The life of a travel writer isn’t always about lounging around in hot springs… taking fascinating tours that result in hundreds of story ideas… and getting your byline in the most prestigious magazines you see nicely displayed at bookstores like Barnes & Noble. Sometimes it’s about holing up in a hotel for two days, trying desperately to get your story on paper before the deadline… going to places you never dreamed you’d go… and trying things you never thought you might. My most recent airline magazines experience included a great many of these things. The press trip listing said: Seeking qualified U.S. journalists with assignments to attend a tour with Walk Japan. Walk Japan appeals to an active, international traveler with a 35+ age clientele. With a keen interest in both Japan and hiking, I knew I had to go. The only catch was that I needed an assignment.  Not to mention the listing targeted U.S. journalists… and I’m actually British. To be considered, I knew I’d have to highlight my strengths and land an assignment with someone prestigious.  Unlike other writers vying for the position, I’d have to overcome the obstacle of not being their ideal candidate. Land an inflight, I thought.  That’s how I’ll get on the top of their pick list! But, of course, initial approaches to U.S. inflight magazines came to nothing. It was then that I started targeting other airline magazines around the world that had flights to Japan. It took a lot of research and time.  But, by the middle of August, I had three airlines with some expression of interest. But it was Garuda Airlines’ Colours magazine that was the most open to my story ideas. They asked me to produce a 100-word brief introducing the destination and angle before they’d write me a letter of assignment. With the letter of assignment in hand and arrangements made with Walk Japan, I was all set for my trip in January… or so I thought.  It was then that things went a little awry. Near the end of November, I received a call from the editor saying they needed the article for the February edition and could I go on an earlier tour. As there was no earlier run of the Walk Japan tour, it meant swapping to the Winter Nakasendo Way. This traced an ancient postal route through towns where time had stood still. For six days, we walked around nine kilometers a day in the snow, often finishing off the day in hot springs to ease our wary limbs. It also meant holing up in a hotel afterwards with a mad dash to write the article and process pictures before their deadline. The trip ended on the 14th and the article was set to go to press on the 16th. So, while the writer’s life isn’t always about lounging around in hot springs, it certainly is an interesting one! Share on Facebook [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.  Sign up today here and we’ll send you a report, Get Paid to Travel as a Travel Writer, completely FREE.]

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