Travel Classics Writers Contests

Kimberley Lovato Writers Contest Winner
Best Travel Story Ireland

Kimberley Lovato
for "Pretty Red On The Emerald Isle"

"...I spent my teens rubbing lemon onto my tresses to lighten them up, and in an attempt to obliterate my freckles, I slathered 'Fade Out' cream on my face, hoping the dots, and the attention to them, would obey. Dating was hell, especially in Los Angeles where blondes were bombshells, brunettes were sultry, and redheads had 'great personalities,' the kiss of death in courting jargon.

As a kid, my mom or grandmother tended to my wounds, braiding my hair with ribbons and soothing me with verbal band-aids like 'special' and 'unique.'

As I got older, however, it was my grandfather's advice that got me through. 'Pretty Red,' he said during one of our yearly visits. 'Pay no attention to those boys. They're color blind.'

The first time I went to Ireland I was in my early forties and once there, I wished I had visited decades earlier. Though still a minority, redheads are found in more concentration on the British Isles than anywhere else in the world, and I read recently that an estimated 10 percent of the population of Ireland has red hair. At social events back home, I often felt like a zebra at the horse farm, but in Ireland there were always three or more members of my homogeneous herd roaming about.

Being a redhead anywhere is a bit like being in a club whose secret handshake blazes atop our heads. In a hotel, at a restaurant, on the street, whenever I cross paths with another redhead there is an unspoken connection; an eye lock that I perceive to mean, 'Yeah, I know what it's like too.' In Ireland, at times, the bond was a little stronger."

The full essay will appear in an upcoming issue of American Way Magazine.

About the Author:
Kimberley Lovato has written about travel and food for publications and websites such as National Geographic Traveler, American Way, BBC Travel, Lonely Planet, Travel & Leisure, Virgin Australia, and more. Her culinary travel book, "Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves", was the 2012 Gold Lowell Thomas Award winner, and her personal essays have appeared in "Best Women's Travel Writing", Vela Magazine, AOL Travel and others. She speaks fluent French and can drink her weight in champagne.

The contest prize is provided by Adams & Butler, specializing in unusual accommodation offerings and private visits, including luxury castles, safari camps and lodges, hotels and spas, and country estates and villas.
Past Contests:

TC Ireland 2013
TC Arizona 2012
TC Wales 2012
TC Vancouver 2011
TC Dublin 2011
TC Arizona 2010
TC Quebec 2010
TC West 2009
TC Ireland 2009
TC West 2008
TC West 2007
TC Europe 2007
TC West 2005
TC Ireland 2005
TC West 2004
Past Contest Winners:

2013 - Kimberley Lovato
2012 - Rachel Dickinson
2012 - Michael Shapiro
2011 - Margie Goldsmith
2011 - Sally Shivnan
2010 - Michael Shapiro
2010 - Rachel Dickinson
2009 - Michael Shapiro
2009 - Laura Read/Gayle Keck
2008 - Michael Shapiro
2008 - Echo Garrett
2007 - Kathleen Mangan
2007 - Paul Ross
2006 - Wayne Curtis
2006 - Margie Goldsmith
2005 - Allan Lynch
2005 - Ed Readicker-Henderson
2004 - Barbara Wysocki
2003 - Ed Readicker-Henderson
2002 - Margie Goldsmith
2001 - Melanie McManus
2000 - Judy Kirkwood
1999 - Melanie McManus
1998 - Yvonne Jeffery
1997 - Laura Byrne Paquet

Current Contest:

Best Travel Story on Alberta
Deadline: March 17, 2014. Find out more. Previous Contests:

Best Travel Story Ireland 2013
Luxury 18-day vacation for two in Ireland offered by Adams and Butler Tours. Deadline: November 1, 2013. Find out more.
Best Travel Story Arizona 2012
3-night vacation for two at the new Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe. Find out more.
Best Travel Story Wales 2012
4-night trip for two in Wales
sponsored by Visit Wles, American Airlines and Welsh Rarebits.
Find out more.

Best Travel Story Vancouver 2011
5-day vacation in Kelowna, BC
sponsored by Tourism Kelowna.
Find out more.

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