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Interview with travel-writer, Linda Ballou

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I am an adventure travel writer with a host of travel articles on my site, along with information about my travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, my historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i, as well as my latest novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.

Subscribe to my blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com to receive updates on books, and travel destinations and events.


How did your career in travel writing come about?

I was in the horse world hook, line and sinker when a back injury forced me to give up the riding world on such an intense level. After a 6-month recovery period, I decided to have more fun with my writing and to use...

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Interview with travel-writer, Linda Ballou

  1. 1. Linda Ballou Interview January 2018 I am an adventure travel writer with a host of travel articles on my site, along with information about my travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, my historical novel Wai- nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i, as well as my latest novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon at-www.LindaBallouAuthor.com. Subscribe to my blog www.LindaBallouTalkingtoyou.com to receive updates on books, and travel destinations and events. How did your career in travel writing come about? I was in the horse world hook, line and sinker when a back injury forced me to give up the riding world on such an intense level. After a 6-month recovery period, I decided to have more fun with my writing and to use it to get places I wanted to go. I gathered clips I had of articles I had placed in horse magazines and queried a guest ranch in Colorado. I got the job and Equus Magazine picked up my piece To Ride Among the Clouds I wrote about my experience. I was hooked!! Getting paid for having a fabulous time and having great stories to tell works for me! Of all the places you've visited thus far, which would you consider your favorite and why? The South Island of New Zealand is phantasmagorical and easy to get around. The Kiwis have made it easy to explore their wonderland a giant playground for the outdoor adventurer. The North Island where most people live is laid-back with miles and miles of untrammeled coastline. It is the most livable of all the places I have traveled and the only one that tempts me to leave my California home. Where haven't you traveled to yet that you hope to be able to someday? I have got to get to the Cook Islands before it is over. I suffer from tropical fantasies. In my research for my historical novel Wai-nani: A Voice from Old Hawaii, I learned a great deal about the Polynesian cultures and spirituality. The Cooks are like Hawaii was 50 years ago-- laid back, gorgeous with simple, fun-loving, generous people happy to share the bounty of their beautiful Islands. I will get there! What inspired you to write the Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon, and why? I was crawling from my bed to the refrigerator on my knees for about six weeks due to extreme nerve pain when it occurred to me that I had to do something, or I was going to go crazy. I was told that I had to give up riding my mare and that if I was lucky I wouldn’t have to have surgery on my back. Crying didn’t help much. Writing this story took my mind off my predicament and the tremendous sense of
  2. 2. loss I was feeling. Prior to my injury, John Muir’s book My First Summer in the Sierra prompted me to take a couple of horse pack trips into the Eastern Sierra’s that imbued me a deep love and respect for nature. Many of the details in this story were collected on those journeys. I always wanted to return and trail solo in the high country, but had to let Gemcie (protagonist in Cowgirl) do it for me. Writing “Cowgirl” was a big part of a healing process for me. When I was able to walk again, I went on to become a travel writer with a penchant for guest ranches. You recently went to Patagonia. Will you be writing another book about that adventure? Not a book, but numerous articles. I am the adventure travel expert on the National Association of Boomer Women. On my “Boomer “column I am doing a series of pieces on that journey. The first one is Buenos Aires to Splendid Baralochi, then on to Chile and down to Punta Arenas the gateway to Southern Patagonia and Torres Del Paine. Each of these regions is spectacular in its own way. There is too much to cover in one piece. Join me there. https://nabbw.com/author/lindaballou/ Did you always want to become a writer? I have been journaling since I was a teen. It has always been satisfying for me to put my thoughts into words. When I got my B.A. in English Literature, I dropped out for a year and lived on the north shore of Kauai to test my writing abilities. I decided I had what it takes, that I love the process and that yes, the writing life was for me. I have published two novels, one travel collection and have numerous articles on my site for people to enjoy. I am glad that I didn’t give up in the face of the usual disappointments and am proud to say that I am a writer. What kinds of obstacles would one encounter when planning adventure trips all over the world? The airlines are in the habit of overbooking these days. You need to be on time and give yourself plenty of time in-between connecting flights so you don’t miss your flight due to a gate change or unforeseen delays. Make sure your documents are in order. See a travel medicine doctor, and get the proper shots and prescriptions for the country you are visiting. Be sure you have medical emergency evacuation travel insurance even on domestic adventures. And how can we overcome travel obstacles? By being informed. I have several articles on my “Boomer Column” providing tips. Not all Outfitters are Created Equal is a good example of one with lots of resources. I research a place heavily before I go, so that I don’t miss something important and I avoid pitfalls. Blog Loving news feed is a great source for insider travel tips about a specific destination. Travel bloggers, like myself, post there. It is an easy way to get lots a great travel info. I go to the Adventure Travel Show in Los Angeles every year to keep up with all the latest travel trends and deals. I post articles about what I learn.
  3. 3. How long does it take for you to prepare for a trip and what sort of guideline can you offer other travelers? I start packing a couple of weeks ahead of time to see what I am missing. I have a checklist so I don’t have to waste brain cells trying to remember all the essentials. Outdoor adventures like river rafting, horseback riding, or hiking treks require certain gear. I make sure my gear is in order and that I have the right layers for the trip. Layering is the key to almost any travel experience. I want the lightest, waterproof gear available. I don’t want to check my bag on the way to a journey for fear it will end up lost or delayed in arriving. So, I have streamlined my travel clothes to the bare minimum so I can fit it in the bags the airlines will allow onboard. I just purchased the lightest weight luggage that will fit in an overhead bin available. You travel outside of this continent. What areas have you visited inside this continent? I love to see the gorgeous countryside in the U.S. from the back of a good horse. I have stayed at guest ranches in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, California, Arizona and Colorado. In addition, I love rivers. I have rafted the Grand Canyon, the Tatshenshini in Alaska, and the Salmon Main in Idaho and the Green River in Utah. I love getting up close and personal with nature. I have hiked in all these spectacular regions as well. I do at least one domestic trip a year. I still, have a lot to explore. I hope to get to Glacier National Park this year. BTW. I have articles and stories about all these adventures available if someone is interested they can email me and I will send them the piece on a specific destination. Can you think of any locations you'd rather not visit and why? Believe it or not I don’t want to go to India. Everyone tells me it is so fascinating and that I must go, but I am uncomfortable in crowds. It just doesn’t call to me. The wonders of the natural world are much higher on my list. If I run out of those, I might get to India. Do you offer signed copies of your books? Absolutely. Plus, I pay for the shipping when you purchase my books on my site. www.LindaBallouAuthor.com Do you have any signing events scheduled or in the works for this year? Yes, I have several talks at local libraries scheduled in 2018. On Feb. 11 at the Thousand Oaks Library in California I will discuss my historical novel Wai-nani: A Voice from Old Hawaii. I will share how Wai-nani embodies female empowerment and how writing her story gave me the courage to move forward with my writing life. Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview for your fans/readers or other aspiring writers?
  4. 4. Builders build. Surgeons cut and writers write. If you say you are a writer keep notes of your stay on the planet. Journal about your experiences. Reflect upon what you see and try to capture the essence of it in words as a painter tries to capture it in colors and images. You will not remember the details that make a story vibrant. You have to write your impressions and feelings down as you go along. Then when you have time to organize your thoughts and know what it is you are trying to say you can go back to your notes and extract details that will enliven your work. Don’t wait to be a writer. Life go goes by too fast. Simply be a writer and see what happens. Linda's books are available at Amazon in print and kindle formats including 'Cowgirl' which is also available in audio book format.

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