Category: Interesting

The Last Notes

12 lessons learned shooting a short documentary

12 lessons learned shooting a short documentary

Coming back from five dusty days making a low-budget documentary in the all-white Afrikaner enclave of Orania in South Africa’s Northern Cape, Rich Stupart shares lessons learned for future filmmaking forays.1. Give up any delusions of not being disruptive to your subject(s).Four people crammed into the tiny kitchen, trying to stay out of each other’s way.

3 things you should never tell an editor

3 things you should never tell an editor

WHEN I FIRST STARTED out as a writer I made some terrible pitches. They actually weren’t pitches, but really just me trying to reach out to editors hoping they would recognize the inherent genius of my emails and take me under their wing.Rightfully, they were ignored.Likewise we get a bunch of these kinds of beginner’s pitches.

A literary pilgrimage: In search of Janet Frame’s New Zealand, part 1

A literary pilgrimage: In search of Janet Frame’s New Zealand, part 1

The first installment in a week-long series here at Matador.IN THE WEEKS before I flew to New Zealand, I was having a hard time explaining the reason for my trip, which had nothing to do with backpacking, surfing, hobbits, or sheep.I was going to trace the life of one of my literary heroes, Janet Frame, who is perhaps New Zealand’s greatest writer.

How to get – and keep getting – paid online travel writing gigs

How to get – and keep getting – paid online travel writing gigs

Last updated: 16 March 2008The tips in this article complement the curriculum of the Travel Writing program at MatadorU.A FEW YEARS AGO I was trying to make a flyer at Kinkos. I handed my rough draft to this goth-looking, pierced eyebrow kid, and asked if there was a way to switch around some of the images and text.

How to study abroad without being an ugly American

How to study abroad without being an ugly American

Here we are, a new semester, and you could easily stay back in the States on your boring campus, drinking light domestic beer like everyone else. But that would be boring and predictable, and you are cool and different, so you’ve decided to spend a few months abroad. And of all the continents on earth, you picked Europe.

A literary pilgrimage: In search of Janet Frame’s New Zealand, part 3

A literary pilgrimage: In search of Janet Frame’s New Zealand, part 3

The third installment in a week-long series here at Matador. Read part 2.FLYING INTO DUNEDIN, the second largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, I was still shaking from my morning bungee jump off the Harbour Bridge in Auckland with some of my new Hawaiian Airlines friends. The assault on my nerves continued when I rented a car and drove for the first time on the left side of the road.

Use Hemingway to improve your travel writing

Use Hemingway to improve your travel writing

Join a growing community of thousands of travel journalists and develop your skills in travel writing, photography, and film with a course at MatadorU.Hemingway’s Iceberg ModelIn Death in the Afternoon, Ernest Hemingway states good writing is like an iceberg, only 1/8ths visible, the remaining 7/8ths underwater.

Everything and nothing is exotic

Everything and nothing is exotic

To be exotic is to be desirable. Those who travel, I think, understand that better than most people. When we plan our travels, we never yearn for a place familiar or known. We want somewhere alien, mysterious, and foreign. We want new. There’s a reason travelers flock to locations with black-sand beaches and volcanoes on the horizon, with foods we’d never find at home, or with languages that make us trip over our own tongues.

Here’s what terrorism can’t destroy

Here’s what terrorism can’t destroy

When tragedy strikes, it’s hard to divert our attention elsewhere. We mourn the loss of those we cared about, we support those injured through their recovery. We wrestle with our emotions — anger, confusion, hatred, sadness — in search of answers that might not even make sense. All of these feelings are natural, and we deal with them in different ways.

Mustang, the ‘Lost Kingdom of Tibet’ [pics]

Mustang, the ‘Lost Kingdom of Tibet’ [pics]

Mustang, the & 39;Lost Kingdom of Tibet& 39; pics - Our SitePhotojournalist Darren Ornitz traveled last year to Mustang, Nepal, known as the “Lost Kingdom of Tibet.”SITUATED WITHIN the world’s highest mountain range and just south of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Mustang is one of the last places in the world where traditional Tibetan culture remains intact.

How to piss off a Kiwi

How to piss off a Kiwi

In bringing this challenge to the streets of Raglan, some Kiwis insisted that it was just “not possible,” that any attempts would “only entertain us.” Recent statistics do indicate that Kiwis are second only to Icelanders in how welcoming they are to foreigners.Others asked me, “Who do you want to piss off?

7 places not to travel, according to movies

7 places not to travel, according to movies

The OutbackWorld-famous travel spots in the bush — the arid central and northern areas of Australia that lack urban centers — include Uluru and Alice Springs. But before organizing a walkabout here, you may want to watch Australian cowboys blast one another’s heads off and suffer from cannibalistic massacres.

A literary pilgrimage: In search of Janet Frame’s New Zealand

A literary pilgrimage: In search of Janet Frame’s New Zealand

IN THE WEEKS before I flew to New Zealand, I was having a hard time explaining the reason for my trip, which had nothing to do with backpacking, surfing, hobbits, or sheep.I was going to trace the life of one of my literary heroes, Janet Frame, who is perhaps New Zealand’s greatest writer. Her inspirational story was recounted first in her masterful autobiography, and then in the moving film adaptation An Angel at My Table by another extraordinary Kiwi artist, director Jane Campion.

Grad student memoirs: Analyzing ESL grammar

Grad student memoirs: Analyzing ESL grammar

So I get the assignment: In order to receive my Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages, I have to analyze an ESL student’s grammar from a writing sample they provide.No big deal, right? I’m a writer. I use conventional grammar all the time. I’m an editor. I know how to make bad writing sound better.

24 hours in Mogadishu, Somalia [pics]

24 hours in Mogadishu, Somalia [pics]

At exactly 9:43am, an excruciatingly loud and garbled voice, full of deep, rolling Rs, jolted me from peaceful sleep: “Attention ladies and gentlemen. We are now beginning our descent into Mogadishu.”For two years I had managed to avoid going to Mogadishu. “Avoid” is probably the wrong word, actually.

Chibuku: An homage to the Southern African homebrew

Chibuku: An homage to the Southern African homebrew

We sat on a log doubling as a bench in a friend’s garden in Emerald Hill, Harare. I exuded the detectably false confidence of any underage drinker: that suspicious overeagerness to be cool that manifests itself as an awkward silence flecked with blurts of mistimed, unfunny interjections. In the rest of the circle were the silhouettes of my seniors, backlit by the dying orange floodlights of a tennis court.

How you can help people in Oklahoma

How you can help people in Oklahoma

Photo via darkroom.baltimoresun.comHere are a few places you can donate to, to help the recovery efforts in Moore, Oklahoma.Red Cross: Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10, or online at Use the Safe & Well website or the mobile version to check on friends and family.Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma: Text FOOD to 32333 to give $10 to relief efforts, or online at http://www.

7 ‘ethnic’ foods that aren’t ethnic at all

7 ‘ethnic’ foods that aren’t ethnic at all

Ah, delicious takeout! But what to order? Time to find the stack of Chinese/Thai/Italian restaurant menus in your area, and choose from one of the many “flavors of the world.”Don’t stamp your foodie passport so fast, however — many of the foods you so fondly think of as originating in a country other than your own are actually nothing like the meals you’d find if you traveled to those countries.

Reflections from a blind traveler

Reflections from a blind traveler

A warm rush of elation washed over me as I arrived at LaGuardia. I’d been away from New York for a while, and I was looking forward to reconnecting with this most stimulating of cities. An airport employee soon greeted me and inquired about my book tour as he led me to a cab. The vehicle pulled up and I was escorted to the door, when suddenly a man shouted in broken English, “No dogs allowed!

Dispatch from the Solomon Islands, post-tsunami

Dispatch from the Solomon Islands, post-tsunami

This story was originally produced as a student assignment in the MatadorU Travel Writing program.“Where was the kitchen again?” I’m confused. I remember the palm-leaf building being somewhere around here, but I can’t pinpoint its location now.“Over there,” a colleague points at a patch of sandy ground 15 metres back from the shore, covered in debris: thick logs, fragments of sago-palm walling, pieces of hewn timber, dried leaves.