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E-book Travel Writing and Travel Photography - from Dreams to Hard Reality

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The result of a combined total of more than 200 years of experience in the professions of Travel Writing and Travel Photography, the new Global Travel Writers E-book Travel Writing and Travel Photography - from Dreams to Hard Reality contains material that you just will not find anywhere else.

The twelve contributors to this E-book take you through the processes of digging out a story idea; using the services of national tourism offices to arrange "famil" trips and to help research a story; pitching to editors; and much much more. The chapter on “New Media” contains exclusive material and advice on the latest techniques that you can use to enhance your writing’s appeal to editors and, through them, to readers. And because photography is so important, in this E-book we have devoted two comprehensive chapters to travel photography for a digital age.

The E-book Travel Writing and Travel Photography - from Dreams to Hard Reality is priced at just USD 8.95 or AUD 9.95. http://www…

China’s New Great Wall

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Words and pics by Roderick Eime. Additional photography from Helen Wongs Tours

River cruising is the perfect means to explore the great Yangtze River.

The Yangtze River is a massive tempestuous monster. For centuries it has been both the life and death of the Chinese people, providing food, water for irrigation and a critical transport route, but turning fierce with immense and destructive floods. In 1998, the last destructive flood, some 2000 people were drowned and millions made homeless. This final malicious act of the Yangtze would be the last.

If China was to grow and prosper, the beast must be tamed and made to work for the masses. The might of the new China is setting out to tame this fearsome beast with concrete, steel and seemingly limitless manpower.

Our journey begins in Chongqing, a vast, sprawling metropolis now bearing the title of world's largest city. With a population of 32 million it is three times the size of New York City thanks mainly to the relocation of forme…

Falling Heroes - Vanuatu's Famous Land Divers

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There’s something almost suicidal about Vanuatu’s famous land divers. Bungy jumpers have the benefit of an elastic cord to cushion their fall, but not so the legendary N’Gol (land-diving) natives of Pentecost Island.

The origin of this dangerous ritual is clouded in tantalizing mystery. One of the more romantic tales tells the story of the abusive husband Tamalie who, in pursuit of his recalcitrant wife, followed her up a tall tree as she fled from him. She, whose name seems to have been mislaid in the passage of time, refused to come down knowing that another beating was in store. Driven by pride and rage, Tamalie lunged at her, but she jumped. Tamalie, intoxicated by fury, lunged after her not knowing she had tied vines to her legs and he plunged to his death while she survived.

Some liberal doses of artistic license may have embellished this tale, but it remains as intriguing as ever. Apparently the village men began to re-enact the nameless wife’s heroic plunge to prepare themsel…

By the Hammer of Thor – A Viking Trail through the North Atlantic

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If you were a Viking in the Middle Ages of European history, chances are you were not much of a diplomat or humanitarian. Roderick Eime reflects on the Nordic influence.

The fearsome Viking reputation is not without substance. Beginning around the ninth century until well into the eleventh, the Norse mariners went on an aggressive land grab that often resulted in bloodshed, abduction and pillaging. Today’s mild-mannered and infinitely cultured Scandinavians have countered this unfriendly perception somewhat by reminding us that the Vikings were also skilled seafarers, advanced agriculturalists and energetic traders who advanced the culture and civilization of Europe generally.

No matter which angle you embrace, Vikings still evoke a powerful mystique with their bold and robust architecture and design as well as pagan worship. Just like the Greeks and Romans, Norse mythology is chock-a-block with mighty deities and gods like, Thor (god of thunder), Odin (god of war) and Freyr (goddess…

Fiji: Dance of the Devil Fish

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Hidden away in Fiji’s Yasawa Island group north-east of Nadi, a pre-historic submarine ritual is played out before a mesmerised Roderick Eime.

Like dog-fighting starfighters from some science fiction epic, the two creatures banked, dived and barrel-rolled in perfect unison, the slightly smaller of the two trailing behind, appearing to be lining up for an attack. But as the act played out in perfect slow motion harmony, it was clear the two enormous underwater beasts were simply cavorting in an ancient ceremony only they understood.

Manta Rays [Manta birostris] are the largest of all the rays and unlike the all-too-deadly stingrays we are now familiar with, these massive, yet gentle and placid plankton feeders just cruise and browse their way around the world's oceans.

Worshipped as mystical sea gods by some Pacific Islanders and as wanton demons by the Japanese who believed the beast would envelope a man in its wings and crush him to death. Giant Manta Rays can grow to 8 met…

Sail in for a Solomon Island Surprise

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The Solomon Islands are a mystery to most Pacific Island vacationers. Adventure cruiser, Roderick Eime, reckons all it takes is a little bit of curiosity and a sense of history to be bewitched by this emerging destination.

The ghostly group approached us timidly, looking curiously in all directions. Mainly young men and a couple of boys, all smeared head-to-toe in lurid orange mud, they scanned the bushes, the tree tops and the tall grass. Clearly in fear of being observed, they moved cautiously as if any or every movement would betray them.

While these orange interlopers patrolled the gathering, women and men in traditional village attire danced and chanted energetically. The women, in particular, cavorted in a way that would have the missionaries covering their eyes and rushing for their bibles. Their hands firmly on their hips, they gyrated unambiguously, throwing their heads back in mirth.

But it wasn’t long before the orange mudmen’s imagined bogeymen materialised. Slim, litheso…

Seattle Surprise

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A late starter in the cruising stakes, Seattle is more than making up for it with a visitor-friendly persona and weekly cruises to Alaska and beyond.

Words and pictures: Roderick Eime

“Chop its head off!” “Cut out its guts!” and a lifeless carcass is hurled through the air. No, this is not some sadistic pirate ritual, nor some bizarre black magic chant, it’s the Pike Place Fish Market, one of Seattle’s most talked-about tourist experiences.

The market came about in 1907 when consumers, up in arms at skyrocketing produce prices, turned directly to farmers to eliminate profiteering middlemen and created the Pike Place area as the meeting place. Over one hundred years, the market has grown beyond its original trading mandate, survived several demolition orders and become a tourist attraction in its own right.

Customers order their fish from the ice tables in the front of the stall, the order is called out and the entire fish is tossed to the packer behind the counter who wraps it for the…

Around the World – The Ultimate Cruise?

Many still believed the world was flat when Ferdinand Magellan set out from Spain in search of the Spice Islands of Indonesia in 1519. Three years later, with Magellan himself dead and just one ship and 18 men remaining, the first known circumnavigation of the world was completed.

Such is the allure of adventure and exploration that today, nearly five hundred years later, the thrill of a journey around the world by sea is just as intoxicating and exciting as it was then.

The great ocean voyages are the ones that have defined us as a species.

Perhaps the pinnacle of ancient maritime architecture were the enormous Chinese Ming-dynasty treasure ships of the 15th Century. These wooden leviathans dwarfed the petty craft sailed by Magellan, da Gama and even Cook with the largest of these vessels measuring some 150 metres, over five times more than Cook’s Endeavour. It is now known that vast fleets of these huge ships, and their supporting entourage, ranged throughout the Indian Ocean, stamp…

Burnie: Gateway to Tasmania’s Wild NorthWest

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Beyond the Ramparts of the Unknown

By Roderick Eime

Flying into the tiny north-western regional hub of Wynyard, you could easily imagine you are in the middle of nowhere – and that is why so many visitors come!

With a heritage that can be traced back to the early 19th Century, this far flung Van Diemen’s Land outpost was referred to in King George IV’s Royal Charter as “a huge tract of unsettled land, beyond the ramparts of the unknown.”

An easy 20 kilometre coastal drive from the working town of Burnie and a further 50 kilometres to Tasmania’s third largest city and Spirit of Tasmania ferry port, Devonport, Wynyard is perfectly placed to springboard nature lovers into the world-famous wilderness areas along the north and west coasts.

Before heading off into the wild, swing by Burnie and see why it is shaking off the outdated industrial character that has defined it for so long. At the Lactos Cheese Tasting and Sales Centre you can sample fine cheeses, including major brands Tasmanian …

Selling Out – Is franchising the new model for hotels in tougher times?

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What do sewing machines, cola, hamburgers and motor cars have in common? Answer: They made their success through franchising.

True. In 1856, when Isaac Merritt Singer needed to expand his sewing machine empire, his funds were exhausted from messy legal action over control of patents. Instead of paying his salesmen salaries to sell the new mass-produced device, he sold the rights to territories for which the owner (franchisee) paid a commission to Singer for each sale. Thus the modern concept of franchising was born.

Hamburger chains, automotive dealerships, soft drink bottlers and hotels followed suit and some the greatest brands in corporate history were born.

Hotels and accommodation chains took off after World War II, particularly in the USA. But like so many other franchise operations around this time, they suffered from lack of regulation. In 1979, the US Federal Trade Commission was given authority over franchising (Rule 436) and the market settled to allow familiar and reliable br…

City Tour with the Star of Phnom Penh

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In most cities if you go on a movie star tour you'll travel in a minibus with some dilettante chatterbox who'll drive you past the gates of celebrity homes and favourite restaurants, but in the rapidly recovering Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, you can actually go on a tour conducted by a genuine local movie star.


Talk about rags to riches. Sereyvath Kem, or just Srah to his mates, was standing on the corner touting for taxis when a movie crew came looking for some extras. Srah was chosen from a bunch of clamouring hopefuls to play the role of Sok, a local taxi driver in the film “City of Ghosts”. Directed by and starring Hollywood heartthrob, Matt Dillon along with James Caan and Gérard Depardieu

If you're travelling to Phnom Penh, go rent this movie first. Sure, the plot is a bit patchy but the casting, art direction and locations are genuine Phnom Penh. The proud, but crumbling French architecture, dusty streets and hurly burly is still intact some eight years after t…

Australia and New Zealand Luxury Lodges and Resorts

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From Luxury Lodges
Updated October 2008: South Island New Zealand - Select Hotels
Updated November 2008: SLH Blanket Bay
Updated November 2008: Pure Tasmania/Federal Group

Over the past three years, Rod (sometimes with 'Mrs Travel Writer') has visited a wide range of New Zealand's world famous luxury and exclusive lodges.

(see comprehensive spreadsheet)

Names like Huka Lodge, Grasmere and Blanket Bay feature prominently, while Rod has also visited the brand new Select Braemar Lodge at Hanmer Springs and sampled the delights of recently opened Otahuna Lodge near Christchurch.

In Australia, the list grows with visits and stays at El Questro, Arajilla, Spicers Peak, Hidden Vale, Bloomfield Lodge, Lilianfels, Q Station and more.

Features are written to commission only, so please contact me to discuss your publication's individual requirements.

A New Light on the Old West

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When we think of cowboys and indians, it's all too easy to recall those gun-toting heroes of the old west purging the dusty plains of trouble-making savages, dodging arrows and riding off into the sunset. If there was ever a tired old cliché, that has to be it.

It may also seem unusual that a small ship or adventure cruise could bring you close to this part of the world, but Cruise West's Northwest Passage itinerary delivers you into the midst of Oregon Country, the scene for its own particular brand of frontier spirit. Our vessel, Spirit of '98, carries 100 passengers up the vast Columbia River toward the lesser tributaries of the Snake, Umatilla and Walla Walla Rivers, all the while retracing the paths of early explorers like Lewis and Clarke and recounting their interactions with the local tribes.

My first encounter with native American culture was meeting the elderly father of my tour host in Wrangell, Alaska. A respected tribal elder of the regional First Nation tribe […

Samoa: Coming Out of My Shell

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Location: Samoa
Visit date: May 2009
1000 words
Author’s images: http://rodeime.fotopic.net/c1695226.html
Stock images also available.
See Samoa on Google MapsComing Out of My ShellHunted and harassed around the world, have these delicate sea creatures found sanctuary here in Samoa? Roderick Eime delves beneath the waves in search of these enigmatic and delightful animals.The determined reptile bore down with a single-mindedness only coming from eons of pre-programmed behaviour. This ancient sea creature pursued me with just one thing on its mind, and with the scent of food in its nostrils, wasn’t about to let me get away.“Oh, give it to him for heaven’s sake,” came the plea from Gardenia, my otherwise patient Samoan guide, and with that I relented and released the fragment of pawpaw into the water. Within seconds Crush’s ravenous jaws were munching contentedly on the bright yellow chunk of fruit.Sea Turtles, in this case Green Turtles, are about the most serene and kindly-looking animals …

Across the Nullarbor Plain – A Modern Australian Pilgrimage

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Commissioned for Tourism Australia

Long after the original wanderings of Australia’s indigenous inhabitants, Europeans began to rediscover the vast Australian landscape. These monumental overland treks are now part of white man’s folklore as much for their audacity and bravery as their sheer foolhardiness.

In 1861, Burke and Wills staggered north into oblivion while Ludwig Leichhardt vanished in the middle of the country in 1848. However, one Englishman stands out as an accomplished explorer with an enviable, if unusual record of achievement. In 1840, soon after the formation of the colony of South Australia, Edward John Eyre gathered a large party and set out from Adelaide to cross the continent to Western Australia.

Unlike Burke and Wills, Eyre recognised the value of Aboriginal guides and many would argue his success was a direct result of their ancient bush skills. Just he and one trusted guide, Wylie, eventually completed the journey after four and a half arduous months. None too im…

Cool New Auckland

By Roderick Eime

Tamaki-Makau-Rau - ‘the maiden with a hundred lovers’ – may not sound like the most flattering of descriptions, but the Maori have a definite fondness for the region that provides a bounty of seafood in a setting of lush, rolling hills and a temperate climate.

Auckland was named in 1840 by the first Governor, Capt William Hobson after his commanding officer, Lord Auckland. It is the world’s largest Polynesian city with around 63 per cent of residents from European descent. 11 per cent are Maori, 13 per cent Pacific Islander and the growing Asian population is around 12 per cent.

The bustling city may have lost its mantle of political capital to Wellington in 1865, but maintains its rightful place as the economic hub of the country. As such, the crème of cosmopolitan life and all its trappings can be found in this friendly and dynamic metropolis.

Activities:

Adrenalin junkies love the Skyjump. Almost 200 metres up the Auckland Sky Tower, thrillseekers are attached to a cabl…