Time to take a break

After 26 years of full-time, freelance travel writing, I’ve decided it’s time to finally hit the brakes.  Instead of researching stories, I’m going to visit places just for the sheer joy of being there.  No more interviews to schedule.  No more copious notes to take.  No more casting for storylines. 

It’s been a good life.  I’ve sailed all five oceans and visited all seven continents.  I’ve taken a 127-day voyage around the world on a World War II-vintage ship, sailed on a luxurious private yacht through the Greek isles and ridden an icebreaker to the southernmost navigable body of water off the coast of Antarctica.  I’ve rubbed shoulders with famous people and bunked in countless four- and five-star hotels and resorts.  My stories and photographs about these adventures have been published nearly 2,000 times across the U.S., Canada and beyond.

While the travel opportunities have been dazzling, transcribing notes, outlining storylines, crafting openings and pounding out progressively improved story drafts on the computer is pure drudgery.  To that I say, “good riddance.”

Okay, I’m not going to totally go cold turkey on the travel journalism.  I’ll still be photographing sites and submitting them to my stock agency.  And maybe, just maybe, I’ll finally get around to writing a fun narrative about my around-the-world cruise on the “Ship of Peeves and Thieves.” 

As for travel plans, I’m hoping to make a fourth, expedition-ship cruise to Antarctica with a stopover on South Georgia Island where my hero Ernest Shackleton lies buried.  I want to visit some dark-sky setting in the Southern Hemisphere where I can  photograph the southern Milky Way, and I’m hoping to use my arsenal of frequent flyer miles to book first-class tickets on a flight across the Pacific to either Australia or New Zealand.

Beyond that, I will be traveling across the country with my wife with our travel trailer, relishing the fact that I don’t need to write the place up for some publication.