This month marks the second anniversary of my trying to launch a travel writing career. As you may recall, I started my grand undertaking with a Classic Journeys trip to New Zealand two Februarys ago. I had a fabulous time-beyond my wildest expectations. That is, until my sister and I took that long flight back home to the States and I began to understand that Covid-19 wasn’t going to be some ordinary winter flu.
I’m sure I don’t have to rehash the multiple challenges of 2020 for you, suffice to say, it was not a travel-friendly year. On the bright side my husband and I got to know the Finger Lakes even better than we thought we did, spending extra time doing active things outdoors, taking more motorcycle and boat rides, and camping instead of staying in hotels or Airbnb’s. It was like being 25 again, only with money! When I did venture further afield, everything I did seemed extra-special. And, since I’d never been a travel writer during “normal” times, I didn’t have any expectations or habits to adjust, or writing methods to unlearn. I didn’t have a professional network or organization memberships to support me either but that was ok; as a freelancer I’m used to flying solo.
Then it was 2021 and Covid was still around, though people, myself included, were ready to start traveling again. What were some of the biggest challenges for a novice travel writer? Getting used to the culture shock of traveling in the United States. Covid practices in Salt Lake City were quite different from those in Myrtle Beach. Though both are beach towns, Cape Cod during the pandemic was about as polar opposite from Key West as you can get. Flying, domestically or internationally, bordered on unmanageable at times, between noncompliant and opinionated fellow passengers, capricious testing and vaccination requirements, and frequent delays and cancellations. “Help wanted” signs everywhere you looked made shopping, dining, and visiting attractions more of a roller-coaster than a Merry-Go-Round ride.
After fourteen years of writing, believe me I know how to pivot, adapt, and be flexible (even when I don’t feel like it!) but these last two years have pushed these skills to the limit. Now it’s 2022 and it’s been an unusually taxing month. Between local and global unrest, severe weather, and personal and professional stressors, I’m feeling like this has to be the year that makes it or breaks it. Using my Covid-friendly philosophy, “Act as if”, I’ve planned a driving trip to Chicago for a writer’s conference (twice postponed) in mid-March. Then I’m going to a writer’s conference in Reykjavik, after which my husband and I will drive around Iceland, exploring as we go.
Like my grandma always said, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” But I’m sure going to try and I hope you’ll feel free to send on any ideas for summer or fall day trips!