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Interview aus unserer Serie “Aus dem Leben” mit Adam Karlin aus New Orleans.
Adam ist Freelancer und Reiseautor für den Lonely Planet: Einer der beliebtesten und größten Reiseverlage für Backpacker weltweit.
Adam, you are are freelancer and writer for Lonely Planet. Many people dream of such a Job. What editions have you authored and co-authored?
I have written or co-authored over 30 titles for Lonely Planet. I won’t bore you with the list, but the areas I have covered include the Caribbean, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Kenya, Botswana, Cameroon and much of the USA, including New Orleans, Miami and Washington DC.
Do you have a homebase and how often and for how long do you usually travel? Where are you right now?
I am based in New Orleans. I moved here after writing three books about the city for Lonely Planet – there’s something about this place that speaks to the heart.
What is your typical working day and process like?
Typical work days vary from author to author. I would say I divide my time pretty evenly between writing and traveling. If I’m on the road, every day is different – and long. I wake up and try and leave whatever accommodation I’m in early. I eat breakfast and read, usually about the place I’m researching. Then it’s exploring – either looking for specific points of interest or sauntering. I mean the latter word in the original French sense, to be ‘sans terre’, or without land, or any kind of rooted feeling. When you saunter, you are a bit aimless, and I find being aimless leaves me open to lots of great travel experiences and encounters.
In any case: I look for things, I stop to eat, I read and I research. When night comes I usually check out nightlife, if there is any to speak of. In cities like Miami that makes for painfully long research days.
If I’m writing, it’s a completely different story. I have to replace the relatively unattached mindset of travel with iron discipline. This is a hard transition, and one of the hardest things about the job. I wake up, make coffee, sit on the couch and write, write, write. Distractions are bad, so I often avoid the cliché of writing in a café, although sometimes a café (or better, a library) is preferable because then there’s no TV.
Do you just write for Lonely Planet or also other publications?
Like every Lonely Planet author I know, I freelance for numerous publications.
Have you ever had enough of traveling?
Yes and no. I will always love the act of travel and discovery. But certainly, I experience moments on the road when buses are late or cars break down or there are dirty bathrooms or petty crime or general harassment and I just want to stop and be home. I am also getting married in a few months, and while many Lonely Planet authors are happily married (and more than a few have children), I always miss my partner when I am on the road (although she does get to join me sometimes, which is always fun).
How did you get the Job at LP?
I worked as a journalist after university, which is the background of many, if not most LP authors. There is a place to apply for the job on the LP website – I sent in my cover letter, CV and writing clips. Then I had to pass a research and writing test, and some 30 books later, here I am.
Your story in the actual edition of Lonely Planet Philippines made me laugh. Did you really have so bad luck when doing the research for Luzon??
Oh yes. Rain, tires blowing out on a rental car, rain, getting robbed, more rain, and guess what – rain. But the Filipinos I met were always friendly and accommodating, so it wasn’t so bad.
What do you hate about your job?
It can be quite lonely working for Lonely Planet. Lots of moments of isolation. And while I love traveling, there are places I don’t like going – crappy transit towns that are little more than glorified bus depots and snooty resorts that bubble themselves off from the surrounding community come to mind. Also, the transition I describe above, going from travel mode to writing mode, is a bitch.
What are your top 5 places in the world?
I can’t really give a list here. I have never been to a country I wouldn’t go back to – it all depends on what you’re looking for in terms of travel. I’m not trying to be snarky, but it’s like picking five trees out of a forest. Every place reinforces and compliments my love of travel in general.
Your top 5 travel tipps?
- Be patient.
- Be fearless, but with that said, be wise.
- Be considerate. This is quite hard, especially in countries where language is an obstacle. When there is a language barrier, both parties can dehumanize each other quite easily. Try and treat everyone you meet with the respect you expect to be shown yourself.
- Be grateful. To travel independently is an incredible privilege. Very likely, your parents (and certainly your grandparents) did not have the chance to travel the way we do. It’s an amazing opportunity: to see the world and learn from it. Many people you meet on the road will never have that option. Be worthy of it.
- Be adaptable. Embrace discomfort. The world does not exist to give you enjoyment. Or rather, what we consider ‘enjoyable’ at home cannot be replicated overseas. Or maybe it can be, but then ask yourself: am I traveling, or just moving an American/European/Australian bubble from one continent to wherever I am? You travel to be somewhere different, so be somewhere different.
Do you have an advice for everyone who wants to become a digital nomad?
Write and blog and become an expert (or at least proficient) in multimedia, and don’t expect to make a lot of money. But if you are talented and hard working and a little lucky, you can probably make it work.
What is your biggest dream?
To do the best I can with what I’ve been given.
Thank you so much Adam that you took the time for answering our interview questions.
Freiberuflicher Travelwriter ist ein idealer Job für Digitale Nomaden.