycling World, Practical Fishkeeping The Oldie and The Buenos Aires Herald.

She has judged several writing competitions, and was co-judge in Expatclic’s prestigious Travel Reflections competition in 2013.

In 2013 she won the Senior Travel Expert travel writing competition, and was third in the Go Walkabout competition.

Her relationship with I Must be Off goes back a long way. Apart from having several interviews published on the site, she was highly commended in the first I Must be Off travel essay contest in 2013, and won in 2014.

She recently moved from Dhaka, Bangladesh, to Accra, Ghana.

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  • Previously unpublished work only!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 (and I research all finalists).
  • No entry fee. Yes, that's right. You have nothing to lose.
  • Open to anyone worldwide, but you need (access to) a PayPal account
  • Entries must be in English
  • One entry per person
  • Deadline for submissions: July 31, 2016
  • Send entries with a 50-word third-person bio to with the heading TRAVEL WRITING CONTEST. Entries will be read blind by this year's judge and travel writer, Paola Fornari. 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. 
  • Finalists announced in August 2016. Winners announced and published in late summer 2016.

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 Eclectica Magazine's 20th-Anniversary Best of Speculative anthology, 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.