The Ambidextrous Travel Writer

The Ambidextrous Travel Writer:

The Ambidextrous Travel Writer is a monthly advice column for travel writers & bloggers, written by author Susan Farewell.

Exactly What IS an Ambidextrous Travel Writer?

Ambidextrous Travel Writer
5 April 2010 Post Author:
Print This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post         

I’ve had enough people ask me about the name of this column, so I think it’s time to define “ambidextrous travel writer”.

Before I explain what an ambidextrous travel writer is, I do need to take you back to what a travel writer used to be.

When I first started as an assistant travel editor at The Condé Nast Publications (Bride’s Magazine, to be specific), I was an editorial assistant, one of three travel editors for the significant honeymoon section.

In this brave new world of travel writing, you have to do it all or find a new career.

At this job, I was in the early stages of becoming a travel writer and was single, eager to work 24/7 to get ahead.

I was responsible for researching, writing, and editing many travel pieces.

At Condé Nast, we had staff in other positions and entire departments that made sure the articles we travel editors wrote (or edited) would read well and look nice in the magazine.

There were:

  • Fact-checkers
  • Proofreaders
  • Many levels of editors
  • An advertising department
  • An art department
  • An IT specialist
  • A fashion department for shoots
  • A promotion department
  • A marketing department
  • An accounting department
  • A circulation department, and so on…

Little did I know then, that years later, I would be all of these departments rolled up into one job description as well as a wife and a mom.

After seeing so many of my traditional media outlets dry up, I launched at the end of 2009. I felt it was important to establish a digital presence that I could call my own.

So what do I do now, as a travel writer?

Ambidextrous Travel Writer
Elaine Clayton ©2010

Intrepid Travel Writer Susan Farewell and her daughter Justine in Athens, Greece.

  • I travel ( a lot).
  • I attend press events.
  • I write articles.
  • I edit articles.
  • I fact-check articles.
  • I proofread articles.
  • I do photo-research and handle copyrights when necessary.
  • I work with photographers.
  • I take photographs, some video and organize it all.
  • I PhotoShop images.
  • I work with artists.
  • I do layouts.
  • I upload stories.
  • I write headlines, captions.
  • I do on-camera work for videos.
  • I work with animators to create maps.
  • I do promotions, working with PR agencies to develop contests and other incentives to visit my site.
  • I do legal research.
  • I speak on many panels and at conferences.
  • I do the marketing, endeavoring to get the word out to everyone in cyberspace.
  • I meet with my web developer to discuss improvements.
  • I develop business plans and come up with creative ways to make money.
  • I do the accounting.
  • I supervise a small staff.

So what do you think, does that qualify as Ambidextrous?

As far as I’m concerned, in this brave new world of travel writing, you have to do it all or find a new career.


  • Warning: Missing argument 1 for BaseDD::BaseDD(), called in /homepages/8/d116188896/htdocs/TWE_2014_Site-Forum/TWE_Website/wp-content/plugins/digg-digg/include/dd-manual.php on line 123 and defined in /homepages/8/d116188896/htdocs/TWE_2014_Site-Forum/TWE_Website/wp-content/plugins/digg-digg/include/dd-class.php on line 97

    Warning: Missing argument 2 for BaseDD::BaseDD(), called in /homepages/8/d116188896/htdocs/TWE_2014_Site-Forum/TWE_Website/wp-content/plugins/digg-digg/include/dd-manual.php on line 123 and defined in /homepages/8/d116188896/htdocs/TWE_2014_Site-Forum/TWE_Website/wp-content/plugins/digg-digg/include/dd-class.php on line 97

    Warning: Missing argument 3 for BaseDD::BaseDD(), called in /homepages/8/d116188896/htdocs/TWE_2014_Site-Forum/TWE_Website/wp-content/plugins/digg-digg/include/dd-manual.php on line 123 and defined in /homepages/8/d116188896/htdocs/TWE_2014_Site-Forum/TWE_Website/wp-content/plugins/digg-digg/include/dd-class.php on line 97

    Warning: Missing argument 4 for BaseDD::BaseDD(), called in /homepages/8/d116188896/htdocs/TWE_2014_Site-Forum/TWE_Website/wp-content/plugins/digg-digg/include/dd-manual.php on line 123 and defined in /homepages/8/d116188896/htdocs/TWE_2014_Site-Forum/TWE_Website/wp-content/plugins/digg-digg/include/dd-class.php on line 97

11 Responses to “Exactly What IS an Ambidextrous Travel Writer?”

  1. Dave and Deb

    Wow! Your job is huge. It definitely qualifies as Ambidextrous. I have a question, do you still enjoy your career as much as the early days? It is too bad that all of these jobs have been lost. But sadly that is the case in every company out there these days. Greater work load, less people and less profit:(
    .-= Dave and Deb´s last blog post: Everest Base Camp Adventure – Day 1 =-.

  2. It’s amazing how many jobs you do! I had never thought to write them all down in a long list, but definitely found myself saying, “check, check, check” 🙂 It’s good to hear that you still enjoy your job – a true entrepreneur!
    .-= Approach Guides´s last blog post: Boutique Gallery and Hotel in Dubai, UAE =-.

  3. ricki@tripbase

    Wow. It sounds like you cover every sense of the word ambidextrous in your work. Not only do you need to be skilled… it sounds like you need both hands!
    .-= ricki@tripbase´s last blog post: 3 Revolutionary Ways to Extend Your Life =-.

  4. Kay Showker says:

    Hi Susan,
    I agree with everything you wrote, however, you omitted the most demanding, time-consuming task of all — answering emails and phone calls.
    From another harried travel writer,

  5. Dianne

    I loved this article, I was just explaining this to an aspiring writer yesterday and he said he thought he had left all that behind! On top of that you are also a mom! Fabulous

  6. Hi Susan

    Excellent stuff, but you must have 36 hours in your day!

    Kind regards

    Darren Sylvester

Trackbacks & Tweetbacks

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by theplanetd: RT @travelwriting Exactly What IS an Ambidextrous Travel Writer?

Some links on this page do earn us a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. Not much, maybe enough for a cup of coffee or a beer, but we would never recommend any item if we didn't believe in it's value to you. Plus, every little bit helps keep this site going and helps us continue to provide you with great information.  We appreciate your support!

Travelers Corner

    Social Media on Travel

    Travel Blog Networks

    Travel Podcasts

    Web Analytics