If you’re already an established travel writer, you’ve heard it dozens of times.
“Oh what I would do to have your job!” Indeed, the life of a travel writer can be an enviable one, but at the same time, it’s not for everyone. Take a few minutes and answer the following 12 questions. Jot down the letters of your answers and tally the results at the end.
1. You’ve missed your flight out of Cairo, the next several are booked, and the ticket agent says serenely, “Don’t worry. Allah willed this.” Meanwhile, you have three more countries to ‘”cover” in one week. You:
b) Head straight for the bar.
c) Secure a flight for the next day, go back into town and settle in for an obligation-free evening at your hotel.
2. You are terribly afraid of take-offs and landings, so you:
b) Drink yourself into oblivion.
c) Bury yourself in a book or a conversation with the person sitting next to you during those times.
3. You’re in Caracas, Venezuela. A new-found pilot friend invites you on a private sightseeing flight to Angel Falls. “Guaranteed to give you a close-up view,” he says with a devious smile. You:
b) Take a rain-check.
c) Accept with pleasure.
4. You’re up against a deadline with a major article about skiing in Scandinavia when an editor calls and asks if you can give her a quick 500-word piece on New England inns. You know both subjects very well. You:
b) Say yes and miss your other deadline.
c) Ask for a bit more time from both editors.
5. You have to write a piece on a place you absolutely hated for a magazine you never heard of before. You’re in no mood to work on it, yet it is due in days. You:
b) Write it half-heartedly.
c) Talk yourself into getting something out of writing it.
6. You get a call asking if you could lecture on a subject you just wrote extensively about. You can’t stand speaking in front of groups, so you:
b) Say yes, but change your mind later.
c) Say yes, definitively.
7. You have no work. You haven’t had work for three months. You’ve run up your credit card bills. You:
b) Spend your time bellyaching to everyone on the phone.
c) Keep networking, send out pitches and proposals, call editors.
8. It’s 3 A.M. You’ve been at your computer for such a long time, your eyes hurt, your back aches, you’re feeling nauseous. Still, your article is due at noon the next day and the editor will not grant you an extension. You:
b) Blow off the deadline.
c) Get a couple of hours rest before finishing up.
9. In ten years, you picture yourself:
b) As a lawyer.
c) Well-known travel journalist or author.
10. You’ve just received a call from an innkeeper. He is irate because you mentioned his inn on the same page as a group of seedy hotels in his town. How dare you associate him with such places. You:
c) Tell him you admire his integrity and explain that most innkeepers are thrilled to get any kind of publicity.
11. An editor calls with an immediate project. There is no way you could free up to do it and he asks if you could recommend another writer. You:
b) Recommend a writer you know is on the road.
c) Give him a few names, but explain that you have never worked directly with them (unless you of course have, and in that case, can highly recommend them).
12. You write:
b) Only when you have to.
c) Almost every day.
If you circled all As and Bs, you may have a difficult time supporting yourself as a travel writer. However, many of these traits evolve over time and through experience, so don’t necessarily give up.
If you circled most Cs, you already have what it takes.
Where did you score? Are you cut out to be a travel writer? :-)