Flying Air Asia over Battambang, Cambodia.

How To Find Out If You Want To Be A Travel Writer In 10 Days

How to find out if you want to be a travel writer in 10 days? Come to Cambodia and participate in one of our Travel and Food Writing and Photography Retreats. Our next Retreat is on 7-16 October 2017 and we’re offering 10% discounts to fill the last spots.

How to become a travel writer is probably the thing I most often get asked. Interestingly, the question nearly always comes from women – all sorts of women – from university students to women in established careers, from designers to photographers and, increasingly, from travel bloggers.

But I think there’s a question that you should be asking yourself before that one, and that’s how to find out if you want to be a travel writer at all? Because before you take the steps to becoming a travel writer – quitting your job, selling your house, marrying a banker (I’m joking!) – you need to figure out if travel writing is really for you.

How to Find Out If You Want to Be a Travel Writer in 10 Days

Our Cambodia Travel and Food Writing and Photography Retreats provide ten days of opportunities for writers, bloggers and photographers – aspiring, amateur, hobbyist, and professional – to get inspired and gather content to produce stories without the pressure to pitch or publish.

But for those who don’t have any skills or experience in travel writing at all, I think through the retreat we provide one of the best opportunities you could have to find out if you want to be a travel writer – and best of all, you could do it in just ten days.

On the first day we kick off the retreat with a full day of bite-size writing and photography classes and manageable assignments. They are bite-size and punchy because we want you to hit the ground running the very next day.

The idea is to give participants the basic techniques that they need to gather sufficiently varied content over the ten days that can be compiled and crafted into stories – written or visual, or both.

We then give our participants an adventure – a culinary travel adventure – peppered with a wide array of encounters and experiences from which great travel and food stories can be derived.

From sunrise at Angkor Wat to sunset over the Battambang rice fields, from exploring remote temples to soaking up the atmosphere at Siem Reap markets, from cooking classes with world-class chefs to meetings with local artisans in their home workshops, there’s enough to inspire a feature-length story, a series of blog posts or a photo exhibition.

And that’s the intention. It’s an adventure that I’ve carefully designed to replicate the kind of research trips that a writer-photographer team like us would spend weeks planning to ensure that once we arrived in a destination we’d be able to gather enough material from which to tell a story – a mouth-watering, meaningful and memorable story.

If, over the ten days, you find that you don’t get the urge to take notes and scribble down ideas; you don’t find yourself, during your down time by the pool or snoozing in your room, reaching for your notebook and pen; and if you don’t leave us at the end of the trip, feeling excited and invigorated, bursting with ideas, and eager to get home to begin work on a story, blog, book, or photo project, then maybe, just maybe, you don’t really want to be a travel writer after all…

We don’t crack a whip. Our participants tend to be adults who have had jobs where they’ve had to be disciplined. While most people ask me about travel writing, we’ve had a lot of food industry people, including chefs, pastry cooks and caterers, join us. The aspiring travel writers have included everyone from a lawyer to a photography teacher. These are people who know hard work and how to get things done.

Besides, our participants are on holidays after all – even if it’s a learning holiday that requires a little commitment to spending some of each day being creative, whether that’s jotting down ideas and notes that can be woven together to form a story, or shooting enough quality images to edit into an evocative visual narrative.

We don’t even ask to see what our participants write or shoot during the trip – unless they wish to show us, of course – and if they prefer not to participate in discussions or sessions to critique each-other’s work, that’s fine too. They’re welcome to send us their writing and images to assess at a later date – or not. That’s the beauty of being an adult.

We’re with you throughout the period to provide guidance, coaching and support. You can use time between activities, on excursions, or over drinks and dinner to consult us, pick our brains, discuss your ideas, and find solutions to problems. You’ll also be among similar people like yourself you can talk to.

Now, if all that sounds a bit heavy and too much like hard work and you’d just like to come to cook and eat and gawk at Angkor Wat, then come do our Cambodia Culinary Tour.

But if how to find out if you want to be a travel writer in 10 days appeals, then come do our Retreat. If you know for certain that travel writing or food or culinary travel writing is for you then come join us, too.

I also spend time sharing our experiences in both the print and digital worlds, covering everything from pitching to magazine and newspaper editors and explaining how that world works, to monetising your blogs and undertaking social media projects, and maintaining integrity in the process – something that’s more important than it’s ever been to succeed.

Don’t have 10 days? Take a look at the image above. Does it inspire excitement or anxiety? Travel writers are the sorts of people who write “happiest when at 30,000 feet” in their social media profiles. We see a shot of a wing of a plane in clouds and we get itchy feet and immediately start searching for flights. If you hate flying, planes, road trips, trains, you’re going to need to learn to love them. Travel writing is as much about the journey as the destination. There’s no time travelling to the tropics yet!

How to Find Out If You Want to Be a Travel Writer: Sign Up for One of Our Writing and Photography Retreats

Our next Travel and Food Writing and Photography Retreat takes place from 7-16 October 2017 in Cambodia’s Siem Reap and Battambang. It costs US$2,855 per person including return airport transfers, VIP immigration fast track, a welcome kit, all accommodation (single occupancy in stylish boutique hotels with swimming pools), almost all meals, transport, guides, excursions, tours, activities, classes/workshops, and consultations. Highlights, inclusions and testimonials here.

We still have a few spots left and we’re offering 10% discounts to fill them PLUS a 90-minute massage and culinary gift pack. We must close bookings on this trip soon so email us ASAP at: or If you can’t make it in October, we’ve set some dates for 2018 retreats, which you’ll find on the link above.

If you’re new to Grantourismo, Terence and I have had hundreds of stories published in print, in newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent and The Telegraph, and magazines such as Delicious, Australian Gourmet Traveller, National Geographic Traveller, Wanderlust, Conde Nast Traveller China, Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia etc; we’ve written and updated dozens of travel guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Dorling Kindersley, Rough Guides, Footprint, and more; and we have published Grantourismo, the world’s first professional travel blog, since 2009. Learn more here about usGrantourismo and how we work.

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