Some Travel Editor Tips!
Hi there people in Travel Tart land. Today, I’ve scored an interview with Kelly Irving, who is a director of Good Globe Media, a Deputy Travel Editor at Get Lost travel magazine, and a travel addict like myself.
No, Get Lost is not about finding unscrupulous ways to dispose of someone you don’t like when travelling! Get Lost Magazine focuses on unique travel experiences from all over the world.
Kelly researches, writes and edits off-the-wall adventure articles for the internet and print, like this snowboarding trip to the world’s highest alpine concert, the SnowpenAir in Switzerland.
I met Kelly on an awesome travel junket to South Africa last year (along with Ben Groundwater), and she was crazy enough to answer a few of my questions about being a Travel Editor and other travel related stuff.
Here it is!
Kelly Irving Chats about Travel
The Travel Tart: Thanks for your time Kelly! First of all, what inspired you to become a travel writer, and can you share some tips on how you chose this path and actually get paid for doing something that many people love?
Kelly Irving: Actually, I became a travel writer by accident. I spent a number of years in Europe, Asia, South America and Central America, so I was more of a professional traveller. When I first started writing for real, I had no idea what I wanted to write about. One of my first pieces was about Space Travel (not that I’ve been – yet, unless you can hook me up with Richard Branson), and then I always wrote about travel because it was the only thing I knew. I knocked on the Get Lost door one day and I’ve been there ever since. When you find something you love, throw everything you’ve got at it – and don’t let other people persuade you otherwise. If you want to be a travel writer, then learn to be a good all-round writer – editors will love you for it!
The Travel Tart: You’re a Travel Editor at Get Lost Mag, which looks at all sorts of cool travel exerperiences. Apart from throwing yourself off perfectly stable platforms via bungee swings (see my posts about Moses Mabhida Stadium and Gorge Swinging at Oribi Gorge), what is some of the crazy s&$^ you get up to as part of your work?
Kelly Irving: Would you believe I’m scared of heights?? I seem to tackle that problem head on. You’ll see me careening face-first across stadiums, through gorges or in the air – all the name of a good story, of course! If something is out of your comfort zone, then that’s all the more reason to do it. I’ve dived with sharks in Belize, biked the world’s most dangerous road in torrential rain, hiked an active volcano (barely able to look up and take in the incredible scenery), swam laps in a frozen lake in Finland, and I’m about to head to Japan – so who knows what will happen there.
The Travel Tart: A while ago, I wrote an article about The 10 Commandments of Tight Arse Travelling, of which one is that underwear can be recycled 4 times without the need for washing (ie. frontwards, backwards, inside out frontwards, inside out backwards). Have you come across any (smelly) travellers who actually apply this commandment in practice?
Kelly Irving: Recycling undies is fine if that’s your thing. Just make sure you give the local lady washing them a VERY big tip.
The Travel Tart: What’s the funniest, or most bizarre thing you’ve encountered on your travels to date?
Kelly Irving: Too many to choose from! Though, not too long ago I came across a Western Australian town just over the South Australian border called Cocklebiddy. The so-called ‘town’ is a motel, with a population of about 10 people (all living in the motel, of course). It’s like the world’s most expensive old-people’s home. A can of SPC spaghetti and toast will set you back about 15 bucks. They fly in the milk and bread, freeze it, and then thaw it out when they need it so they ask you to disregard the use-by dates! After staying the night, we got up at about 6am to hit the road and discovered it was still pitch black. It wasn’t until we found three clocks on the wall labelled – SA time, WA time and Cocklebiddy time – that we realised it even has it’s own time zone, it was 4am. Totally weird.
The Travel Tart: What’s the worst food you’ve ever eaten than hasn’t left you sitting on the toilet for a week?
Kelly Irving: Giant ants in Colombia were pretty blah. You get them in a bag and eat them like popcorn. But I’d have to say stir-fried donkey in China. It tastes all right, but there is something really, really wrong with knowing that you’re eating ass.
The Travel Tart: As someone who is often a female solo traveller, what’s some golden rules or great tips you would give to other women who might be hesitant to travel by themselves?
Kelly Irving: Solo travel opens up a world of possibilities, not to mention giving you a better chance of scoring an upgrade! The most important thing to remember, especially as a woman, is that you are rarely on your own. You meet so many other travellers and locals. I’ve often found myself invited to weddings, or dinner parties. The key is confidence. Not everyone is bad or out to rip you off. As a woman with blonde hair and fair skin, it’s safe to say that I don’t exactly blend into the background – unless I’m in Scandinavia. Use common sense and go with your gut (that women’s intuition thing is rarely wrong). Just always remember to respect the local customs – no skimpy bikinis in or around temples (yes, I’ve actually seen it!). (Ha Ha! As an example check out the Cultural Awareness Sign!)
The Travel Tart: I always ask my interviewees where and when they were bitten by the travel bug. What was the specific experience where you thought ‘Hell yeah, I love this travel thing?’
Kelly Irving: My mum and dad were massive travellers – my dad drove from South Africa to the UK during apartheid. So I think the bug was already in my system. When we were kids, we used to roll around the European countryside in a VW kombi van. Mum and Dad had the fold out beds, my brother slept in the tent attached to the side and I was the smallest, so I slept in the boot. As soon as I hit 18, I hit the road and have never looked back.
The Travel Tart: That’s awesome! Thanks for your time!