Freelance and Travel Writing Retreat: Byron Bay, Australia

Have you always dreamed of being a freelance journalist or travel writer but wouldn’t have a bloody clue where to start?

The gloriously magnetic town of Byron Bay is probably Australia’s worst-kept secret. Located in Arakwal Country, the region throbs with natural beauty and is a hub for creatives, free thinkers, linen-clad influencers and patchouli-scented hippies. For a week, we’ll be running a workshop from the centre of town for budding writers who want to equip themselves with the skills and tools to get started as a freelancer. All manner of subjects will be covered — from copywriting, long-form feature writing and creative non-fiction writing to pitching to an editor, starting your own publication and decolonising travel writing.

In amongst surfing with dolphins, hiking in the rainforest and getting to know the wild and wooly locals who call the Bay home, you’ll also be working on a killer article that we’ll help you finetune and pitch to the publication of your choice. Teaching the program will be Gemma Clarke — the founding editor of Global Hobo, Bay FM breakfast presenter, former deputy editor of the triple j Annual and freelance journalist; Nat Kassell — associate editor of Slam, the deputy editor of Global Hobo and a freelance journalist with bylines at the ABC, news.com.au, Monster Children, VICE, Noisey and more; and Mariama Rose Mansfield-Njie, Bay FM radio presenter and the host of podcast Chatting BS.

Learn what you don’t get taught at uni

This intensive course provides practical, real-world experience, and has been designed to be a bridge between writing privately and entering the workforce as a freelance writer. Applicants vary in levels of experience — some are fresh out of high school, others are in the throes of a journalism degree, some are studying something super random and others have never been to uni. Maybe you’ve filled eight travel journals over the last five years; perhaps the only writing you’ve ever done is graffiti on the back of a toilet door. We cater to all ability levels, and though experience helps, it’s not at all necessary — we’ll teach you everything you need to know, and guarantee that you’ll have a wealth of new skills and confidence (plus a fantastic story worth pitching) by the end of the week.

What You Get:

  • Daily writing, editing and pitching workshops — click here for a subject breakdown
  • Airport pickup from Ballina (or you can drive your own vehicle up if you’re feeling particularly adventurous)
  • One week of private or twin-share accommodation in a beautiful house walking distance from town and the beach, complete with a kitchen and WiFi.
  • 24-hour support, care and mentoring

Who’s Teaching?

Gemma Clarke is the founding editor of Global Hobo and Anaerkilik, and is currently hosting a breakfast radio show on Byron’s BayFM. Having formerly worked as the production editor of the triple j Annual and the editor of Your Friend’s House, she’s been in the big bad world of media and copy for the past 13 years, with bylines ranging from News.com.au to New Matilda. She’s also the co-founder of An Agency Called Stray.

Nat Kassel is the other half of Stray, and has worked as a freelance journalist, copywriter and cultural commentator for the past seven year. With bylines at the ABC, The Conversation, News.com.au, VICE, Monster Children, Slam, Grass Fires, The Huffington Post, Global Hobo and a handful of others, he has a strong background in journalism and a keen eye for a human-interest story. Nat’s currently undertaking a PhD in creative writing and in his free time, moonlights as a punk band frontman.

Maz Mansfield-Njie is an African Queen from Bristol in the United Kingdom and the host of the podcast Chatting BS. She studied a Philosophy, Psychology & History of Science Joint Honours at uni, so can probably read your mind. In her spare time, Maz loves drawing her own nude and writing poems about her bi-racial heritage. She is especially passionate about self-love, Hip hop, sausage rolls and decolonising your mind.

Cost:

  • $1599 for a shared room
  • $1999AUD for a private room
  • A deposit will be due within two weeks of your selection in order to confirm your place, but the remainder will not be due until three weeks before the program starts. Payment plans are also available upon inquiry.

Dates and Availability:

  • Sunday September 12 – Sunday September 19, 2021

Places are strictly limited to a maximum of eight people.

FAQ

  • I’m still not convinced — what makes Global Hobo different from everyone else?
    • Read about our commitments to diversity, accessibility, sustainability and more.
  • This looks kind of scammy — I’d like to read some reviews of the program from previous hobos!
  • I want to know some more information about the program!
  • What are your terms and conditions?

Apply

To apply, fill in a contact form or message us directly, and we’ll be in touch within two working days. Successful applicants will be open-minded creatives who are keen to step outside their comfort zone and gain some real-world journalism experience. Do note though that the course is just that: a course. You don’t need to already have a foot in the door of the media industry to apply, nor do you already need to be the best writer. All the skills you’ll need to start sculpting your words like a pro and getting published will be taught as part of the curriculum. In fact, many students often keep writing for Global Hobo on a freelance basis once their course is over.

Age is just a number -- but you've gotta be at least 18.
No pressure - beginners are still welcome to apply.

Would you prefer to attend this course in tropical North Queensland, spread over a month? Join our Freelance and Travel Writing Workshop in Cairns instead!

Learn More

Are you already a capable writer, but want to get deeper with your long-form reporting? Come hang with us on North Stradbroke Island for our Investigative Journalism Workshop.

Learn More

Global Hobo is run by a team of writers who mostly live and work on Bundjalung land in the Byron Shire. We would like to acknowledge, pay our respects and give thanks to the Arakwal people, the Widjabal people and the Minjungbal people of the Bundjalung nation: the traditional and ongoing custodians of the land. We pay respect to their elders past, present and emerging, and acknowledge that their land was stolen, and never ceded. We also acknowledge that First-Nations people in Australia continue to suffer from colonialism, and that all settlers in Australia continue to benefit from this oppressive system.

Most photos by our pal Shades of Love