It’s my 3rd week as Travel Editor of The Culture Trip so I figured it’s as good a time as any to check in and share my thoughts of my new role. In my recent post about my triumphant return to the office, I couldn’t help but gush about my new job and how my BIG BALI EPIPHANY completely reframed my way of thinking about creativity and work.
After a year of freelancing, pouring everything into The Pin the Map Project and applying for editorial jobs; I finally landed what is my dream job: Travel Editor of The Culture Trip (a truly awesome website if I do say so myself). It took months of learning how to get out of my own way and realize that putting pressure on my creativity to pay the bills was killing my passion for writing. It took time to understand that having an office job didn’t make me any less of a writer; that – if anything – a job gave me the financial means to chase my dreams. I had figured I would crawl back to advertising; had mentally prepared myself for returning to a cubicle; but in a magnificent turn of events I ended up in the one job I had been chasing. It took some time for me to get to this point, which is to say to arrive at the mindset where working in an office isn’t my own version of servitude. Now, as a newly minted Travel Editor, I have days where I can’t quite believe this is my job. So to give a little update, here is what my life (so far) is like as Travel Editor and how it differs from blogging.
My Life As A Travel Editor
My days as a Travel Editor varies. Some days may find me writing, others may find me editing. Some may find me interviewing, others may find me on a film set. Some days will find me going around the city for a story, others will find me reading travel articles in search of a fresh idea. Every day is different; while every week is dictated by the stories I’m working on.
The other day, I had an editorial meeting where the different genre editors (fashion, art, wellness, music, etc.) all shared their Halloween themed story ideas. As each of us took turns listing off ideas; I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement bubbling within me. Each editor has the creative freedom to chase their story, the means to interview people for their ideas; the support of The Culture Trip to turn a thought into a feature article. When it came time for me to share my own ideas; I rattled off haunted hotels, creepy islands and other spooky ideas that I thought might resonate with readers. At the end of the meeting, we all went back to our desks and began typing furiously; no doubt in pursuit of our Halloween article.
This is just one of the moments (of many so far) that show me I love my job. I am truly excited for this job, to have a platform with which to share my writing globally, to work for a website where I can reach out to people who may not interview with a blogger but will make time for an editor. I can tell I love my job in the little things I do: eagerly checking emails at all hours of the day, constantly searching for my next story idea, being excited to come to work in the morning, wanting to dress nicely for work as though it’s my first day of school. Let me just take a moment to add here I have not always been this way. I have shown up at work in sweatpants before without having bothered to put on makeup. I have cried on subway commutes while en route to an advertising agency. I have made a point of not looking at anything work related for even a minute beyond my working hours. I have called in sick just to avoid another day at the office. So, for me to have turned into this is truly saying something; and that something is I love my job.
So, now the million dollar question….
Do I travel? This being my third week on the job, the short answer is no. Ask me again in 2017 and that answer might be a yes. It’s like this: when I was younger I dreamt of becoming a marine biologist. Not because I understood marine biology but because I absolutely loved (and still love) whales. I had seen some photos of marine biologists with whales in my parent’s National Geographic magazine and figured that if I became a marine biologist I could do that too. I mean who wouldn’t want to pet a humpback whale? In my mind, it was a foolproof plan.
Being the overly ambitious kid that I was, I found a marine biologist online and – with my parent’s help – emailed him to ask about his career. Well, I must have caught Mr. Biologist on a bad day because all he could tell my wide-eyed 10-year-old self was that he spent every day staring at fish in a basement. It goes without saying, this marked the end of my marine biology aspirations. The point of this story – that I realize now at the age of 28 but alluded me at the age of 10 – is that no one starts a job – even the dream job – petting the whale. In other words, yes I’m a Travel Editor. Yes, I love my job. No, I’m not traveling…not yet, that is.
Now what about blogging?
Although I’m now a Travel Editor, I am (and always will be) blogger for The Pin the Map Project. This website is my passion, has taken me around the world, allowed me to meet incredible people and see amazing things. While my blog may dip at times (posting everyday is difficult) it will always be up and running.
So, right off the bat there are some clear differences between editing and blogging. For starters, as far as my blog has come; nothing can compare to joining a globally recognized brand where there is no trouble getting people to interview for stories, snagging press trips, etc. Access is key for a good story and as a Travel Editor, I have much more access than I did as a blogger.
On the flip side, blogging is like a free-form dance where I can do what I want, how I want. If I wanted tomorrow’s post to be a giant scanned photo of my face, it could be! (Don’t worry, that will not be tomorrow’s post). Blogging is freeing; but editing has red tape. There are style guides, rules, regulations and approval to keep in mind. While I have a lot of freedom to write what I want, how I want; I do run story ideas by my editorial director to make sure it’s a fit for the site. Quality of content is key and the story reigns supreme (as it should be).
At the end of the day, it all comes down to this: the other day, I was at work reading through travel stories and jotting down potential story ideas. After I finished perusing articles on my favorite sites (VICE, The New York Times, AFAR, Roads & Kingdoms, etc.), I got started writing a scandalous feature article about women who trade sex for travel (read it here). At the end of the day, I realized I had done exactly what I have been doing for myself and The Pin the Map Project for four years: writing, reading, researching and doing it all within the context of travel. The only difference? I now have benefits and a paycheck. Not too shabby.
Are you working a full-time job? How do you balance blogging and work? Share it below!