Last summer, I received the kind of travel assignment that reminds me how lucky I am to be working in this profession. I traveled with my young son to the northern reaches of Vermont to stay at an old sporting camp. We had our own cabin, we ate with other families in the big lodge, and we spent a lot of time hiking the woods and paddling on the lake.
“You’re getting paid to do this?” a friend recently asked me when I told him about it.
I almost felt guilt about the answer. But not quite. It’s work, too. The reporting. The interviewing. The writing. Long hours go into putting together a good story. But beyond the travel, it’s also extraordinarily satisfying.
Here are four key travel writing perks I’ve found that come with the “job”.
You’re an Explorer
Curiosity is an essential skill for any writer. If it’s in you, I can’t think of a better career to follow. Think about it: Each new assignment brings a fresh opportunity to see new places, meet new people, and experience new adventures. Over the years I’ve had the chance to visit and try new things because it’s my job.
I’ve tested my fear of heights against one of the longest zipline rides in the world, sat passenger side in a Snowcat up Mt. Washington in the middle of winter, and had a front-row seat to owning and operating a Vermont B&B in the heart of foliage season. No day is ever the same, and the best of them allow me to have life experiences I’m not sure I would with any other occupation.
You’re Inspiring Others
I like to think that my best articles open a window for readers to see a new place and possibly a different way of life. Maybe it will even get them excited to explore and experience something similar. Really good travel writing can help put an undiscovered place on the tourist map, or bring deserved positive attention to a new restaurant or shop. It can change lives. Literally. Never under-estimate the power of your words.
You’re Celebrating the Lives of Others
Part of the joy of reporting and writing for me is the chance to meet people and find out about their lives; what they do and how they came to do it. Often, the people I’m interviewing aren’t celebrities or pack any kind of name recognition. It’s frequently the case that they’ve never even been interviewed before. But they do have a story to tell. Bringing these lives to readers is an underrated but important part of any good storytelling. And when it’s done well, it adds a rich dimension to a piece and brings notice and attention to someone who may not have received it otherwise.
You’re Getting Paid to Do This!
That’s right. In addition to all the perks that come with being a travel writer, you’re also compensated for the work. That’s pretty awesome!