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gap-year guidebook travel competition May 4, 2010

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in the gap-year guidebook.
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Four months or so ago, we set our inaugural Travel Writing and Photography Competition for the gap-year guidebook.

We invited readers of the guidebook’s sister website, gap-year.com, to send us photography and pieces of writing inspired by their travels – with the winner in each category seeing their work published in the 2011 edition of our ever-popular guidebook.

The response has been excellent, and the competition has now closed. Editorial and production staff here at John Catt have chosen the two winners, which we are delighted to reveal as Rajesh Dhar and Shelley Bullen.

Our winning entry

Rajesh sent us this stunning photo taken on a beach in West Bengal, the vibrant colour of the donkey contrasting beautifully with the mean, moody and magnificent skies.

Here is what Rajesh had to say about his photo:

Digha is a sea beach about five hours from my home in West Bengal and a very interesting place to shoot some travel stuff. I found this horse very colorful and well decorated to shoot. It was a stormy morning with some tourists enjoying the thunder. The sea splashing in the background was creating a very dramatic ambience. Though it was drizzling and I was without proper protections for my camera, I couldn’t stop myself from capturing the moment.

Meanwhile, Shelley’s written piece sums up neatly the impact that a gap-trip can have on a young person’s life and we felt it a worthy winner, as the short extract below demonstrates.

If all my travels have taught me anything it’s that it doesn’t matter how far away you venture or for how long you are there. You could go to Ibiza or India, Southend or South America. Like your Grandmother always told you: it’s about the journey. For most of us our gap-year is our first taste of travel and what’s so momentous about these first few carefully planned yet wildly exciting steps is the mistakes you are inevitable going to make. The traveller’s first trip is one of serendipity. The beauty is in the mishaps, the laughs, the tiredness, the awe, the food, the sore feet, the sun, the rain, the freedom.

During my gap-year I toured Italy by train with three girlfriends on the proverbial shoe string. We started in Milan, then Venice, San Marino and San Marino Republica, the beach town of Pesaro and finally Rome.

We went in search of culture, of a world that existed outside of our own, to catch a glimpse of the famously stylish women and gorgeous men. We wanted to try the food, the wine, walk around the museums and cathedrals. And we did just that…

You can read the remainder of Shelley’s piece, and view some of the stunning entries we had in the photography category, on gap-year.com. Thanks to everyone who entered.

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