Hoi An Travel Writing & Photography Retreat
December 9-15, 2018
Hoi An, Vietnam

THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL.

If you want to add your name to a waiting list in case a space opens up, please fill in the form below.  We'll contact you if someone cancels.

Yes, please add me to the waiting list!

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

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Do you want to be a travel writer?  Do you want to improve your skills at this enjoyable craft?  Do you want some practice using your camera to help tell your story?

Join us at our Hoi An Travel Writing & Photography Retreat in December.  We’ll spend time together inside the classroom learning about travel writing and photography.  Then we'll explore the ancient city dreaming up story ideas and making photographs to help you tell your story. 

The Ancient City of Hoi An

The ancient town of Hoi An, Vietnam was a SE Asian trading port in the 15th through 19th centuries and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

This bustling town is a well-preserved complex of more than 1000 timber framed buildings.  There are pagodas and architectural monuments alongside shops and restaurants, an open market full of fresh fruits and vegetables, a ferry quay with small boats for hire and family cult houses. 

Hoi An continues to thrive as a trading port and center of commerce.  It's well-known today for its beautiful lanterns that decorate the streets by day and magically transform the town into a colorful wonderland every night.  Visiting Hoi An is an unforgettable experience.

About the Retreat

This unique destination writer’s retreat includes creative travel writing and photography workshops.  You'll learn the skills you need to be a successful travel writer and how to produce quality photographs to help you tell your story.

Vietnam’s atmospheric and beguiling UNESCO World Heritage City of Hoi An offers an unforgettable experience.  It will inspire your writing, spark your imagination and please your palate.  Hidden inside the ancient buildings are some of the best culinary delights known to mankind.  You'll have to try Banh Bao Vac (White Rose Dumplings) and Cao Lau (noodles, barbecued pork and local vegetables) while you're here.

You'll learn the craft of travel writing while touring this extraordinary destination.  No experience is necessary; just bring an open mind, a laptop, or simply pen and paper.  Your sense of curiosity and creative juices will flow no matter which tools you use.

We’ll explore the fascinating local attractions and experience true Vietnamese culture — all while learning the craft of travel writing and photography from a seasoned travel journalist and photographer.

Most days we'll spend three hours in classroom instruction and writing activities.  The rest of the time you're free to explore Hoi An with the group or on your own. 

Our host hotel is the Hotel Royal Hoi An, a beautiful art nouveau inspired design on the banks of the Thu Bon River.  We'll have a comfortable, private meeting room for our morning sessions and we'll hold a few random meetings around other parts of the hotel.  You're only a five minute walk from the ancient city so it's a very convenient location for exploring during your free time.

You'll have plenty of free time to get out and discover your own stories, and to relax.  The classroom exercises will help you write personal travel memoirs and stories you can keep for yourself, publish professionally or share with friends and family online.   

The techniques you'll learn won’t just help you write better - they’ll help you travel better, too.  You’ll gain richer awareness and deeper insights into the places you visit.  Because you’ll be writing about Hoi An and taking photos each day, you’ll delve more deeply and look more closely at everything around you. 

Class sessions are meant help you write more clearly about your trip while you’re in Hoi An.  And they’ll help you pen your stories about past experiences and future destinations, too.

This retreat is open to writers of all skill levels.  It’s crafted to allow plenty of flexibility to concentration on the things that interest you most.

Skills You'll Develop and Things You'll Learn

  • How to develop your personal travel writing voice and style
  • Crafting a compelling beginning or lede
  • Developing your story ideas and story angles to make them marketable
  • Using photographs to create a sense of place
  • Tips and advice to craft active, compelling stories
  • How to improve your story structure and writing technique
  • Secrets to turn your creative sparks into exciting stories
  • Expert tips on how to make your travel writing more descriptive
  • How to avoid the worst travel writing mistakes
  • Making your writing stand out to a magazine editor
  • How to provide photo galleries editors will love
  • Important travel writing rules you must know to be successful
  • Photography field trips at dawn and dusk to create magical photos
  • Photography tips and techniques that will help sell your travel stories

Developing Story Ideas and Angles

All travel writing is grounded in a story topic and story angle. This class explores where to look for story ideas and how to develop a strong story angle. 

You’ll start work on a writing assignment by developing a story topic and angle.  Then you’ll spend time in discussion with your small writing group in the breakout sessions.  And you’ll get some input from the instructor about how to tweak your ideas and make them shine.

Story Structure and Writing Technique

From developing your introduction to outlining your article and wrapping it all up, this session will provide a step-by-step outline for crafting a winning travel piece. 

Photography to Tell Your Story and Sell It

Photography is an important part of travel journalism, but you don’t have to be a professional photographer to create professional-looking photos that will help sell your travel stories.

This workshop cover bringing your stories to life with images.  We’ll cover the basics: subject selection, framing, composition, lighting.  And we’ll show you how to take photographs that convey a sense of place, deliver a gallery editors love, and basic processing to make your photos shine.  You'll also learn the top ten tips for crafting an engaging photo that editors will love, and you will too.

We'll go on two photo shoots:  one at dusk to capture the lights, lanterns and street activity, and one at dawn to capture the peacefulness of the ancient city as locals prepare for the day ahead.  You'll learn about what times are best for creating beautiful photos, and then you'll get to make some of your own!

Toward the end of the week we’ll spend time reviewing your photos for feedback and sharing.

Additional Benefits

  • A private Facebook group will be available soon after we open registration.  You can share your work, get advice, and solicit feedback from us before and after the retreat!  You can also ask questions about things to do in and around Hoi An so you can plan your itinerary.
  • You'll receive a complimentary copy of The Art & Craft of Travel Writing, a popular resource to have at your fingertips.
  • You'll also receive a complimentary copy of our latest book, Find Your Niche:  Uncover Your Most Meaningful and Valuable Writing Opportunities.
  • While you’re in Hoi An, you’ll receive writing tasks to submit for honest and constructive feedback to help you grow as a writer!  If you're motivated, you'll leave with at least one completed story and even more story ideas.
  • We'll facilitate small group breakouts to share ideas, offer feedback and motivate each other.
  • There will be early morning and early evening photography shoots.  Learn about light and how to get the most dramatic shots of this ancient city.
  • Roy will be available outside classroom hours to meet with you on whatever questions you have about travel writing or how to sell your stories, how to write your query letter, or how to land a press trip.
  • Post workshop consultation with Roy on one story idea.  He'll walk you through the process of how to get your story published.
  • Class size is limited to 10 participants allowing you to get all your questions answered, lots of personal feedback and an opportunity to make new friends in an relaxed environment.

About Your Instructors

Roy Stevenson and Linda Popovich have been working and traveling together for more than ten years as travel writer & photographer. 

Roy is a professional travel writer and the author of PitchTravelWrite.  Over the past ten years, he’s had more than 1000 articles published in 200 magazines, trade and specialty journals, in-flights, on-boards, blogs and websites and has traveled on assignment around the U.S. and to dozens of international destinations.

Linda is a professional travel photographer and editor/publisher of PitchTravelWrite.  Her photographs have been published in a variety of regional, national and international magazines and online.  After 25 years in a corporate office, she enjoys photographing anything that keeps her outdoors, takes her to new places and introduces her to new friends.

You can learn more about them at www.roy-stevenson.com and www.lindapopovichphotography.com.


Course Agenda for December 9-15

You’ll fly into the Danang (DAD) Vietnam airport and take a taxi to Hoi An (30 minute drive).  If you arrive early, you can explore the ancient city of Hoi An on your own. 

SUNDAY, 5 PM – The week begins with a welcoming Meet and Greet at The River Bar in the Hotel Royal Hoi An, a cozy bar along the Thu Bon river where we’ll drink some wine (or beer), sample some Vietnamese and French inspired tapas and spend some time getting to know each other.

MONDAY, 9 AM - Noon

- Introduction to travel writing - learn the seven trade secrets for writing a good travel story.

- Developing your story ideas & story angles – learn how to make them marketable so that editors will buy them.

- Using photography to create a sense of place – most editors expect you to provide high quality photos with your stories.  Learn techniques for creating a sense of place with your photographs so editors will love your photos (and you will, too!)

Afternoon – Time to explore Hoi An.  Meet at 1:30 pm - Roy will get you oriented and spend about an hour exploring the town with you.  You’re free to continue exploring on your own, take a break at one of many coffee shops, or to relax at the pool and do some writing.

6 PM – Group Dinner

TUESDAY, 9AM – Noon

- Crafting a compelling beginning or lede

- Individual Creative Writing Time

- Tips & advice to craft active, compelling stories

Afternoon – Free time to explore Hoi An, relax with a spa treatment, do some writing, or go farther afield to some of the local sites.

5-7 PM - Evening Photography Shoot

WEDNESDAY, 8 AM – 1PM

Cooking School – We’ll start by taking a small boat along the river to Hoi An’s colorful and bustling central market.  You’ll learn about the different fresh rice noodles, how to buy fresh fish, fresh and dried spices, fresh herbs and how they’re used for food and medicine, and many exotic fruits.  We’ll return by boat where you’ll be guided along several stalls where you will experience many different food-making processes.  You’ll see rice paper being made, noodles rolled out by hand and you’ll get to sample my foods and sweet treats.  The cooking class lasts 2.5 hours where you’ll see a demonstration and then prepare the food yourself.  We’ll prepare 4 Vietnamese recipes.  Then we’ll sit down and enjoy what we’ve prepared together.

Afternoon –Free time to explore Hoi An, relax with a spa treatment, do some writing, or go farther afield to some of the local sites.

THURSDAY,  5-7 AM - Dawn Photo Shoot

9AM – Noon

You’ll learn about the worst (and most common) travel writing mistakes and how to avoid them

Learn the secrets to turn your creative sparks into exciting stories

Why editing matters – see examples of stories before & after editing and the important differences

There will be some Creative Writing Time

Afternoon – Free time to explore Hoi An, relax with a spa treatment, do some writing, or go farther afield to some of the local sites.

FRIDAY, 9 AM-Noon

Discuss how to write a query letter and how to successfully pitch editors your travel stories

Learn how to make your writing stand out to a magazine editor

Lesson on What Editors Want in Photography – Top 10 Tips for Better Photos

Afternoon – Free time to explore Hoi An, relax with a spa treatment, do some writing, or go farther afield to some of the local sites.

6 PM – Group Dinner and Celebration

SATURDAY, 9 AM-Noon

Sharing your stories and the progress made this week – Q&A, feedback from other participants

Photo sharing of favorite shots made throughout the week

Wrap-up and next steps in the process

Check out of hotel --- or continue exploring!

Registration Details

The price for the Travel Writing and Photography Retreat in Hoi An, Vietnam is $1497. 

A quick summary of what the registration fee includes:

  • Fifteen hours of classroom instruction on travel writing tips and techniques and photography tips held at the Royal Hotel in Hoi An, just a 5-minute walk from the ancient city.
  • Two 2-hour photo shoots in the ancient town of Hoi An.
  • Entry ticket to the ancient town which includes entry into the main tourist sites.
  • Meet & Greet drinks and appetizers on Sunday, December 9th
  • Two group dinners at some of the best restaurants in town
  • A cooking class and lunch mid-week to learn how the prepare some of the Vietnamese dishes you've been enjoying all week.  Of course, you'll also get to enjoy the food you prepared!
  • Transportation to/from any of the venues above when needed.
  • Complimentary ebooks and resource guides.

What's not included:

  • Airfare and ground transportation to Hoi An
  • Hotel (although we recommend the host hotel, there are many less expensive options.  We'll give you a list of all the options when you register.)
  • Meals other than those described above
  • Other travel expenses such as laundry, tips, souvenirs, travel insurance, and other miscellaneous costs.

THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL.

If you want to add your name to a waiting list in case a space opens up, please fill in the form below.  We'll contact you if someone cancels.

Yes, please add me to the waiting list!

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Please enter the word that you see below.

  

Cancellation Policy:

A non-refundable deposit of $500 reserves your space in this retreat.  We’ll send you an invoice for the remainder ($997) due by September 9th.  If you decide to cancel after you’ve paid the full registration fee ($1497), we will happily apply the amount you paid to a future workshop either in the U.S. or at an international destination, less a small administrative fee of $125 as long as you notify us at least one week in advance of the start of the workshop.  To protect your investment, we strongly suggest you purchase trip-cancellation insurance.   

A minimum class size of 4 people is required to hold this retreat.  If we don't have that number confirmed by September 9th we will cancel the retreat.  If for any reason we must cancel this retreat, your deposit and registration fee (if paid) will be fully refunded.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS SEPTEMBER 9, 2018. 

SIGN UP TODAY WITH $500 DEPOSIT AND JOIN US FOR THIS UNIQUE TRAVEL WRITING AND PHOTOGRAPHY RETREAT!

If you still have questions about this retreat, use the form below.  We'll respond as quickly as we can...

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