When I originally conceived the idea of TheTripFile I had that romantic notion of getting paid to travel the world and write about it. I’d fly first class, stay in 5-star hotels and write about my explorations from luxurious balconies overlooking crystal blue waters while making my readers green with envy. I’d buy a one way ticket to Europe, kiss my daddy goodbye, spend a year travelling, writing, living and being free and happy and getting all of you wonderful people to foot the bill. Yes, I really did believe I could do it. For about 5 minutes. But then I quickly realized that I’d also have to spend a lot of time planning trips, making reservations, going places I probably didn’t want to go and writing about things I probably didn’t want to write about just to earn a paycheck. The reality of travel writing isn’t really all that glamorous.  I thought I’d take trips that I wanted to take, write about them and figure out a way to make money doing that. Simple enough. In reality, travel blog posts (that make money) are usually sponsored. Companies – hotels, restaurants, tourism boards – pay bloggers to come visit their places of business and write about them. The only other way to make money off of blogs are from the ads. And no one ever clicks the ads. So writers work for the sponsors. In these instances you travel on their terms, not yours. You go where they want you to go. Now if you have a luxury blog like World of Wanderlust, then you get to paid to go to some pretty fabulous places. But again, you’re being paid to be there and for the post. So if you have a bad day or get sick or don’t feel like writing that day, um, yeah that’s not gonna work.  Brooke Saward started her blog in 2012 and has pretty much turned into an empire with contributing bloggers worldwide. But again, she’s an exception to the norm. 

You are more likely to find stories like Jo Fraser I Quit My Job To Be A Travel Writer, And Now I’m Broke And Unemployed. Jo, like me, romanticized the notion of being a travel writer and in 2014 she quit her job and went for it.  Good for her. Travel writers, like David Duran, who write and travel full time don’t really live a plush life. In his article, The Struggle Is Real — The Reality of Travel Writing, he details the reality of what it’s like to travel 90% of the month. He gave up his apartment so when he comes “home” from a trip he sleeps on someone’s couch. David is a freelance writer, not a blogger. He acknowledges that while the travel part of his job is great, it is still a job.

But the part people always forget about, or just don’t know about, is the actual work. Travel writing comes in mostly two parts, traveling and writing. Now I know everyone gets the traveling part but I constantly have to remind friends that I’m also held accountable for the second part of my job title. As easy as you may believe writing may be, it’s actually quite the contrary…and I know this from simply scrolling my Facebook feed and gasping at the ridiculousness of word vomit I see on a daily basis. As a freelancer, I write for many different audiences, and editors. I have to constantly change my style, my voice and write in a manner that won’t have my editors hating me.

I think like anything else it all boils down to passion. For me, the passion is in the travel not in the writing. I enjoy writing and telling my stories but I don’t want it to be my full-time job. And I wasn’t really willing to put in the effort that it would take to get there. What I need is a travel benefactor! But I am thankful for travel writers because I do a ton of research before I head off on a trip and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have the information available to me. But the idea that this life is some how glamorous at all times is not necessarily true. So if you have a passion for travel and you have a passion for writing then maybe this is the job for you. And I’m available if you need a travel companion!