Louise Southerden

Louise Southerden

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louise southerden australia travel writer

Nature and adventure lover

I’d love to say I have a journalism degree and a Masters in Travel Literature, but the truth is I stumbled into travel writing through a side door (or maybe it was fate).

At university I studied psychology and zoology (go figure) then worked in social research for six years, which funded my first solo overseas trip, which led to me falling in love with … photography.

I bought a second-hand SLR (all manual, and you had to wind the film on using that very cool sideways thumb action) in London and taught myself how to use it on a three-month trip across Africa in the back of a truck.

On returning to Sydney, I tried to get some of my Africa photos published (I really wanted to be a photojournalist, mainly to avoid writing) and discovered that the best way to do that was to write words to go with them. Darn. (Only later did I remember that English had been my best subject at school and I started keeping a diary when I was 12.)

I can still remember the thrill of seeing my first travel story, A Day in the Life of an Overlander, in print, in an obscure weekly that mainly advertised jobs for secretaries.

Since then I’ve lived in Japan (which led to my first book, Japan: A working holiday guide), done editing stints at various magazines, wrote the world’s first surfing guide for girls (called, you’ve probably guessed, Surf’s Up: The Girl’s Guide to Surfing) and won a few awards along the way (see below).

Much as I love the natural world, I also love technology (as long as it remains the servant, not the master) and published my first ebook in early 2014, Adventures on Earth. It’s an interactive collection of my best-ever adventure travel stories and images, and my answer to that question people always ask travel writers: “So, what’s your favourite place?” Can I just say, of all the 61 countries I’ve visited (but who’s counting?), my favourite is: Mongolia-Madagascar-Antarctica-Norway-Australia-(to be continued)?

I can’t imagine doing anything else for a living now. I still love taking photos, but I love travel writing too, which I see as the lovechild of journalism and creative writing. I love the places this “job” takes you, the camaraderie between travel writers (and bloggers and Instagrammers), the sense of purpose travel writing gives you (I still get a kick out of saying I’m “on assignment”) and most of all the freedom of living this life.

Come visit me at No Impact Girl, or stop by on Twitter (@noimpactgirl) or facebook (search for No Impact Girl). The name, by the way, comes from a project I did to try to live with no environmental impact for a month, inspired by No Impact Man, a New Yorker who managed to do it for a whole year (that’s my dream).

Happy travels!

Australian Society of Travel Writers Awards:

  • Travel Writer of the Year: 2013, 2012, 2009 & 2008
  • Best Responsible Travel Story: 2013, 2009, 2008 & 2006
  • Best International Story over 1000wds: 2013
  • Best Journey or Adventure: 2012 & 2011

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