I enjoy working, exploring new possibilities, getting out of my comfort zone, living a full and exciting life, and spending time with my husband. I chose travel writing as my retirement career so I could enjoy all of these things and live a great life.
1. Traveling with my husband
My husband retired at 67 after 42 years with the same company. He debated the decision for several years before setting a retirement date. While he was trying to figure out his schedule, I was busy working on mine.
We knew we wanted to take advantage of travel opportunities together, and being five years younger than him, I didn’t want to wait until I was full retirement age before I quit my nine-to-five. Travel was the determining factor in the type of work I wanted for my third act. It was to allow us to travel together when we wanted to, to live in warmer climes when cold New England weather set in, and to travel while we were both still in our go-go years.
Needless to say, working in the travel industry has become a favorite. When I added up all the skills and reasons listed below, I knew that travel writing would be the perfect job for me to work on when I retire.
Pro tip: I worked my travel writing scramble for two years while my husband was still working full time. I wanted to make sure I could make the transition without affecting my income too much.
2. Use my marketing experience
My professional background is in Marketing. I was promotion director in a private school. The majority of my work centered around writing and annual fundraising. I have written correspondence, annual calls, newsletters, website content, marketing materials, the annual report, etc.
Having a marketing background that required writing compelling compositions was the perfect training ground for writing compelling travelogues.
Pro tip: While working full time, I made sure to save some money that would cover me for the first six months after leaving my regular job. I needed this security to help me move forward comfortably.
3. I will always work
I am a workaholic. I like to work (most of the time). I never see myself not working. I chose my retirement career knowing that I could work well in my later years.
Now, I expect not to launch travel and music videos at the pace I am currently doing, but travel writing will always give me one thing – a great reason to travel.
I have so many trips on my to-do list that I expect to travel and create stories at any age, even well into my 80s.
Pro tip: Working keeps your mind active and creative; it gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Find something you love to do because now is the time to love your job.
4. Set my own schedule
Setting my own schedule is one of the main reasons I became a travel writer. After working in the development world where you have networking meetings at night, weekend meetings with potential donors, and the regular day-to-day tasks, it’s easy to burn out. I didn’t like the time my job took from my family.
As a travel writer, I mostly have to set my schedule. I am in my home office every morning writing, planning and writing travel reports. It’s my dream job. After years of writing, I don’t believe in writer’s block. Have you ever heard of engineer’s block? Or the nurses block? No. You just need to start and go from there.
When I’m on a press trip, the PR team tells me where and when to go. But, in the end, it’s up to me to decide if the trip is right for me. On a recent trip to Puerto Rico, a representative from the tourist board drove us to the central mountains. This is great because you don’t have to plan or think, you just follow.
Pro tip: You must set aside time each day to write. Even if you don’t have a mission. Writing is what makes you a writer. This is what makes your dreams come true.
5. Travel expenses as business expenses
This is one of my favorite perks of being a professional travel writer. Often my travels are covered by public relations firms, but sometimes they are personal expenses. When these travel expenses give rise to a travelogue, they can become professional expenses.
Pro tip: Discuss your business trip with your accountant. They will help you with all the documents you need to be compliant.
6. Nomadic lifestyle
The flexibility that my semi-nomadic lifestyle brings to the table is liberating! I mentioned the cold New England winters – so more than that. We get to plan our winters in sunnier places. Last year, we spent several weeks in Hawaii and then a month in South Carolina. It was so nice not to bundle up every time I went out.
For example, as I write this story, I am visiting Cooperstown, NY, for an article on the Baseball Hall of Fame. I’m sitting on the porch of the lovely B&B in Cooperstown. Yesterday I was at a two-day luxury glamping retreat at Gilbertsville Farmhouse to practice goat yoga. Who is retired? Not me, retirement is the best job ever.
Pro tip: Deadlines still have to be met, however, when you’re polishing a Maui story while sitting on a beautiful Maui beach, it’s not bad.
7. Press trips and familiarization trips
Press trips and FAM (familiarization) trips are the best way to make the most of your time and effort.
When you attend a press trip with a group of writers, you will be exposed to inside information that the general public does not usually have access to. This allows you to write from more interesting and unusual angles. Familiarization trips can sometimes be reporters only or they can be you and a travel companion.
Find your niche. Choose three or four words that describe your writing chops. Keep Your Bio Consistent – “I’m a travel writer specializing in 50+ travel, local cuisine, and fun libations. Stories and content creation from the United States and beyond.
Pro tip: Start locally with press trips. Check with your local tourist office. This will allow you to create clips and credentials.
8. See the United States
I’m a Boston-based writer and I write about what I know. These are the easiest articles to plan, present and write. New England has been my playground for years. So, I often write about all the wonderful places to eat, things to see, and experiences to have in and around New England.
My goal is to see the United States. I still have about ten states and a few territories to explore. Keeping these states in mind when planning trips helps me achieve my goal of visiting all states and territories.
Pro tip: Keep it simple and write about what you know.
9. Exploration of foreign countries
I love Europe. I try to visit several times a year. As with collectible states, exploring new countries and regions is important to me. I love European food, culture and history. It’s my thing. You have to find your thing.
Pro tip: Find what’s important to you and chase that dream.
I love being a travel writer
It is without a doubt my favorite job. I never could have pursued travel writing while raising my family, but now that it’s just me and my husband, it’s my job of happily ever after. Becoming a travel writer gives me a freedom I haven’t experienced in many, many years. It’s liberating, it’s interesting and it’s more fun than you ever imagined.
“Oh, the places you will go!” says Dr. Seuss
To learn more about post-retirement options, check out these articles:
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