Travel insights from Taylor Coulson, contributing editor of The Compass

Living My Passion as a Travel Writer

Science class in the seventh grade wasn’t where I expected to learn the most valuable life lesson, other than that millennials’ offices are no longer strictly cubicles. My teacher said, “Travel young when you’re broke and you won’t have any regrets.” He said that when you’re older with a nice paying job and traveling with family it’s easier, but not as fun. It’s probably the only thing I retained in that field of study, hence why I write all day instead of solving formulas. Plus, most of my family has already been captivated by places across the globe; Mum is from England, Dad drives all over the U.S. for work and so on.

After high school, I went to Spain for the first time with my Spanish Club. Before I left, my grandma hugged me goodbye and whispered, “Enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” That moment ignited the spark and desire to make travel a constant in my life.

Two years later, I was back for a summer-long marketing internship in Barcelona. At 20 years old, I remembered my seventh-grade teacher’s advice and was easily following through on the “broke” part. I left my team leader role at a renowned salon and spa for this international internship. I was comfortable in the salon industry, which made it really hard to leave. After fizzling into being challenged daily in every aspect in Spain – the language barriers, meeting new people, collaborating with a team scattered across continents – I craved a fast-paced and stimulating approach to every endeavor moving forward. Spending the summer in Spain truly opened my eyes and helped me grasp the concept behind, “When you arrive in a place, you become part of that place.”

I wanted to share stories about my new “places” in the world along with the new person it shaped me into. As a millennial, I didn’t know I could actually thoroughly enjoy what I did for a living, until I was surrounded by sand and the nicest strangers after riding on camels through the Sahara Desert in Morocco. I was told to “stop chasing the end” since I had already achieved a position as a team lead as just a sophomore in college. Don’t be fooled, it wasn’t as fulfilling as it sounds. Shifts didn’t require the same type of creativity, energy or focus that a travel writer’s path does. I’ve always been mentally taking notes because in the back of my head, I was crafting my story to tell for as long as I can remember. But I always pushed it off, for fun during “another time.” So when I returned to reality, I had to follow through with omitting the chase and living for the moment and pursue what made me happiest to feel as fulfilled as possible.

Suddenly I was that girl; pen in the hand writing in a little leather journal while others were screaming “salud.” Journalism is a competitive field, but I found a lot of strength focusing in travel writing since they’re both part of what defines me as a 20-something student and professional. Everything is so unexpected in the world of travel and writing about it. When you travel, you see the world up close with crystal clear lenses. Staying in one place creates a need for binoculars, since there’s so much to see but no way to do so without them. If I wouldn’t have traveled when I was young and broke, I wouldn’t have indulged in crepes in France, taken a train from Berlin to Prague, climbed the same stairs that hid Anne Frank and her family, been in Europe during the World Cup or become a travel writer with a bucket list that grows every day.

As a travel writer, I’m able to live in the moment while learning about destinations, cultures, trips, trends and places to see. I give global insight to fellow travelers as well as travel professionals in addition to focusing on what I value most in life, which is seeing and writing about as much of the world as possible.

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