In our recent poll, we discovered that most — at least 80% — of our readers will have to generate some income when they move overseas. None of them plan to hold an overseas job with their current employer, but half intend to develop some kind of self-employment income. This will be the first in a series of ongoing articles that may give you some ideas about your overseas self employment.
Since it’s what I plan to do, and what I know best, let’s start with writing. Writing is probably the most portable profession there is.
You don’t need much equipment — these days, a laptop and an internet connection are all it takes. You don’t need a special office. You can write in a hotel room or a cafe, or even in the park. Of course, you need to be able to put together grammatically correct sentences. Assuming you can already do that, you may need some special training for a specific type of writing.
Travel writing is probably the glamourous hot-button for all of us future expats. What could be greater than earning money writing about the exotic places we’re visiting and the interesting new sights we’re seeing and activities we’re enjoying? Not a lot! A good travel writer must be highly observant and curious. According to the British Guild of Travel Writers, “Remember: travel writing is different from what you read in vacation brochures and on hotel web sites. It is not about generalities and platitudes; it is about the specific, the quirky, the iconic, the incomprehensible – things that make living in this world so fascinating.”
You don’t actually have to travel to be a travel writer. Your hometown is a destination for someone else, so you can hone your skills writing about an area you’re already familiar with before you embark on your overseas adventure.
Travel writing courses are available. I’m personally familiar with The Travel Writer’s Life course from AWAI (American Writers and Artists Inc), which comes with a 30-day, no-nonsense guarantee.
MatadorU also offers a travel writing course. Their website promises that they offer “the world’s most comprehensive teaching program for travel writers,” and they stress social media and the internet, not just print publications.
Universal Class offers an inexpensive online Travel Writing course. The first lesson asks the question, “Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Travel Writer?”
Let’s not lose sight of the self employment aspect of travel writing, though. You’ll also need to be able to come up with saleable story ideas, pitch them to editors, and then get hired to write them! This requires some entrepreneurial skills. I know that AWAI’s course includes help with these issues.
Next time, we’ll look at some other kinds of writing you can do from your overseas location.
If you have recommendations for travel writing courses, click the Comment link below to share them with us.