From High School Teacher to Travel Writer: An Interview with Freelance Travel Writer
An Interview with freelance travel writer,
Gail Lambert in Roanoke, VA
TWWTT: Before we get started why don’t you tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What’s your main profession?
GAIL: I was born in NYC, grew up in Atlanta, and married a Roanoker. I taught high school & middle school Latin for a dozen years, but am now retired from teaching and settled in Virginia.
TWWTT: You recently wrote that you’ve had some success getting published, most notably for City Magazine in Roanoke, Virginia. Can you tell us a little bit more about how you landed that gig?
GAIL: I had written several travel pieces for The Roanoke Times before they stopped using freelance writers, so I needed to break into a new market. City Magazine is a relatively new publication, and I e-mailed the editor asking if they could use freelance travel material. She responded saying she wanted to hire a travel writer on staff and that she’d like to see my portfolio and interview me. I had already taken the travel writing course so I felt I had the credentials. At first we discussed places I had been and could write about, and after six months she started assigning me new local destinations to explore.
TWWTT: What other travel writing projects are you currently working on?
GAIL: I write a volunteer monthly travel column for Blue Ridge Edition of Senior News.
TWWTT: What specifically about the travel writing course do you think helped you so much? Why would you recommend it to others?
GAIL: The most important thing the course taught me was the crucial need to grab readers right from the start. The tips on interviewing have also been very helpful for my stories.
TWWTT: What advice would you give to new students who haven’t yet had an article published?
GAIL: Try to find a local newspaper or publisher who will use your articles. Find out what the editor is looking for — then write on a topic he or she can actually use.
[Gail Lambert is a freelance travel writer based in Roanoke, VA. Her advice on starting with your smaller local magazines and newspapers is sound.]
TRAVEL TIP: How a Travel Writer Uses An iPod
An iPod can be used for more than just music. On your travels, you can store your itinerary, calendar, and important contact information in its drive. It can even store a scan of your passport and other important documents as well as your digital pictures, when you need to free up more space on your camera.
Weighing in at less than half a pound, an iPod could be one of the lightest, most versatile travel companions around.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]