Travel writing isn’t just free trips and lavish accommodation. Rather, it’s about learning to take the lows with the incredible highs while still managing to write a piece to a deadline.
Whenever I tell people that I’m a travel writer, the first thing people always say to me is, “Oh, you must get to travel a lot!”
I wish this were the case, but in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even though being a “travel blogger” might seem like a dream job come true, I assure you that, surprisingly, it is not as glamorous as one might think.
Trials of being a travel writer
The perks to travel writing see me travel all over the world, yet sometimes, these perks can feel like negatives when I’m trying to write a piece.
You can’t always feed your travel bug
If you’re a seasoned traveller, at one stage of your life, you would have likely experienced the “travel bug.” Or, even worse, you could be suffering from this right now.
The term “travel bug” isn’t something travel writers have made up in order to justify our profession. In fact, scientists have actually discovered a genetic variation that occurs in 20% of the human population.
This variation is known to affect dopamine levels in the brain, filling our minds with curiosity and obsession for finding new things that are interesting and exciting.
So in theory, being a host to this “travel bug” isn’t as simple as turning off feelings of wanderlust, because they are likely to stick around until you’re jet setting to your next holiday escape.
This leads me to my point, imagine you’re at the office, doing your general day-to-day work. And, every now and then you start daydreaming about places that you’d like to visit.
Or, maybe you’re secretly planning a long extended vacation – and your boss is totally unaware of this (oops).
Now, if you could amplify that feeling tenfold, that is what it feels like to be a travel writer.
You’re either writing about places that you’ve travelled to or researching far-away destinations that have piqued your curiosity. However, in reality, most travel bloggers spend more time at work writing than we do outside and exploring the world.
And, if you could imagine how hard that is (especially if you have the travel bug), then it’s no surprise that most travel writers have had to admit that the job isn’t always what it’s worked up to be.
With more of our time spent writing rather than actually travelling, those of us who have the travel bug is constantly fighting an internal battle that is urging us to explore.
And then there’s the physical battle of actually daydreaming and planning out trips when you should actually be writing.
Sure, my job does come with some cool perks like being able to get industry rates on accommodation, but if I do travel, it comes out of my own pocket, which means putting in the time with my writing.
Triumphs of travel
It’s hard to narrow down the best parts of being a travel writer. There are, of course, the triumphs of combining a love of exploration with a love of writing.
Yet equally important are the connections you can create with total strangers.
Meeting people who change your life
Travelling brings with it a set of limitless opportunities. For example, back in 2016, I met my partner on a Contiki tour.
Three weeks before the tour was set to start; I booked a spot on the Western Highlights Tour in the USA.
Travelling from Los Angeles to Vegas over nine days, I met someone who lived two hours away from me in Sydney. After we returned from Contiki, we moved in together and three years have gone by just like that.
Yet travelling isn’t just about potentially meeting your significant other. It’s about meeting people with different backgrounds and beliefs who you might never have come across otherwise.
Experience unique work opportunities
As a travel writer, I get to do a lot of things that the average worker could never even dream of. While there is a lot more writing than travelling, I still get to visit locations and grow my abilities in unique ways.
A highlight for me is writing the Inspire Monthly Newsletter which gets sent out to 200,000 subscribers, providing holiday inspiration to people I’ve never even laid eyes on.
For me, creating content for a community of readers who engage via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter mean that I continue to expand my portfolio as a writer whilst actively supporting a growing travel-focused community, both locally and globally.
My life as a travel writer
When completing my journalism degree, I thought I would have to work in a more generalized field of work before I could branch into travel. So I feel so lucky to have been given this role so early in my career.
Despite the negative comments, the insatiable travel bug and so much more, being a travel writer is such a fulfilling career, and it’s a great career for those who love writing, travelling and connecting with others.
Digital Content Writer • 26 Countries Visited • 3yrs Industry Experience
Travel addict and brunch enthusiast, Brittany Balcomb brings her creative flair and incurable case of wanderlust to the TravelOnline team in her role as a Digital Content Writer. Lover of adventure holidays and beachside escapes, Brittany enjoys weekend road trips to the coast and exploring destinations off the beaten track.