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So you want to be a travel writer?

By Tasneem Bhavnagarwala

Journal with world map on cover and camera to the side

This world is big, and it offers us more destinations than one can explore in a lifetime. This is where travel writers step in. Whether it’s gazing into the sunset at a beach in Indonesia, enjoying a conversation with the rickshaw driver on the streets of India, or admiring a graffiti artist’s work in Barcelona, there is something in each experience that is inspiring. Travel writers bring these moments and stories to readers who want to experience travel adventures vicariously or need assistance in developing their travel itineraries.

The key challenge for travel writers is how to bring these moments to life through words. Magazines and newspapers are always covering stories about exotic and offbeat destinations. To stand out from the crowd is not an easy task, but if you, like me, love travel writing, then the guidelines below will definitely help you break in to the business.

While travelling is something I have always loved, travel writing as a career was not something I had considered. In 2015, after I made a trip to Ladakh, India, and seeing my offbeat itinerary, a friend encouraged me to document my experience, and that’s when my journey began with travel writing. After much reading, researching, and exploring, I managed to get an opportunity to work with a small travel start-up in Mumbai as a writer. Though I consider myself still in the learning phase of my career, I would like to share some points that have helped me break in to the world of travel writing.

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Being a digital nomad: Or how to edit from the beach

Beach editing

Photo by Rachel Stuckey

By Rachel Stuckey

I’m a digital nomad. For years I’ve told anyone who asked that I was a writer and editor (even though editing pays most of my bills). But lately, the way I work has been more interesting than the work I actually do.

But I’m still getting used to saying “I’m a digital nomad” (and sometimes, I confess, I often use air quotes when I do say it). I know what “digital nomad” conjures up: visions of twenty-somethings with no job prospects and an unnatural attachment to their smartphones.

Air quotes aside, such visions are really just the surface of this cultural phenomenon. (And thanks to Insta-influencers and click-bait web content, that surface seems both beautiful and vacuous). But there are plenty of Gen Xers, Xennials, and even grown-up millennials doing marvellous and fascinating things on the road.

I’d like to think I’m one of the grown-up digital nomads. For the last several years, I’ve been seeking out new temporary homes for me and my editorial services business, sometimes spending months in one place and sometimes changing it up every few weeks.

In 2012, I was a burned-out freelancer looking for adventure. After months of preparation, I headed out on a trip around the world, with stops in Thailand, China, Cambodia, India, the UAE, Spain, France, Italy, and the UK before coming home nine months later. Everyone thought that might be it, adventure had.

But I wasn’t ready to settle back into the same old same old. And I’ve been on the move ever since, spending some months each year in Toronto and the rest of my time in Europe, South and Central America, Thailand, and Vietnam. In 2018, I’m returning to Thailand, and then on to Southern Africa.

This wanderlust may have begun as therapy for my tertiary life crisis. But over the last five years of living and working abroad and living and working in Toronto, I’ve realized that there is a strong economic argument for tackling our gig economy as a nomad. After several months living at home in TO again, my pocketbook is itching to get the heck out of Dodge! (Also, winter is coming, and I hate wearing socks and shoes.) (more…)