It’s hard to explain for people what I really do; it isn’t all glamorous travel like so many like to think. Although, I travel to destinations they have never heard of even though CNTraveler and Travel+Leisure have mentioned them several times a year. Sure I go to some of the most beautiful places on Earth, but then I still have to sit down and attempt to do my best at conceptualizing an experience into a sound bite, a few choice words and accompanying photographs. If I’m lucky, the backend of turning a travel piece into a successful website article takes no more than six hours. That doesn’t include the hours I spent collecting the content or promoting the article after it has been posted. Fortunately, glamorous travel is glorious enough to keep me going through the real work.
Most think the majority of my time is spent freeing my mind and my body from the routine of real-world work. The reality is I spend more time thinking when I’m abroad than I do at home and my sleeping schedule is nowhere near my preferred 8-9 hours. In fact, any article you read on Ampersond.com (such as the recent one on the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek) has taken more time to conceptual, collect, write, and compile into a single successful article than the amount of time I sleep on average each night.
On this summer trip alone, I have been waking up by 6AM and out the door by 6:30 or 7. Off to an adventure? Not yet, I need to put in a good two hours writing and editing. Finally I can have breakfast and start my all-day tour. I photograph everything I can. I spend the moments in taxis or Ubers thinking about how I want to depict the experiences I have gathered thus far.
Before I can head to lunch, I have to check out of one hotel and lug all my baggage into another taxi to head for the next hotel. Sometimes, my past hotel will offer a complimentary car service. I always have to explain to the friendly drivers that I am a travel writer and not an unhappy customer checking out early.
Of course, most hotels these days have pushed back the check-in time to 3PM and so I must graciously ask the next hotel staff to hold all my bags while I continue venturing around the city. Daylight is a limited commodity essential to most travel photographs.
But I cannot venture too far. Just as daylight is important for photographs of the city, I must get my photographs of a hotel in before daylight runs out and before I jump on (or into) bed. Once again quickly strategizing and conceptualizing the presentation of a space I have only just now experienced. And if time permits, I get more than I even think I can use because you never know what you may need several articles down the line.
Finally, I can head out for a few more adventures and dinner. I think my friends picture me dressed up, cocktail in hand, boozing with people around the world. More than likely, I’m in a light nightie, asleep, sitting up with my iPad falling out of my lap by midnight. I will wake up to some half-asleep thought and hopefully come 6AM I will find Sleepy Me a great writer. She’s the best and I wish she could be more productive while I snooze.
But I do it because despite its less glamorous reality, the reality it has given me is the definition of glamour. It is the sun setting among the clouds, tops as pink as cotton candy and sky as violet as Texas bluebonnets, surrounding my domestic flight from Los Angeles to Portland. It is the landforms sliding into each other, running seamlessly one after the other, that pass under my window seat. It is the quiet moments between the peanuts and the ginger ale in which I think about the family I left behind and the family I have found within myself.
In all things, encouraging myself to see more of the world has inspired me to explore more of my own existence. I become the sun setting on a long day, the hills to desert plains of my personalities, the quiet moments of something more that I offer to others reading my articles over morning coffee. It is the opportunity to use every bit of daylight I have to see the world illuminated.
What ways is travel different for you than what others perceive? Share you stories below!