I love working, exploring new opportunities, getting out of my comfort zone, living a fulfilling and exciting life and spending time with my husband. I chose travel writing as my retirement career so I can enjoy all these things and have a good life.
1. Travel with my husband
My husband retired at 67 after working for the same company for 42 years. He struggled with the decision for several years before actually setting a retirement date. While he was trying to figure out his schedule, I was busy working on mine.
We knew we wanted to enjoy the opportunities to travel together and being five years his junior I didn’t want to wait until I reached my full retirement age before leaving my nine to five years. Travel was the driving factor in what type of job I wanted for my third act. It had to allow us to travel together at all times, live in warmer climates when the cold New England weather hit, and enjoy traveling while we were both still in our go-go years.
Needless to say, working in the travel industry has become the front runner. When I added up all of the skills and reasons listed below, I knew that travel writing would be the perfect job for me to work in my retirement.
Pro tip: I worked part-time as a travel writer for two years while my husband was still working full-time. I wanted to make sure I could make the transition without impacting my income too much.
2. Use my marketing background
My professional background is in marketing. I was an advancement director for a private school. Most of my work has focused on writing and raising the annual fund. I wrote correspondence, annual views, newsletters, website content, marketing materials, the annual report and more.
A background in marketing that required writing compelling compositions was the perfect training ground for writing compelling travel stories.
Pro tip: While working full-time, I made sure to save money that would cover me for the first six months after my regular day job ended. I needed that security to move forward comfortably.
3. I will always work
I’m a workaholic. I love to work (most of the time). I never see myself not working. I decided to retire because I knew I could work into old age.
Well, I expect I won’t be putting out travel and clips at the pace I’m currently doing, but travel writing will always give me one thing – a great reason to travel.
I have so much travel on my bucket list that I assume I can travel and write 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 up in the morning. Find something you love to do because now is the time to love what you do.
4. Set my own schedule
Setting my own schedule is a big reason I became a travel writer. It’s easy to get burned out after working in the development world where you have late-night networking meetings, weekend meet-ups with potential donors, and the day-to-day work stuff. I resented the time my work was taking away from my family.
As a travel writer, I can mostly set my own schedule. I’m in my home office every morning, writing, planning, and proposing travelogues. It’s my dream job. After years of writing, I don’t believe in writer’s block. Have you ever heard of the engineer blockade? Or sister block? no You just have to start and go from there.
When I’m on press trips, the PR team tells me where and when to go. But ultimately I decide if the trip is right for me. On a recent trip to Puerto Rico, a tourist office representative took us through the central mountains. This is great because you don’t have to plan or think, you just go with it.
pro tip: You need to make time to write every day. Even if you don’t have an order. Writing makes you an author. It is what makes your dreams come true.
5. Travel expenses as business expenses
This is one of my favorite perks as a professional travel writer. Often my travels are covered by PR companies, but sometimes they are expenses. When those travel expenses result in a travel story, they can become business expenses.
Pro tip: Discuss your travel business with your accountant. They help with all the paperwork you need to be compliant.
6. Nomadic Lifestyle
The flexibility my semi-nomadic lifestyle brings is liberating! I mentioned the cold New England winters—so get over it. We can 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 pull myself together every time I walked out the door.
For example, while writing this story, I am visiting Cooperstown, NY for a story about the Baseball Hall of Fame. I’m sitting on the porch of the charming Cooperstown B&B. Yesterday I went on a 2 day luxury glamping retreat at Gilbertsville Farmhouse and practiced goat yoga. Who is retired? Not me – retirement is the best job ever.
pro tip: Deadlines still have to be met, but if you’re brushing up on a story about Maui while sitting on a beautiful Maui beach, it’s no big deal.
7. Press Travel and FAM Travel
Press trips and FAM trips (training trips) are the best way to make better use of your time and effort.
When you go on a press tour with a group of writers, you’re exposed to inside information that the general public normally doesn’t have access to. This allows you to write from more interesting and unusual angles. FAM trips can sometimes be just journalists, or you and a travel companion.
Find your niche. Choose three or four words that describe your writing skills. Keep your bio consistent – “I’m a travel writer with a focus on 50+ travel, local cuisine and fun libations. Stories and content creation from across the US and beyond.”
Pro tip: Start on site with press trips. Get to know your local tourist board. This allows you to create clips and credentials.
8. See the US
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. That’s why I often write about all the wonderful restaurants, sights, and experiences in and around New England.
My goal is to see the USA. I still have about ten states and a few territories to explore. Keeping these states in mind when planning trips will help me achieve my goal of visiting all states and territories.
pro tip: Keep it simple and write about what you know.
9. Exploring foreign lands
i love europe I try to visit several times a year. As with collecting states, exploring new countries and regions is important to me. I love the food, culture and history of Europe. That’s my thing You gotta find your thing
Pro tip: Find out what is important to you and pursue that dream.
I love being a travel writer
This is hands down my favorite job of all. I would never have been able to devote myself to travel writing while raising my family, but now that it’s just me and my husband, it’s my happy job. Becoming a travel writer gives me a freedom I haven’t had in many, many years. It’s liberating, it’s interesting, and it’s more fun than you could ever imagine.
“Oh the places you’ll go!” said dr seuss
For more information on post-retirement options, see these articles: