A peek into my travel writing life
I’m not very big on blog hops, but when Rosalind Cummings-Yeates nominated me I was both excited because she’s one of my favorite writers and curious to ponder over the current state of my career. I’ve been busy traveling, planning more travels and updating both my blogs, this and the one I recently launched entirely devoted to my Roman life, that I’ve had little time to consider what I’m doing and what I need to better focus on, so this looked like the perfect occasion to do it.
Right below are my answers to the questions regarding my writing life and the writers I’m nominating to keep the blog hop going, Madi Jahangir, my friend and writer from Iran, which happens to be one of my very favorite countries to visit, and Simon Falvo, possibly the most active Italian blogger in the travel blogging landscape.
1. What am I working on/writing?
I work as a freelance writer full time, so I’m always busy writing features, SEO articles and with copywriting gigs for different companies. On a more personal side, I just got back from a beautiful trip to Iran, so now I’m busy pitching ideas about this. So far I’ve published an article on Chinese newspaper Global Times about my trip and several blog posts, even though it’s really only the beginning as I’m planning to write many more posts about this experience. I also have some book ideas and exciting projects in mind, but they are still pretty much this, ideas!
2. How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
As the name of my travel blog shows, I like spotting the unexpected. This doesn’t necessarily mean visiting only unknown and uncharted places which, in 2014 and with the traveling business being always more popular, are definitely hard to find. I’m a true history/culture/traditions lover, passionate about handicraft, people’s lives and anedoctes, the kind of things you can only learn by delving into the society and integrating with locals. There are different topics that are considered part of the travel writing industry, and while I know work is work and we can’t be too picky, I guess it’s also a matter of personality. I’m not very comfortable writing about the 10 best nightclubs in such city or such country, so since there are many writers who are, I always prefer to stick to my ancient ruins, traditional dishes and local markets’ frenzy.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I read a lot of travel and non-travel articles, in different languages, Italian, English and French, and sometimes also Portuguese, and often I see that many topics and places are poorly covered or not covered at all. Or, like in the case of Iran, represented in a rather distorted way. I like to think that every country is inhabited by human beings and, as such, worthy of a honest reporting. I won’t say unbiased because as human beings ourselves, we all have our own views that inevitably influence our writing, but at least a honest view stemming from what we see rather than what we have previously read or we “think we know”. This is why writing for this blog, that I consider very much my own private space, is often a bliss and by large my favorite activity, truly rewarding thanks to all the messages I receive from readers, the real boost that makes me keep going.
4. How does my writing process work?
I work very well under pressure, so my most productive days are those of tight deadlines and crazy schedules, and for as much as I would love to be always as creative and prolific, it’s not always the case. Between my blogs, articles, pitches and the photo editing process, I start working in the morning often until late at night. I always carve out time to read, both articles and books, even though I often feel I would like to read more. Very rarely I allow myself a full weekend of leisure, but I can say that usually I devote my weekends to the activities that I love most, namely reading, updating my blogs and go out take photos, along with some sightseeing, relaxing in a park and so on and so forth. I don’t consider myself “lucky” for having a job I love and that allows me to manage my time more independently than if I had an office job, because more than luck this is simply working hard to make a dream come true, but I do appreciate the fact that I can go on a trip and just need an internet connection and a laptop to catch up with some work, or that I can work at night if during the day I have an event I don’t want to miss. I won’t deny it, I work a lot, but I also feel blessed that I absolutely adore what I do.
This is pretty much what my writing process is about. Below are my fellow writers participating in the blog hop, Rosalind who nominated me, and Madi and Simon that I nominated and will write about their writing life soon.
Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a freelance journalist, blogger and arts critic specializing in travel and lifestyle topics. She’s the author of Exploring Chicago Blues: Inside The Scene, Past and Present (History Press), a guidebook to Chicago blues history and landmarks. Her other credits include Woman’s Day, Hemispheres, MSN, Salon, Brides, Yoga Journal, Travel + Escape, Go Magazine, Relish, Time Out Chicago, Mojo, Allmusic.com, Get Lost, Rough Guide to Women Travel and the Chicago Sun Times, among other publications. She writes a monthly blues column for the Illinois Entertainer, travel blogs for various publications and teaches journalism at Columbia College Chicago. She’s based in Chicago, from which she manages to escape during the Windy City’s six official winter months. You can read more of her work on her web site, www.RosalindCummingsYeates.com and on her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl.
Madi Jahangir is an Iranian published writer, blogger and social media analyst. She’s focused more on travel writing and photography in recent years mainly for three reasons: to boost Iranian tourism, for her curiosity about cultures and civilizations and to devote more time to her passion for photography. As a MBA student, her areas of interest are strategic planning, marketing, social media and heritage tourism. She is the editor and writer behind Dream Of Iran.
Travel addict and social media enthusiast, Simon Falvo has developed an extensive knowledge of Digital Communications and Social Media Marketing and holds workshops and trainings with important companies, as well as consultancy (leveraging also on her previous 10 years experience in investment banking and 8 years in a PR firm). Among her most recent work, Simon has created the website for a mountain hut, Rifugio Mai Tardi and has participated as speaker at several events, talking about personal branding, digital marketing and collaboration with bloggers. She regularly updates her travel blog Wild About Travel.