How I became a freelance travel writer
A conscious choice to seek adventure and a broken relationship lead me on my way to becoming a freelance travel writer. And now, more than 8 years down the road, I haven’t regretted my alternative career path for a second. It has been a battle though and still is.
I believe that life should be lived by a series of consequent choices based on priorities, as well as we sometimes need to simply go with the flow when things happen that are out of our control. That way, you can aim for a life you really want and adapt to the changes and surprises that are inevitable. After all, we can’t plan life completely.
I was originally educated as a graphic artist and later as a furniture salesman. And after having had a series of jobs that I ended up in a bit by chance, I made a choice to step out of the “hamster wheel” of just rolling with the next available job. I chose to go for something I really wanted, although it wasn’t something I was educated to do or had any previous experience doing: Travel writing.
I quit my stabile shop job in a sports store and left a nice flat in my hometown to go on an Interrail trip that was supposed to give me my first material for a travel blog about following your dreams (written in Danish). That was when a broken long-term relationship “derailed” me, so to speak, and left me at a point of no return. And in a way, this pushed me to make my choice and to go all-in on a career in travel writing.
I ended up living in Cardiff in Wales, and two months later, my first travel article was published in a major Danish newspaper. I had no clue about how the freelance world of travel writing worked, but I simply took a leap of faith and learned along the way.
What happened over the next few years is too long a story for a single blog post, but I lived in Wales for several periods throughout the next years, as well as back in Denmark, in England and in Spain.
I sold my first article relatively easy and the next one too. And this gave me the motivation to keep going. Since then, I have had a stream of articles published in newspapers, magazines and online. But let me be honest, it hasn’t been easy. It’s a tough business with constant changes and it takes tons of hard work and self-discipline to keep going through the tough periods. You gotta pull yourself up so many times.
At the end of the day, being a freelancer and working for yourself is like having to apply for jobs constantly, and writing articles can be seen like writing school papers weekly. You really got to love writing and have the motivation to inspire people. It’s not gonna work if your motivation is simply money and travelling.
I was lucky and privileged to have a dream and to be able to go for it. Although I had been a travel addict for years leading up to my choice, the idea to write about my trips seemed to come out of nowhere. Not everyone sees a path to what they want to do, and for me, it took more than 30 years to get there. Even with a target in sight, it can be tough to make your dream come true, but it can be just as hard not having a dream to go for in the first place.
If you got a dream – go for it, if you have any chance to do so. Even if you have to start from scratch as I did. One step leads to the next and the next. But you have got to be persistent and willing to make some sacrifices whether it’s doing free work initially or possibly investing some money.
Even if it doesn’t work out for some reason, you will always know you tried and avoid any regrets later in life when it might be too late. If I stopped doing this job today and changed my career path again, I would still be extremely grateful for 8 years of adventures and proud of have created so much from “nothing”.
You will find my writing portfolio at www.travelooney.dk
Are you considering the field of travel writing yourself? Or did you already pursue your dream? Please share your thoughts in the comments below…