Travel Writing’s Travails

For those who have ever entertained dreams of gallivanting off to exotic lands to pen travel guides, hold on just a moment. The travel-guide writing life ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, when you are a guidebook writer, you are more likely to find yourself checking under toilet seats or sniffing mattresses than hanging on the beach or sipping tropical drinks with the locals.  The job is work, not vacation. There was an interesting article about this in a particular paper about which I cannot write. But as a secondary source, I point you to two places. Both of these sites actually do a fine job conveying what life as a travel writer is like. In this site by the travel writer Leif Pettersen, who happens to be in right now, we learn a lot about guide writing in Eastern Europe. Here in this post he coaches you along to help you nurture your skills of asking for free carp…um, I mean crap. 

And then in one of my old stand-bys, I urge you to pay a visit to FriskoDude, aka Carl Parkes, who often ruminates on this very subject. And even if you can’t find a post to your liking (unlikely), you can at least admire his wonderful sense of humor in the photos he posts.

So where do I stand on this topic, you ask? Well, I would love to write a travel guide. I hate the fact that the money is as bad as it is. I think the whole guidebook thing should be a form of profit sharing. But obviously any time there is such high demand for a job, there are going to be talented people willing to do it for next to nothing…if not nothing. That said, if I had many-a-million dollars right now, I might just go out and write a travel guide for fun…smelly mattresses be damned.