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.

Why We Travel

enthusiastic travel writer
6 September 2010 Post Author:
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Years ago, I was on a press trip in Africa.

As we were bumping along through the savannah, one of my fellow journalists was flipping through a stack of magazines he had brought along for what I guess he considered dull moments.

He could have been on a plane, he could have been in his own living room.

One place he was not, was in the moment.

The enemy of the travel writer is the “been there, done that” attitude. It is something we all have to fight because many of us travel all over the world, see great sites, stay in top hotels, eat in award-winning restaurants, even meet local dignitaries along the way.

Enthusiasm is what I look for in travel reporting.

Because of it, we have a tendency to take this extraordinary life for granted.

But that is really dangerous not only for ourselves but for our readers, our viewers, our site visitors—whomever we are doing these reconnaissance trips for.

I believe that critical for survival in our field is a puppy-like curiosity wherever we find ourselves. If you’re not tickled about anything, what’s the point? It’s not only a waste of your time, but certainly harder to write enthusiastically about it.

One of the contributors to my site,, recently was on a sea kayaking trip in British Columbia. He had been on many such trips, as he’s very involved with orca conservation and protection projects. When he got back, he sent me a short video his wife had shot while they were in Johnstone Strait.

The 34 second film captures not only an amazing experience of having a whale come within a couple of feet of their kayak, but the audio captures their excitement. Clearly, they were wowed by what was happening and you can’t help but feel it as you watch and listen.

This enthusiasm is what I look for in travel reporting, whether it’s written, photographed, sketched, painted or filmed.

But more importantly, this is why I travel.

~ Susan

Do you find yourself losing enthusiasm for traveling? Share your thoughts!

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5 Responses to “Why We Travel”

  1. Excellent point, Susan! I too have been on a few press trips with journalists who seemed very bored to be there – I don’t see how they could write something of any interest about the place if they have no interest themselves, and if their story isn’t interesting, why would someone read it?

    Travel writing is all about inspiring people to travel, and providing information……if one doesn’t enjoy doing that, then they shouldn’t be in this business, period. They should stay home and sell shoes.

  2. Wendy

    Great thoughts and great points.
    Likewise I travel for the enthusiasm of traveling as well as the experiences. And how can you have great, unusual, spur of the moment or unique experiences if you aren’t “present” in your travels?
    I just don’t know how anyone can be bored while traveling! There is so much to experience and be enthusiastic about when traveling.

  3. Andy Hayes

    I think that’s a pretty good reason to travel. 🙂
    .-= Andy Hayes´s last blog post: Finding Beauty in the Desert Southwest =-.

  4. Lori Henry

    Great post! I find that whenever I get a bit drained from so much travelling, I’ll end up in a place or doing something that completely re-invigorates me. I’m in Europe right now and met someone who re-sparked my wide eyed giddiness again, just when I was getting exhausted from the long days and too-short nights of research. Here’s to being in the moment!
    .-= Lori Henry´s last blog post: My Birthday in Queen Charlotte- Haida Gwaii =-.

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