Cindy Fan is a writer, photographer and travel guide researcher. Her work has been published in The Toronto Star, The Australian, Ultratravel Magazine, GlobalPost and Expat Living Singapore Magazine. She is the researcher/writer of Travelfish’s Laos and Vietnam travel guides. See her articles for the press at cindyfan.com/published
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, my path to becoming a writer was far from a straightforward one. My degree in English Literature and Classics (that’s Ancient Greek and Roman history in non-Academic speak) thoroughly frustrated my Taiwanese parents, but the studies led me to Communications/Digital Marketing. Yet I spent every moment I could away from the desk backpacking and exploring — from trekking across the wilds of Patagonia and camping in the Serengeti, to journeying across West Africa in a truck and endearing myself into kitchens throughout Iran.
After falling in love with sticky rice and Mekong sunsets, in 2011 I uprooted my life in Toronto to live la vida Laos. Suddenly, travel wasn’t about travel. It was about becoming local, diving down deep and living the story. Moving abroad, I cut my teeth into writing and photography full-time — but more importantly, I learned how to plant rice, stand patiently beside broken-down buses and came to know that the difference between “tired” and “pubic hair” in the Lao language is the slightest inflection in tone.
I now divide my life between Laos, Vietnam, Turks and Caicos Islands and the world, juggling guide research/writing for Travelfish with chronicling my abiding love for culture, food, adventure — and misadventure — here on So Many Miles.
So Many Miles is a journey through stories. It’s about diving in, discovering and creating a narrative about the world, one story and one adventure at a time.
I am an explorer.
40+ countries. A deep love for Africa and Asia, especially Southeast Asia, my home for five years. What drives me?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received about travel writing came from a prominent newspaper editor when I submitted my very first travel story. “Write like a writer, not like a travel writer” he told me, instructing me to change my cliché lede before he would publish it. I mulled that curious, perfunctory statement for a long time. It became a huge revelation.
That opening paragraph didn’t even sound like me, it was reminiscent of so many dull travel articles I had poured over written by people who didn’t reflect me. Trying to emulate what I had seen published (and what I wrongly assumed must be good) was not necessarily what people wanted to read. Writing is a craft and a journey. It’s using my voice.
As a writer and photographer — but also as a woman who travels alone, is a first-generation Canadian and a black sheep — I meet incredible people, see and do extraordinary things. I want to tell those stories with captivating photographs and prose that sparkles. So join me. I have travelled so many miles; there are so many miles to go.
Writer, Photographer, Travel Guide Researcher, Explorer