Do you envision yourself on a distant shore, documenting your daily adventures, while at the same time, funding your dream lifestyle?
Many people are finding that becoming a travel writer is an attainable goal. But a few missteps can shatter those dreams in record time.
Some of the suggestions below are applicable to all who decide to move abroad, and some are unique to the travel writer’s lifestyle. Learn about potential problems and how to avoid them, before you pack your bags.
That way, you’ll increase your odds of enjoying a long and happy travel writing career.
- Leave your loved ones with a hug, not a middle finger. Making a break from a traditional lifestyle, to one of uncertainty and intrigue, is often extremely hard on those you love. Their mix of well-meaning concern and sadness about the impending distance between you, may drive them to react in unexpected and confounding ways. Making the decision to move abroad is a journey you’ve already gone on, but they have not. Give them time to process, and attempt to understand what’s driving any negativity, or any anger they may express. Try to leave on good terms with everyone. Let them know that you love them, and that you will be in touch.
- Stay connected with your close friends and family members back home. This provides unexpected benefits: You’ll help reassure them, that you’re okay and not in any ‘danger’ (danger = whatever imagined hazards they warned you about.) Regular correspondence reaffirms this positive message, and helps your loved ones learn to accept your ‘new normal.’
When you encounter the inevitable challenges life throws your way, those maintained relationships can help provide support and counsel, even from thousands of miles away.
- Get out there and meet people. Creating true relationships is difficult when you regularly travel (refer to #3.) If you have the luxury of landing somewhere for an extended period, seek out friendships with locals and fellow travelers alike. The people you spend time developing relationships with can serve as sounding boards when you need to hear more than your own voice and perspective. People who know you, and who know your heart, can spot when your authenticity is in question. They can also let you know when your actions, or reactions, seem inappropriate or out of character.
- Be authentic. Not in your judgement and comparisons, but in your humility and respect for other human beings. Taking an ego-centric view of new surroundings and the people you come into contact with, simply reveals the work you need to do. Work that is often only inspired by living abroad. In our humanness, it’s hard not to dabble in some level of judgement, but try to stay silent with an open heart. It will provide time for you to get to know people, appreciate who they are, and understand their culture. This intimate understanding of people will resonate with your readers, and enrich your travel experiences.
- Don’t sugar coat your writing, for any reason. Honestly share about the ups and downs of your life/lifestyle. Falsely representing who you are, is not a sustainable practice.
When reviewing businesses, it’s tempting to glorify an experience that you didn’t have to pay a dime for, but don’t do it. Having been on both sides of the traveler, and destination owner coin, you do everyone a disservice by embellishing your less-than-amazing experience with copious amounts of false praise.
The best thing to do when you’re disappointed, or things go awry, is immediately contact your hosts and share your concerns with them. Most business owners will do everything in their power to make things right for you ASAP. You’ll also be helping them discover ways to improve future guest experiences. A win-win for everyone. A business’ willingness to listen, and ability to rectify a negative situation, says lot about the type of experience travelers may have.
Consider these suggestions as you prepare for your life abroad. Your travel writing career can be rewarding and filled with joy, especially if you’re honest, realistic, and intentional as you transition into your new life.
Now you’re ready to pack.
~Pura vida, Penny