Paula I Arraiza

The Problem with Tourists with Typewriters

Type of Progym: Vituperation

For anyone who loves to travel, nothing would be better than getting paid to do exactly that. Alacovska believes people like this, who are willing to write about their experiences in exchange for a trip somewhere are harmful to the travel guidebook industry and experienced writers working in this field. They are basically travelers, or people interested in traveling, who want to get into the field of travel writing because they find it lavish and a good way to travel the world.

These types of writers tend to be inexperienced and naïve, many times willing to work for low wages. Alacovska describes them as

“relatively inexperienced young writers writing collaboratively about any topic and any location without specialized knowledge.” (51)

Basically, lots of people would love to be able to visit pretty places and write mediocre pieces about them, just because it means they get to travel. This ends up hurting those who are experienced in the field because there are many who are willing to do their job for way less. Not only this, the entire industry is portrayed in a bad light, since many believe the writers are subpar.

“The industry tendency to deskill authors to the point that they became interchangeable reinforced the already low status of travel (guidebook) writing.” (52)

Basically, due to the extensive amount of people willing to take this job, and end up doing it, the travel guidebook writing field is looked down upon. These types of writers are extremely hurtful to the industry and professional writers inside of it, since it hurts their credibility immensely. Not only that, it may leave many amazing writers without a job, or make them settle for less.  Similarly, experienced writers also mention that the job is not as fun and easy as it actually seems. Alacovska shows various anecdotes of qualified writers in this field;

“My problem (problem?) is that I’d travel, take photos and write in my free time . . . if I had any free time. I don’t. I’m too busy traveling, taking photos and writing. I’m as happy, as Tom Lehrer said, as the young necrophiliac who achieved his lifelong ambition by becoming a coroner.” (49)

“Travel writing is unfortunately neither travel nor writing. It is not sexy. It is not fun. It is hard work. There are many responsibilities, for the readers, for those people out there” (52)

I admit it may definitely be tempting to dedicate your life to traveling and writing pieces about it, there are many things about the job that should be considered before dedicating to it. If you are doing it for the sole purpose to get to travel all over the world, you should reconsider before doing it. While many do have the talent it takes to be successful and write great travel pieces, many other people are just along for the free ride. Someone who enters this field should do it because of their love and talent for writing, not only because they enjoy traveling.




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