August 2017 Featured Member: Anda Galffy
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 12:00 AM

Anda Galffy is an award-winning travel writer and passionate photographer living in Southern California. She is also the voice behind Travel Notes & Beyond, a collection of stories and travel impressions from her wandering around the world. She writes mostly about European and North American destinations, two fascinating continents that she has very strong ties to. Her articles focus on beautiful destinations, culture, arts and food, while expressing her personal opinions about the places she visits, the people she meets and their traditions.

What got you into travel writing?

It all started with my passion for photography. I love taking pictures and when I travel I get really carried away with photography. I usually return with hundreds, sometimes even a couple of thousands pictures from a trip. For years and years I used to organize slide show and invite friends and family over for travel presentations. In the beginning everybody was excited, but in time they all got bored of it, so my illustrated storytelling had to come to an end. That was very disappointing. Without an audience it seemed pointless to take that many pictures, and yet I couldn’t stop doing it. And that’s when I decided to start a travel blog.

What's the most challenging part of travel writing for you?

Finding the right time to do it. For me, writing is a creative process that requires a lot of concentration and a certain state of mind. I can’t do it if the phone rings, the dog wants to go for a walk, the postman needs a signature for a delivery, and so on. I used to write at night, but the lack of sleep was catching up to me, so I switched to daytime writing. Finding a few peaceful hours during the day is challenging however.

What one thing [equipment or a personal item] can't you go without on the road?

My camera. It may sound funny, but I can’t enjoy visiting any place if I don’t have a camera in my hand. Memories come and go, but what you have caught on camera is captured forever. Looking at things through my lens taught me how to look at them without a lens.

What was your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?

I’ve seen many amazing places over the years, but the one that still lingers in my mind is Argentina, the country of tango, soccer and Malbec. Argentina is a fascinating country, with a very diverse landscape and unique culture, so closely entangled with the European culture.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel writer?

Natural talent is mostly a myth. It seems that we are born with very few (if any) talents or skills. What we consider natural talent is actually the result of hard work and perseverance. But to get good at something, you need to love the process. Successful writers don’t just enjoy being recognized or having their articles published in prestigious magazines; they enjoy writing them, researching their topics, or even finding platforms to sell their work.