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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Travel Writing? A Dream Job?

If I'm not getting told that my profession as a travel writer isn't a 'real job', then it seems I'm being told by strangers I meet that it's their 'dream job' (generally accompanied by breathlessness). It is a dream job for me in many ways, but perhaps not in the ways you think. Aside from the obvious benefits of being able to focus on traveling and writing, for me, the best thing about my job is that I get to work all day every day with my husband, my co-writer and a travel photographer. We get to travel the world together, and share both the best - and worst - aspects of the job. The best? From our most recent trip: enjoying some of the sublime scenery in Cyprus, such as this breathtakingly beautiful bay 'Petra tou Romiou', where it's said that Aphrodite, Goddess of Beauty, rose out of the sea and was born. The worst? Searching the streets on a cold winter's night, tired and hungry after not having eaten all day, desperately trying to find a decent, interesting meal that we can write about in a destination that has too easily given over its traditional cuisine in favor of 'English breakfasts', 'fish and chips', and 'Irish pubs'. Tedious and frustrating. But for me, the things I like most about my job are not the things you might expect: being our own bosses, not having to answer to anyone but ourselves, having the freedom to pick and choose our work, to stop working for people we don't respect or enjoy working with, not having to get involved in organizational 'culture' and 'politics' (and that's one of the reasons we've stopped writing for Lonely Planet), and, most of all, not having to listen to office gossip. That's my idea of a dream job.


Kim Wildman said...

I soooo understand how you feel. Travel writing is actually the hardest and lonelist job I've ever done. So much so, I almost gave it up. But it is also one of the most rewarding - I've been to some amazing places, met some amazing people and seen and experienced things I never imagined I would. So the good has definitely outweighed the bad (including impossible relationships). I now just need to do as you have done and find someone I can share the experience with.... Wish me luck.

Keep up the great work on your blog!

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

That all sounds perfect and I bet you are really good at it. So sorry to hear about Lonely Planet:(

TravelMuse said...

I definitely agree with you that all of those things make it a dream job. I think it's also having passion for what you do that makes your job a dream job.

Glad to see you back blogging!

Anonymous said...

I can understand that being a travel writer is your dream job. I feel the same way, but for different reasons.

Yoli said...

Found your blog through an online friend and I am in love.

Lara Dunston said...

Kim, hope you find your travel writing partner! You're right, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Maryam, don't be sad about us not writing for Lonely Planet anymore... it was a very conscious decision and we're happier than we've been in a long time. Unfortunately LP sucks in their writers and drains the life out of them - our lives have been considerably less stressful and hassle-free since we gave them up. Plus we have so many more work opportunities - unfortunately LP requires that its writers NOT write for competitive titles on the same destinations they've written on for LP - it meant we were turning down way too many good offers to write on our areas of expertise. We're actually now in Cyprus writing for two other guidebook companies at the same time, and we go to Crete next and do the same - could never do that for LP.

Travelmuse, I do agree with you - I have to admit I'm the kind of person who enjoys whatever it is that I'm doing, but it's hard not to get passionate about travel writing, that's for sure.

Erica, eager to hear more about your work...

Hi Yoli, I'm so glad you like the blog. It really is wonderful to hear. Thank you!