by Don George
"Two weeks ago the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference – that annual four-day summer camp for travel creators – magically unfolded in Marin County's Corte Madera once again. The conference is always one of the highlights of the year for me, and it proved so this year as well. Looking back, I've distilled five lessons from this year's reeling, regaling, roller-coaster ride.
1. Travel writing makes you see the familiar anew: The conference actually kicked off for me with a pre-conference one-day in-the-field workshop. This year I took a hardy and convivial band of 11 writers to Point Reyes Station. This tiny town on winding Highway 1 seems the quintessential Northern California outpost to me. Though the population is only 350, the locally headquartered Cowgirl Creamery sells cheeses from as far away as France, England, and Italy (as well as its own signature, creamily delicious Mt Tam and tangy Red Hawk cheeses); on the one and only main street, Coyuchi sells organic textiles made in India, Cabaline offers Western and Australian saddlery next to Marin-made hats, and Zuma showcases jewelry crafted in Africa, Asia and down the street. In short, it's a captivating mix of the local and the global, distinguished by its quality and its commitment to sustainable principles and practices."
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