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The Traipsing Of A Travel Writer
By Tad Hulse
Many times over I have been asked exactly what, as a travel writer, is it I do? My answer is as simple as the profession itself. I am nothing more than a basic merchant of thoughts. But the misconceptions construe. People tend to think I tour the world on someone else's dollar, living in the lap of luxury at ritzy hotels, basking in some exotic resort, all in exchange for a few sprightly words. A veteran of 30 years may be apt to agree, but for most of us out there, nothing is further from the truth.
might seem that a travel writer's primary task is to describe the sound
of waves lapping on a white-sand beach in some far corner of the world,
but the real job at hand is to make sure the surf roars in the mind's
eye of the reader. If one is good at interpreting the surrounding sensation
of a distant
Last summer, I took five weeks off and traveled from Scandinavia down to the Mediterranean. Much of Eastern Europe is just a few hours flight or a day's train ride from where I live here in Norway, and this jaunt, as with most of my trips, was destined to be for both business and pleasure. My primary destination was the neighboring countries of Croatia and Montenegro. I had done my fair amount of research on the charming Adriatic nations, which lie just across the water from Italy. So, I felt sure of finding a few good story lines en route to weave into the requisite historical facts at hand. I already had enough about each city on my flexible itinerary to jump-start a travel feature from any number of angles. The laptop, for essential note keeping, was packed and ready for shift off.
interesting aspect about traveling without preconceived ideas, whether
you plan to write about your trip or not, is that the very lack of expectation
often paves the way for chance to take place. My only
Dubrovnik and Budva were definitions of a Slavic paradise. Dream beaches.
my return there was a message already waiting for me. Reception had
left a few contact names and numbers. I began dialing from the top.
Krsto Visnjic, Assistant Director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Committee,
was eager and able to help. I explained what I was after, and he immediately
came up with an excellent lead, "You must call Andrija Dragomir.
She was one of the city's first tour guides after the war, but now she
has her own tourist website. I'm sure you'll find her helpful and Dubrovnik
very interesting." Andrija Dragomir had more fortune in store;
she was gearing up to launch a new magazine in the fall and was open
for some good freelance stories. A few more phone calls and a few more
appointments were set up. This story, among the many others from my
And that, as they say, was that.
Hulse is an American freelance writer who has spent the last two years
traveling the world.
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