How to be a respectable travel writer – in 8 easy steps

Aight, y’all.

I’ve got something new for you.

Here’s my advice on how to be a respectable travel writer.

And it’s not entirely serious.

But actually, it is kinda serious. I’ve been trying to become a better travel writer the last few months. And as a result, I’ve been reading more travel writing.

And here’s what I have to say about the “respectable” travel writers out there…

What a bunch of twats!

Maybe I just don’t understand their world. Or maybe I don’t care.

But damn…

I don’t know. I’ve tried to like them, and I can’t.

how to be a respectable travel writer
Foreign countries: there’s more than a few of them out there, and they’re just begging for you to come remodel a crumbling farmhouse so you can finally find a “more authentic” lifestyle.

So here are my tips on how to be one of the respectable travel writers of the kind who publish long rambling memoirs full of barely-witty observations about expat life.


How to be a respectable travel writer – 8 easy steps

Being a respectable travel writer really is this simple. Or at least apparently. Here’s my 8-step plan for travel writing “greatness”…

  1. Be born in the UK or the US. Or at the very least one of the more respectable English-speaking countries where everything is clean and bureaucracy functions smoothly.
  2. Spend your working life doing thankless tasks somewhere deep in the belly of a giant corporation, until you can bear it no longer.
  3. Take early retirement or cash in your savings and use the money to buy a romantically crumbling farmhouse in Provence, Tuscany, or some other well-known and established place where rich expats “summer” or “winter” or whatever it is that respectable people like yourself do.
  4. Spend your first year abroad having the house slowly remodelled to meet your superior expectations re: plastering on the ceilings, kitchen fixtures, clawfoot bathtubs, etc.
  5. Write barely-humorous essays about your new life which give little hint of local culture beyond the unreliability of local contractors and painters.
  6. Pepper said essays with snarky remarks about how your friends back home are oh so jealous because they just summer in Provence while you get to live there all year.
  7. Congratulate yourself on your knowledge of and access to the type of fine wines you’d never be able to afford back home.
  8. Voila! You’re one of the chosen few. Submit to the relevant quarterlies. You’ve got a bright future as a travel writer, kid.

And that’s about it…

Well, now that I’ve got that out of my system…

I probably do have some serious thoughts about how to become a better travel writer floating around in my head somewhere. And maybe I’ll write them down someday.

But for now, I’m working on my upcoming masterpiece about the Zen of Blogging.

‘Cause blogging is something I’m definitely good at. Travel writing is something I only do ironically, or when large companies pay me for it.

In any case, I’m used to reading really boring stuff online, but when it makes it into serious, professionally-published “best travel writing” books, I start to question my sanity.

Oh well.


Mr Chorizo.

P.S. What do you think? Now that you know how to be a respectable travel writer, are you finally going to take the plunge and move to Provence? I’m not… but leave me a comment anyway!

P.P.S. You know those Woody Allen movies where it’s like annoyingly rich Americans being snobs in Europe? OMG those kill me. Even if the movie itself is good, it’s like… where’s the grit? Maybe if you’re a millionaire back home you never even see it. But that’s really not my experience.

P.P.P.S. Also, now tourism is ruining Spain. Can’t forget that. Also, here’s some Spanish culture if you’re into that sort of thing.


How did I end up in Spain? Why am I still here almost 20 years later? Excellent questions. With no good answer... Anyway, at some point I became a blogger, bestselling author and contributor to Lonely Planet. So there's that. Drop me a line, I'm happy to hear from you.

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