Rob Grant loves travelling. But it can be hard to satisfy your wanderlust when you’re consumed by a nine-to-five corporate career. That’s exactly the position Rob was in until he discovered the Travel Writing course at the Australian Writers’ Centre. Now he’s swapped his corporate job for his new path in life – working part-time as a travel writer and part-time as a marketing consultant.
The course gave Rob a new path in life
“Before I did the course I would have had absolutely no idea how to become a travel writer,” says Rob. “My assumption was that most of the writers were staff writers working for newspapers and magazines. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of travel writing. When I heard about the course, I was a veteran traveller and someone with a fascination with words – and it was just something I wanted to know more about. I had no idea how I would start to become a travel writer, so I was keen to just find out all the information I could.”
The course opened the door to new possibilities for Rob. “I was working at a nine-to-five corporate office job … and I was certainly happy, but it ultimately wasn’t that fulfilling for me,” he says, adding that it was the course that showed him how to get started in the exciting world of travel writing.
A shortcut to success
“It gave me some ideas for stories … but ultimately it’s all about [learning about] pitching to editors. [We got] advice from seasoned professionals about how to get through to editors, what to say, the right way to go about things – that was just invaluable. There’s no way I would have worked that out for myself.”
Then Rob hit the ground running. His first travel article was published in the travel section of The Australian newspaper. “It was a story about my home county in North Yorkshire in England which I’m very proud of, and it was published on my birthday so that was a great one for me, the family and my friends.”
Since then, Rob has written for The Weekend Australian multiple times, Vacations & Travel magazine, the in-flight magazine for Tiger Airways and many other publications.
Getting paid to travel and write
“I probably go on four or five trips a year, not as many as a real full-time travel writer but probably a few more than your average person taking holidays,” says Rob. “On each trip I try and get two, three, four stories out of it. So, for example, just recently I was in Japan and I was there for 10 days with my partner so it was a lot of just general holidaying and travel. But I also managed to get four stories out of it in four different publications.
“For me, that’s a good result. I think, before I did the course, just the very idea of being paid to travel was alien to me. I never thought it was possible. I thought the money would be so little it would hardly be worth doing. But now it’s provided an interesting sideline for me.”
Importantly, Rob can call himself a bona fide travel writer. He loves that he’s being paid to travel and write. “It’s just fantastic now that, when I do my tax return at the end of the year, I’m actually listing out earnings that I’ve earned from travel writing. It’s quite a thrill. Well, for me it’s not all about the money, but it certainly is a nice bonus, to be paid to write … having the thrill of going to a newsagent when you know your article is coming out and seeing your name in print and looking to see how they’ve treated your photos and treated your copy is fantastic.
“I still love sending the articles to my family and I certainly love telling people that I’m a travel writer.”