Barb Sligl is a Vancouver-based writer, editor, and photographer. She contributes to publications like Sierra, Montecristo, Virtuoso Life, Toronto Star, enRoute, and various other inflights and magazines, and is a contributing editor with Western Living. Barb has won numerous awards for her words and photos, and finds joy in far-flung travels and serendipitous connections—especially with animals and trees. While this freelance journalist and flâneur stokes her wanderlust (Japan someday!) she gets her dose of wonderment in the natural beauty of her “backyard” in British Columbia (keep old-growth forests standing!).
1. What got you into travel writing?
I was already a magazine editor and writer when the opportunity came to edit a travel-focused publication. It was a natural fit, as I’d long loved travel and photography, and was able to combine all these things to showcase destinations and uncover their stories.
2. What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
As a freelancer, it’s a challenge to juggle making a living with the flexibility and temptation of travel when opportunity strikes. I’ve learned that saying “yes” also means saying “no” to something else. Finding that balance between—that sweet spot in which I tell meaningful stories that also mean something to me—is something I’m still working on!
3. What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
Old-school notebook and pen! A Moleskine never needs recharging and putting pen to paper keeps my fingers nimble.
4. What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
How do I pick one?! Maybe that late-night swim in the Aegean off a gulet moored alongside an ancient amphitheater, above sunken amphoras, amid phosphorescence, under a full moon…and then being serenaded by a charming Turkish-Greek captain.
5. How did you learn about NATJA and why did you join?
A travel-writer colleague mentioned the NATJA awards to me long ago, suggesting I enter…and many years and awards later, I’m still a member.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
Find the story beyond the trappings; every writer has a different one to share.