Every time I open a travel magazine I flip past the first pages of advertisements, pass the index and the editor’s notes, and head straight to the contributors’ page. This is the page with the list and photos of the writers contributing to the issue at hand. As long as I have been devouring travel magazines I have wondered about the lives of the travel writers. Who sent them over? How did they get their story published? Why didn’t anyone tell me sooner I could make a living traveling and writing about it?
After an epic camping trip in the unspoiled Wadi Rum desert of Jordan in 2001, I wanted to share my unique experience and I fantasized about publishing the story of my journey. I wanted to describe the feelings of pitching a tent in the cream colored sand among the majestic sandstone mountains that dwarf human civilization. I thought people should see my photos of the roaming herds of wild camels and the friendly Bedouins living in cool dark tents at the foot of the mountains who invited us for sweet tea at their camp. But I had no idea how.
I imagined travel writers to be a special breed of chosen individuals. A lucky few. I pictured them as modern-day explorers magnificently skilled in photography and prose. The romantic notion that you could travel the world, report back, and make a living from it seemed very far-fetched, almost fantastic.
A few years ago, I serendipitously came across an advertisement about a workshop for travel writers in San Francisco. Was that the sign I had been waiting for? At the time it felt like a crazy decision but nevertheless I signed up and attended. I can say with certainty that the workshop was the key I needed to pursue and succeed at this mystical career.
Since those days I have learned that travel writers come from all over the world and that many of them are not even based out of their home countries. Many contributors are expats that have adapted to a life abroad or, like me, many are just people that cannot be static for long periods of time. Needless to say, as in any other profession, travel writing requires commitment, practice, long hours, dedication, but most importantly the love to travel and share stories. Like anything in life, writing skills are always a work in progress.
Recently one of my articles about the Galapagos Islands made the front cover of SilverKris Magazine, an international travel magazine. It is certainly an amazing and rewarding feeling to see your work published and I’m not going to lie, it feels great to cover the costs of a trip with the commission from an article. But even more amazing is the feeling I get when I flip the pages of my copy straight to the contributors page and see my photo among the list of the lucky few.
Editor’s note: Get your start in travel writing with the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program. You get instant access online and you can learn the tricks of the trade from the comfort of your own home.
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