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As students, Writers are taught that “who,” “what,” “where,” “when” and “why” are equally important to good storytelling. And most of the time, that’s true — except when you’re a Travel Writer, in which case “where” is always the most important of the five Ws.
Part Journalist, part adventurer — equal parts Bob Woodward and Indiana Jones — Travel Writers make their living in three parts by traveling, experiencing and writing.
Part one, “traveling,” is the least glamorous part. Whether you’re writing about Kansas or Kazakhstan, you’ve got to get there — by plane, train or automobile, and often a combination of three. Airports, jet lag and suitcases are never very far away, although the rest of your life — your family and your bed, for instance — usually is.
If part one is the worst part of your job as a Travel Writer, part two, “experiencing,” is usually the best. Like all Writers, you need stories, and you get them by taking tours, visiting attractions, eating at restaurants and staying at hotels — all of which are usually free, paid for either by your host or your employer.
Part three, “writing,” is what your job’s really all about. Employed by magazines, newspapers, websites and Book Publishers, as well as destinations, properties and other travel businesses, your job, ultimately, is describing places by telling untold stories about them. Like a typical Journalist, you collect facts, conduct interviews and write articles. Always, however, your goal is capturing what it’s really like to be somewhere, informing people who travel while entertaining those who don’t.