Who Wants to Be a Travel Writer?

Which Path Is Best?
  |  Gorp.com

What kind of writing are we talking about anyway? The travel writer faces a road that divides into several paths. One path leads to the fine writing in many cultures that consists of highly literate accounts of great adventures. At one level they describe daring first ascents or escapes from lurking perils, but such books deliver much more than that. They're also rich in insight, characterization, and emotion.

While the writing skill level required is high, the likelihood of being published is low. Because the market may be limited, royalties seldom pay the rent. Still, those who succeed can take pride in having created a masterpiece.

A related but less demanding path results in honest reports of compelling adventures. They don't usually contain any universal truth but do portray a distant, enthralling world that awakens Walter Mitty in its readers.

A third path takes the writer to what might be called travelogues. Top rank writing in this genre requires keen ability to observe and record the travel experience accurately and comprehensively. Emphasis is less on lyric prose than on factual details. This writer submits articles to newspapers, magazines, and travel-related publications such as those found in the pouch on the back of airplane seats. With some experience and considerable good luck, this writer might even be chosen to write a newspaper column or narrate a radio series.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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