Travel Guide


In this down-turned economy, I get a lot of prospective clients telling me, with almost an apology, “You know Brian, what I REALLY want to do with my life is become a Travel Writer.”  And then they follow with a chuckle, “But, come on, how does one do that?  It’s not feasible, is it?”

My reply:  You won’t know unless you try it out.  But, yes, it can be done!

Now, granted, it goes without saying that travel writing is a competitive business.  Who doesn’t want to travel to cool places and write about them and give one’s suggestions and recommendations to others, right?  Sign me up!   The reality is, however, that the world of magazine, newspaper and book publishing is in a paradigm shift.  Dollars are fewer.  Advances are nearly gone.  And the hours to make the dollars are longer.  And, yet, people DO succeed as writers — and, yes, you Rick Steves wannabes, even travel writers.

Why?  Because many of us still love to travel, fantasize and plan where we will visit some day or because some of us still place importance of travel and exploration high on our list of things to do in life and budget accordingly each year.  Also, corporations and organizations are still sending their employees out on business trips — and the employees want to combine some fun exploration along with their business meetings.  People are not staying at home, folks.  The “staycation” thing only goes so far to feed one’s soul.  Hence, it’s Economics 101:  Supply and demand.  There is still demand for travel writing.  There are still readers.  And as long as there are still readers, there are advertisers and sponsors….and, hence, travel writers will be employed.  Yes, the Great Recession has made the field even more competitive.  The cream rises to the top.  Yes, the ad dollars are down.  No, you might not become a fairly wealthy travel writer like Rick Steves but, YES, you CAN make a decent living at it.

How?

AOL just wrote about one of our former clients, Craig Zabaransky, this past week.  He went from working the corporate life as a consultant in the finance sector in Manhattan…to getting laid off…to having his office become his laptop and mobile phone.  Yep.  Craig has become a full-time travel writer this past year!  He offered up some great advice on how to become a travel writer on AOL…..

http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2010/03/11/management-consultant-to-travel-writer/

I need to put in a little plug for Craig’s amazing travel writer mentor, Ron Stern.  Craig’s transition was made easier due to Ron’s advice, expertise and hands-on mentorship while on Craig’s Travel Writer VocationVacation (which was a gift from Craig’s fiance, how cool is that?) in March, 2009.  He has helped Craig and many other aspiring travel writers create their tangible, common-sensible, realistic action plans for their part-time or full-time (as is the case with Craig) career transition.

So, if you want to become a travel writer — part-time or full-time — you CAN do it.  Even in this economy.  Craig is proof in the pudding.  Congratulations, Craig!

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Sometimes people will still say to me, “Oh, you’re the fantasy job guy”, referencing my work creating career mentorship programs with VocationVacations. Luckily, the number of people who see me as Ricardo Montalban of careers are declining.  Instead, people see the results of what career mentorship can accomplish:  A successful transition to an ATTAINABLE dream career.  Fantasies via Ricardo Montalblan’s Mr. Roarke are fantasies — they never truly come to fruition.  Dreams, however, do.  I work only with dreams.

Examples of unrealistic “fantasy jobs” for most of us are NFL quarterback, brain surgeon or rock star.  Examples of realistic “dream jobs” are bakery owner, stand-up comedian and fashion retailer.

All that being said, I often hear people say that they have a career in mind to pursue but they’re too scared to pursue it.  They see it as fantasy versus an attainable dream.  One that stands out in my mind is being a sailor, working on a cruise ship or owning and/or operating a vessel touring company.  There is a whole sector of folks who dream about sailing day-in and day-out but feel it’s simply too “fantasy”-based.  They’re wrong.

Whether you want to captain an ecological touring boat, be a schooner captain or sail the seven seas on a much larger commercial or leisure vessel, you CAN make your dream your reality.

VocationVacations mentor, Cindy Adams, of the Reef Roamer and QuickSilver fleet in Key Largo, FL and I were recently chatting about it.  She hears it all the time from people, “Oh, Cindy, you’re so LUCKY to be in this position.”  As Cindy will tell you, luck has almost nothing to do with it.  She and her husband, Terry, sought out a new career, leaving their corporate cubicles behind.  They were not millionaires.  They did not already own any land-based or boats in the Caribbean.  Instead, it took planning.  It took a business plan.  It takes a lot of hard work.  In the end, they have a wonderfully successful and lucrative business.  They have realized their dream and have created a fantastic work/life balance for themselves.

Only days after speaking with Cindy, I was in Hood River, Oregon which is situated right in the Columbia River Gorge along the Columbia River.  Gorgeous spot.  The Wadester and I are there all the time.  We dream (and will make it happen!) of someday “bouncing” between living in Hood River with views of Mt. Hood and the Columbia, keeping the condo in Portland and having a small place in New York.  Some day!  Well, as I was admiring the most amazing rainbow across the river, I then spotted a “tall ship” docked.  I had to check it out.  What was a tall ship doing in Hood River???  It was the LADY WASHINGTON, (owned and operated by Grays Harbor Historical Seaport in Grays Harbor, WA) a replica of the ship from the 1750’s that sailed around Cape Horn in South America and explored the west coast of North America.  Amazing.

And then I met someone as amazing as the ship:  John Paul Clark.  John Paul recently left his career as a carpenter to literally sail up and down the North American Pacific coast on the LADY WASHINGTON!  I have to say that he is quite proud of himself.  He chose the path.  He went through months of training and is now living and working his dream on the water.  He is not only part of the sailing team but is also responsible for providing the replica ship’s history to people like me.

When I asked John Paul if he indeed found his dream job sailing up and down the west coast, he simply grinned from ear to ear and said, “Oh, yes, most indeed.”   He also added that his daughter is proud of his endeavor of changing careers a bit later in life.  John Paul is proof that it is NEVER too late to work in what you truly love.

Now if sailing isn’t your thing, something else is.  Culinary?  Working with animals? Entertainment?  Sports?  Fashion?  Whatever it is, do not assume that your dream is unattainable.  It is not fantasy (unless you’re 45 and want to become that NFL quarterback).  It IS attainable if you work through a career transition program and you are diligent about your own progress.  I know.  I have seen thousands of folks work through the process since 2004.

Make your career dreams a reality.  You can do it.  Let the winds catch your sails!

Cheers,
Brian Kurth

President of mentorship-based career consultancy, Brian Kurth + Company, and VocationVacations, providing 1-3 day career mentorship experiences to adults.