Category Archives: travel

Smooth seas make poor sailors

By Jake Poinier

sailing as metaphorI’m a sucker for nautical stuff. I grew up sailing in Massachusetts, and as Arizona desert rats, our family heads out to Californian waters as often as we can — and thanks to my laptop, I can even do freelancing aboard when necessary. Last week, we sailed back from Catalina Island to Long Beach, California, after a few days of spring break. It’s about 25 miles, usually with a decent breeze. Under good conditions you can see the mainland the entire 4 to 5 hour trip.

This was not one of those days.

As we departed, the harbormaster shouted to us, “Be careful out there — it’s a little lumpy!” Sure enough, as soon as we passed Bird Rock at the harbor’s mouth, large, lazy swells started rolling in, causing a rocking-horse motion as the waves came in on the stern quarter, lifted us, tilted us, and laid us back down.

And about 4 miles in, it got foggy. Really foggy.

Growing up, fog was a reason *not* to go out in small boats lacking navigation tools. On this trip, we were in a 31-foot Beneteau, equipped with GPS as well as a compass. Still, I’d be lying if it wasn’t unnerving to see less than 100 yards, knowing the speed of ocean-going tankers hauling in and out of Long Beach, and trusting a little cartoon boat on a 4-inch-square computer to tell me exactly where the heck we were on the planet.

We made it without incident, and as a result, our entire family is better equipped to understand slightly gnarlier conditions than usual. So, let’s bring this around to how this applies to freelancing:

Know what you’re getting into. Just as most don’t go into rough, foggy waters in a small craft without navigation tools, you need to be aware of what you’re capable of handling as a freelancer and avoid the dangers of faking it. Have a basic plan before you set out, but be flexible when conditions change.

Trust your craft. A bigger boat like we were in has tons of metal in the keel to keep it from heeling (aka, tipping) too far. If you’ve built your business properly, you should be able to handle challenges such as economic slowdowns — even if your progress isn’t as fast as you’d like.

Stop and listen. We’ve all been in a freelance fog at some point — too many projects, too fast. In a boat in a fog, you need to periodically idle and listen to what’s going on around you to get your bearings. Same thing for freelancers.

Test yourself. Bringing it back around to the headline, there’s always a risk of freelancers being too cautious. Learning to handle the rough stuff — complex projects, challenging clients, tough negotiations — can provide the confidence to conquer anything.

Jake Poinier, when he’s not messing around in boats, can be found at Dr. Freelance. The name of his freelance editorial services company, Boomvang Creative Group, alludes to a boat part — a boom vang is a pulley system that helps control the shape of your mainsail.

Travel Writer Interview & More Travel Tips

2152923603_7d7f42e390Travel-Writer Interview

Over on the travel blog, Runaway Jane, there was a guest post recently published by travel writer Mark Hodson. It’s an excellent read for anyone interested in travel writing. Mark started travel writing full-time in the mid-1990s and has seen the industry change a lot since beginning. In the article, he provides many great insights on why the industry has gone through so much change. At the end of the article he also explains why it’s so easy to become a travel writer today and also why it’s even easy to get those coveted free press trips.

You can read the entire article here –

Travel tips, travel tips, travel tips!

Finally, as someone who’s always on the look out for more travel tips, there was a great post over on the Travel section of The topic was, “What is the single greatest piece of travel advice you have received or can give?” There were 166 comments. Here’s a few of my favorites:

“You’ll end up with either a good time or a good story” – Rodnet

“Pack half as much as you think you need and be ready to spend twice as much as you think you’ll need.” – Unicynicist

“Remember that you are in the air and flying, remember that not too long ago that was impossible, be happy you’re not spending three months in a covered wagon getting to where you’re going.” – XLII

“Carry a tool that you can use as a can opener, a fork, a knife, and a wine opener. You save a lot of money going to a market for food.” – Parle

Check out all of the tips here:

Jason Demant is the co-founder of, where you can find self-guided tour itineraries for your next trip. For the latest on travel-writing you can follow him on Twitter @Unanchor, or join the I Love Travel Writing Facebook group.

Book Giveaway: There’s No Toilet Paper On The Road Less Traveled

Travel Writingby Catherine L. Tully

It’s time for another book giveaway! This time it’s a travel book that I really liked–

How to enter? It’s easy! Just comment below on the one place you would love to write about for a travel publication. Go ahead–dream big! (Be sure and leave me an e-mail addy so I can let you know if you won.)

Where would I like to go and pen some prose for a big publication? Australia or New Zealand would be tops on my list, but I wouldn’t turn down an all-expense paid trip to Ireland either…

What about you?

Three Travel Tips – GroupOn, Wikitravel & Room77


Here are 3 recent travel tip discoveries & the associated web sites:

  1. GroupOn, LivingSocial, etc. – Unless you live under a rock, you’ve most likely heard of these flash deal sites. One overlooked way to use them though is for your next vacation. A few weeks (or even months) ahead of time, start subscribing to the daily deals for your destination. Find deals for great restaurants and cool activities. There are deal sites like these all over the world now as well.
  2. – This is my go-to site for general travel-planning information. They have good overviews for each country and most cities worldwide. For really popular destinations the information goes really in-depth. Like all wiki’s though, you should take the recommendations with a grain of salt. Anyone (e.g., hotel and restaurant owners) can easily go in and recommend their own places.
  3. – This is a new company that launched last week. They’re the “SeatGuru for hotel rooms”. Not all hotel rooms are created equal and this site will help you find and book the room with a great view. They’re only in 16 cities so far, but expanding quickly.

Jason Demant is the co-founder of, where you can find self-guided tour itineraries for your next trip. For the latest on travel-writing you can follow him on Twitter @Unanchor, or join the I Love Travel Writing Facebook group.

More Ways to Become A Paid Travel Writer

cool outdoor shotI’ve often said the best way to become a paid travel writer is to find jobs that pay first and to write second.

Over on The Lost Girls website, they’ve put together a pretty great list of sites that are pay for your travel writing articles. This is a great place to start pitching.

You can find the list here:

Make sure to check the comments for even more sites that are willing to pay for travel writing.

Jason Demant is the co-founder of, where you can find self-guided tour itineraries for your next trip. For the latest on travel-writing you can follow him on Twitter @Unanchor, or join the I Love Travel Writing Facebook group.

Travel Writing Advice From Around The Web

sunset on a truckHere’s a quick digest a few great travel writing advice articles I’ve run across lately:

Get Published Now: Be Interesting – Simple travel-writing advice from Devin Galaudet. On writing a good travel story: pretend the reader is your friend. Your friend gets all of the dirt and detail, as should the reader.

Nuggets for New Travel Writers: 6. Sweet Taste Of Rejection – This is a great article that discusses the different types of rejection you’re likely to receive when submitting your travel articles. Allen’s advice is to learn to take rejection as an invitation. “No” does not always mean no.

What is wrong with travel writing – in microcosm – This post comes from the Grumpy Traveler (a great new blog I’ve recently started reading). This rant is a travel-writer blasting travel-writing. Two of my favorites points from the article: travel-writers have an odd obsession with hotels and writers tend to stay at expensive hotels that their readers can’t afford.

100 Favorite Travel WritersTripbase has put together some pretty impressive original content on their blog. If you’re looking for a few (or a hundred) good travel-writers to start reading/following, this is the place to start.

Jason Demant is the founder of, where you can find detailed self-guided tour itineraries for your next trip. For the latest on travel-writing you can follow him on Twitter @UnAnchor, or join the I Love Travel Writing Facebook group.