In fact I’ve been bouncing around the world for the past 15 years, in the process travelling in 47 countries (yes I’m counting)! This has been a mix of long term travel and ex-pat living since I left New Zealand to live in London at the age of 25. I told my family at the time that I thought I’d be away for about a year. I already knew that was not going to be the case.
Given my life now I find it ironic that I didn’t leave New Zealand for the first TWENTY years of my life. I guess I’ve been making up for lost time ever since.
Living my London travel dream expanded my horizons in many ways – meeting new people, experiencing a rich culture, and grasping the travel opportunities available from this international hub.
Travel writing dreams
The writing dream and the travel dream began to grow side by side during those years. Looking back over my journals I can see the twin preoccupations building long before I consciously started to put them together.
As I travelled more and more I wrote more and more. It slowly became a necessity for me to describe what I was seeing; to find the little details that would reveal a greater whole about each place I traveled.
Putting together the dreams of travel and writing remained a secret dream for a long time. In 2003 I set off on a round-the-world trip, visiting south-east Asia and southern Africa. Ten countries in six months.
The trip was an escape from falling into the wrong career path. After completing my law degree I got a job and started a career as a tax law specialist. Obviously this wasn’t something I’d dreamed of doing but it was a job. I learned to write, to structure, to edit legal opinion. I felt slowly more crushed and stultified by the work and particularly by the corporate environment.
It was sitting in a café in Bangkok midway through that six month trip that I resolved to enrol in a journalism course and pursue a career change. I would leave behind a secure and well-paid job and pursue my dream.
Deep down, where I wanted this to lead me to was a career in travel writing. Yes I wanted to travel and be paid to write about travel. How many people have that dream and how many achieve it? Travel journalism is a highly competitive (not to mention poorly paid) career path. Who was I kidding?
So, sitting there at the plastic table in Bangkok, I wrote that I wanted a job where I got to write about interesting things (i.e., not about tax law). I went back to the corporate world, saved money and applied for a visa to live and work in the United Kingdom.
Stepping out to achieve my dream
In 2007 I finally quit my job, achieved my dream of a post-graduate diploma in journalism from the London School of Journalism and looked for work. The first job I got was as an online correspondent, writing news stories for websites. It was interesting sometimes, certainly more interesting than tax, and it was a start.
Six months later I was the editor of a travel website run by my employer company! I had convinced them my passion for travel and writing skills were perfect for the job. I was travelling, writing, editing, commissioning and loving every moment. The travel writing dream I had barely even acknowledge to myself had become a reality!
This spoke volumes to me of the power of dreaming big and of stepping out to achieve that dream. Here’s a photo of me on a travel writing press trip to Philadelphia, beside the Liberty Bell:
Moving forward with my travel dream
Last year my husband’s employer proposed sending him to Melbourne, Australia, to work on a project and we decided it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
I became a freelance writer and editor, specialising in travel but also writing web content across a variety of subjects for different clients. I launched my own travel blog site www.worldwanderingkiwi.com in August 2011 and continue to work hard to drive performance and quality.
One of the most rewarding, and unexpected, benefits about starting the travel blog has been connecting with so many interesting and supportive people in the travel industry.
Travel blogging comes naturally to someone who lives and breathes travel like I do. I would be writing about travel if it was never going to make me a cent. But with the support of the online travel community I found out how to monetise my blog and add this to my freelance writing earnings.
So that is the genesis of my travel career dream. I have learned so much setting up, constantly improving and monetising my blog but where to from here?
I strongly believe that the future of travel inspiration, research, planning and booking is online. More and more people turn to travel blogs rather than guidebooks when researching travel, searching for an authentic voice about destinations. I hope I’m helping inspire others to travel.
My big dream is to take my travel blog to the next level and to launch my own travel e-magazine. So maybe this time next year you’ll be flipping through that on your tablets!
Come travel with me!
Of course I have plenty of yet-to-be-fulfilled travel dreams. Taking the Trans Siberian railway; trekking in Chile’s Torres del Paine national park; watching an opera at La Scala in Milan. My travel bucket list goes on and on. I’d love to hear the suggestions, questions and comments of fellow travel dreamers and all readers. What are your travel dreams? Are there particular destinations you’d like to have revealed here on 8WD? Do you have questions about careers in travel writing or blogging? Where shall I travel to next?
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