Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Travel writing is not for the faint of heart

Every cup of coffee has its price
'Your days are nothing else but drinking coffees and travel', he said, happily convinced that this verdict resumes perfectly a life worth less than a cheap coffee cup at the fast-food kiosk. Many people may think that travel writing is a relatively easy way of living, in a scenario where money are growing up on trees or, alternatively, like in Collodi's Pinocchio, are multiplying deep down the earth, like the seeds during the night.
I was recently reminded a quote from Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl that 'our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude'. Ignorant remarks can make us angry, especially when you know the reality, but the best attitude can be to try explaining in an effort that maybe those with enough brain will be able to better see the reality of travel writing.
The naked truth is that unfortunately, none of those fantasies are not describing the realities of a life of writing, and of a life of travel writing in general. There may be glitz and there may be glamour, but most of the time, there is hard work and when most people are usually sipping their morning coffees in Monte Carlo or Paris, the travel writer, although probably counting his or her blessing of sharing beautiful sceneries or luxurious living, should be also count the curses of having no more than maybe a second for mindfully living the dream.
Because, dear readers, let's be honest: being a travel writer means so much work. You wake up early in the morning to catch the best train for being in time for taking the best photos under the best light - if you are living in the North of Europe, you might know what a challenge is to have the right photos from September until April when the light is so spare; you need to run up and down, with a full schedule to cover as many sights as possible; stop to take notes and meet local travel industry representatives or people that can offer you local insights. If you want to reach a bigger audience, you will be even busier updating status on your Facebook page, or creating boards on Pinterest, or sharing your blog posts on various Google groups or sharing your stories on Instagram. You should always learn new skills to cope with the fast changing landscape of social media, acquiring better photographic or video skills, taking extra classes about travel writing or even getting a bit into coding and other website-related knowledge, because it is always good to be the own manager of your page. Or even learning more than one new language because it will help you to better understand the host country you are covering. Out of the blogs on the web nowadays, an impressive number of them is written in English, but in more than a few cases, the writers are using this language as a second or third choice (like this one here writing for you). Therefore, the competition with the native writers is dramatically narrow, as it is the need to always polish your words, through constant writing and editing and reading of the best travel writing books (which are never free of charge).
Some might say that you can live and eat for free, but does they know what does it mean to work for that: by the time you are ready taking photos of your food, the good looking plate is already cold. Those that ever wrote a guide of a place or of a country, they know very well what a marathon is in sight every time when you have so little time and so many sightseeings to cover. Very often, there are risks and challenges that the readers browsing your pictures on the website have no idea. And it better stays this way. As for the money, with so many free apps on the market, it is almost dellusional to dream that your guides will bring you more than some change for cheap coffee. 
Talking money, writing jobs in general will not make you a millionaire and many travel writers/bloggers do usually juggle with more than one hat to reach the month's end. Finding a place for travel into your monthly priorities, which can also include serious family obligations is not always easy, especially when you have a responsibility which goes beyond your own life.
But at the end of the busy day, when you are alone in the front of the computer catching up your latest travel story, you realize that it is worth any effort and hussle. For many of us, it is an assumed choice which means more than the selfish pursuit of wanderlust - nothing illegal with that, anyway. Travel writing, and writing in general is a blessing and a curse: you live to share and inspire people, to show that regardless the ups and downs in life, the challenges and the failures, you can find a sparkle of beauty everywhere. Even in a small cup of coffee...
Talking about coffee, maybe it is about time to write that post about my best places for an iced coffee in Berlin. A bon entendeur, salut!

8 comments:

  1. Going from one side (travel for fun) to the other (travel as a travel blogger) so much of this is true. It is a lot more work than most people will ever know or care to understand. There are days I just want to sit in that one spot and enjoy my afternoon in whatever city I'm in. But! Overall, the pros outweigh the cons, and I'm back to zipping across the city, taking my notes and photos, journal, camera, and phone in hand!

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    1. Yes, I can fully relate! Travel is always an amazing experience and being able to share it through writing can help other people to see the world through different eyes!

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  2. I totally agree with you! Its definitely different travelling as a travel blogger. We need to get the best photos and the best tips for our readers. We need to make research before we go so we dont miss anything, we need to make notes while we travel and then we need to make blog posts and spend million hours on social media to promote what we wrote. Sometimes I miss this free holiday I used to have, just went to a place and let lost myself in random places!

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    1. It is hard but at the end of the day, it is an inspiring work and I cannot trade it for anything else :)

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  3. This is a great read, especially for anybody new, wanting to get into blogging. I'm a newbie to travel blogging (A month in) and I'm already seeing just how much work goes into blogging. I do think a lot of people go into travel writing thinking it will bring them instant glory because when you start researching all those 'how I made xxxx in 1 month of blogging' start popping up and gets peoples juices running. I dug a lot deeper to know there is a hard grind and hustle in front of me but I'd rather hustle and struggle for myself than be under-appreciated by someone else.

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    1. Thank you! I hope it helps you to reach your blogging potential! The best is always to keep writing and share your stories!

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