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03.08.2014
It’s time you all see my (mostly) secret lair, but I wont tell you where it is so that it’s still nice a secure. Recently I broke bread with a fellow travel writer – or a fellow writer who often writes about travel, or a travel journalist, whatever – in St.
For me, the feckless pescetarian dining on sacred carnivore soil, there was a watercress salad tossed with fresh red onions, green olives, and grilled Jerusalem artichokes blackened delicately, the whole thing mixed with some kind of artisanal, mustard-based dressing.
My companion scooped roasted marrow from a few chunky bones presented with parsley salad, and I believe he wolfed down a greens salad, as well. Yes, there we were, two dandies enjoying a leisurely catch-up lunch, for two hours or so, in a Michelin restaurant’s atrium bar, on a weekday afternoon. Because if this lunch description makes us, or at least me, sound like a bitch, it’s because I’ve become one. A lot of “us” are bitches, not just because scenes like the one I’ve described in brief here happen with some regularity (they aren’t always that fancy), but rather because of the conversation topics during these occasional pow-wows with peers. For me, meeting with fellow travel writers – or travel journalists, or writers who… oh, fuck it – who are friends, or at least comfortable acquaintances, is a relief, a release unique to the life we lead.
Hell, nobody really wants to hear about anybody’s travels, regardless of how often they happen, because nobody actually cares. It’s a relief because it’s one of the only times I can speak semi-freely about things I do and places I go without feeling like, well, like a completely spoiled bitch. Mind you, even in these fairly open conversations I try to make a point not to talk too much, as I’m just not a particularly talkative person, no matter the topic or audience. And yet, when I hear myself briefly recounting, oh, that time when I tasted rare Hokkaido whiskies with the Japanese bartender in a hidden Sapporo basement bar earlier this year, then talking about my six weeks in Bangkok a few months ago, and then how I just can’t bear to think about leaving London in just over a month after already spending two months here, boy do I know how awful I sound. Yes, if you are outside the field and were privy to some of these conversations, you would not be amused. Oh, I had a successful career as an editor in online publishing for a decade or so before going freelance, and I do have at least a little talent, but I’ve benefitted, personally and professionally, from lucky circumstances, too. Overall, the sweepstakes win sent me and my then-girlfriend (I proposed to her on the trip) to myriad “exotic” locations for free, and gave my writing career a serious jolt to boot. They’ll then go on and on about what it’s really like being a travel writer, balancing positives meekly presented with MAJOR NEGATIVES EMPHASIZED. Every job has positives and negatives; no matter the job you’re an arse if you aren’t aware of them before accepting it or embarking on the career.


For all this, all I really have to do is wallow in and tolerate days filled with anxiety, self-doubt, and rejection—no big deal! For the sake of the two of you (hi mom and dad) still reading, I should wrap this confessional up. In the end I don’t know how sustainable this life will be, but in the meantime not a day goes by where I don’t feel Lucky, capital L, to lead it.
If you ever want to drop by my secure web host farm you’ll have to parachute in by airplane. JOHN Smithfield Bar and Restaurant’s atrium, a casual, cozy, sparsely appointed space just outside the place’s proper Michelin-starred dining room. There was brown crab meat on toast, too, a sort of fancy fucking crab spread portioned generously on two pieces of toasted sourdough bread freshly baked onsite; acidity came from a firm squeeze of fresh lemon.
Our side of bread and butter never came – no worries, it’s impossible to be cross with that easy-breezy, effortlessly attractive staff. I can’t have the conversations I have with such people with anybody else but my wife—not my family, certainly not my friends, because nobody wants to hear about my insane volume of travel around the world. How long was your coworkers’ attention span after you came back from your life-changing three-week trip around Southeast Asia—three minutes, five tops? Even then, in the company of other spoiled bitches who also, to some degree, spend their time jumping around willy-nilly, when I hear myself talking I hear privilege and I feel real guilt, because frankly it doesn’t seem fair that most people in this world don’t get to do these things. I guess I score some points for at least realizing it—you wouldn’t believe how many of my peers don’t (or, if you’ve had the displeasure of meeting these people, maybe you would believe it). Any travel-centric writer who bemoans the life either isn’t doing it right, is bullshitting, got into it for the wrong reasons, or didn’t take the time to understand what they were getting into before doing so. I’m not making nearly as much money as I once was, but I’m making enough, at least for now. It doesn’t matter how hard you’ve worked to make it happen—if you’ve made it happen you are lucky. He has written for BBC Travel, CNN Travel, DestinAsian, Fodor's Travel, Lonely Planet, and Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, among other publications. We arrived at the tail end of the lunch rush, so by the time staff began serving our smallish plates we were two of only four or five diners still seated at one of St. We forgot to order the Welsh rarebit, but for dessert split an eccles cake, served with Lancashire cheese, that was oh so flaky and toothsome and satisfying.


How long did you have to boil down the highlights before you were caught up on what you missed on the telly or in the office or at the bar?
That doesn’t change the fact, either, that luck has in part, though certainly not completely, brought me to where I am today: a struggling, okay writer with a dwindling bank account, but one who probably travels more than 99% of the world’s population. Since I referred friends at the point of sweepstakes entry I got another $1,000 in spending money.
You will need to take on assignments concerning topics in which you are not particularly interested. JOHN recently, where I’m struck particularly strongly by a sense of just how fortunate I am at the moment.
Mid-afternoon on a random weekday, we restrained ourselves from a glass of wine or beer; we are Americans by birth, after all, not English.
The winnings were tax-free since they were awarded from Australia, and I used the trip to not only split five weeks between Sri Lanka, Maldives, and South Africa, but also to score some clips writing about it for Lonely Planet.
Working in a field ripe with privilege, I think it’s important to acknowledge that good fortune every once in awhile, and to admit that, relative to the rest of the world, you are sort of a bitch for it.
Most actors justify their obscene bank accounts and lifestyles by pretending it all happened because of hard work and talent; travel writers justify the obscene amounts of travel by pretending the same thing. Even before I began traveling as much as I am these days, for a long while I found it a little appalling, that lack of interest from those humans closest to me, but I get it now.
I secured this lucrative gig on the Perceptive Travel Blog with a blog post about that win, as well, and the trip gave me ample fodder for other articles and blog posts.
I do and see amazing shit that, half a life ago growing up in South Lyon, MI, never, ever seemed possible or even crossed my mind.
Be happy if you have a loved one who travels with you, and with whom you can reminisce about those travels.



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