The Anarchic Ramblings of the Modern Travel Writer: The Final Leg

Posted on May 7, 2013 by Damon H

Finding Harbor as a Travel WriterDoes anyone have a sadder job than a travel writer?

Yes, you’re bitter! You feel like the character from the Twilight Zone: The Obsolete Man. Your editor has informed you that this will be your last assignment—the final leg. She’s moving on, too. Just like that Gerry Rafferty song, Baker Street, “she has a dream about buying some land,” so she’s moving to the green mountains of Vermont to raise chickens and grass-fed cows, working part-time at a local rag called The Times Argus. “What’s an Argus?” you ask. “Mythology,” she says. “A giant with one hundred eyes.” “The better to watch over all those cows,” you joke. But she’s not amused. If video killed the radio star, then the Internet thieved the passport from the Travel and Leisure writer.

II.

So it’s with a heavy heart that you head to your old stomping ground, New England. Cape Cod, to be more specific. Wellfleet to be exact, to write an article on the two day seafood blitz known as Oysterfest. Live music, arts and crafts, road races, walking tours, the annual Oyster Shuck-Off, and more voluptuous, briny, Birth of Venus bivalves than anyone could possibly count. Last year, 25,000 people attended the event, and since oysters have long been considered aphrodisiacs, it’s the only time of the year on the Cape when the locals “bring sexy back” with the tourists. For two blissed-out days the typically genteel and Norman Rockwellesque Wellfleet turns into something akin to Sodom and Gomorrah, but you need to know where to go. Lucky for you, you’re a local…

III.

…So you find yourself with 50 plus people on a 20 foot sailboat docked somewhere in Provincetown, slurping oysters and guzzling Moet 76. A girl in a canary yellow Ralph Lauren cardigan is practicing her forehand with an invisible tennis racquet. Oh, wait, it’s not a racquet, it’s a croquet mallet. No, she’s dancing… The man wearing the sailor cap and Miami Vice blazer could be the captain of the boat, or he could be a party-goer. It doesn’t matter because either way he’s taken control of the vessel, screamed the word “witches” through a bullhorn, and set the coordinates for Salem, Massachusetts.

How do you go from Oysterfest to Provincetown to a modern day witch hunt in Salem, Massachusetts? You’re a freelance writer for hire, that’s how. And the end of one journey is just the beginning of another. Better remember that one, you tell yourself. Might come in handy if you’re writing Hallmark cards for a living next week.

IV.

The boat never makes it to Salem. It doesn’t anchor in Newport or the Hamptons. Miraculously, it doesn’t get hung up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina either, which is a stroke of luck considering the barrier islands are called the Graveyard of the Atlantic. The man in the Miami Vice blazer hops in a dingy and heads for Myrtle Beach.”18 holes of golf,” he says. The girl in the canary yellow cardigan abandons ship outside of Miami to catch the final of the Key Biscayne tennis tournament. You’re unsure of the whereabouts of the other passengers.

But you? You land on one of the 700 islands in the Bahamian archipelago. You don’t know which because you lost your phone two days ago in Wellfleet. Happy Trails.

Damon H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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