Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

I love travel writing - that sense of place, of being somewhere else, even if I'm curled up in a comfy chair with a steaming mug of tea. But I'm not always in the mood for guidebooks. So I read The Best Travel Writing each year, and dig around where I may for good writing - sometimes successfully, more often, not. And then, I come across Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel, by Frankie Thompson. Frankie pens the travel site As the Bird Flies, and is a photographer, as well.


And her fiction, here, in Shy Feet? It shines. It's extraordinary, how Frankie captures the essence of travel, of growing, of being with someone squished in a taxi, or a massage in Thailand, of eating pizza in Naples, of being outside of where you live, yet still trailing your self behind you. And it's this trailing of self that gets you, in each of these well-written stories, because you see your own self. Maybe thinking of home, and kids, when you're munching on fish & chips in Brighton, or feeling annoyed at your travel partners, or trying to understand another's culture through talking with a local. It's all here, in Shy Feet - and much more.


I read this book all in one gulp, not wanting to do anything else but devour more of her words. Needless to say, I highly recommend this book - all in one sitting, or parceled out over time, so that you can make the goodness last (sort of like chocolate - devour or savor?).


Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel


Luckily for Wandering Educators, Frankie has graciously given several digital copies of Shy Feet to our readers! Please leave a comment here on the article, and we'll draw the winners randomly!


Also luckily for us, we caught up with Frankie to ask about her book, writing inspiration, full-time travel, and more. Here's what she had to say (and check out our video interview at the end of this article)...


Please tell us about your book, Shy Feet...

Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel is exactly what it suggests; a collection of short stories connected by travel as an underlying theme of each story. In some ways that's the only thing that connects them as the stories and characters are all very different - young and old, male and female points of view and the reasons people are travelling in each story vary too. Some are travelling to escape, others are going on a journey to find something, and a few are simply going on holiday, but even those stories come with a journey of self-discovery or an unexpected twist or turn.


What inspired you to write this book?

I've been writing fiction nearly all my life but I never finished a single thing - apart from some very colourful 8 page stories I wrote and illustrated when I was a child. I felt frustrated by the fact I'd never finished something, so I simplified and started writing short stories. It worked; I began finishing what I started and though it was never much good, I began to fall in love with the simplicity but also challenge of the short story. When you only have the reader's attention for so long, you have to make it count.

As for this collection and the link to travel, well, two years ago I embarked on a big lifestyle change when my partner and I gave up "normal" lives in London and started travelling indefinitely. I began working as a freelancer and took advantage of my flexible schedule to start working on stories that drew from my direct experience travelling. While all the stories in Shy Feet are completely fictional, many of the destinations, events, and scenarios are things that I have seen or experienced over the last two years and during previous travel. For example, the scene in See the Amalfi Coast when Martin and his wife stumble upon a hotel which is all closed down but the hotel insists on opening up to cook for their visitors - that actually happened to us when my family travelled around the Amalfi Coast many years ago. I still maintain it was the best Italian food I've ever eaten and it really was nothing more complicated than spaghetti and tomato sauce.


You are a full-time traveler - how do you fit writing into your travels? How does travel fit into your writing?

I'm glad you rephrased that question, because the last six months have certainly felt like writing has taken precedence! When you think about writing a book that is say 60,000 or 100,000 words long, that can feel very daunting. So daunting you may not even bother trying. But when you break it down and think about writing 1000 words a day - which takes me around 1 - 2 hours - that suddenly feels a bit more manageable and really you can do this anywhere. I have Evernote on my phone and my laptop so I can literally tap, tap, tap away when the inspirations strikes and it doesn't really matter where I am. If I try and do this every day, then after two months I'll have a first draft. Editing and then getting the book ready for publication is a slightly different matter, however, the way I see it, travel and writing are two of my big loves and they are very closely linked - one always inspires the other - so I will always do my best to do both.


What would readers be surprised to find, in Shy Feet?

Great question! I'd like to think that readers will be surprised to find they enjoy short stories. It's not a universally popular format but with our busy daily lives, reading a short story is sometimes more convenient than getting stuck into a hefty novel. One reader said they liked how they could read one story a day during their commute to work. But in terms of the actually stories themselves, I hope that readers will also be surprised to read stories that aren't predictable - there are more than a few twists in there! - and I hope that readers find at least one story that they will find themselves thinking about long after they've finished. They all have gentle messages or food for thought and are not just about travel, but about love and life, too.


Frankie Thompson


What's your favorite part of writing and sharing travel experiences?

For me, it's nice to pay tribute to some of my favorite places in the world. And it was also nice to revisit them as I wrote the story. One of my biggest love affairs of the last two years has been Thailand and so it was a joy to bring that country and its people to life in Oh, Henry through descriptions of street markets and airports, etc. The same is true of Bath in UK - where The Runaways elope to get married - that was a city I visited more than a few years ago with a "fling" of mine. It was very nostalgic to write that story, not that marriage even crossed our minds! I also feel very lucky that I got to work on these stories in so many different places - from Finnish Lapland to Marrakesh in Morocco, writing Shy Feet has been like a story in itself.


What's up next for you?

Travel wise, we've just moved to Amsterdam (again!) and we plan on staying here at least until the end of the year. It's a great city to be in; I love the cycling culture and the Dutch laid-back approach to life. Writing wise,

I'm working on a few different projects and I'm not sure which one is going to see the light of day first at the moment. There's "A to Z" another short story collection with all stories set in and inspired by London and in November I'm hoping to use NaNoWriMo to finish the first draft of my first novel, a quirky and contemporary tale about a young woman who discovers a strange way to fix her slightly unhinged family.


Thanks, Frankie! I love your book!

You can find Shy Feet at Amazon:

And if you'd like to peruse 3 chapters of Shy Feet, you can find it free here on goodreads:


And big thanks to Frankie for sharing Shy Feet with our readers - please leave a comment by October 14 to win!







Note: We received a review copy of Shy Feet from the author - thank you!




Shy Feet: Short Stories Inspired by Travel is a collection of short stories connected by travel as an underlying theme of each story.

Posted by:



Comments (1)

Leave a comment