Posted by: justnaturallyme | September 1, 2008

The Life of a Travel Writer

Hard as it is to leave Martin, Romeo and the cats on their own, I’m hitting the road for six days. Martin needs to keep his own website, www.cajuntreasures.com,  updated, handle any promotion and/or orders ( if we get lucky) for Wild About Florida, and most important, feed all the animals.  Tomorrow I’m off to Kansas City, Mo. Not to see the wizard. Hopefully my arrival won’t have anything to do with a tornado although Gustav may hit my birth city of New Orleans and Hanna may decide to hit my present home while I am there.  But I’m going for a travel writer convention, one of the biggest, Travel Media Showcase.

This is the 9th annual event. I’ve been to all but three.  Everyone sees travel writing as glamorous and fun. It is that but it’s also hard work as well.  for the next week, I will try to give all of you a glimpse into what happens at TMS and the fam trip directly after. For those who don’t know, a  fam trip or press trip is a media event where journalists are taken around the area to be publicized by a  public relations group or the area’s own convention and visitor’s bureau. As a journalist, you need to gather as much information and look for a different slant to write an article (or articles) about the place you are visiting. If you don’t write about it you will not be invited back.

A story I heard long ago when I first began travel writing explains fam trips perfectly.

“A man died and went to speak with St. Peter who asked if he wished to go to Heaven or Hell.
The deceased gentleman replied he would like to see a little of both to decide. St. Peter took
him in an elevator down to Hell. When they arrived, there was a huge buffet set up and sparkling
drinks  being served all around. A band was playing. The crowd was laughing and
talking and seemed to be having a great time.

St. Peter then took the gentleman up to Heaven where everyone was gathered around nibbling
on a plate of tiny sandwiches and sipping coffee and tea. Some of the residents strummed a
harp quietly. ‘Well’ St. Peter asked, ‘where would you like to spend eternity?’

‘Judging by what I have seen,’ the deceased replied, “Hell is more my kind of place. Looks like
lots of fun.’

‘Okay,’ St Peter replied, “I’ll send you on down and arrange for my counterpart to meet the elevator.’

And so he did. When the elevator doors opened, the gentleman was terrified by a frightening
sight, fires blazed, demons were poking people in the ribs with spears. It looked like his original
idea of Hell. He looked up at Satan who stood in front of him. ‘What’s going on? Yesterday I was
here and it looked completely different.’

Oh, Satan replied,’ you just visited in the midst of a fam tour.”

TMS Banquet Niagara

TMS Banquet Niagara 2005

TMS Fam Trip in Arizona

TMS Fam Trip in Arizona 2004

I have been doing travel writing since 1992. In the past I was mostly published in Woodall’s Publications,Georgia Backroads,  Family Motor coaching Magazine and even internationally in London’s Country Music People. I still write for others but now I have my own exine, www.americanroads.net and have published several travel related books, Georgia’s Ghostly Getaways, Finding Florida’s Phantoms, Hosts With Ghosts and Wild About Florida: South Florida. I’m working on the Cental and North version of Wild About Florida.

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