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Part III Travel writing is job satisfaction

August 19, 2010
by budgettravelsac

It’s been a long search to find career satisfaction and I am not sure I have arrived yet.  Any part of searching or working for something involves a lot of self-discovery in the process.

Many years of perseverance through work and career.  Lessons learned through the ups and downs in this journey of life.  Personal struggles and self discovery.  And now that moment finally came.  Coming to me in the night, a light shone forth from heaven – the dream of travel writing and blogging illuminated a path to the future, setting me on a journey of contentment.

Um, no.  Honestly, I looked for a job writing because I wanted something to supplement my income now that my wife was staying home with our son and we had a second one on the way.  So yeah, nice easy way to make a few extra bucks without actually having to work a second job.

However, my passion has always been for travel.  That started in 1996 with my first trip to Estonia.  Since then, I’ve been to 15 more countries while discovering some of the beautiful places in my own country as well.  From the middle of 2004 through 2007, I got on a plane 14 times for trips to various destinations.  I read travel books for fun, tape travel shows, and have done a little personal journaling about my trips.  At one time, in my early 20s, I wanted to serve as a missionary overseas.  That first trip awakened a passion in me I never knew I existed and it hasn’t stopped since.

My first travel article - Fall getaways in northern California

I started writing about travel in September 2009 and have enjoyed every minute of the process.  I’ll be honest – I started from nothing.  I didn’t have a lot of followers, was disappointed that few people were reading, and really questioned whether I wanted to continue doing this.  However, I enjoyed it too much to stop.  And the passion has only grown.

From the beginning, I was learning.  Every time I wrote, I was working at developing my own voice and style.  For a long time, I had no clue what SEO was so I learned and have gotten better at writing for an audience.  In the beginning, I was consumed with getting people to read my stuff.  Sure, writing is fun and enjoyable but let’s be honest – everyone who writes for a living or hobby wants people to read it.  So I focused on Twitter, social networking sites, and just tried to get my name out there.  I was slowly getting some attention but was headed in the wrong direction.

The important lessons of travel writing

Discovering your passion is the first step.  Pursuing it is hard work.  For most people, don’t expect to be an overnight success.  Don’t have unrealistic expectations and think that achieving success in what you love will be easy.  There will be obstacles.  They will be there for a reason.  Persevere, pursue your passion, and continue doing what you love.  Remain humble and continue to learn.  I have learned a lot over the last year.  However, there are other lessons I have learned as well:

Writing is about other people

It’s not as much about the words on the page as it is the words between people.  It’s about connecting with others.  Hopefully, my writing does that.  However, I took the wrong approach when I started this because it was all about me.  I realized the error of my ways.

The best part of writing has been the people I have connected with through this.  Relationships matter and are a huge part of what I do.  Even when I am writing, I am wanting to help other people.  This is important to remember as it helps me keep a proper perspective.

Half of my time “writing” is spent reading, commenting, and re-tweeting other people’s stuff.  I really enjoy doing that and it reminds me that other people are great writers and have important things to share as well.  Spending time doing this means remembering others and the contributions they make.  Don’t be threatened by other people’s success.  And when all is said and done, your willingness to help others will be returned to you.

Writing means balance

I admit that I am horrible with this.  When I get really passionate about something, I get carried away and spend too much time on it.  As many know, I spend many hours working on stuff because I love doing it.  However, time to enjoy other things, friends, family, and interests matter.  It’s healthy.

If you go on a trip because you are excited to write about it, then put the pen (or laptop) down.  You need a break.  The only way I can be my best is by allowing myself to enjoy all areas of my life, including the people that are most important to me.

Doing what I love can give me career satisfaction but not life satisfaction.  There is so much more to life than what I do.

Travel writing is career satisfaction

I admit I have aspirations of doing more with writing.  I have just started.  I feel like a small fish in a big pond.  Yet enjoying something I do has helped me enjoy other areas of my life that much more.  And that’s what passion should do.

This is not easy.  There are times that I am discouraged.  I may make enough money from writing right now to take my family out to dinner…once a month…if I use coupons.  But it’s what I enjoy.  While I still bring home a paycheck, nothing has brought me more satisfaction and fulfillment in my career than travel writing.

It’s ironic that it is happening now.  Yet it shows that even looking for a second job writing about travel can lead to great discoveries.

Read the rest of the posts on this series:

Part I The search for job satisfaction

Part II Perseverance…writing…passion

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2010 9:28 pm

    Nice writing style. I look forward to reading more in the future.

  2. awesomelk permalink
    August 20, 2010 1:24 am

    It sure is a journey, eh? :)
    I dig your comments about writing being about other people. Relationships are key. I come across so many blogs where the author forgets that she has an audience, and the posts totally lack that sticky quality. You know the joke… it’s like watching “slides” from someone’s vacation. High five for bringing the reader into your world!



  3. August 20, 2010 1:40 am

    Great post. You are right – writing is often about other people. I started blogging in 2007 because I wanted to share my passion with others and inspire others to travel or to share knowledge about certain destinations with others.

    Many people want to be travel writers, but they lack passion. Not giving up when you think no one is reading is what makes you a good writer. You write about topics you are passionate about and it comes through in your posts/articles.

    And anyone will tell you travel writing doesn’t always pay much so don’t feel bad! Dinner once a month is still an accomplishment and it will only grow from here.

    Keep up the great work! :-)

  4. August 22, 2010 7:23 am

    Nice reflection of the progression of your career in travel writing. It is always nice to see how others started and have grown. It is definitely a long process but well worth it I think.

  5. August 23, 2010 4:30 am

    Insightful post, and it speaks to and for many of us. I’m particularly touched by your statements about writing as connection with others. That ethos is present throughout the post – in your claims about your writing time, your search for a healthy balance, and following your passion. (After all, you use your travel writing passion to take your family out to dinner!)

    For that reason as well as for others, I’m positive pursuing your passion will take you to many rewarding places both literally and figuratively.

  6. August 23, 2010 8:43 am

    Thanks for all of your comments. I admit doing this sometimes can be discouraging. However, I have to remember this is about other people and not me. It’s a process and a journey and I hope that passion will carry me through. Anything work fighting for isn’t easy and that’s just part of the process.

    I definitely appreciate these comments and have already come back a few times to read them for encouragement. So thank you!


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