Julie Hatfield is a staff reporter for The Boston Globe for 22 years, Julie morphed into travel writing after she left the Globe and has been writing for the Globe and other newspapers, magazines and travel websites since. She has produced several apps, one of which is available on iTunes and is called “Boston Arts & Culture.” For visualtraveltours.com she has produced apps on Baltimore, Boston, and Las Animas Wilderness Retreat in Baja Mexico. She has produced a dozen travel videos for travelvideopostcard.com, which can be seen on YouTube.
1. What got you into travel writing?
What got me into travel writing is that I was a features reporter for the Boston Globe for 22 years, and just before I was ready to retire, the Globe sent me on some travel stories, which I loved.
2. What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
The writing part is easy for me; the most challenging is finding the right editors and publications that fit my pitches, and as a freelancer, keeping abreast of all the websites and publications still publishing!
3. What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
As the rest of the world, I can’t imagine going anywhere without my cellphone/camera
4. What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
The most unusual and memorable travel experience was the one for which I won the 2014 NATJA Gold Prize Award: fishing from a helicopter in the middle of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. Dazzling scenery, amazing flight, incredible fishing and gourmet lunch on a glazier.
5. How did you learn about NATJA, and why did you join?
As a travel writing freelancer and active member of the Society of American Travel Writers, I kept hearing about this “other” organization, Natja, and it sounded as if it would be just different enough that it would give me more ability to communicate with other writers and editors in the field and more options for interesting and exciting travel opportunities.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
Read everything you can get your hands and eyes on, travel as much as you can, keep your eyes and ears open, and always be sure to experience part of your traveling alone, as in walking down a foreign street and sitting at a cafe by yourself, which will often get you talking with someone one-on-one from the country that you’re visiting. It’s also good to try to learn at least one foreign language enough to converse without a language book in your hands.