It’s been 11 months since I bought my domain name, www.justtravellingsolo.com. After about weeks of tweaking my website, I launched it after a month and created social media platforms where I can promote my pages, photos and videos.
Since then, I have written about a hundred articles, shared hundreds of travel photos, shared tips and hacks for reader that were also interested to do same the itinerary, inspired young professionals who wanted to start travelling while having a budding career at the same time.
Being a travel writing is no easy work. You work more hours after your day job or if this is a full-time work for you, you work longer hours than the usual 9-5. After my day job, I allot 4 hours (usually more which happens most of the time) to attend to my “second job”, lots of reading of travel books from authors who inspire me, scout travel magazines for ideas, read other travel and photography blogs. Weekends is more fun too. I arm myself with my mac, USB hardrive loaded with travel photos, earphones, water bottle, books, notepad and camp out in Starbucks near my place.
After a year, I share with you the one thing that I learned, the one thing I needed to do if I want to pursue my passion in travel writing. I needed to invest.
One important travel writing tip
I invested in ways on how I can develop my reading, listening, and especially writing skills. I invested in time to learn all the tricks of the trade. I invested money to join writing workshops and travel. I invested in relationships, in building a network of similar minded people that can help me grow as travel writer. And I can inspire too.
I enrolled in free travel writing lessons online. I attended writing workshops for a minimal fee. I subscribe to and actually listened to a lot of podcasts. Darren Rowse of problogger.com is my favorite for tips especially for coming up with articles and ideas for your blog.
After your day job, invest time in learning new things that can help you prepare with your articles or kickstart your blog. Open your mind to embrace studying and accepting inputs from other travel writers.
Learning is a continuous cycle. It never stops. Let me correct that. It should never stop.
A lot. Make reading an important part of your routine. Always pack a book or your Kindle in your bag. If you allot 4 hours a day to write an article or blog post, spend 2 hours of that reading. I find this very helpful because I get my inspirations from books, magazines and travel blogs.
Absorb what you read into your mindset and see what other story angle can you derive from what you are reading. Be like Spongebob who absorbs all the good things in almost everything.
Read : 5 Best Travel Writing Books to Inspire Your Next Story
Actually go there. Pack your backpack and book a flight to somewhere you have long dreamed off. Or somewhere close to home if you feel solo travel to halfway around the globe overwhelms you just yet.
Learn to cook Pad Thai in Thailand, taste the iconic adobo of The Philippines, compare coffee brews from Helsinki, Turkey and in Ifugao, roundup the Christmas Markets or Flea Markets in Europe, hang ten in Waikiki Beach, volunteer for a teaching job to girls in Peru or Colombia or Kenya, there are just many options out there that suits each traveller personality.
Meet new people. Interact with the locals. Try local delicacies. What you discover along the way will surprise you, will amaze you and it will be something that you will bring with you everywhere you go. Open your eyes and your mind to new cultures, new way of doing things, and even new way of saying things.
I remember travelling to Tacloban, Philippines three years after being battered by super typhoon Haiyan to write about resilience and recovery. I was super amazed at how the locals are doing. I was impressed on their fast recovery, though there are still bits and pieces to patch up here and there, but still impressed! I see the kids going back to their normal routine of school and playtime, shopping malls have reopened, even more bars and restaurants have opened due to booming tourism industry.
Read : Tacloban City : Stronger Than Any Storm
Only travel has this way of awakening you and touching you. There is no other way to experience local food, colorful upbeat festivals and inspire you to help promote causes than being there.
Just doodle about everything that comes to your mind. Always make sure you have a doodle pad or notebook in your bag everyday. You’ll never know when that brain of yours suddenly concocts a story idea or title caption in your head. Trust me, write this down. No matter how young you are, remembering things can be difficult as you go about your daily task. So write down what ever comes to mind.
Make up scripts in your head, I do this a lot. See the humor in about everything, scenes you see on the street, in your daily commute to work, in the coffee shop (my favorite hang-out, I practically own half of Starbucks), in the park, while waiting for you boarding call in the airport or just hanging around a bookshop. Write all of this down.
And if your initial draft sucks, then thats great! It means you are getting closer you want to write. There is this acronym that is pretty popular among writers. Its FDS (First Draft Sucks). I remember reading about it somewhere. The fact that group writers came up with the FDS acronym means that its normal. You go ahead write that second draft. And the third.
After that, everything flows. Into a beautiful writing.
So go ahead, invest in yourself to learn, to read, to write and actually travel. It’s the one most important thing that you can gift to yourself. The only investment you can make that no one can scam away from you or be stolen by someone.