Travel Articles




The Seventh Annual I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition

It's that time of year again, when travel writers around the world send I Must Be Off! writing about the places that changed them, inspired them, and taught them something about the world beyond their back yard. We are eagerly awaiting your words. This year we are considering any form--non-fiction, fiction, or poetry--as long as the subject is travel or has a strong sense of place.

To enter the competition, go to the COMPETITION tile on the homepage. After logging in, which is simply entering your email address and choosing a password (please record this somewhere so you do lose it), just follow the directions. This year the entry fee for the competition is $3. The Grand Prize is $300.

Michelle Elvy, the judge of the seventh annual I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition

This year's judge is world traveler, writer and editor Michelle Elvy.

Originally from the US and still fond of the tidewater region of the Mid-Atlantic eastern seaboard, Michelle has lived in Europe, Canada, Mexico and the South Pacific much of her adult life. For fifteen years she lived aboard her sailboat, raising two children and crossing the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Since 2013 she and her family have meandered along coastlines of Southeast Asia (from Indonesia and Malaysia to Singapore and Thailand) and Africa (based two years in Tanzania and exploring Madagascar, Kenya and Mozambique, then sailing to South Africa and Namibia). In 2018 they finally left Africa and sailed from the South Atlantic west and north, eventually aiming for their home waters of the Pacific.

Michelle makes her home in Aotearoa New Zealand, and 2019 sees her settling in Dunedin.

Her poetry, fiction, travel writing, creative nonfiction and reviews have been widely published, most recently in The Feminine Divine (Cynren Press 2019), New Micro (W.W. Norton 2018), Ofi Press (2016-2018), Manifesto: 101 Political Poems from Aotearoa New Zealand (Otago University Press 2017) and Borderlands & Crossroads: Writing the Motherland (Demeter Press 2016).

Michelle’s newest work, the everrumble (Ad Hoc Fiction), is a small novel made of small stories.




-- Word Limit: 1000 words

-- Deadline for entries: December 31, 2019 (EXTENDED TO JANUARY 15!)

-- Entries must be in English but may include phrases from non-Anglo languages.

-- Non-fiction, fiction, and poetry will be considered as long as the theme is travel or the piece has a strong sense of place.

-- Previously unpublished works only! Posts on personal blogs are eligible but must be removed during the competition and for three months thereafter if published at I Must Be Off!

-- Multiple entries are considered but must be entered individually.

-- Proofread for grammar, spelling, and punctuation to the best of your ability.

-- Please remove your name from the entry. The competition judge will read the entries blind. If you do not remove your name, it will be manually removed before it is sent to the judge.

-- The judge's decision is final and is in no way influenced by the curator of I Must Be Off!

-- All entries must be received through the entry form at I Must Be Off! To access this form, go to the COMPETITION tile on the homepage.



Grand Prize: $300

Second Place: $100

Third Place: $50

All Finalists will be published at I Must Be Off! and will receive a e-copy of Michelle Elvy's the everrumble.


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