Vagabond Writing: the Experts Speak Up!

Many suggest that now is the time for journalist to explore, fly, and go on board with freelance writing. After the book, “Eat, Pray, Love” turned into a best-seller and a blockbuster, the idea of traveling to a foreign place to explore and document your experience did not sound half bad. Can you imagine journalists who travel not to seek love, or appetite but for a career? It’s true, some are called the obvious freelance writers but others titles are not as apparent i.e. travel journalist, vagabond writer, hobo traveler writer, and the list goes on.

Take for example, the life of Stephanie Cottrell Bryant who has been a professional writer for more than 11 years now.  According to her website, “Vagabond Writer”, Stephanie  is in her thirties, lives in a motor home, and travels full time around the United States with her husband. She focuses on RV travel, technology and the Internet, budget travel, folk music, fiber arts, and literature. Stephanie is ideal or well qualified for this position for everywhere she travels she is fluent in three languages: English, French, and Spanish. Stephanie is full of life and truly passionate; she writes about anything from Las Vegas to a local yarn shop.

When visiting her site the question that kept popping in my mind was, “Can she make a decent living from this career choice?” Here is some advice to journalists from Stephanie herself on journalist who aspire to live the traveling lifestyle. She states the following:

” My best advice for you is to find an area of expertise. An area of expertise might be a physical area, such as Southeast Asia or Scandinavia, or the Rocky Mountains; or it may be a travel specialty, such as extreme sports, or golf, or low-budget travel, or spa travel. Keep in mind it will take you a long time to accumulate expertise — but you’ll have fun doing it. With enough expertise, you may be able to write for (or create your own) guidebooks, and you can do lots of freelancing on the side.”  She goes on to speak about the pros and cons of working for a magazine versus the freedom to write and travel at your own pace, with your own will.

And while Stephanie explains the perks and tips of surviving of freelance writing, there is another journalist who speaks on the contrary. “I know: what sounds better than a career exploring the world, challenging power, championing rights, indulging your curiosity, and writing about it? At least once a week I describe my job to someone new and their reply is something like “Ooooh, international journalist! How exciting! I would love to have your job.” says Scott Hammond, on the article, “To Be (Or Not to Be) A Travel Journalist”. Scott is a full time journalist for the Common Language Project. He speaks of being in an underpaid job and how difficult it actually is. He speaks about the tedious hours of research that do not equate to the fascinating travel aspect of it.

The website, provides useful tips for becoming  a Travel Writer and how to succeed in the business. For those seeking a travel journalist position, my advice is to do a few hours of research before getting stuck in a job where the only traveling you will actually do is from the airport to the hotel area.

By: Sheyla Ornelas

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