I am a Midwest transplant to both coasts of South Florida, moving back to Delray Beach on the Atlantic side, about 10 minutes from the beach, an hour from Little Havana in Miami, and a half hour from Palm Beach, where only a cat and monkey are buried.
I have written hundreds of articles on topics from Kim Kardashian's butt to dealing with adolescent addiction to cheating husbands, how to get A-list arms, bipolar stigma, and why to die at home. But what everyone wants to know about is my travel writing articles and how to become a travel writer.
First you have to love writing and have some talent for description, organization, transitions, and spotting trends. Then you need the patience of a rock that has sat in the same place since the dawn of time, which was before coffee was available to go, because you spend a lot of time in a chair staring at your computer and checking Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, maybe a few tabloid sites as well as the New York Times and Amazon while you prepare to write.
There's the business of going places, the art of enjoying the best cuisines in the world that also make your ankles swell (Oy, the salt in foods in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy), historical discoveries that explain who you are, beds so hard that your head bounces and beds with a linen thread count that will make you want to spin a cocoon, adventures that catapult you out of your ordinary life, and slippery slopes you will fall down and climb back up for another try. There are deserts, islands, mountains, cities, oceans to cross and, above all, people to meet who will be your friends, elephants to steal your heart, and music that transports your body and soul - the swish of a bush broom on the pavement in Oaxaca, a Verdi opera performed in a cheese making storage room in Parma with great acoustics, tribal drums, Irish fiddling.
Start with writing profiles for your daily newspaper or small press weeklies and move on to city and regional magazines while blogging your pants off, or vice-versa. Spend all your time marketing yourself via social media and trying to get assignments, and then pack your bags, but never check your luggage. Go somewhere. Take notes. Come back and write. Try to get out of your pajamas by noon unless you're on a deadline, in which case you only hope to brush your teeth by bedtime.