It started with a few kindred-spirited travel journalists shooting the breeze about this and that on a media trip.
But in hindsight, we now realize that what was really happening was a meeting of minds; and a gradual awareness that we shared personal values and general perceptions of the world (sociologically, culturally, and to some extent politically). And we also shared a common burning desire to get our hands on the real stuff; and write about it in as intelligent a fashion as we could.
However, the most common element was probably the wish on each of our parts to tell stories in a different way and with a particular focus to which we felt committed. We also wanted to raise the bar a bit if we could, and take a slightly more “scholarly” (whatever that means) approach to travel writing. And it started to dawn on us that each of us was also very much involved in the business of learning through travel.
And that “lifelong learning through travel” focus and concept became our principal qualifier.
And so we became …
Like just about everything else in life, one never knows where new ventures will end up, especially in these days of potential hell-in-a-handbasket economic times. However, we seem to be the type of people who don’t give damn Scarlett, but instead think in a lateral (as opposed to linear) fashion — which means that there constantly is no end in sight but a lot of flexibility and room to maneuver conceptually.
We also all seem to understand that every endeavour we undertake is a process far more than an event; and I guess we are cool with that. Keep on truckin’; keep on travelling; keep on learning — and to some extent, stay two steps ahead of the cops. But what, in my estimation, is the real driving force in the group is the unwillingness to compromise on principles or quality.
Sound like Don Quixote dreaming his impossible dream? Maybe.
So here in more detail (copied and pasted from our promo material) is what The Travel Educators are really all about:
We believe that travel is the most experiential form of learning; the principal ways and means to achieve intercultural understanding; and essential to the economic development of any destination.
Each of our writing styles emphasizes quality travel experiences. Through a scholarly and innovative approach to travel journalism, we create a genuine identification on the part of the consumer with the destinations we profile; and our work communicates clearly a respect for the people in these destinations.
We believe that creative travel journalism enhances and clarifies perceptions; engenders interconnectivity with the grassroots culture of a destination; and — because of its inherent long-term strategic thinking — leads to exponential growth in a destination’s marketing strategy.
That’s the basic pitch; and we mean it. We aren’t just kidding around.
Now all of us are involved in just about every form of travel journalism you can think of: television, radio, print, non-print, blogging, photography, editing, newspapers, magazines, websites … and the list probably goes on. (We don’t do windows.) But I’m not telling you anything you probably don’t already know — or do yourself, especially if you are a travel writer in these days of shrinking markets.
So at this point in our 15 minutes of travel fame (perhaps more, why should I be so pessimistic?), we have a clearly stated ethos and modus operandi that we stand by.
Emphasizing our collective networks, we propose to destinations that we will work with them collaboratively in order to:
(a) define and assess how or if what we The Travel Educators do fits their needs;
(b) engage as a group in pre-planning in terms of what their destination has to offer, resources that we can integrate into the experience, and how our various “specialities” blend with theirs;
(c) collaborate, brainstorm, and share knowledge, resources, and perceptions as a group before, during, and after the tour as opposed to participating in the media tour in the usual way in which the journalists are essentially individuals doing their own thing.
What we produce after the event depends of course on what outlets each of us contribute to. But even while we were in the process of figuring out and articulating what we were about, we found somewhat to our surprise that we were already in medias res, and that the little grey cells, the networking, and the generation of ideas was happening almost of its own accord.
So, you are probably now asking,”Got any gigs yet?”
Well yes we do actually. Two of them. And both have been “arranged” over the period of six months since we began this wild and crazy idea. I suspect we could have had more by now but, like all the rest of you, we are dancing as fast as we can.
And have you ever tried to get a bunch of busy travel journalists together at the same time and in the same destination?
It’s like herding cats.
One last point. As we were creating this group and formulating the concept, we began to notice that we were not alone in doing the collective travel journalism thing. We started to notice that there were others who had similar small groups, although the nature and purpose of what they were doing was quite different from ours. And that’s fine because there’s lots of room out there in traveljournalismland; especially in the whole new world of electronic travel journalism.
So we aren’t the only kids on the block. The Traveling Mamas, for example, have (it would appear) been a big success.
Hey! What about The Traveling Papas? Copyright infringement? Or maybe the Traveling Mamas and Papas?
Or am I just California Dreamin’?