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The Most Revolting Candy Ever and What You Need to Know About Travel Writing

As we’ve already discussed this week, being a travel writer writing a travel nonfiction book is awesome! Just as long as you don’t die in the process, of course.

Barring that unfortunate event, you’re off to have the time of your life exploring historical structures such as “Cinderella’s” Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany...

The Salt Cathedral in Zipaquirá, Colombia...

Or the much more modern but still fascinating UFO Houses of Sanjhih, Taiwan.

You'll enjoy (or gag on) foods like:

  • Hokey Pokey ice cream in New Zealand (my mouth is watering at just the description)

  • Jerk chicken from Jamaica like you’ve never had at home

  • Durian candy from Malaysia, Indonesia and/or Thailand… I’m actually not sure where this utterly revolting candy originated from, but it tastes like a trash heap within the first three seconds of putting it in your mouth. And it gets worse from there. Still… when someone says, “I dare you” about tasting mere candy, a girl’s got to step up. Right?

Moving on, prepare to be awestruck by sights such as everything Patagonia has to offer; the visual paradise that is the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia; and Coffee Bay, South Africa.

(Though be careful about traveling in that last country. Things aren’t looking so hot right now.)

Travel advice aside, here’s the big publishing picture…

All of that country-hopping is going to cost money. So unless you already have a backer or a rich daddy to give you an all-expenses paid excursion, you need to know whether travel writing’s market is up or down.

Because it’s never certain.

Travel writing’s popularity comes and goes.

Certain genres are fickle. That is to say their readers are. And travel writing readers most definitely fall into that category, at least when it comes to books.

As such, if you’re into sharing your love of traveling, you might want to consider two alternatives: keeping a travel blog, where you give shorter snapshots of the places you’ve been, experiences you’ve had, and insights or perspectives you’ve gained. Or couch it as a memoir, which never seems to go out of style.

In other words, by all means go take in the history, taste the rainbow and see the sights. But if you want to make money off all that adventure, you need to do some publishing-minded pre-planning before you pack.

If you’re determined to be the kind of travel writer who sticks to writing a travel nonfiction book or books… then more power to you. Just understand that the internet has messed with your travel writing options to some degree.

Anyone can search for stuff about any country out there. So why buy a travel book at all?

Well… How about because it has a catchy title in the memoir/autobiography section of the bookstore . Something like 60 Days, 30 Countries: Was It Worth the Ride? or how about Finding Myself in Asia: an Adopted Girl’s Quest to Discover Identity.

Otherwise, for the time being, you might want to stick to keeping a blog. That or sending out your story piecemeal to travel magazines that pay.

None of this is to say that travel nonfiction books can’t come back after being down and out for years. It’s just a piece of publishing advice to consider somewhere after “Don’t die.”

All part and parcel to being a travel writer.

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