Photo: Sidemen scenery.

If you've dreamed of becoming a paid travel writer, here's your chance! World Nomads, in conjunction with Rough Guides, and hsa*ba, are hunting for one wannabe travel writer with serious potential. The lucky winner will be given the chance of a lifetime, travelling to Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia to be mentored by three writers as they chronicle their experiences.

The winner will be sent to Singapore on assignment for five days with Rough Guides writer Richard Lim to review and update a portion of "The Rough Guide to Singapore". Then they'll fly to Bali to meet up with yours truly, Stuart McDonald of, before heading off for six days of cultural insight and adventure in Indonesia. Lastly, you'll be whisked off to Malaysia for a food-focussed trip through Kuala Lumpur and Penang with Burmese cookbook author Tin Cho Chaw from hsa*ba.

Pounding the pavement in Singapore - no time for reading the paper!
Pounding the pavement in Singapore - no time for reading the paper!

How can you be the chosen one? First of all, you must be available to travel from June 18 to July 6, 2012. Are you free? Then you must enter the competition by April 23; the winner will be announced on May 17.

Plenty of elbow room.
One on one tuition with Stuart McDonald of

The winner will be flown from their country of residence -- any nationality may enter the competition -- to Singapore, where they'll meet with mentor Richard Lim, then explore the city for two days alone, researching, reviewing and updating travel information for the 'Rough Guide to Singapore'. On your final day, you will meet back up with Richard to go over your work together. You must be comfortable travelling solo!

Then it's off to Bali, where you'll head off to the village of Sidemen, where you'll see firsthand the local coconut palm sugar and salt industries, and delve into the Balinese belief in "black magic" on an exploration that may take you to neighbouring Nusa Penida. You'll hike to the top of Gunung Agung, then head down to a surf camp in West Bali -- yes, you must be quite fit and also need to be able to swim -- and you'll sit down with me to talk online travel.

You'll be climbing that (and we don't mean the tree).
You'll be climbing that (and we don't mean the tree).

Final stop: Malaysia, where you better be hungry! You'll be sampling the various rich cuisines Malaysia is home to and learning about the process, stories and people behind the famous dishes -- yes, you must be a good eater! You'll meet with Cho of hsa*ba in Kuala Lumpur, delving into dishes at markets as well as fancypants restaurants, and also join a local food blogger for a night out in Kuala Lumpur to experience what's happening in KL's food scene. Then you'll head to Penang for a cooking lesson, market visits and a trip to a durian plantation.

During your trip, aside from the work you'll do on the Rough Guide to Singapore, you'll be required to keep a daily travel journal on of at least 200 words per entry.

Who's eligible for entry? Any non-professional writer, from students through to people in other professions seeking a career change. Any nationality may enter, but you must be able to write proficiently in English. See other requirements on eligibility here.

Yes, you'll need to try them all.
Yes, you'll need to try them all.

To apply, you need to write a 2000 character or less (about 500 words) travel-focused essay based on a personal experience around one of these themes: Understanding a Culture through Food; a Local Encounter that Changed my Life; Seeing the World through Others' Eyes or Giving Back on the Road. You'll also need to complete an entry form that includes an 800 character (around 200 words) essay on why you should be chosen.

This is a great opportunity for someone keen on breaking into the paid travel writing industry and we look forward to meeting the winner in a few months! Find out more, or enter right now!

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Further reading

Planning well is an integral part of getting the most out of your trip. Be it picking the right backpack, the right vaccinations or the right country, the simple decisions are often the most important.

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