Nov 20, 2008


SEATTLE, Washington –  Work's gone lively, what with judging a contest for Intrepid Travel – and another for mine own, which just announced 2009 Rome workshop dates (May 10–16). And unveiled two new media courses I'll teach online next year. All this just as I'm finishing – no, really! – the Frommer's hiking manifesto and organizing my triumphant return to Palau for Sport Diver. Not to mention carousing with colleagues like Dave Fox, Beth Whitman, Thomas Kohnstamm and Rolf Potts, when he passed through town on book tour.

Enough. I don't want to misrepresent this job as swank. Because, as Rolf points out, it has a large monastic component: sit your butt down, block out the world and write: an experience joyous as a root canal when you're not in the mood. Then there's the pitching, the marketing, the check-chasing ...

"But it's still glamorous," a friend insists.

"Oh yeah," I snark. "Aside from the poverty, the loneliness, the late nights and the sometimes squirrely ethics, this career is dead sexy."

Don't get me wrong: I love travel writing. But we've passed through the honeymoon infatuation. Work and I are both in this for the long haul, indulging each others' foibles, clinging together as the markets heave, and outlets bloom and fade like fungi.

Could this house of cards landslide? Absolutely. No one has a clear idea where professional pundits will land in the brave new online world. But we've been around since blind Homer and his epithets, so chances are, some will survive in cyberspace...


  1. Fangirl121:07 AM

    If anyone will muscle through, it's you, bella!

  2. I have always said that there is nothing as inflexible as a flexible job. Hello 9am-3am shifts with toothache...Good bye root canals ('cause we can't afford them!). We are bloody idiots, we really are.

  3. But Amanda- we wouldn't have it any other way!

  4. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Fangirl.

  5. Sascha, idiotdom is fun, right? I'm staring a nasty deadline in the face here ... remind me of the joy, would you?

    Craig – nice to see your smiling face again, stranger. Let's grab a beer one of these years again.

  6. Deadlines, dear Amanda, are the PERFECT excuse to email silly stuff to friends, cook lunch and google stuff such as "free flight to Rome" or " rock climbing architect". Nothing like a deadline to paralyse productivity....

  7. No worries, there'll always be a place for people who can write like you.

  8. AX, I love the imagine of blooming and fading fungi. Great insight into the industry, as always.

  9. Now Sascha, I will never get anything done if you dangle "rock climbing architects" at me. I'll just sit here drooling.

    DB: Thanks for the vote of confidence!

  10. Monika, let's hope we don't mushroom cloud, eh?

    Kidding aside, I agree with New York Times executive editor Bill Keller on Monday's Morning Edition.

    "Good journalism does not come cheap. And, therefore, you're not going to find a lot of blogs or nonprofit websites that are going to build a Baghdad bureau." He also noted that "there's a real shortage of the kind of information that I would call quality journalism."

    As the man says: "We will survive."