The Story Behind the Book – the 2017 WTLA Writing Competition

As a woman who loves to travel, perhaps there’s one story you’re afraid to remember. It’s the story of two women, Marina Menegazzo and María José Coni, both in their early twenties, who in 2016 packed their bags, hugged their friends and family goodbye, and set out to see the world.

Those two women never returned home.

Marina and Maria José were together when they were murdered in a small beach town in Ecuador, some three thousand kilometers from their homes in Mendoza, Argentina.

The news of their tragic death reached far beyond those who had ever known them personally.

Among those who reacted were women travelers around the world. Women who love to travel easily understand why two women would leave home in search of adventure, filled with a desire to uncover new cultures and a thirst for new experiences.

However, in the outcry that followed their deaths, some furious online commentators expressed anger that Marina and María José had taken the risk of traveling without male companions. They asked how two young women could be allowed to travel “alone,” even though they were together.

Perhaps it was that question that hurt us the most. As women who travel alone, we turned to one another and said:

“Wait…They are wrong.”

Because we know that women can travel alone. We can travel by ourselves, or we can travel with friends in groups small or large. We can do it as freely as men do, and have positive experiences that change our lives forever. In huge ways and small ways, our travel experiences enrich us and shape our future.

And we knew that we had to remind the world that women can travel alone. All three of us on the WTLA editorial team are involved in the publishing world, and we know that one of the best ways to get a message out is in a book. But we knew we couldn’t write that book alone. We had to write it alone together. Which is why we need you to help us with the 2017 Women Travel Latin America Anthology, Alone Together.

Alone Together will be a book of travel writing by women and for women. We want to inspire women to travel to Latin America and beyond. We want to help others see how they can travel safely and confidently. And we want to remind those who haven’t wandered in a while exactly why they love traveling so much.

Share your stories with us; your unexpected triumphs, your moments of laughter or tears, the risks you took, the people you met, and the invisible barriers you broke along the way. From Mexico to Argentina, from El Salvador to Brazil, we want to read about your experiences. We know every single one of you has a story worth publishing.

Please join us in our goal of showing others that we can, indeed, travel alone – together.

– Karen, Victoria and Emma

Editorial team at Women Travel Latin America

Find out how to enter the 2017 Women Travel Latin America writing competition here. It’s free to enter and the top prize winner will receive US$100. The 30 top entries will be published in the Alone Together anthology.

Visit our submission tips page for more information.

Feel free to share this competition with other women travelers! Use the share buttons on this page to post to your social media account or to send by email.