Lucy Brown never thought she’d make it as a travel writer. She was an avid traveler and loved to write in her journals and take pictures. But she had this idea that professional travel writing was out of her league.
It’s a common misconception I hear from readers. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to be a great writer to become a good travel writer. We publish stories from successful readers who are self-proclaimed “non-writers” all the time.
The turning point for Lucy? Attending The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop with us in Chicago. It not only jump-started her career, but gave her the tools and the confidence to land a gig writing a travel guide and several bylines in International Living Magazine. Today Lucy is traveling the world and living on her own terms.
Read on to hear about how Lucy made it happen and how you can, too.
HOW I GOT MY START AS A TRAVEL WRITER
By Lucy Brown
My childhood passion for writing and photography progressed to scrawling in travel journals and documenting trips via the lens while backpacking extensively and living overseas. I dreamed of becoming a travel writer/photographer but I dismissed the idea thinking it was too competitive and way beyond my experience and capabilities. It was an unattainable dream.
The idea stayed vaguely at the back of my mind during the years I was teaching English as a foreign language in private schools and luxury hotels in Thailand. Then, one day I came across an online promotion that gave me renewed hope of realizing my dream and I decided to take the plunge. It was now or never. That’s how I ended up at an AWAI photography and travel-writing workshop.
The thought of mingling with a bunch of pros intimidated me, but my worries dispelled when I realized all the attendees were like-minded individuals and just as clueless as me. I picked up invaluable advice and tips and discovered that with motivation, dedication, and perseverance, the inexperienced could also break into the world of travel writing and photography. My dream was attainable after all!
Soon after, I submitted a writing sample for a guidebook project in the town where I now live in Guatemala. They liked it, and afterward, the guidebook offered me paid assignments. That was the first time I sold my writing and photos! I’m now a contributing author for the first print edition of their Guatemala guidebook!
With renewed confidence and drive, I started my travel blog Loca4Motion. The idea was not only to present my writing and photos but also to post links to my published work in an online portfolio that I could include in e-mail submissions to editors.
Then, most importantly, I finally pitched an article to International Living. Although the timing wasn’t right for that particular piece, they showed an interest in my work and requested an expat profile about my life in Guatemala. That then led to other articles and I’m now a regular contributor to their magazine, e-letters, and website.
Happier than ever, I’m working on my own schedule while earning doing what I love. My income pays for some of my trips and makes traveling and daily living a more fun and rewarding experience.
Although I’m still just breaking into the industry, the possibilities are endless. Every published article proves to me there’s no secret to becoming a travel writer and there’s a niche for everyone with a healthy curiosity in the world and a burning desire to follow a dream.
[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.]