Exploring the world and describing new experiences can be a rewarding career as long as you have the flexibility of working in the hours that suits you. However, what most of us perceive as the dream job, donning the shoes of a travel writer does bring its own share of challenges with it. If you are not an avid traveller and you still lack the edge to deal with the personal risks, exhausting frequent flights, financial risks and/or the challenge to adapt to foreign conditions quickly; travel writing can be a nightmare for you. There are notions about travel writing careers, that editors of reputed travel publications are always looking for new writers, and readers are keen to know about their personal experiences. On the contrary to all these perceptions, travel writers need to prevail in a hugely competitive zone to get their work featured, and only people with sound contacts and a lucrative portfolio in their racks make substantial money.
The general idea concerning careers related to travel, excites plenty of people all around the world. As a travel writer, people expect to enjoy the sun and sand of various countries and put their experiences into words, however, there are added agonies associated with the job that only travel writers can best explain. Let us look at five of the most glaring reasons why travel writing truly sucks.
1. Experiencing New Places, but Away From Kith and Kin
As a travel writer, you will always get the opportunity to explore and embrace the word, do exciting things and write about them. Meeting new people, tasting indigenous cuisines, staying in hotels providing tailor-made services can be really rewarding unless you get homesick quite often. Many travel writers have complained about their jobs ruthlessly affecting their family life. The feat as a promising travel writer could mean that you have to be away from home for long periods on a regular basis. For people who are starting a family or for those who are responsible to their aging parents, this can be a daunting task. A travel writer’s job sucks at this crossroad where one has to sacrifice one’s family life and delve into a lifestyle that he or she is not very accustomed to.
2. Communication Crisis
While flaunting the perks of a travel writer, one will always come up with the line that it is an amazing opportunity of travelling the world. A work that lets you travel is definitely gratifying but how about those tricky situations when a local refuses to respond to your demands or requests? A travel writer should be a quick learner of new gestures and languages. It is not only the language that turns out to be a barrier to communication; new cultures, new norms of a society and the moods of the local people do impose a different set of challenges for a travel writer. Learning a new language can be the key, however, there are exigent places where the comfort zone of a travel writer is tested to its limit. Not everyone on this planet who loves to travel and write will enjoy an infringement on their communicative freedom by fused cultures and languages. It might possibly raise a situation of mental fatigue for the travel writer.
3. Lack of Structure
Generally, people consider the profile of a travel writer on the basis of their contribution to the travel industry archive. Someone who is not very comfortable with the thought of doing the same work every day might be the perfect fit for the work. On the contrary, the lack of structure in the job profile might make you disruptive and rob you off the relative mental peace of a job that has well defined working hours. Travel writing can be a slogging affair pushing your limits and far off from a standard nine-to-five job. Before considering a career move as a travel writer, one must wisely decide on this very issue of less structured working conditions. If that suits you, nothing like it, if it doesn’t, then it is highly unlikely that you would enjoy your stint as a travel writer!
4. Obvious Risks
A successful career should be one that provides a perfect balance between money, recognition and happiness. Being a travel writer might seem like a rollercoaster ride but there are risks that can often cast a shadow over a career that might look all hunky dory on the surface level. Travelling around the world, flying on and off international and domestic flights, using public buses and rental cars can be as exhausting as an exercise that can hardly be rivaled by any other job in the world.
There are financial risks as well. The demand for quality travel articles might see a downward trend depending on the market condition, the price may fluctuate and the writer needs to be on his toes when he considers a marketing strategy. Travel writers who fund their own travel expenses needs to be ultra-careful while taking up projects and planning them to perfection to avoid a dreaded financial failure. Needless to say, those who maintain their own travel blogs with a steady revenue stream do not need to worry about these things but then again a plunge in online traffic can bring about significant changes to their revenue strategies.
5. Adjusting Your Body Clock
Flying frequently to different time zones and getting used to it as quickly as possible can really turn out to be a challenging feat. People who fly frequently and across time zones are often known to suffer from nervous breakdowns. For them, flying regularly to different continents can be a dreadful experience. Although travel writing is a wonderful opportunity to widen your horizon, meet new people and see the sun going down in an odd hour, adjusting your body clock frequently can take a toll on your health. Travel writing can really suck at those hours when you have to frequently sacrifice your sleep in an attempt to adjust to the new time zone. You might be an enthusiastic traveller and proficient writer, but the erratic routine might suck all the enthusiasm out of your system at some point.
Of course travel writing can be a career full of fun and excitement; one would learn, explore and get inspired every moment if things fall into place. However, not every story turns to be an inspirational saga for upcoming travel writers. There are tempting ad campaigns and even training proposals that promise that travel expenses of travel writers are covered. That is far from reality and travel companies or publishers will only cover a trip if they see an obvious payback. Tourism and travel products find business only when they manage to spread a good word of mouth and a travel writer provokes the cause. And that is the only reason why a proficient travel writer remains in demand. For those who consider the perks of travel writing as out of the world fun, this is a bit of a reality check for them and also, those who believe that their writing talents would be best suited to the travel writing industry. Travel writing requires a lot of work, involvement of time, cash, and energy along with a flexible physical and mental health. Consider it as a career only when you are absolutely sure about your commitments and the unavoidable nuisances associated with travel writing.
Would you become a travel writer? If so, what is the thing that scares you the most about this career? Let us know in the comments section below.