Do content writers go to hell?

Guest Post by Biorn Tjallen
Paraphrasing Thomas Kohnstamm and the great succèss de scandale of 2008 – Do Travel Writers Go To Hell – seemed an apt introduction to a few lines about the moral hazards and entertainment value of a job that ought to attract more travelling entrepreneurs: content writing.

Kohnstamm – who had worked for Lonely Planet – chronicled his gradual fall from the ethical standards most travel publishers claim to embrace. The result was hugely entertaining gonzo, and a treasure trove of broken professional taboos. My favorite is a picturesque example of Kohnstamm neglecting the travel writer’s first rule of integrity: never trade positive reviews for favors! Surveying restaurants for a guidebook update in Brazil, Kohnstamm is still at his post after closing hours and gets laid with a waitress on a table. The updated entry exudes full customer satisfaction, noting how “the table service is friendly”.

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Make professional virtue your habit!

Guest Post by Biorn Tjallen

Make professional virtue your habit!
Perhaps it was the subtle swells of the Ionian Sea – gently rocking the ferry back from Greece – that inspired me to read about Aristotle’s disagreement with Socrates. My heartfelt accord with his point, however, was simply the result of painful personal experience. I had been unforgivably lazy, lying there in the Peleponesian sun. It had cost me a great assignment, damaged an important professional contact and broken the back of my already reeling finances. I could have screamed to the waves that Aristotle was right: The fact that you know what you ought to does not mean that you will actually do it!

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Teaching and Training in Thailand

Guest Post by Cameron Conaway

My fiancée Maggie and I were at a Thai restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were two burnt out teachers and we were only in our mid-twenties. She was finishing her second year working at a boarding school for kids with learning disabilities – a job that was often twenty-four hours a day for five or six days a week – and I’d been teaching for several years all over the place – from Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth in Lancaster, Pennsylvania to high schools in Tucson, Arizona and, most recently, for several online universities. The tipping point occurred as we dove into our spring rolls and pad Thai.

Maggie’s eyes filled with tears. Her face was angelic; these were not tears of stress.

“Are you okay, babe?” I asked.

“Yeah. I just…I know what’s next for me. I know what I need.”

She looked around and I followed her eyes into the Buddha and temple relics. Her eyes came back to mine:

“I need to move abroad and teach. Are you joining me?”

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How to make money as a freelance writer while you travel

Guest post by Nick Hilden

When I initially made the leap into full-time freelance writing three years ago, I was living under the wet-blanket sky of Portland, Oregon, providing web descriptions of washing machines, updating resumes, and occasionally producing smutty short stories at a rate of half-a-cent per word. Today I am sitting in the sun on my balcony overlooking Granada, Spain’s Gran Via, and after I finish this article I will be writing a piece about Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, followed by a guide to driving along the southern coast, then a story about a man I met in Paris whose lips and ears had been cut off while he was working as a prison guard in Turkey. Later—beer and tapas.

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