Travel Writing Workshop

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  • May 26, 2018

Many of us are passionate about travel writing and want to see our writing published – but it isn’t easy to get started as a travel writer.

That’s where the travel writing workshop steps in. The workshop takes place in central London and offers invaluable advice and assistance for getting underway and developing your writing. The site contains comprehensive information about the workshop, but first of all let me give you a brief video intro to travel writing.

Also have a look at the website for workshop info

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Submit Real Estate & Travel Guest Blog Posts at

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  • May 25, 2018

Guest posts at are welcome from great bloggers who seek to inform readers about all things real estate, finance, home and travel related. International real estate website seeks great writers for its active blog and news section. Highly ranked in Google the website is ideal for content writers seeking to write informative #GuestPost articles.By adding guests post on multiple websites #bloggers and writers can gain enormous online credibility and is a great way to gain a bigger following on your own social media accounts and websites, while also gaining credibility and networking opportunities. – See more at:

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Read, Read, Read!

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  • December 27, 2017

Study Released:

Research “A Wake-up Call” for U.S. Educators
How does rEADING COMPETENCY relate to travel?


Ponder that question.

If American kids don’t have the reading skills they need, what’s the likelihood they’ll be motivated to travel as adults? Reading unveils a world of discovery that can foster an interest in domestic and international travel.

Boston’s PIRLS International Study Center published a report earlier this month. The research was conducted in more than 50 countries and revealed American fourth graders rank 15th among developed nations in reading skills.

You can read more about the international study center here.

PIRLS (Progress in Reading Literacy Study), PIRLS) is an international comparative assessment that measures student learning in reading.

David Bruce Smith, co-founder of the Grateful American Book Prize, noted there is also evidence that confirms a deficiency of knowledge about American history among young people.

Read more about the study and Smith’s findings.

Information Published Courtesy of PIRLS

“The PIRLS finding should be a stern warning to U.S. educators. The lack of interest in reading is one of the principal reasons for the inadequate understanding of history among young learners.  It can’t all be blamed on the 21st Century emphasis on science and technology in the classroom,” Smith said.

In an article, which Annie Holmquist recently wrote for Intellectual Takeout, she suggests that U.S. educators might be trying too hard to teach children how to read.

Ms. Holmquist compared England, which consistently performs above America in PIRLS assessments, to the U.S.  The English goals for young readers are simple and straightforward.  They want their kids to learn how to enjoy reading, and how to “develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information.”

In the U.S., however, the objectives are much more complicated.  For example, reading standards in America incorporate the goals to “integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, evaluate arguments and specific claims in a text, and analyze two or more texts to compare themes,” Holmquist said.

“Where’s the fun in that?” asked Smith.  “History books that teach names, events and dates may provide the facts, but they can’t make those facts interesting or make the student want to learn the stories behind those details.”

In an effort to minimize the country’s historical “illiteracy,” Dr. Bruce Cole, the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Smith, co-founded the Grateful American Book Prize in 2015, as a way to encourage more authors and their publishers to produce absorbing and inspiring books of nonfiction and historical fiction about defining American events.

Smith believes “if you give a student a good read, he will become curious, and— perhaps— start investigating the history of the nation, and grow into a productive, civically-minded citizen.”


Visit to learn more about the GRATEFUL AMERICAN BOOK PRIZE.


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Trying to Save Money on Travel?

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  • October 11, 2017
Trying to save money on travel. Read this luggage report on


the best luggage deals
Does shopping for luggage make your head spin? Follow these tips to find the best luggage at affordable prices.

Why the luggage manufacturing business will probably never fail.

Written by Renee McDermott


One item travelers cannot do without is a suitcase. From rolling duffels and hard shell suitcases to backpacks and designer bags, the vast array of styles and options they offer consumers is enough to make your head spin.

And make your wallet a bit thinner.

Is Your Wallet FAT or Thin?


Many shoppers still head to brick and mortar stores when it comes to the final luggage purchase. After all, this is where you can open, close, lift, touch, zip, snap and test every aspect of a suitcase before you buy it. However, the price tag dangling from each bag is printed with a relatively high number compared to what you would find online.

Purchase Your Luggage Online?


Did you know that 88 percent of luggage is available online and that you can save an average of $110 by opting to purchase it there?

It is certainly a wakeup call for many travelers who think that the cheapest way to purchase luggage is during a seasonal sale or from the clearance section.

Let’s face it – traveling is expensive, and luggage isn’t always at the top of the priority list.

Thanks to the help of an in-depth study done by Test Facts, shoppers will be pleased to know that Delsey, Samsonite, American Tourister, and many more brands are all available online for less.

So should you head to your favorite online shop and start adding luggage to your cart?

Yes, but be aware of a few traps along the way.

For example, products with a high volume of negative reviews usually have a higher discount. While you may be getting a great deal on a heavily discounted bag, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is worth the purchase.

Do you want the zipper to fly off the track after your first trip with it or the retractable handle to break?


You get what you pay for, so shop wisely and make sure you understand the average lifespan of a suitcase or bag before you purchase it.

While you may not be able to touch or feel a potential piece of luggage on your computer screen, you can gain useful insight into its quality and durability by referring to customers’ comments. Many include photos of their purchase or detailed explanations of the product, which will put the wary shopper at ease. Popular products will have a high quantity of reviews, so it is easy to find all of the information you need to make a confident purchase online.

Based on the study, the three luggage manufacturers that offer the most savings (in dollar amounts) are Nautica, Kenneth Cole, and Victorinox.

And which online stores offer the most savings?


Surprisingly, Walmart online store is at the top of the list, followed by Century 21 and Target. Kohl’s and Macy’s, it seems, aren’t even worth considering.

The Bottom Line


Regardless of the brand you prefer, the statistics show that online shopping is best when it comes to purchasing luggage. Travelers on a budget can always turn to brick and mortar stores when it comes to touching and testing a product, but to save some real cash, be sure to make your final purchase online.



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A Walk for Sunshine

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  • September 28, 2017
A Walk for Sunshine book review by Joan Matsui Travel Writer

Jeff Alt’s Walk for Sunshine

Adventure on the Appalachian Trail


A book review


“A Walk for Sunshine” is a special anniversary edition and a celebration of the 20th annual Sunshine Walk, Run and Roll, a fundraiser born out of Jeff Alt’s 1998 2,160-mile trek along the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

Beaufort Books recently released the commemorative edition to celebrate Alt’s 147-day time out from civilization and more than $500,000 he has raised since 1998.

Alt experienced long days and nights alone as he braved a variety of weather conditions that ran the gamut from excessive heat and wind, 10-foot snow drifts to bitter cold and agonizing blisters to raise money for Sunshine Communities, a small community in Maumee, Ohio. His brother, Aaron has cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability and has called Sunshine home for more than two decades.

A Walk for Sunshine is a fascinating account of his travels that’s so well-documented, heartfelt, and humorous you’ll want to read from beginning to end in one shot. In one of my favorite passages, Alt describes a typical day on the trail.

Of course, a simple guess of “walking, eating, or sleeping” would sum up my typical day. My life was very simple. As I breathed, a beautiful sunset in a valley or paused at a stream to drink in the tranquil sound of fast-moving water, I envisioned different people from home who would appreciate what I was seeing and experiencing. I wished that everyone could stop what they were doing and walk with me. I wished Aaron could experience this adventure firsthand.”

Whether you’re inclined to spend your days hiking or you have a family member with disabilities, you will find Alt’s endearing portrait refreshing and inspiring.


A Walk for Sunshine was published on Sept. 9, 2017, by Beaufort Books, New York, NY and is available in print and e-book editions. For more information, visit

Learn more about Jeff Alt’s continuing travels and expeditions at



A Walk for Sunshine book review by Joan Matsui Travel Writer
Jeff Alt’s 2,160-mile trek along the Appalachian Trail has raised more than $500,000 for individuals with disabilities.


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

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books about genealogy How I Got Here Book Review Lifestyle memoirs about genealogy

An Expat Childhood: A Nutshell Summary

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  • September 22, 2017
Ceil Lucas How I Got Here Joan Matsui Travel

Points south and east


Finding yourself through travel and genealogy


By Ceil Lucas, the author of How I Got Here: A Memoir

Ceil Lucas How I Got Here Joan Matsui Travel
Ceil Lucas is the author of “How I Got Here: A Memoir

It would seem that I had an expat childhood.

The nutshell summary:  I was born in Phoenix in 1951; in 1956, my father the civil engineer accepted a job in Guatemala City.  In 1960, he was hired by the Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO) of the United Nations located in Rome, Italy. I came to the US for college in 1969. I returned to Rome for the 1971-1972 academic year.

While I have traveled extensively, I have lived permanently in the United States since August of 1972.  Ages 5 to 21: four years in Guatemala City and 12 in Rome, with two nine-month stints for freshman and sophomore year at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.

I knew that I would eventually write a memoir about my childhood in Guatemala and Italy, to preserve the memories of living in Latin America in the mid-1950s, a fraught time, and in Italy in the 1960s, during the post-war economic boom. I learned to speak Spanish in Guatemala, learned to read and write in Spanish. I arrived in Italy at age nine, had many Italian friends, went to an all-Italian YMCA camp in Sardinia when I was ten and later went back as a camp counselor: total immersion in Italian from when we arrived and it left me with a strong Roman accent, quite distinct from the accents of Florence, Milan, Naples, or Venice.  I developed a deep attachment to Italy which I have maintained over the years, partly from teaching Italian to university students and adults for 44 years.

When I came back to the U.S. for college in 1969, my stance was often, “Well, I wasn’t raised here; I’m not from here”, hand on my hip, head cocked. This was 1969, in the middle of the Vietnam War, and I also brought with me general European opinions about it, opinions not favorable to the U.S. involvement. The deal with my parents had been that, if I wanted to go to college – which I did – it would be in the U.S., non-negotiable. So I came to fulfill my end of the deal, with a large part of my head and heart left behind in Rome.

But I have not one drop of Italian blood in me. I am frequently asked, “Oh, do you still have relatives in Italy?”  I never had any, ever, even though I sound like I must. As I was organizing the memoir, I had also started working on my family’s genealogy and came to find out my mother’s people came to Eastern Maryland from Scotland in 1654; my father’s people were Quakers who sailed to Philadelphia from Weymouth, England, in 1679. And the name in 1500 was De Lucas, with some Spanish blood as well.

As I organized the memoir and worked on the genealogy, I had to slowly come to terms with the fact that, when your folks arrive in 1654 and 1679, you’re “from here,” deeply American. No Italian blood but lots of Scots and English blood. Writing about all of my travels and working on my family’s history got me to my true ethnicity. It forced me to face the occasional difference between my identity quite naturally forged by a childhood outside of the U.S. and my American ethnicity, roots put down, in the case of my mother’s family, 122 years before there even was an America. I have come to feel like I know all of these ancestors and they made their way into what I call my genealogical memoir. I have gotten comfortable with all of them.

How I Got Here by Ceil Lucas on Joan Matsui Travel Writer
Ceil Lucas, sociolinguist, professor, and author

About Ceil Lucas


Ceil Lucas, the author of How I Got Here: A Memoir, is a sociolinguist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French and Art History, a master’s degree in French and Italian, and a doctorate in Linguistics.  She spent 40 years as a professor and researcher at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. She began teaching Italian in 1973 and continues to do so.  She is the editor and co-author of 22 books. The memoir is available on Amazon.


Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase but at no additional cost to you. I have experience with all of these companies and by linking to their product or a party that sells their products, I recommend the product based on their helpful and useful nature, and definitely not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.





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An Organized Traveler: “5 Tips”

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  • June 6, 2017
An Organized Traveler: 5 Tips

Travel tips that go beyond what to pack in a suitcase

courtesy of Larry Schessel, Clakit Founder

What you pack in your suitcase or carry-on bag isn’t the only important travel information you need. 

An Organized Traveler: 5 Tips

“An Organized Traveler: 5 Tips” is a feature by Larry Schessel, Clakit Founder.

Besides the holiday season, summer is an ideal time to travel and go on vacation. The weather tends to be beautiful, kids are on break from school and there seem to be more activities available to do.

While picking out the perfect destination and making a list of must visit sight-seeing spots is fun and exciting, on the other hand, packing can be a nightmare and cause you to rip your hair out. We all know to roll our clothes instead of folding them or to wrap liquids in bags and plastic wrap to prevent them leaking everywhere.

Here are a few tips that go beyond what to pack in a bag.

  • Organize your bag so the items you need the most are easily accessible and can be grabbed without digging through it. Searching for items is a hassle and stressful, to begin with, but when you’re pulling all your items out to find whatever it is you’re looking for everyone around you can see what else you have in your bag. This exposure can make you even more vulnerable to theft.
  • If you have a medical condition, such as asthma, diabetes or a severe allergy, you should keep your medication and anything else you may need in one specific spot and let your travel companions know where it is so that they don’t have to waste time digging through your items if an emergency occurs.
  • Try not to put anything in your pockets while traveling, even while going through an airport. Not only can your items easily fall out, but it leaves you susceptible to pickpockets especially at check-in areas and security lines where there tend to be a lot of people.
  • If you can, make copies of your important documents that you are bringing along on your trip and keep one set with you and the other in your checked bag just in case your bag is stolen or you get pickpocketed.
  • Luggage theft will always be an issue for airports. Make sure to mark your bags with a bright and distinguishable tag, ribbon or luggage belt that can help you identify your bag. It is also suggested to use Transportation Security Administration (TSA) approved locks for your bags, including carry-ons. Passengers have had their bags that were stored in an overhead compartment rummaged through and items stolen while they slept or weren’t paying attention.

(Hint From Larry) Attach ClakIt’s StrapPack pouches to the straps of your backpack and keep items such as passport, wallet, smartphone and any other item you need to have readily available secure from wandering fingers.

About ClakIt

The ClakIt Clip and StrapPacks were conceived when the founder, Larry Schessel, was hiking in the California mountains and realized how irritating it was to have to stop and remove his backpack every time he needed to take a picture, drink water or eat a snack. ClakIt StrapPacks provide on-demand storage on the front of the body where items can be safe from theft, easily accessible yet hands-free. They securely clip onto any strap in seconds creating comfortable non-slip storage that can be interchanged and moved based on specific activities and needs.

Publisher’s Note:

An Organized Traveler: “5 Tips” offers valuable advice that will protect you from the hands of thieves. I attest to the versatility and convenience of  Clakit. I agreed to sample his products several years ago and I still use his harness system every time I walk or hike. Larry recently sent two additional pouches with clips to me so I’d have a water bottle holder and a second pouch for other items I carry.

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Training Travel

My Travel Ideas

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  • October 20, 2016

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