Travel: A Teen's Eye View

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Nov 22, 2011 / 0 comments

Farmers’  kids farm, writers’  kids write. At least that’s the case in the Farewell/Seligson household. Justine Farewell Seligson, a high school freshman, has had a travel column in her family’s business,, since its inception two years ago.  Once a month, she writes (and takes pictures) about her experiences traveling, whether into New York City for a day trip or into the Kalahari desert in Botswana. She prides herself on providing insights, ideas and advice for students (and their parents) and has picked up many tricks of the trade from her travel editor/author mom, Susan Farewell, and her dad, author Tom Seligson, who is also a TV producer (He’s the Executive Producer of the new adventure travel series Born to Explore on ABC).

Safe to say, Justine is surrounded by the travel media day in and day out. Wandering Educators had the chance to catch up with her and see what goes on in the mind of a teen travel columnist.


Justine Seligson



WE: What propelled you to start a teen travel column?

JS:  Well, when my mother, Susan Farewell, was starting the site, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me. I travel so much and it just seemed like it could be fun, so I asked her.



WE: What do you like most about travel?

JS: I like to step away from my own life (temporarily of course) and try the shoes of another life every now and then. When you leave behind school , sports and friends,  you can be open  to other experiences. You take a vacation from all the pressure associated with those things.


That Time of Day

That Time of Day



WE: Do you have a favorite place?

JS: I haven’t been everywhere so I still have a lot of places to visit. But I do love Europe. I feel like I belong there.



WE: How do you come up with ideas for your stories?

JS: When I travel, I take note of what I like and try to imagine what my friends and other teens would be interested in.   I also like to tell the truth about places. If a museum is boring, I’ll say so. If it’s something I think they’ll love,  I’ll say that as well.


Midnight Reflection

Midnight Reflection



WE: What about the photography aspect of your column? 

JS: What I love about photography is that you capture moments. You interpret the moment that’s already created.
When I first started “Just-Teens Travel,”  I didn’t have a camera and, aside from the disposable ones, I didn’t take pictures. But about a year ago, I took a photography class at an arts center that’s quite well known in the art world and wound up winning an award for one of my photographs. I’ve been pursuing photography very seriously ever since.  Last summer, I participated in one of the National Geographic Student Expeditions summer photography trips and wrote about it for FarewellTravels, but also for National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel Blog. Now, I’m taking digital darkroom at school and planning to shoot photos for the school newspaper and yearbook.



WE: What do you prefer? The writing or the photography?

JS: Well, I feel that the cliché, “A picture is worth a thousand words” is a cliché for a reason. It’s really true.


Stepping Out

Stepping Out



WE: Is there anything about the column process that you dislike?

JS: Sometimes it’s very stressful to juggle with other schoolwork, sports and my social life. Also, it feels like homework. But always in the end, I am glad I did it.



WE: Do you have any future plans that involve your writing and photography?

JS:  I’m hoping to participate in another National Geographic Student Expedition next summer. I’d love to go on one of their Iceland trips. Both of my parents have traveled to Iceland and have written about the country and produced TV shows about it. So I know quite a bit about it already and I’m very aware that it’s an amazingly photogenic country.



WE:  Do you have plans to pursue a profession in travel media, writing, or photography?

JS: Maybe I could become a professional photographer, but it really depends where my life takes me.


A Close Look

A Close Look



WE: Justine, you seem like a young citizen of the world.

JS: When you travel a lot, you realize how small the world is. You also learn that while we all may look differently, dress differently, eat differently, we have a lot more in common that we may think.



Justine’s columns
You will find all of Justine’s columns by going to and clicking on “What Interests You?” at the top of the page. Then click on “Teen Travel, “ and a list of teen-related columns will come up. Here are two:

Made-in-China Shops

Pulled Out of the Bubble





All photos courtesy and copyright Justine Seligson