My bags are packed for Morocco, and I have a plane ticket to Spain and Portugal, too. I’m headed to seven countries over the next three months, after spending several months last year living in Vietnam and traveling to Thailand and Cambodia.
But despite all of this fabulous potential material for plenty of international stories, the email I got today from an editor at Thrillist was looking for my expertise on Colorado—my residence for most of the last 26 years.
I’ve spent a lot of that time exploring the plethora of outdoors opportunities, and the editor—who is in New York—wanted to know if I could do two stories, both focused on hiking and other adventures that can be had in the mountains of the Centennial State. My answer: Of course!
As a former travel editor myself, I completely understand the appeal of finding someone who can write authoritatively about his or her hometown. Not surprisingly, most writers want to visit exotic locales and focus on the exciting experiences that can be had there—and who can blame them? But I can tell you that your expertise on the place where you spend most of your time is invaluable, and there are editors out there looking for stories from you on the best restaurants, the best biking trails, the best walking tour of downtown.
Local writers know their stuff
Sure, we pros can fly into a place and get it wired pretty quickly, figuring out how to get around and what to do, but local writers have a depth that’s hard to match.
You know when a place closes and when it’s being remodeled. You know when streets are shut down and require a detour. You know the top spots and the attractions that are overrated. You know which dive bars are worth checking out, and what hikes lead to the most magnificent views.
This is all insider information that editors live for—the stuff that they can’t track down themselves and they rely on writers like you to provide it.
Local writers sport unparalleled passion for the subject
You know how we all get when we’re talking about the things we love in our hometowns. The enthusiasm can be infectious, and it fills your writing with that energy.
And when you discover something new, woohoo! There’s a palpable excitement about finding fun in your hometown that you never knew existed, and the resulting writing can be electric. You can’t help but have that come through—which makes for significantly more interesting and dynamic stories.
Local writers have access to other locals
When a story requires an expert opinion or insider tips, who better to connect readers with local experts than another local?
Chances are good that even if you don’t know exactly whom the ideal person is to talk to for a story, you’ll be able to more quickly find that person than someone who doesn’t live there. Just like you, other locals have an awareness and comprehension of things like history, context, and connections, as well as valuable institutional knowledge about the area.
All of that adds up to priceless information that gives your story credibility and authority—and makes you the best person for the job of writing about where you live.