Saturday, 23 September 2017

Canadian Rockies, Athabasca Glacier, Columbia Icefield

The Athabasca Glacier in the Canadian Rockies ©Solange Hando

Located in the Jasper National Park and part of the Columbia Icefield, this is one of the world's most accessible glaciers, a comfortable day trip from Jasper (105 km) but also feasible from Lake Louise or Banff (195 km).

Up there, at 2000 metres, it's likely to be cold and the weather can change in minutes from dazzling sunshine to the odd snow shower. Take warm clothes and suitable shoes.  

The Skywalk, Athabasca ©Solange Hando

The Athabasca is a popular attraction so if you plan to take part in the 'double adventure', available in season, book well in advance, especially if you want to request specific times.

 The Skywalk is a good start, taking you on a semi-circular glass walkway suspended, it seems, between heaven and earth. Below you is the vertiginous drop of the Sunwapta Valley where pine trees cling tenaciously to barren soil, and towering above you, snow-capped mountains reaching over 3000 metres.

 Ice and Snow, Columbia Icefield, Jasper National Park ©Solange Hando

Take time to relax in the visitors' centre, browse the exhibitions and enjoy the stunning views then head down to the glacier for an exciting ride on the ice to the very edge of no man's land.

The Athabasca is six km long and up to 300 metres deep but despite some seven metres of fresh snow annually, this 10,000 year old natural wonder recedes by an alarming five metres a year, as you will see in places from the accumulation of rubble and rocks.

Ice Explorer on the Athabasca ©Solange Hando

Like some sort of giant from a fiction film, the Ice Explorer takes you down a very steep slope then across the ice until you reach the out of bounds limit. Rocky peaks, snowy tops all around and ahead of you, the pristine ice field laced with hidden crevasses.

Sometimes you might hear a rumble in the distance and witness an avalanche tumbling down towards you. It may send shivers down your spine but on a guided tour, you are in good hands.

Standing on the Edge ©Solange Hando

Then before the Explorer turns round, you can step out and walk on the ice, long enough to take a few photos, touch the snow and feel the vibes as clouds pile on the horizon above the stillness of this vast natural world.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Travel Writing? How to Sell every Feature you Write

Flying High ©Solange Hando

How do you start?
Think 'idea', the tighter the better
A flight over Everest, a festival, sampling the local food
Be original, less is more
Easier to sell

What next?
Find a market
Spend time browsing all sorts of publications
Who would be interested in your idea?
Who are the readers?
Think age group, budget, interests, families,couples

Made your choice?
That makes you a professional
That saves the editor's time and yours
How should you pitch?
Show the editor you are familiar with the publication
Write your pitch in similar style
Be brief and to the point
Offer pictures

Keep Going ©Solange Hando

Got the go ahead?
But before you write a single word
Study the publication in detail, both format and style
Word count
Number and length of paragraphs
Choice of vocabulary, speech, quotes
1st or 3rd person
Fact box?

Next take a look at your pictures
It will
Refresh your memory
Help you to decide what to put in or leave out
Choose the best, the most original
Images will sell your words.

Ready to start?
Spend time on the 1st paragraph, it must grab attention straightaway
Keep your second best anecdote for the end
In the middle:
Vary the pace, highs and lows, anecdotes and facts
Paint a picture:
Include the senses
Avoid clich├ęs
Be original

Sail Away ©Solange Hando

When all is done
Double check, click send
Now you're on your way

Would you like to read more?
Check out

Just 100 pages on the road to success
Good luck
Happy travels