Recapture Your Youth Through Travel Writing
Think it’s too late to make your entire living as a travel writer, hopping around the globe on someone else’s dime, having fun and living life on your terms?
Roy Stevenson didn’t think it was too late. When he first came to The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop back in 2007, he had never written a travel article in his life.
Within a month of the workshop, he had a dozen stories published. Now, that number has grown into the hundreds… and he hasn’t looked back, since.
Today, Roy is a full-time travel writer, taking adventures like the one he shares with us, below.
He’s proof that it’s never too late… because travel writing keeps you young. And, if you want the best “job” in the world… all you need to do is go out and get it.
Editorial Manager, Great Escape Publishing
Creator, Breakfast Stock Club
STAYING YOUNG THROUGH TRAVEL WRITING
By freelance travel writer Roy Stevenson in Seattle, Washington
Sometimes on press trips, travel writers get the chance to let their hair down and relive their youth.
My recent five-day press trip to the Mardi Gras at Lake Charles, Louisiana, was one such memorable event — that rare convergence of great traveling companions (in this case, an eclectic assortment of nine other travel writers from around the United States) and an entertaining event that absolutely lends itself to having a whale of a time.
Living in rainy Seattle, I’d sell my soul to get some winter sunshine, so when I was lucky enough to be invited by the Lake Charles Convention & Visitors Bureau to cover its mid-February Mardi Gras, I jumped at the chance.
And, this medium-sized town of 72,000 people laid it on for us.
Almost straight off the plane, our group attended the Krewe of Illusions Ball — in tuxedos and floor-length dresses, no less — an over-the-top extravaganza of short song and dance acts by entertainers in bizarre glittering costumes.
A couple of nights later, as guests of honor at the Royal Gala, we visited the Krewes backstage as they changed into their outrageous and lavish costumes — then watched them parade down the aisle under the spotlights like a tribe of overdressed Cinderellas.
By day, we donned our aprons and decorated large round King Cakes that resemble enormous donuts, with icing so sweet that our teeth sang for hours afterward.
In the Children’s Parade, we stood on a huge parade float with a green 30-foot long alligator decorating its sides. Part of the magic — as we threw countless strings of shiny colored beads to kids and adults when they yelled, “Hey mister, throw me something” — was making that eye-to-eye connection as they caught our beads and doubloons.
We gazed like open-mouthed little children at the eye-catching costumes, resplendent with multi-colored feathers, glittering sequins, and towering back pieces, in the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu. Next door, in a concert hall, we learned Zydeco steps with dance instructor Harold Guillory, calling out to us, “It’s all in the hips, baby.”
Giggling like infants, we compared tacky masks, hats, and party paraphernalia as we shopped for Mardi Gras regalia at The Party Time Store. By this time, we were definitely in the Mardi Gras spirit! If I’d felt any younger, they would have had to enroll me in elementary school.
On Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras morning, we attended the Iowa Chicken Run, a parade through the streets of the small rural town of Iowa (Louisiana, that is).
Sitting on an open truck bed on rickety fold-down seats, we would periodically leap off the back to chase a terrified chicken down the streets, across porches, and under houses, laughing hysterically at the absurdity of it all.
Such is the life of a travel writer — or at least one of those press trips to be remembered for many years.
When I meet some of my fellow writers from this trip on future tours, we’ll knowingly smile at each other, and it’ll only take a question like, “Remember when Cory caught the chicken in that parade?” to open the floodgates of memories and good times.
And so it continues from one press trip to the next… living life as a travel writer, feeling ever so young and full of life.
[About the Author: Roy Stevenson started freelance writing after attending the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in September 2007. Since then, he’s had over 770 articles published in more than 160 publications — many of which are online. He writes on military history and vehicles, history, travel and culture, communications, running, fitness and health, and also does sports and film festival reviews.
Roy is the perfect example of going out there and just doing it.
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