Written from Experience

The Travel Writer

As Australians we love to travel. It broadens our minds and pushes our limits. But how does travelling make better writers?

Sitting on a bus in Nicaragua travelling from Rivas to Granada, I struck up a conversation with a 23 year old Sri Lankan student, who’d been studying business in the US. He told me about his plans to open an environmentally-sustainable consulting business when he returns to Colombo.

I don’t remember his name, nor the exact details of his business. What fascinated me was his sentence structure and word use. Obviously the entire conversation was in English, but it was the way he used the English language that I found particularly interesting.

As a copywriter, if I were ever to write copy, where my highly-educated, slightly-hippy Sri Lankan friend was the target market, then the chances I’d need to write in a language that spoke directly to him, that he would identify with.

I always travel independently, alone and use local transport. Travelling in this way, guarantees that you meet locals and other travellers relatively easily. And everyone is only too happy to chat, share stories and ideas on life, politics and culture. In the 68 countries I’ve now travelled through, I must have had conversations with hundreds of people.

What is also happening by default, is that I’m meeting people from all walks-of-life, all backgrounds and all age groups. At any time, I could be called upon to write copy aimed at any of these different demographics. And the easiest way to write targeted copy for that group, is to think back to a conversation I had with a representative from that group.

Don't get me wrong, I don't travel with the deliberate aim of collecting impressions from my conversations. But it is certainly a very useful by-product of extensive travel. Needless to say, as a travel writer for Australia's leading agency, Flight Centre, broad travel is essential.

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