I’ve received lots of questions over the past two years about what it is that I “actually do” (thanks, mom and dad! haha), how I balance working for myself and traveling so often, what my daily routine looks like, and what my workflow looks like from getting collaborations and editing to writing and publishing content, and I want to answer these questions and more. So, I’m starting a new series to share what it’s like to be a travel writer!
In this series, I’ll take you along on a press trip, answer your most frequently asked questions, share my daily routine and schedules when I’m at home and when I’m traveling, show you how I stay on track and keep everything organized, and generally share more of my daily life with you.
In this first edition of this, I thought I’d start with what about 30% of my workdays look like when I’m working from home, editing, creating content, and just living my little life with my husband here in Michigan.
What a typical day looks like for me when I’m working from home
I’ve always woken up early, and that’s not something that’s changed in my “advanced age”, haha. I always love starting my day early, and sometimes I’ll wake up even earlier in the summer, because I love to be up before the sun rises. I find it’s always so peaceful and quiet, and it’s the perfect time to transition from the dream world to my waking world.
After I wake up, I like to get up and stretch, make a cup of tea, and water my houseplants. I currently have about 30 of them, and although I only started developing my “green thumb” last winter, I’m always happy to see my plants, like my bird of paradise, my philodendron, sansevieria, pothos, and Boston ferns are still alive and growing bigger every day.
After I stretch, enjoy my tea, and water my plants, I clean up our house. A clean house helps me focus on my work, helps our home feel peaceful and I’ve always loved cleaning, so keeping up on it every day that I’m home is important to me. Cleaning daily also prevents our house from ever really looking messy in the first place, which as a bit of a neat freak, I love.
Next, I usually take a warm shower, brush my teeth, and get dressed for the day. Somedays, I like to dress up and wear a blouse, blazer, skirt, or dress, especially if I have plans to go out for lunch, but most days I wear either a comfortable dress or yoga pants and a t-shirt. I never stay in my pajamas all day, nor do I ever go out anywhere in them, because my parents raised me better than that (lol just kidding, I’m not judging anyone, it’s just not something that appeals to me).
Since by now I’ve been awake for a while, I usually start by checking my email. Some of my emails are offers from brands to work with them, and occasionally I’ll wake up to an email inviting me to explore and write about a new destination. Still, my inbox is full of notifications from various social media platforms, my blog, blogs I follow, or sale alerts—pretty standard stuff.
Once I delete all of the miscellaneous emails, I dig into responding to people who have contacted me either via email, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or IG messages, or sometimes Tumblr or Twitter. I also make a list every day of emails I need to send out to make reservations, appointments, respond to invitations, send out finished posts to my partners, deliver image galleries, and work to cross them off as quickly as possible.
Some days this only takes 30 minutes, some days it can take hours, it just depends on the time of year. Late winter and early spring are by far the busiest time of year for me when it comes to this aspect, and I can remember a couple of days this past February where I spent several full days just replying to emails, negotiating, making plans, and setting up my travels for the year.
This is when I usually make myself a cup of coffee or tea. I drink my coffee black and iced, just like my soul, hehe, and I love chilled jasmine tea.
After responding to all of my emails, comments, and the like, I write up a to-do list for myself for everything I need to get done that day. It really helps me stay organized, and I love seeing my progress throughout the day as I check things off.
My to-do list includes anything from fixing or updating things on my blog’s back-end to meetings I might have that day. I cross-reference my agenda to (I love my Lilly Pulitzer agenda!) to ensure I’m not missing any deadlines, appointments, or other tasks. On days that I have meetings, I’ll set the alarm on my phone 20-30 minutes early to prepare, and any extra time I have between then and the call or meeting will be spent researching the person or company I’ll be speaking with.
Around this time is when I start digging into my to-do list. I like to start with the easy things first because it always feels good to cross off many things quickly. It gives me the boost I need to tackle larger objectives or things that aren’t as exciting.
For example, yesterday’s to-do list involved culling my photography portfolio. I had a ton of old images in albums that were no longer representative of my work, and so I deleted those images or albums that no longer represent what I do; I made all of the albums look uniform, and just did basic housekeeping on them, which took nearly 9 hours to do because I had thousands of photos to go through and organize. Organization is a big part of what it’s like to be a travel writer.
– Had a meeting with my rewardStyle rep
– Worked on my weekly newsletter
– Had a Pinterest consultation
– Had a lunch meeting with a local business that’s hiring me to do some editorials for their brand
– Completed an interview for an upcoming article about Facebook Groups (my largest group has 40,000 members)
– Sent my biography over to the organizers of a conference I’ll be attending soon
– Wrote two blog posts
– Began editing my next YouTube video
– Posted a few times to my FB page
– Finally, set up my VPN on all of my devices since I connect to lots of random wifi networks on my travels (actually, my husband did this, but I’m adding it to the list, haha)
– Planned outfits for my press trip this weekend
– Finalized the itinerary for my weekend press trip
– Went to the post office
– Paid my phone bill
– Meal prepped
– Went to the gym
I usually have 1-2 meetings a day with brands, various platform or network reps I work with, my tech support, my agent, or destinations I’ll be working with. I usually schedule them for the hour before lunch and the hour after lunch if I can help it. It’s a nice way to break up my day.
I know it’s wrong, but I never eat breakfast unless I’m traveling, so lunch is usually my first meal of the day. I have really productive mornings, and I don’t like splitting them up. When I was younger, I never ate breakfast because I would feel sick if I did, which is another habit carried into adulthood (even though I no longer get ill if I eat too early as I used to).
Usually my husband comes home from work for lunch, which I typically make for us, or we will meet somewhere nearby if we want to dine out, and we get to chat about our mornings and make plans for the evening. Seeing him in the middle of my day makes me so happy that I always look forward to it each morning! Another reason I like to schedule meetings before and after lunch because I can get his take on things and ask him for advice. He has a wonderful business sense and is a huge help to me, so I’m thankful for this time with him for lots of reasons.
This is typically when I’ll schedule my second meeting of the day. If I can help it, I don’t schedule more than 2 meetings or appointments each day, although sometimes when I’m really busy I’ll try to knock them out all in one day so I can free up time the rest of the week.
If I don’t have a meeting, I’ll film a YouTube video, which I want to start regularly doing again.
Finally, I can start working on my blog! I usually edit my photos while I travel either in the car or on the plane, so I typically have all of my images edited when I get home, but in the event that I was too busy to do that, I edit first, then write.
My blog posts can take anywhere from an hour to a few days to write, depending upon the topic, how much I have to research, and a few other factors. Typically my restaurant reviews and outfit posts are the quickest, and I can get 4-6 of those done each day, so I usually write a bunch of those posts and then schedule them in advance.
When my husband gets back from work, we usually go for a walk together, workout together, grocery shop, and run errands.
We usually eat dinner at home because we eat out so often when we travel and then clean up the kitchen together.
Lately, Robin has also been helping me manage my schedule, manage emails, and improve the quality of my website. If you’ve noticed it’s loading faster; he’s the reason why! He’s also been filming some of my video content, which I love having help with.
After dinner, Robin helps me with any technical issues I have, like when parts of my website don’t load correctly, a memory card corrupts. He helps me edit or add code on my posts or website or install new components to my website.
Having a husband as intelligent, patient and capable as he is is a huge perk, and definitely makes my job easier, since I can focus on the creative side of things, and he handles more of the tech.
We usually watch an episode of TV or play a game together before we go to bed (lately we’ve been playing World of Warcraft! Alliance, of course)
We generally get to sleep around midnight, then wake up and do it all over again the next day!
I hope this answered some of your questions about what what it’s like to be a travel writer when working from home! If you have any more questions for me, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below and I’ll answer them in the next edition of this series!
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