I love to work, explore new possibilities, get out of my comfort zone, live a full and exciting life, and hang out with my husband. I chose travel writing as my retirement career so I could enjoy all those things and live a good life.
1. Travel With My Husband
My husband retired at 67 after 42 years of working with the same company. He grappled with the decision for several years before actually setting a retirement date. While he was trying to figure out his timeline, I was busy working on mine.
We knew we wanted to enjoy travel opportunities together, and being five years younger than him, I didn’t want to wait until I reached my full retirement age before leaving my nine to five. Traveling was the driving factor in what type of job I wanted for my third act. It had to allow us to travel together anytime we wanted, to live in warmer climates when cold New England weather set in, and to enjoy traveling while we were both still in our go-go years.
Needless to say, work in the travel industry became the front runner. When I added up all the skills and reasons listed below, I knew that travel writing would be the perfect job for me to work in my retirement.
Pro tip: I worked my travel writing side hustle for two years while my hubby was still working full time. I wanted to make sure I could make the transition without impacting my income too severely.
2. Use My Marketing Background
My professional background is in Marketing. I was an Advancement Director for a private school. The majority of my work centered around writing and raising the annual fund. I wrote correspondence, annual appeals, newsletters, website content, marketing collateral, the annual report, and more.
Having a background in marketing that required writing compelling compositions was the perfect training ground to write compelling travel stories.
Pro-Tip: While I was working full time, I made sure to save money that would cover me for the first six months after I left my regular day job. I needed that security to help me move forward comfortably.
3. I Will Always Work
I am a workaholic. I love to work (most of the time). I don’t ever see myself not working. I chose my retirement career knowing that I could work well into my later years.
Now, I expect I won’t be cranking out trips and clips at the pace I currently do, but travel writing will always give me one thing — a great reason to travel.
I have so many trips on my bucket list that I expect to travel and create stories at any age, even well into my 80s.
Pro tip: Working keeps your mind active and creative; it gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Find something you love to do because now is the time to love your work.
4. Set My Own Schedule
Setting my own schedule is a big reason why I became a travel writer. After working in the development world where you have networking meetings at night, weekend meetings with potential donors, and the day-to-day regular work stuff, it is easy to get burned out. I resented the time my work took away from my family.
As a travel writer, I mostly get to set my schedule. I am in my home office every morning writing, planning, and pitching travel write-ups. It is my dream job. After years of writing, I don’t believe in writer’s block. Have you ever heard of engineer’s block? Or nurse’s block? No. You just need to get started and go on from there.
When I am on press trips, the public relations (PR) team tells me where and when to go. But, ultimately, I get to decide if the trip is right for me. On a recent trip to Puerto Rico, a tourist board representative led us around the central mountains. This is great because you don’t have to plan or think, you just follow along.
Pro Tip: You need to set aside time every day to write. Even if you don’t have an assignment. Writing is what makes you a writer. It is what makes your dreams come true.
5. Travel Expenses As Business Expenses
This is one of my favorite perks of being a professional travel writer. Many times, my trips are covered by PR firms, but sometimes they are out-of-pocket expenses. When these trip expenses lead to a travel story, they may become business expenses.
Pro tip: Discuss your travel business with your accountant. They will help with all the paperwork you need to be compliant.
6. Nomadic Lifestyle
The flexibility my semi-nomadic lifestyle brings to the table is liberating! I mentioned cold New England winters — so over that. We get to plan our winters in sunnier places. This past year, we spent several weeks in Hawaii and then a month in South Carolina. It was so nice not to bundle up every time I went out the door.
For example, as I am writing this story, I am visiting Cooperstown, NY, for a story on the Baseball Hall of Fame. I am sitting on the porch at the charming Cooperstown B&B. Yesterday, I was at a two-day, luxury glamping retreat at Gilbertsville Farmhouse practicing goat yoga. Who’s retired? Not me — retirement is the best job ever.
Pro Tip: Deadlines still need to be met, however, when you are polishing up a story about Maui while sitting on a gorgeous Maui Beach, it’s not bad.
7. Press Trips And FAM Trips
Press Trips and FAM (familiarization) trips are the best way to make your time and effort pay more.
When you attend a press trip with a group of writers, you will be exposed to inside information that the general public does not typically have access to. This allows you to write from more interesting and unusual angles. FAM trips can sometimes be just journalists or they can be you and a traveling companion.
Find your niche. Pick three or four words that describe your writing chops. Keep your bio consistent — “I am a travel writer with a focus on 50 plus travel, local cuisine, and fun libations. Stories and content creation from the US and beyond.”
Pro tip: Start locally with press trips. Get to know your local tourist board. This will allow you to build up clips and credentials.
8. Seeing The USA
I am a Boston-based writer and I write about what I know. These are the easiest articles to plan, pitch, and write. New England has been my playground for years. So, I often write about all the wonderful places to eat, things to see, and experiences to have in and around New England.
My goal is to see the USA. I have about ten states and a few territories left to explore. Keeping these states in mind as I plan trips helps me fulfill my goal of visiting all the states and territories.
Pro Tip: Keep it simple and write about what you know.
9. Foreign Country Exploration
I love Europe. I try to visit several times each year. As with collecting states, exploring new countries and regions are important to me. I adore the food, culture, and history of Europe. That’s my thing. You need to find your thing.
Pro tip: Find what is important to you and pursue that dream.
I Love Being A Travel Writer
This is undoubtedly my favorite job ever. I never would have been able to pursue travel writing while raising my family, but now that it is just me and hubby, it is my happily-ever-after job. Becoming a travel writer offers me a freedom that I haven’t experienced for many, many years. It is liberating, it is interesting, and it is more fun than you would ever imagine.
“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” said Dr. Seuss
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