Profiles in Travel Writing: David Hill

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Profiles in Travel Writing: David Hill

I've got a new series to start on Wandering Educators! I'd like to share profiles in travel writing with you. Our first feature is David Hill. He has contributed to Blue Guides, EuropeUpClose, and many other journalism outlets. I am so very impressed with the breadth of his writing, as well as the quality. We were lucky enough to sit down and talk with David about his work - here's what he had to say...


David Hill



WE: Please tell us about your work in the travel field...

DH: In terms of “pure” travel writing, I've been delivering weekly articles to since summer 2009, and I contributed to the 2006 edition of the Budapest book by Blue Guides. I’ve written occasional travel or restaurant articles for other media over the years.

More broadly, though, virtually all my work has an international flavor and is, in one way or another, about globalization, as an economic and a cultural phenomenon.

Since 2005 I've worked for a web service run by the Financial Times Group, researching and editing international merger news. I particularly focus on Germany. Before that, I edited the Budapest Business Journal. I've written chapters on various economic sectors - including tourism - in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine for books published by the Stockholm Network and Oxford Business Group.

I also work in the entertainment sphere. I’ve been the English lyricist for Little Cow, a Hungarian band, since 2006. Currently I'm working with them on a third English-language album. I was commissioned to translate Moliere's play The Misanthrope for a stage production in 2004. That same year, I co-curated a British-Hungarian literary festival, Converging Lines, which coincided with Hungary joining the European Union. Globalization is also one of the themes running through Consumed, a book of my creative writing that was published in the US in 2008.

My portfolios are online at


David Hill



WE: What led to your interest in travel and exploring other cultures?

DH: I enjoyed language classes at school, especially German. I had a couple of opportunities to travel to mainland Europe as a kid, which helped me get a sense of the cultures behind the languages.

But a big piece of the puzzle slotted into place in 1989, when I was 18. That was when communism collapsed in Eastern Europe. It was weird watching the news on TV and then looking down at my German textbooks, which still talked about West Germany and East Germany. In a vague adolescent way, I started realizing that this is a world where big changes can happen anytime, and there might be some kind of place in that world for me, with my skills and interests.

Not that I immediately knew I'd write for a living. But I did opt to take a degree in German and Russian at Oxford University. I spent a year traveling in Russia in the early 90s, during which I landed a temporary job on a bilingual newspaper. And one thing led to another.



WE: How did you get involved in travel writing?

DH: My first foray was in about 1997. I had just joined an English-language weekly paper in Romania, read mostly by international businesspeople based there. The “life and leisure” section usually included an article about some travel destination in the country. I had taken a few trips myself, so I wrote some of those articles.



WE: What is up next for you?

DH: One project that will see the light of day soon is Journey to Faremido. I know that sounds like travel writing, but it's a fictional tale. It’s about Gulliver - he of the Travels - finding himself on a planet full of robots that communicate through musical notes. I wish I could claim to have dreamt that up myself, but my role was to adapt an existing story. The text will be used as narration for a piece of music by Gregory Vajda, who's a composer and is also the conductor of the Oregon Symphony. The piece will be premiered next January by Portland's Third Angle ensemble - plus narrator.

Apart from that, I work each week for my regular clients. And I’m always open to interesting commissions.



WE: Thanks so much, David. What a journey you've had!

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