The Soundtrack of Travel — Travel Writing Competition — $200 Prize

Update — Entries are now closed! Winners will be announced in October on our Facebook page and in our newsletter. Thank you to everyone who participated. For aspiring travel writers, consider joining us for Travel Writer Transformation starting September 25.

Dear writer,

Maybe it’s a Bon Jovi song that spills out the door of a karaoke club as you stroll through the streets of Bangkok. It could be the tune that plays incessantly in your head as you gaze out the window of the bus taking you through the curving roads of the Andes. Maybe it’s the sound of a musician playing her saxophone on the sidewalk as you wander through new streets and alleys. Music often provides a subtle background sound for our travels, sticking around to inspire, console, motivate, or distract. 

Travel writing is sensory. It asks you to bring a place to life by helping the reader see it, feel it, taste it, and, yes, hear it. Music can be one powerful way to do that. The music we hear can reflect a place, just as much as it can reflect our own tastes. Music can move us, and it rarely fails to accompany us as we move.  

For our latest writing competition, Intrepid Times is inviting travelers and writers from all countries, at all levels of writing experience, to incorporate music into a travel story.

Here’s what we’re looking for: Write an original, factual, first-person travel story that incorporates music. The way you achieve this is up to you, but be creative and bold in the way you use music to help build your story. Your travel story should, as always, grow around the context of a place or experience; we want to see music being used in a way that enhances both. Editors will be looking for originality, voice, and a satisfying story arc that captures attention and makes use of imagery (especially auditory imagery) to pull the reader along at every step. 

One winner will be selected and have their work published on Intrepid Times. The winner will be paid a cash-prize of US $200. We will also choose up to five shortlisted entries to be published on Intrepid Times under our standard terms and payment. 

Entry is free of charge to all writers. However, writers looking to improve their writing through detailed feedback may choose to purchase an assessed entry using the link below. With this option, you will receive a Google Doc with line-by-line comments and suggestions on how to improve your writing on a sentence level, as well as a detailed, personal email explaining any structural, stylistic or strategic changes to help you grow as a writer.

The deadline to submit your story for “The Soundtrack of Travel” is August 31, 2023. The winner and shortlisted entries will be announced in September, and payment will be made to each on the day their selected story is published.

Please write between 1200 and 2000 words and submit only your original, unpublished work. Please be conscientious about how you identify third parties, and if you use real names, please make sure you have permission. Choose your option below to proceed to the submission details. (You do not have to have your story ready for submission when selecting your preferred option.)

Enter for Free or Upgrade for a Detailed Assessment and Line-by-Line Feedback

Select your preferred option below to proceed to the relevant submissions page:

Assessed Entry

With this option, you will receive a Google Doc with line-by-line comments on your story direct from our editors. We will also send you a personal email explaining any structural, stylistic, or strategic changes to help you grow as a writer. Recommended for aspiring travel writers. You will receive your detailed feedback in early September.

Free Entry

With this option, you can enter the competition for free, and your story will be assessed on its merits. Recommended for experienced writers, and those who do not currently have a budget for the assessed option.

Winners will be announced in September and October 2023. Entries close August 31.

Need inspiration? Read the winners and runners-up from our past travel writing competitions.

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