My first blog post of 2016 is to share with you great news: my first article in an American magazine has been published!
The article was a lot of fun (and a lot of work) to write—it's about the Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse, located in the mountains by beautiful Lake Louise in Alberta. You can find the story in the December 2015 issue of Fresh Cup Magazine, a publication about specialty coffee and tea.
Researching the story meant I had to hike the trail to the teahouse, something I was proud of myself for doing, since I have never hiked in high altitudes before, and I found myself short of breath on the trail. But turning the corner and seeing the teahouse made the journey worth every step—not to mention getting that first sip of hot chai tea.
I invite you to read the article about the experience here: Plain of Six Glaciers Teahouse.
Thanks to everyone who helped along the way to make this article a success, especially Susanne Gillies-Smith, owner of the teahouse.
This story will have a special place in my heart forever, since it's the first article I've had published in an American market. I'm happy and thankful—two great things to be at the start of a New Year.
Wishing you all the best in 2016!
It has been quite a long time since my last post, but I assure you, I was working very hard! I spent a few weeks travelling around Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Guernsey—nay, not for pleasure, but to expand my mind to become a better writer for you, my faithful readers! Ok, there *may* have been a few pleasurable moments in there, and yes, they most certainly all included chocolate.
I digress. Although I've been away enjoying myself, I have also been working on a few stories. The first, a travel piece on Luxembourg, which was a surprise highlight of the trip. I was in Luxembourg city for under 24 hours, but it was long enough to leave a strong impression on me. Luxembourg is magical. I've never thought that about a place before, but it was. It looked so pristine—so tidy and clean, with its light coloured buildings. And the views! The views are spectacular! After a week in very flat, very developed Belgium, it was an absolute delight to see hills and valleys, covered in greenery and gardens, with massive bridges encircling the city. While Luxembourg may seem a bit out of the way, I highly recommend it for a refreshing weekend. I hope to explore my feelings about this tiny country more fully in an article, which I will gladly share with you once it's done!
The second story I am working on is very different from anything else I've ever written and is therefore both exciting and slightly terrifying. I'm researching how people who use sperm banks come to the decision about who will father their babies. So far I've interviewed one couple who is trying to get pregnant, and I have interviews lined up with a few other people who have already had children through sperm banks. Choosing the father is an experience I find intriguing—going through a catalog of men, deciding whose DNA would be best matched with theirs. What do you think? Is that a neat topic? I'll keep you posted on the article's development.
If you were wondering what else I've written in the last month, check in with the A-Life Victoria Travel Blog. Some of my A-Life posts are now appearing on Tourism Victoria's blog, as well! Movin' on up!
When I found out I'd been hired to be the Victoria travel blogger for Aviawest Resort Club, I was ecstatic. I'm still ecstatic, weeks later, and I'm just starting my first assignment, due June 7.
The very day I got the position, I started listing all the amazing places in Victoria I could write about: Inner Harbour, Goldstream Park, Butchart Gardens, Ghost Walks, Moss Street Market, the museum, whale watching, and on and on.
And then I looked through the summer events calendar, and noticed that there is a festival almost every weekend this summer. Victoria is HAP-PEN-NING!!!
But where to start?
I have to pick ONE attraction per week. I wanted to pick something unique, that not everyone would know about, but something that would appeal across the ages.
Usually when I sit down to write, I've picked the topic first; this was the first time I had sat down to work without one.
After a number of days of intense brainstorming (which I won't re-create for you here, but you can imagine lots of papers thrown all over the place and charts that looked suspiciously like the Stanley Cup playoff bracket), I looked at every "final choice" I'd made and later crossed out, and realized any of these activities sounded interesting and fun to me!
And if as a local, I still get excited to walk the Breakwater and go to Ogden Point Café, then chances were, it would appeal to a tourist, wanting to experience the "real" Victoria that locals know and love!
So, finally, I took that blank screen by the helm and decided firmly on Oak Bay Marina for my first post.
Feeding the resident seals, rumoured to be descendants of those released when Sealand of the Pacific was converted to the Marina in the early '90s, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for any age. The cafe and restaurant are delightful (and delicious) and the scenery is – wait. You know what? You'll have to wait to read anymore about this until my story is done!
Since I decided on my first blog post, I'm feeling better about narrowing topics every week. Victoria has many gems that I'm excited to share with readers!
Nevertheless, I open the floor to you, dear readers, and invite you to send me your suggestions: what is your favourite Victoria attraction? What is your go-to destination with out-of-town guests?
I'd love to hear about some of your favourite spots. No doubt I'm going to learn a thing or two about my own city through this position.
And how great is that? Instead of being inside, staring at a screen, this writing job is going to get me outside this summer! Can't wait!
Jessica Woollard, freelance writer in beautiful Victoria, B.C.