Tag: travel writer

How to be a good social media friend. It’s easy peasy – and helpful!

 hh office 2 20160805_133930Here’s a simple message from yet another writer sitting alone in a room: they’re tips on how to be a good Facebook friend, and blog, or another social media, follower. It’s easy peasy and helpful. Firstly, the basics: bloggers love readers who  . ..

 

  • leave a comment
  • click ‘like’
  • award a star or some such thing
  • assign a rating great, poor, fun, informative
  • sign-up to be sent new blogs by email
  • send our blog link to Facebook or Twitter etc
  • answer a question we may have posed
  • recommend the blog to others

It’s often called ‘netiquette’ BUT really is just being a good social networking friend to both the person blogging, or posting on Facebook, and to your other friends too. It’s rare to just ignore something someone says to us – so, me posting on my blogs is me saying something to you.

So how to be that good friend?

Just like all those funny, or cat video clips we watch and repost, it’s really helpful to your writing friend, or photographer, or artist, to repost their work too. Artists and writers need people to read their work or consider the artwork whether this is by pencil, paint or camera, or keyboard.

Another helpful way is to comment on the piece, ask a question, or tag a friend telling them, “hey Pat you will enjoy this” or “how about we go here on our next weekend break Peter”. Your friends will value the fact you were thinking of them, and are introducing them to artists, writers, or bloggers they too can follow, events they could attend, books they may like to read.

So see, it is really easy to be a good friend to your writing friend, your favourite photographer, or local artist – and that tiny commitment will make a huge difference to them, us, me!

Sitting at home – creating without any feedback is difficult, and for travel writers like me, it’s often the interaction I have with my followers that shows tourist destinations or activities that yes, this is a person we should invite to our city, country, or event. The more they can see that people follow me or enjoy my writing the more likely I am to get invitations or commissions to write more for you to read.J

One word of warning though, if you are anything like me, you need to do this instantly you see the blog or Facebook post or it will be gone forever, lost in all our other daily activity and busy minds! This doesn’t have to be a big chore, once a day would be wonderful, or even weekly! Monthly?

And, if you do repost my blog links (or posts) to my pages on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media like StumbleUpon or Instagram I’d be really grateful: so, ‘thank you’ in advance.

And, just for you, here are my social media links – which are you on and I’ll follow you.  Webpage  Facebook  Twitter  Google+ Tumblr  Pinterest  Instagram

HH office

 

 

 

Tips on how to be a good social media friend.

How to be a good Facebook, social media, friend, or blog follower is quite simple. It’s called ‘netiquette’ an online version of etiquette. Basically, it’s just being a good social networking friend to both the person blogging, or posting on Facebook, and to your other friends too.

use IMG_6302

So how to be that good friend?

Just like all those funny, or cat video clips we watch and repost, it’s really helpful to your writing friend, or photographer, or artist, to repost their work too. Artists and writers need people to read their work or consider the artwork whether this is by pencil, paint or camera.

Another way is to comment on the piece, or ask a question, or tag a friend telling them, “hey Pat you will enjoy this” or “how about we go here on our next weekend break Peter”. Your other friends will value the fact you were thinking of them, and are introducing them to artists or writers or bloggers will no doubt trust your taste, after all you’re friends so will have much in common.

If you have read one of my books, could you also add a wee comment about it on Amazon. Links to my blogs, Facebook pages (four of them!) and other social media pages are on my webpage for easy access.  www.kiwitravelwriter.com

So see, it is really easy to be a good friend to your writing friend, your favourite photographer, or local artist – and that tiny commitment will make a huge difference to them. Sitting at home, creating without any feedback, can be difficult, and for travel writers like me, it’s often the interaction I have with my followers that shows tourist destinations or activities that yes, this is a person we should invite to our city, country, or event. The more they can see that people follow me and enjoy my writing the more likely I am to get invitations or commissions to write.

One word of warning though, if you are anything like me, you need to do this instantly you see the blog or Facebook post or it will be gone forever, lost in all the other daily activity and busy minds! This doesn’t have to be a big chore, once a day would be wonderful.

And, if you repost blog links (or posts) to my pages on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media like StumbleUpon or Instagram, add a hashtag # (eg #kiwitravelwriter or #travel or #goodblog) I’d be really grateful: so, ‘thank you’ in advance.

 

 

New ebook on green-eco travel. The Kiwitravelwriter explores Malaysian Borneo

New ebook on green-eco travel. The Kiwitravelwriter explores Malaysian Borneo

The Kiwitravelwriter explores Malaysian Borneo in her new book … and uses her travels to consider how green she is, or isn’t: it’s a combination of essay and memoir. (Sorry, but no photos in the book – see my blog posts for them)

 

The long title says it all “A love letter to Malaysian Borneo. Or, can this travel writer be green?” 

The cover photo was taken in Tabin Wildlife Sanctuary by a young Italian man – who, incidentally, was the person who first spotted an endangered clouded leopard during a night safari we were on in the same area.

 

 

 

Far away places with strange sounding names …. the call of travel

Far away places with strange sounding names …. the call of travel

I was only 2 or 3 years old when Vera Lynn sang the song about ‘faraway places with strange sounding names’ and it’s always resonated with me – no wonder I finally morphed into a travel writer!

While I haven’t been to China, I have seen the ‘castles in Spain’ and been ‘to Siam’ (Kingdom of Thailand) as mentioned in the lyrics sung by the popular, WW2 UK singer, Vera Lynn . (Lyrics below) I’ve also been to many other places around the world some with ‘strange sounding names’ – and if I haven’t been somewhere, you can guarantee it’s on my bucket list!

With all the travelling I do, I have found lots of luggage-type  odds and ends that helps keep my bag to the smallest size while making sure I can find my gear – and more importantly I don’t forget something vital – electronics have changed our travel needs (and or wants).

In 1995, when I started serious, long-term, traveling and writing I didn’t even have an email addresses let alone a computer or mobile phone. How quickly things have changed!

I’ve written about packing for plane travel before, but here are a few more tips for you so living out of your travel bag is easy;

  1. Buy a smaller bag than you think you need! This will help concentrate your mind on your NEEDS. (I always take too much when I’m traveling by car, from home, as I know I have space for all the just-in-case items – which should be culled.)
  2. Use organiser type bags or cubes so you can keep like with like. E.G. one mesh bag for underwear and socks. I also use airline toiletries bags for electronic bits and pieces.  And of course your toiletries need to be in small containers in a small bag. Keep any medication in your carry-on bag.
  3. And of course, rolling or folding? I believe rolling creates less wrinkles – in fact I sometimes roll clothes as complete outfits – usually clothes that are for ‘best’ or will rarely to be worn but are needed.
  4. A waterproof bag for keeping electronics/ passport/tickets can be useful if you will be on boats or during monsoon season. The same bag is great for keeping out sand in deserts or the beach.
  5. And, finally, keep all these in one bag along with lists of what’s needed for a ‘weekend’, a ‘month’, in a ‘hostel’ or a ‘5-star’ trip: and of course for that last-minute invitation to travel. Even with a list I can forget something in the last minute rush.

Here photos of my mix and match bags that I use when on the move – it all depends on the length of the trip, destination and of course the type of accommodation and transport.

Media needs a variety of bags .. for batteries, leads, chargers etc
Media needs a variety of bags .. for batteries, leads, chargers etc
Waterproof and dust proof bags are often essential
Waterproof and dust proof bags are often essential
My cat - Mista - is alert once these bags appear .. false alarm this time!
My cat – Mista – is alert once these bags appear .. false alarm this time!
I keep all my travel bag bits and pieces handy in one bag
I keep all my travel bag bits and pieces handy in one bag

What are your best packing tips? Add them in the comments for others to try for size.

See below for the lyrics to the song:

Faraway places
With strange soundin’ names
Faraway over the sea
Those faraway places
With the strange soundin’ names
Are callin’, callin’ me

Goin’ to China
Or maybe Siam
I want to see for myself
Those faraway places
I’ve been readin’ about
In a book that I took from a shelf

I start getting restless
Whenever I hear
The whistle of a train
I pray for the day
I can get underway
And look for those castles in Spain

They call me a dreamer
Well, maybe I am
But I know that I’m burnin’ to see
Those faraway places
With the strange soundin’ names
Callin’, callin’ me…

My travel adventures: book discounted now for Christmas gifts (fear & fun on the road)

Print version was published in 2007

A  Smashwords  discount on my travel adventures book – especially for my blog readers

Buy the e-book here – for all e-readers

Promotional price: $3.74
Coupon Code: EB68W
Expires: December 25, 2012

Read a review here (and if you have already read it I’d really value a review on Amazon etc)

If you are in New Zealand I have a few hard copies left for $nz10 plus $5p&p

most bombed country in the world

Most Bombed Country in the World

Pausing for a photo, we then walk under an archway that tells us ‘Welcome to Indo China.’

Polly and I met on a beach in Malaysia two months ago. Hearing travellers extolling the beauty, the friendliness and non-tourist-like qualities of Laos, we succumb to the temptation to visit ‘the most bombed country in the world’ and two days ago we met as arranged in northern Thailand. We’re about to cross into a country that neither of us knows about except those good reports.

A borrowed guidebook has given me a few facts: during the late sixties and early seventies, American B-52s dropped some 6000 tonnes of bombs on this narrow country in an attempt to destroy the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Special guerrilla units, trained by the CIA, caused such havoc that locals planted and harvested their rice at night and 300,000 people fled to refuge camps in Thailand: it’s the heaviest bombing any country has ever encountered. Although one of the poorest nations in the world and with a life expectancy of only 52 years, these five million, mainly Buddhist people, remain resilient.

‘Can I take my gun?’ I ask the guard. Crossing borders can be fraught with problems but I smile and hope all will be well as she holds out her hands and I hand it over. Solemnly taking it, she looks at her fellow officer, lines the barrel with his chest and fires!

web laos polly and iWe laugh; his uniform is covered with water. For the first time I witness humour from customs officials but in spite of our shared laughter I’m not allowed to take a photo of them having fun. Nevertheless I can take my new, bright-green, double-barrelled, pump action water pistol with me: Polly takes her red and yellow one.

Read more in Naked in Budapest: travels with a passionate nomad by Heather Hapeta

be daring but not defamatory:attack sacred cows

I wrote this column a few years ago when I was creating the travel pages of a now-defunct newpaper (The Christchurch Citizen). I’m reprinting it here as it seems it has advice that some bloggers may find useful!

“While other crafts have to sit around chewing their fingernails waiting for a movie to be put together, writers have one great strength. They can sit down and generate their own employment and determine their own fate to a great extent by the degree of their disciplines, their guts and their talents” Fay Kanin (American union activist. Writer b.1917)

Unfortunately, many times as I sit to compose this weekly column I doubt I have the discipline, guts or talent to do so.

Why does it always have to be on a travel-related topic? (Because it’s on the travel pages Heather) Why can’t I just write about what I think about the world? (Why should anyone be interested it what you think about the state of the world?) Why is it so hard for an opinionated woman like me to think of a topic week after week – month after month?

(Who knows? who cares how hard it is for you?)

Such are my thoughts as I sit at the computer contemplating a blank screen. I am not a disciplined person. I find it difficult to remember to take medication when it’s been prescribed. I just don’t do routine.

‘That’s why you travel so well’ said a friend a few days ago. ‘You actually thrive on the state of flux your life is in when you’re on the road.’

I concurred. Decision making on the spot, living on my intuitions, going with the flow, swimming with the current rather than across it or upstream are the hallmarks of a passionate solo traveller such as I. But does it make a writer? One who needs to be making a living by the sweat of her brow, or pen. Does it give me the guts and talent Fay Kanin talks about?

Recently I listened to three columnist’s talk about what a column is and what a columnist should say. This is my interpretation of their words.

A writer of weekly columns should be disciplined, (ha ha) have something of importance to say, (yeah right) something fresh, (sure) of the moment (really). They should never be pretentious (or precious I wonder?) they should have a strong opinion (not always easy with travel topics) and seek to polarise – you, the reader – occasionally. Of course it needs to be so interesting that you will read it to the end. (I know my mother reads it -that’s her duty – but other readers, please don’t go, stay till the end.)

If its not personal its not a column they tell me. Well that’s a balancing act if ever there is one. How much do I want you to know about me and even more importantly, how much do you really want to know about me? Sure I can be witty and charming and lucid but at other times I can be mean spirited, self centred and occasionally, – very occasionally of course – obtuse.

So be daring they tell me, but not defamatory, be opinionated, get up peoples noses sometimes, attack sacred cows, be the devils advocate. Point out double standards. Write about sex. Be insightful.

But wait, like the advertisements, that’s not all: I should test your ideals, push frontiers, make you think! I need to be provocative and make you react and I should be passionate.

What a darn tall order: even taller within the confines of a travel column, nevertheless I just tried. I had to delete the whole paragraph! It was all the things a column should not be. Forced, pretentious – and “pretension is fatal,” said the chair of the forum.

So what now? Guess I will just keep writing these each week. I will keep sitting in front to the screen awaiting the muses’ arrival with a basket of sexy, provocative, challenging, insightful topics for me to write for you to read – right to the end.

For those who have, I salute you and thank you for your time.

how and why did you run away I’m asked

Did you hear about a Kiwi woman  who runs away from home, then, whether being charged by a hippo, is trying to sit cross-legged and meditate at a Buddhist retreat, or is living with a young lover, she revels in it all.

No wonder she reinvented herself as a travel writer. That woman is me.

At a recent talk I presented a few facts about myself to answer the the question they had asked  – “how and why did you run away from home?”

I told them

  • Got first my passport in my forties and have made up for lost time ever since.
  • Ran away from home when I was fifty and travelled for a year with no plans from Alaska to Zimbabwe
  • I’ve  had a colourful life,  reinvented myself a few times: worked in real estate; been a model; a waitress on a Malaysian beach; an alcohol and drug counsellor, worked in suicide postvention, and even managed a catttle farm for three months.
  • I’m now following a childhood dream of being a writer and have written ”Naked in Budapest’ about running away from home.
  • I’ve had many travel related pieces published in magazines and papers as diverse as the Press, Listener, Women’s Weekly, NZ Gardener, NZ Wilderness, Korean Air and  Emirates’ in-flight magazines, and the South China Morning Post and a UK magazine to name a few recent ones

Why did I run away? In my late forties, I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I just knew I wanted more. Widowed – youngest child dead, two adult children away from home – and a secret desire to ‘do something.’

Friends hitting the brick wall called ‘50’ were not happy about the event. It’s coming, it’s coming, it’s coming, drummed in my head: on its way ready or not. I needed to change the perception of that fast-approaching milestone that those friends were giving me – that it was the beginning of a downward slide. How could I look forward to this half-century event?

So, I started saving, resurrected another childhood dream and planned a trip around the world – from Alaska to Zimbabwe :all with no plans and travelling solo.

It was so good I did it again and again  – each time for a year! And I will travel again as soon as I save some more!

See my home page www.kiwitravelwriter.com for details  as to how you can read more about these travels and see reader reviews in the page  in this blog ( see above)