I love to work, explore new possibilities, get out of my comfort zone, live a full and exciting life, and relax with my husband. I chose travel writing as my retirement career so I could enjoy all those things and live a good life.
1. Travel With My Husband
My husband retired at 67 after 42 years with the same company. He wrestled with the decision for several years before settling on a retirement date. While he was trying to figure out his timeline, I was busy working on mine.
We knew we wanted to enjoy travel opportunities together, and being five years younger than him, I didn’t want to wait until I reached my full retirement age before leaving my nine to five . Travel was the driving factor in the type of job I wanted for my third act. We had to allow ourselves to travel together whenever we wanted, live in warmer climates when the cold English weather set in, and enjoy traveling while we were both still in our early years.
Needless to say, work in the travel industry was the front runner. When I put together all the skills and reasons listed below, I knew that travel writing would be the perfect job for me to work in retirement.
Pro-Tip: I worked my travels writing as a side hustle for two years while my husband was still working full time. I wanted to make sure I could make the move without affecting my income too much.
2. Use My Marketing Background
My professional background is in Marketing. I was the Headmaster of a private school. Most of my work was focused on writing and raising the annual fund. I wrote correspondence, annual appeals, newsletters, website content, marketing collateral, 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: Working full time, I made sure to save money to cover me for the first six months after I quit my regular day job. I needed that security to help me move forward comfortably.
3. I will always work
I am a workaholic. I love to work (most of the time). I never see that I am not working. I chose my retirement career knowing that I could work well into my later years.
Now, I hope that I will not be cranking out trips and clips at the speed I do now, but travel writing will always give me one thing – a great reason to travel.
There are so many trips on my bucket list that I hope to travel and create stories at any age, even well into my 80s.
Pro-tip: Work 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 work.
4. Setting My Own Schedule
Setting my own schedule is a big reason why 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 stuff, it’s easy to burn out. I resented the time my work took away 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 submitting travel documents. 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 nurse block? You just need to start and go from there.
When I’m on press trips, the public relations (PR) team tells me where and when to go. But, ultimately, I decide if the journey is right for me. On a recent trip to Puerto Rico, a tourism board representative guided us around the central mountains. This is great because you don’t have to plan or think, you just have to follow.
Pro tip: You must set aside time every day to write. Even if you don’t have a task. Writing is what makes you a writer. It 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 trips are covered by PR firms, but sometimes they are out-of-pocket expenses. When these travel expenses become travel expenses, they can be business expenses.
Pro-Tip: Discuss your travel business with your accountant. They will help you complete all the paperwork you need.
6. Casual Lifestyle
The flexibility that my semi-nomadic lifestyle brings to the table is liberating! I mentioned the cold New England winter – so on top of that. We plan our winter in sunnier places. Last year, we spent several weeks in Hawaii and then a month in South Carolina. It was so nice not to curl up every time I went out the door.
For example, as I write this story, I am visiting Cooperstown, NY, for a story on the Baseball Hall of Fame. I’m sitting on the porch at this charming Bed and Breakfast in Cooperstown. Yesterday, I was on a two-day, luxury glamping retreat at Gilbertsville Farmhouse practicing goat yoga. Who is retired? Not me – retirement is the best job ever.
Pro tip: Deadlines still need to be met, though, and polishing off a story about Maui while sitting on a gorgeous Maui Beach isn’t bad.
7. Press Tours And FAM Tours
Press Tours and FAM (practice) tours are the best way to make your time and effort pay off more.
When you attend a press tour with a group of writers, you’ll be exposed to insider information not normally accessible to the general public. This allows you to write from more interesting and unusual angles. Sometimes FAM trips are just journalists or it can be you and a travel companion.
Find your niche. Choose three or four words that describe your writing chops. Keep your feed consistent – “I’m a travel writer with a focus on 50 plus travel, local cuisine, and fun libations. Stories and content creation from the US and beyond.”
Pro-Tip: Start local with press tours. Get to know your local tourist board. This will allow you to create clips and credentials.
8. Seeing the United States
I’m a writer based in Boston and I write about what I know. These are the easiest articles to plan, promote and write. New England has been my playground for years. So, I often write about the great places to eat, things to see, and experiences to have in and around New England.
My goal is to see USA. I have about ten states and a few territories left to explore. Keeping these states in mind when planning trips helps me meet my goal of visiting all the states and territories.
Pro tip: Keep it simple and write about what you know.
9. Foreign Land Exploration
I love Europe. I try to visit several times every year. Like collecting states, it is important for me to explore new countries and regions. I love European food, culture and history. That’s my thing. You have to find your thing.
Pro-tip: Find what is important to you and follow that dream.
I love being a Travel Writer
This is without a doubt my favorite job ever. I never would have been able to pursue travel writing while raising my family, but now that it’s just me and my husband, it’s my happily ever after job. As a travel writer it gives me a freedom I haven’t experienced in 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
To read more about options after retirement, see these articles: