The Truth of Becoming a Travel Writer

So, you’ve got the talent for writing, you’ve got the love of travel and adventure, but that’s not the most important element of travel writing. It has to be more than just a passion. It has to be a way of life you can live with or one you simply can’t live without.

When looking to get into travel writing you have to ask yourself, as I did with just about every profession I’ve ever considered (acting, flight attendant, teacher in the Alaskan bush), what are you willing to sacrifice? If you’re just starting out and don’t have a super high paying job with massive amounts of free time or work you can take on the road, then you’re probably going to be living on a shoe-string budget. There are bills to pay and equipment you’ll need before you even leave town. Once you’re in your destination you might be staying in hostels, which means giving up personal space, living out of a suitcase (that you can’t allow to explode all over the room), and trading in your comfy bed at home for the bits of cardboard that pass in most hostels for a bed. But you’re not just giving up the freedoms of having a place of your own. You’re exchanging your every day relationships with your friends for part-time friendships. Most travel writers tend to be gregarious people who make friends easily, so it’s not that hard to find someone to grab a drink with, but these are not people who know you inside and out and sometimes you’ll get somewhere in the middle of winter with hardly any other people in the same lodgings as you. Can you handle getting dinner or drinks alone? Odds are that you’ll be spending a large amount of time by yourself. So it’s important to know who you are and know your own mind.

Speaking of relationships, for some people the hardest adjustment deals with romantic relationships. If you’re lucky enough to have someone at home who doesn’t mind you being away all the time then you’re in great shape, but often times the men or women you meet might not take a relationship with you seriously if they know you’re not going to be around to cultivate it. Even if you find someone who is willing to do these things, there is an immense amount of work that goes into maintaining that relationship compounded on top of the work it takes to maintain a presence in the media world while traveling. Are you prepared to put forth that effort into a long distance relationship while working towards your goals?

Despite the aforementioned lack of outward glamour when you’re beginning, or for any writer who isn’t employed by a luxury travel magazine, you are trading all of those things for mountains towering overhead, awe-inspiring landscapes, beachside rides on horseback, city lights glittering in the night, new friends from every walk of life, evenings with a drink in hand listening to live music, afternoons in street side cafes, whirlwind romances, and endless adventure.

What it really boils down to:
“Would you be willing to trade all of this, from this day to that, for once chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they may never take our freedoooooom!” Wait a minute… that’s from Braveheart, but the point is the same. To rephrase, would you be willing to trade every bit of a normal life for the chance to tell the world how you lived free?

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5 Reasons to Travel Solo

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To many, the idea of traveling alone might be a scary, panic inducing thought, but it shouldn’t be. There are many benefits to traveling solo.

1. Hindsight is Always 20/20
Sometimes you just need to get away from whatever may be troubling or stressing you and sometimes you don’t even know there’s something wrong until you’ve removed yourself from your own cloud. Whatever it may be there’s no better cure than to forget your troubles for a while and, when you’re ready, take a minute to think on life and what changes need to be made. When you return you’ll be relaxed and clear-headed in your course of direction.

2. The Clock Ticks Only for You
Don’t want to visit that thousandth church while touring Italy? Want to spend three days laying on the beach reading? You can. You don’t have to compromise with anyone but yourself. Everything you want to do and see are open to you at your own pace.

3. Freedom of Thought
My favorite part of traveling alone is that I have time to think whatever I want without the intrusions of society telling me their opinions. You can think and believe whatever you want to. You can convince yourself wholeheartedly that unicorns exist if you so choose. Allow your mind to wander along with your feet and create some new convictions.

4. Go Incognito
Have you ever wanted to be someone else? Here’s your chance to be that person. No one knows you where you’re going so why not be that ethereal, nomadic hippy or a secretive, sunglasses-toting Hollywood star? You may just discover something about yourself.

5. Character Building
Traveling solo forces you to be more responsible, aware of your surroundings, and manage your time, skills that are probably useful in your normal life.