On Friday the 30th of June, travel writer Suzy Bennett came to visit Clyst Vale’s Year 8s to talk about her experiences as a travel writer. She talked about her time in Papa New Guinea, trekking through the jungle and much more.
One of our Year 8 students has written about what she learnt from Suzy’s visit……
What is a travel writer? Well essentially you get to go on amazing trips with unique experiences for free – all expenses paid – in return for a story/column. Then when you come back, you write about your time there and hopefully sell it to a magazine or blog. “It unlocks the whole world to you,” Suzy said.
Suzy first told us about how she got into travel writing which for her was a long journey. It all started with her going to university not really knowing what she wanted to do and reporting for her university newspaper as a bit of fun but at the end discovering that she really enjoyed it and wanted to pursue it as a career. So, she took a few English courses in Cornwall and studied other reporters’ work. When she’d finished, she thought she might like to be paparazzi but after a month or two decided it wasn’t for her. She went through a few options like crime reporting but eventually found TRAVEL WRITING.
In her talk, Suzy told us about a lot of her adventures: the one that stood out to most of us was her time trekking through the jungle looking for a herd of about 34 gorillas. They spent weeks looking for them, tracking poo, looking at footprints and the biggest give away that they were close was the left-over skins of bamboo. The bit that shocked everyone was the guide that could speak fluent gorilla by making a series off grunting noises, and the gorillas would respond. Unfortunately, a person in the group didn’t listen to the gorillas and got dragged away for miles by an angered male gorilla! After all that time and effort if the gorillas said “no”, they had to leave but even if the gorillas said yes, they had to keep their distance and could only stay for an hour.
Another fascinating trip of Suzy’s was her time with a Papa New Guinea tribe which is a very remote and traditional to the point where they don’t have any technology, no police, they wore grass skirts and their currency is sea shells. The tribe is called the Wigmanr. The secondary aged boys have to go to school for a year to learn how to make wigs and the men give the women that they likes family 30 pigs in exchange for them to be their bride. While she was out there, Suzy was even asked to be the tribe leader’s bride but unfortunately had to decline. This was Suzy’s favourite place she’s been as there was so much culture to absorb.
Being a travel writer is not just all fun and games, here are some of the dangerous things Suzy’s had to deal with:
• There was a cobra in her toilet
• Scorpion in her shoe
• Hippo raiding her tent
• Plane crash in India
• War in Syria
• Chronic food poisoning multiple times
• House collapse in papa new guinea
• Severe altitude sickness
And a lot more!
Overall, this was an amazing and unique experience and so insightful. We went away feeling inspired and have learnt something new.