Favorite Things I Wrote, 2013

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2013 was certainly a year of “growth” for me.  The other day, I looked back at some of the first articles I ever wrote for Matador, and compared them to recent ones.  It’s funny how over time you can just sort of “fall into” place, when the place feels right enough.  I’m definitely lucky to have a job that allows me to write, and be creative.  Here are some pieces I am most proud to have published this year:

Books

101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die | St. Martin’s Press.  I just recently read over some of the entries I wrote for this book, which will be officially released on January 7, 2014!  And damn, if there is anyone who excels in the art of trashy travel, I.am.it.

101 Guys to Date Before You Die | Thought Catalog.  While only an eBook, I’m proud to say I have written some kind of literature.  Plus it was fun walking down memory lane and constantly cringing at my idiotic romantic mistakes.

Articles

Why you should start traveling alone | Matador Network.  A fast-turnaround, reactionary piece, I never imagined it would explode over the internet like it did.  I received a lot of emails from people who were inspired by it.  Awesome!

How to piss off a Czech | Matador Network.  This piece was fun to write, but also made me think about what exactly “identity” means to people, and how we should never judge someone, or say they are not something they wish to be, because their sense of identity is not literal enough.

What to Pack for a Travel Shows and Conferences | Travel Fashion Girl.  I always love writing for Alex when I get the chance, and this piece was fun because it combined my love for fashion and design as well.  Plus, it helped me prep for TBEX!

Dear Mom: I want to travel with you | Matador Network.  My mom is imPOSSIBLE to get gifts for, so I wrote this for her for Mother’s Day.

How travel has ruined me | Matador Network.  This was probably THE most fun article I’ve ever written, and one of the most true.

I’m At A Funeral | Thought Catalog.  While not necessarily “cheery,” I felt this was a very vulnerable piece for me, and the style in which I wrote it is very different from what I usually do.  I also found comfort in the people who left comments.

Where to get shitty like a president this July 4th | Matador Network.  While this piece totally flopped, I still had fun combining my love of history with my love of getting schwasted, and that’s all that matters to me.

What are some of the things you’re proud to have accomplished this year?  Link me!

3 awesome not-so-last-minute Christmas Gifts for Travelers

Only one more week until Christmas!  There are tons of gift guides floating around the internet, but not all of us are savvy shoppers.  Luckily, my gift guide is useful for those who forget to buy a loved one a gift literally at the last minute:

101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die ($11.00).  I wrote several entries for this book, including New York City, Prague, Charleston and my home region of Long Island.  Each one is hilarious and provides useful information for not just partiers, but adventurous travelers in general.  It’s currently available for pre-order, but every order comes with an awesome 101 Places Koozie!  It officially launches January 7th, just in time for Three Kings Day, so it’s technically still a great holiday gift.

101 Guys to Date Before You Die ($3.99).  Nothing like an eBook about my failed relationships to make you feel better about yourself!  With the click of a button, you or a loved one can revel in the ups and downs of 20something dating.  Maybe you’ll laugh.  Maybe you’ll say “Holy shit, that’s so me.”  Or maybe you just have an extra $4 lying around that you don’t know what to do with.  I promise, you’ll have a good time reading it (and will probably need a cigarette right after…).

Give the gift of education – purchase a course at MatadorU for you or someone you love ($350).  It seems steep, but compared to some of the other travel courses on the market, it’s seriously a steal (Conde Nast is trying to develop one for about $900…).  Courses in Travel Writing, Photography and Film are available online, and can be completed at your own pace.  Each chapter helps you build upon skills desired in the travel writing field, from story development, to pitch and query writing.  We even have some resources to kickstart your career in travel.

I am totally alive (just super freakin’ busy)!

Little gifts I’ve gotten from student teaching – so adorable!

I know, I know – I’ve been terrible at updating this site for the past four months.  BUT it’s not because I’m lazy and distracted – it’s because I’ve just been TBTF – Too Busy To Function.  Here’s why:

~I’ve been student teaching since September.  It’s been an awesome, emotional roller coaster of an experience that I will never forget.  While I’m looking forward to working from home again, I have to admit it’s going to be difficult to leave my class, cooperating teacher, and school.  I look back at this awesome journey, see how far I’ve come, and think to myself “Wow – I did it!  I did it and it was great!”

~I am finally graduating from grad school!  Getting my Masters in Education two years later than planned isn’t terrible, considering I switched majors and had to deal with Hurricane Sandy turning my life upside down.  It’s very exciting, such a relief, and the skills I have acquired are incredibly valuable.  While I don’t plan on getting a teaching job anytime soon, I am excited for the kinds of opportunities that lay ahead.

~I’m working on a few book projects, as well as writing for Drive the District.  It’s a great new website with an edge, and I’ve been recruited to help write content for their New York section.  I’m lucky that Matador provides me with a steady, reliable paycheck, but every once in a while, it’s good to challenge myself with new partners.  Speaking of Matador…

~I have been promoted again!  Starting next week, I join the ranks as a Managing Editor at Matador Network.  Talk about an amazing journey – this time last year, I was drafting up entries for our second publication, 101 Places to Get F*cked Up Before You Die!  I’ll still be heading up their Social Media for a bit, but this is an epic new chapter I’ll be traversing.  My parents have finally realized that my career in freelancing is a pretty legit deal, and I am honored and excited to embark on this new phase of my life.

Overall, I have to say that 2013 has been a pretty amazing year.  I am hoping and praying 2014 will not let me down.  I am also hoping to be ore consistent, so watch this space.  I’ll have a roundup of my travel resolutions of course, forthcoming.

To new adventures!

5 reasons why travel writers should participate in NaNoWriMo

Sardinal, Costa Rica. ©KatkaTravels

It makes you try out a new style of writing.  While it’s awesome to be an expert in a certain genre, as writers, we should be challenging ourselves.  That means diverging away from traditional travel writing, and trying something different.  How would you incorporate your travels into a fictional story?  What elements from your writing can you bring to something totally out of the box?

It instills diligence.  The best way to get better at writing, is to write – a lot.  Like, all of the time.  You should honestly write something every day, even if it’s just a short blog piece, or a letter to a friend.  Even journaling is good.  But to really excel at writing, you have to write with a purpose.  Crafting your NaNoWriMo story is an awesome way to up your game.

It teaches you the art of setting small goals.  ”I want to travel to Alaska from Argentina by motorbike in one month!”  Awesome idea, maybe not totally realistic – especially if you don’t own a motorbike.  It’s the same thing with NaNoWriMo – “I’m going to write 50,000 words in one week!” is totally unrealistic, but setting a smaller goal like “I will write 1,500 words a day” is like saying “I will learn to first ride a motorbike before embarking on this adventure.”

The 21 rule.  Some debate this as actual truth, but supposedly, if you do something for 21 days in a row – yoga, using new vocabulary, washing the dishes – it becomes habitual.  I think there is some credence to that, because if you do something long enough, you do get better at it, and it does become somewhat second nature.  So if you write every day, for 21 days at least, most likely, you’ll continue writing on day 22, 23, 24…This is good for travel writers because you will always find time to write, even when days on the road get hectic.

There is publishing potential.  This is the perfect opportunity to get started on that eBook you’ve been putting off.  When my eBook was published through Thought Catalog, I had a limit of 30,000 words – if you choose to go through a publisher, you may have already exceeded the maximum amount of words required of you with NaNoWriMo.  If you choose to self-publish, all you will have to worry about is cohesion.  After one month and a little editing, you’ll have a completed work that you can actually make money off of.

Are you participating in this year’s event?  

Add me as a buddy – username katkatravels.

Links I Like, week of 11/4

Stuff on the internet I liked reading this week…

These Fascinating Maps Show The Origin Of Words We Use All The Time Me gusta maps.  Me gusta linguistics.  I’ve always been fascinated by cognates.  This article serious blew my mind and is just amazeballs.

Should we take the ‘free’ out of freelance?  The freelance debate is growing stronger every day.  I’ve read a lot of articles about it, but for some reason hearing people discuss it is a different experience.  A must-listen for those who take pride in being paid to hang out in our pjs.

Los Angeles: A Walking and Public Transit City.  I’ve always thought about living in LA, but since I hate driving, I’ve pushed it out of my mind.  My good friend Spencer did a little experiment to dispel the idea that LA is completely a driver’s city.

How To Travel With Your Best Friend.  Love this breakdown by Brenna, who crafts beautiful words into sage advice and uses her own experiences traveling with her bestie.

20 of the most ridiculous TripAdvisor reviews This article will make you laugh so hardcore.  Trip Advisor is so ridiculous sometimes (most times).