My response is always the same, “Absolutely,” I tell them.
This is in response to the questions, “Do travel writers really get all those great perks? Can I get your job? Can you teach me how to get free trips? Can I learn how to write travel? Can I really just travel and write?”
I usually outline what I did to make it all happen. Then, I never hear from most of them again. I suppose the reason why I don’t hear back is that what I do ends up sounding like real work. I can assure you, it is.
Tomorrow evening I will be speaking about how to succeed in the travel industry: getting connections with pr firms and tourism boards, social networking, marketing and, of course, writing about destinations. I expect to learn something from the meeting, as I always get something worthwhile from a room full of writers. I hope the audience will take something home of value too.
However, at the end of the day, travel writing is a tough gig. Those who are good at it have worked at writing well and making inroads into an ever diminishing traditional industry, or competing with the 300 billion travel blogs that are springing up every two seconds or so.
Yesterday, I visited a “travel writing” forum that was once a vibrant, relevant site, which now feels more like a ghost town. I could almost see the digital tumbleweeds roll across the screen. I was a little bit sad really. It would be easy to say that it is bleak out there in this tough economy and that the travel world is drying up faster than a mouth full of crackers for writers – but I am not so sure.
I do think the world of publishing is changing, and with it, so is travel writing. To me, this means thousands of companies have to reevaluate old ideas. While this throws everything into disarray, it also levels the playing field and opens opportunities for people like us who are passionate about the world and its people.
The reason this is true is because people will continue to travel. Travel remains big business for almost every country on Earth. Businesses and agencies will still be promoting travel and needing quality writers to inspire others to explore our world.
So while no one knows what the travel writing landscape while look like in a few years, one thing is for certain. Success will likely not come in the form of an easy road, so keep working hard, traveling and writing.