When I decided to reinvent myself and start a second career in life, my goal was to work part-time while satisfying my wanderlust.
I love traveling and wanted to earn money while seeing the world. Great Escape’s travel writing course was a perfect fit for me.
I soon learned that researching and pitching stories was the most time-consuming part of travel writing. One of the best tips I took away from the course was to start by writing local articles.
I had recently moved overseas so my new hometown—Medellín, Colombia—became a great source for articles. However, in South America, local publications need articles written in Spanish… and I wasn’t fluent enough to pitch my stories to local periodicals.
Then, while flying to Aruba for a vacation, I picked up the in-flight magazine which was written in both English and Spanish. I reached out to the editor and pitched a story about my recent Caribbean trip. The editor agreed to a two-page story, accompanied by some of my photographs.
The editor, after accepting my Aruba story and learning that I live in Colombia, also requested a full, four-page essay about Medellín, with more photos.
Score! I now had an editor ready and waiting to accept my local pieces. I then suggested two more stories based upon our world-famous flower festival and renowned Christmas light celebration.
Another way I write local came by accident. At a party, I was chatting with a local investment firm and I mentioned that I’m a travel writer. Since their target clients are from English-speaking countries, they asked me to write a series of articles for their website focusing on the gastronomic scene, art and culture, and other fun things to do in Medellín.
These two anchor clients aren’t clients I imagined. But they’re open to my suggestions for new stories, and they pay well for the articles I write.
It’s helped me realize that writing local is easier, faster, and one of the most efficient ways to be a travel writer—even though this isn’t what I envisioned when I first became a travel writer.
Other writers spend a lot of time in the air, on the ground, and in front of a computer doing research. But by writing local, I can be as busy as I want. I have an excuse to leave the house everyday while also enjoying the semi-retired, traveling lifestyle of my dreams. It’s great!