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What is the writing process like? How much of your trip is planned, and how much is "just go and see what's there"? How long do you have to spend in a city to write a chapter for it? And, do you still travel for your own vacation?Vacations are the ones where you don't have to get on a plane and write down the opening hours of internet cafes, yes? I think I've heard of those...
Ever read "Do travel writers go to hell" ? Certainly opened my eyes (along with various forums) to the fact that travel writing isn't necessarily all that. Anyway, my question - do you feel like you're ever had to bend LPs rules to make ends meet on one of your research trips ?The writer of that particular book might very well go to hell! Let's just say he had a creative attitude to writing that memoir as well as whatever he might have done in guidebooks. What pissed me off about it though was that I know how hard I work, and all my colleagues work, even if he thought he was on an extended holiday. 12, 14 hours days that's the gig. But the one thing I've never understood is why would you want to sit at your desk making things up? Seriously, this job can be hard, but I often feel so lucky because I get to do some very cool stuff, eat weird food and meet interesting people. That's why we all travel, right? So the idea of not wanting to do it and just phone it in that genuinely baffles me.
I just used Lonely Planets on my trip to Russia, China and Japan. A common complaint about them was that all the restaurant recommendations were very poor. How do I know if the restaurant just slipped since the publishing, or if the LP writer just has no taste? What steps do LP writers take to become an authority on restaurant reviews? Unfortunately, there is no Yelp outside of the USA...Interesting observation. I hope you managed to still get a good meal somewhere! I can't speak to those particular books, but for the places I write about it's about learning the culture, and the food is a key part of that. Restaurant reviews are a learned skill, just like hotel reviews. We take all the recommendations we can get before a trip, but it can sometimes be hard if the place is having an off day. I once stormed into a hotel kitchen and insisted the guy watch me as I made scrambled eggs and toast.
How much does it pay?I've been doing two (occasionally three) books a year for the past few years. I'm not rich like Rockefeller, but it works as a career.
You have the best job in the world! As someone who spent a few years post-high school traveling, and also has a natural knack for writing and would keep journals about said travels, it's something I've always wanted to do. How did you get started, and do you have any tips for someone for whom this is considered a dream job? Thanks, and have fun out there! EDIT: I'm seeing now that many people are asking questions very similar to mine, so I'll ask another. What was the most fun you've had writing a particular piece? (Apologies if this has been asked as well.. I use an app on my phone that doesn't load all the comments. It's rather annoying sometimes!)Writing fun? It's odd, quite a lot of quidebook stuff is actually updating I'm working on the new Jordan book, and it's the 9th edition, so a lot more work goes into the research finding the new places etc than rewriting. But I've been lucky in that I've done quite a few jobs where I've been able to write from complete scratch. I'm very proud of the LP Afghanistan book, even if it did come out in 2007 just when the country really started going downhill.
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