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Nicole Bartolitius interviews Ann Campbell

 A Unique Way to Retire

     Imagine getting paid to travel and write about how to do it in an environmentally friendly, and healthy way! I recently had the honour of interviewing Anna Campbell, who trained as an RN (Register Nurse) and a CPA (Charter Professional Accountant). She is now retired and works as a freelance writer in general non-fiction and travel writing. Campbell first began writing for her high school news paper. She enjoyed writing because it gave her a “creative” outlet, pleasure, and a special period of relaxation. Campbell has written many publications for newspapers. She has also written The Hike It, Bike It, Walk It, Drive It Guide to Ottawa, Gatineau, Kingston, & beyond, published in 2001. Campbell wishes the readers of her book and travel articles to be inspired to travel and be adventurous. She is currently writing a book about her father’s life.

     What made you pick such a lengthy title? In the synopsis you speak about “Sightseeing on a bicycle” and “Exploring on foot”. As the author were you able to physically experience these modes of travel?

     “My publisher chose this title for my book, because it summarizes what the book is about. I physically experienced everything I talked about in my book. For example, to make sure it was accurate, I took a trip on my bicycle, wrote about it, and then took the identical trip again to ensure what I had written was correct”.

 Has there ever been a moment that really stood out for you, where you thought “This is why I love to write”?

     “I have written several travel articles that have been published in larger newspapers like the Calgary Herald and the Ottawa Citizen. I love to travel, and I think my purpose in the world is teaching and I often do this through writing. My articles combine all of these things and, like my book, they teach people about interesting things related to a county or city.”

     When you were in the process of publishing your works, did any research problems come up? Did you have to cut certain things out of your publications that you really wanted to keep?

     “The only research problem I had was trying to decide what to include both in my book and in my articles. For my book, in some cases I did a lot of research only to delete it later. I had a plan to begin with but if I ended up hearing about another interesting trip, I decided I should research and include that one too.  Once I had my pile of write ups, I realized that I had too many words and sections, so I had to cut something. One writing teacher of mine called that “murdering your darlings” because some parts that I deleted were my favourites but, in the end, they did not fit the overall picture I was trying to achieve. As for the articles, I realized that I was giving the reader too much info and thus I had to cut out somethings. Usually, there is a publisher-imposed word count when it comes to a travel article.”

 

After speaking with Ann Campbell, she gave me a new insight into traveling the world. The most impressive factors were how passionate she was about travel writing and her desire to share her knowledge. She has been able to effectively meld these in her writing. I can only hope that I will be as adventurous when I retire.

 

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