Interview: Jennifer Huber (SoloTravelGirl)

Question One: Is this your full-time job? If not, please elaborate: What is your full-time job? Do you enjoy it the same as travel writing? Why don’t you travel write/blog full-time? Would you if you could? etc.

Being a travel blogger/writer is not my full time job but my day job (county tourism PR) is related in that I work with travel bloggers/writers which helps me be a better travel blogger and helps in my day job. This is because I know what it’s like to be a blogger and what a tourism office is looking for. I also get to travel for my day job which not only exposes me to new experiences and destinations, I get to keep my benefits, too. 

I prefer being in travel blogger/writer mode more than my day job, but, I haven’t figured out, or taken the leap, to make it my full time job because I have certain lifestyle choices (like buying a house, traveling financially on my own without sponsorship/brand support and have debt to pay off). I’m also comfortable in my job in that I have great healthcare, insurance and retirement. Being a single person without any support system, it’s easy for me to stay where I am vs taking the leap into writing full time. When freelance writing, you’re not sure where your next paycheck is coming from to pay bills. When you’re on staff as a writer, you have a steadier income but travel writers, on average, don’t make enough to sustain my lifestyle. If I could do it, yes, I’d do it full time. 

Question Two: What made you decide to enter this field? 

I’ve always enjoyed writing and adventure. When I worked in sales/marketing/PR in the Everglades and read the articles of what writers I hosted wrote, I realized I could do that and could do it better. In the early 2000s I began a blog/website where I wrote about my travels and thoughts as a way to communicate/keep in touch with family. I eventually started a lifestyle blog and began writing for two online websites specializing in travel. I also had some articles/essays published in print publications. In 2009 I launched my travel blog and decided to focus on that. 

Question Three: What (if any) is your degree in? Are you doing what you expected to be doing with your degree? Is it necessary to have a degree in this field? (If you don’t have a degree, write N/A).

I have a BS in Earth Science so no, I’m not working in my trained field, however, I had an interest in journalism and worked on high school & college papers. I entered college with the intention of earning a Communication’s degree but I took an earth science elective which changed my mind. I think having a degree outside of communication/journalism brings more to the table and perspective.

Question Four: What was it like trying to find a job post-graduation? (If you don’t have a degree, write N/A or refer to High School).

I was clueless and had no idea what I was going to do with an earth science degree. I had no prep or guidance what to do next. I randomly mailed out my resume to environmental-type companies unqualified for anything. I ended up going back to Yellowstone (to work at a front desk) with the intention of coming home and starting grad school for teaching certification. I ended up being promoted in Yellowstone and stayed there and worked in sister company properties for a few years working my way up to sales/marketing/PR manager in the Everglades at the resort. That led to a job at the Sarasota CVB in sales/marketing/PR which led to Visit Florida then where I am today. Basically, it was a lot of hands-on experience, working hard and up.

Question Five: What is a typical work day like for you? 

Different everyday! But a typical day would be coming in at 8 am – review about 50 emails, sort through media monitoring to see of articles have been written about the area; assist media in planning itineraries; coordinate activities with industry partners; monitor social media and respond accordingly; connect with PR and social media agencies on any projects. 

For travel blogging – it’s checking social media channels first thing in the morning before getting ready for work. Respond as necessary. Scan emails. After day job – check and respond social media; try to write a blog post which includes researching and checking sources and editing photos. Edit photos and upload to Flickr. Set up pre scheduled posts on Hootsuite for Twitter; when I remember, preschedule post for Facebook. 

Question Six: Do you like your career? 

Yes – day job and blogging have opened up opportunities and introduced me to people I probably wouldn’t have. 

Question Seven: What is the most rewarding (your favorite) part of your career? 

Ability to have some flexibility. Helping people/businesses – both in day job and blogging.

Question Eight: What is your least favorite part of your career? 

Not enough time in the day! 

Question Nine: What career challenges have you faced? 

Time management – not having enough time to accomplish everything. Because of day job I’ve had to turn down opportunities for my blog – due to either conflict of interest or not able to take time off. 

Not having the time to properly maintain my blog – to make it more efficient. 

Question Ten: What (if anything) wouldyou do differently? 

I would’ve worked on a communications minor and been more diligent about finding a job after college. The internet opened up new opportunities for what I’m grateful. 

Question Eleven: Is it hard to become successful in this field? What steps did you take to become successful in it?

Travel writing/blogging – yes. Sticking with it, you can be very successful after 5 years. It takes time and dedication. It may feel like it starts off slowly but dedication will yield big return and success. It’s also competitive and low paying especially there a many writers out there who will write for free. Don’t write for free! Your writing has value.

Question Twelve: What tips/advice do you have for a beginner in the field? 

Write well, read voraciously, come through on what you promise (make deadline), be consistent and persistent. Believe in yourself and don’t undervalue yourself.