The average 4-year-old asks over 400 questions a day.
This is my world.
My daughter Charlie turns 4 next month, and already she’s training to be a travel writer.
Last night at dinner, she asked our server if she liked her job and what she does with the money she makes.
Sarah, the very sweet young waitress, thought this was cute. I knew, however, that Charlie was about to hit her up for money to go to the Great Wolf Lodge, her favorite indoor waterpark we try to save for the cold winter months.
She told Susan that it’s not very far away and that, when she goes, she should ride the green waterslide. It’s her favorite. And, at 8 p.m., they tell a story in the lobby…which is her favorite time to ride the slides because everybody else is listening to the story.
I thought about this more when I got home and caught up with a friend I reunited with this past weekend. We hadn’t seen each other in 20+ years but thanks to Facebook, I knew she was coming into town.
She told me I’ve done a complete 180 since she knew me best in high school. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t inquisitive, when I didn’t ask questions, when I didn’t want to try new things. But she does. She remembers my teenage years. Back when McDonalds was what I considered “eating out” and Taco Bell was what I called Mexican food.
You don’t have to be well traveled to be a travel writer. I never set foot on an airplane until college. I was 21 before I rode in my first taxi.
And most of the past attendees we invited back to this year’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop to speak on our Success Panel will say they started in a 30-mile radius of where they live. They reviewed a restaurant, a spa or an experience (a festival, an art show… one went zip-lining).
Since then, they’ve ventured farther – Singapore, Australia, Guatemala, Mexico, Japan.
You don’t have to have someone to travel with either. In the survey I sent out recently, 28.7% of our readers said they travel alone. And when I think about the travel writers we write about most – Steenie Harvey, Roy Stevenson, Terri Marshall, Patti Morrow, I see that they all travel alone most of the time or with a spouse or friend that joins them only occasionally.
It’s nice to be a travel writer when you’re traveling alone, too. It gives you an excuse to get out, meet the locals, and ask questions. And, more often than not, the tourist board is happy to provide a guide (if you’ve done your upfront homework and you have an assignment letter).
I went to Belize by myself. Swam with sharks. Drank cantaloupe milkshakes on what is now a very developed Caye Caulker. And tested key lime pie in three different sand-bottom restaurants.
And, probably the best part of traveling as a travel writer is that you don’t need a lot of upfront cash. Starting locally costs you next to nothing (and is great for your reputation in and around town).
Even crossing the ocean is cheaper when hotels, restaurants, and cruise ships pick up the tab because you’re writing about them. (Loyalty Club member Colleen Cowles told us she saved $10,000 on her vacation to Alaska last month because nearly everything she did was paid for by the small airline she flew and the cruise company she registered with.)
If traveling is something you want to do more of, I have two resources that can really help you out…
The first is our Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Boston at the end of the month. In just three days, you can learn everything you need to know about getting started, meet editors there to help you succeed, pick up a dozen or more publications willing to work with first-time writers, and change the way you travel from here on out.
And the second is membership in our Loyalty Club. If you’re interested in coming to Boston (or you can’t make this year’s event but you’d love a discount on next year’s program), you can join our Loyalty Club and come to the event as a VIP. Get special treatment, get one-on-one time with the experts, and lock in big discounts on all our events.
There’s never a better time to do anything. Now is always the best time to start something new. That goes for signing up for one of these programs, as well as starting to look at the world from a travel writer’s perspective.
If you have a trip planned this fall (or you’d like to have one planned and don’t), let us show you how it’s done.
I’d love to see you there.
[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.]