One of the main points I gleaned from attending the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop was not to settle for writing just one article when visiting a new destination. During a recent trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands, I decided to make the most of this concept. To my surprise, the rewards for being ambitious came about with each new article I wrote.
During the course of a week vacationing and writing in Turks and Caicos, I interviewed a golf professional, a chef, a spa director, a hotel CEO, and a wedding planner. In each case, these individuals shared captivating stories on how they ended up living the island life. Luckily for me, each interview also culminated with an offer I couldn’t refuse.
The golf pro asked if I’d be interested in playing at his course, one of the top-rated 18-hole layouts in the Caribbean. The chef invited my wife and I to eat dinner at his al fresco restaurant serving the freshest seafood. The spa director asked my wife to stop by her salon for a signature Swedish massage. The hotel CEO offered a complimentary stay in a two-bedroom suite overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
And, while the wedding planner couldn’t exactly offer me anything, she did provide me with some fantastic quotes. When I asked the London native if there was anything she didn’t like about living in paradise, her reply was priceless. In a precise British accent she exclaimed, “I need to go off-island to buy a proper pair of knickers.”
(Her interview also reinforced another tip I picked up at the workshop; that most people love talking about themselves. So, if you have any reluctance about contacting potential interview subjects, you really should dismiss it.)
This formula for writing multiple articles worked so well in Turks and Caicos, I plan on doubling down on this concept in an upcoming trip to St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. So far, I’ve interviews scheduled with a photographer and the concierge of a beachfront hotel. I already have the photographer article idea placed with a magazine that likes my entrepreneurial theme. In addition to the thrill of seeing my byline in print, this article should pay enough to cover a dinner and an excursion on the island.
For me, travel writing doesn’t even feel like work. I love meeting new folks who are living the dream while pursuing their careers on destinations that are straight out of a postcard. The writer’s life allows me to really learn about a particular destination, much more so than if I was just a tourist.
I met dozens of interesting people at the Travel Writer’s workshop in Chicago. I’ve stayed connected with a handful of these aspiring writers via e-mail. It’s been great to hear success stories regarding their newfound writing careers and the places they’ve experienced as travel writers.
My wife says I tend to have attention deficit. During the workshop, there were so many travel writing morsels shared, my meager attention span had to pick and choose which nuggets worked best for me. Most of all, I’m glad I was paying attention when the experts suggested that there is more than just one article to write about at each new travel destination.
On my next trip I anticipate three things: I’ll meet interesting people; I hope to write compelling articles; and I’ll definitely bring an ample supply of knickers.