Tim Wenger is a travel journalist and entrepreneur based in Colorado. He serves as the Associate Travel Editor at Matador Network, where he’s filed work from four continents and works with contributors across the globe.

After finishing a BA in Communications from Fort Lewis College, Tim jumped into the back of a Ford Econoline and spent a few years playing guitar in dark bars while falling in love with travel, good food, and local drink. He’s been unable to rest his pen (or his feet) ever since.

His book, So, You Have A Band, is the definitive guide for amateur musicians. Check out his work in USAToday, Matador Network, and Fodor’s.

1. What got you into travel writing?
I came into travel writing in 2015 after an old friend shared a Matador Network article on Facebook. I clicked it, scrolled around the site a bit, and found the pitching info. The timing could not have been more perfect as the print pub I’d been working for in Denver had just folded. The vibe of the staff and of the outdoor adventure content drew me in and I began writing for them consistently that summer before joining the team as an editor in 2017.

After meeting an editor at Fodor’s at a conference in 2018, I wrote two chapters of the Fodor’s Colorado guidebook and have contributed to the past two print editions. Through press trips, trade shows, and the always fun practice of cold pitching into the void, I’ve landed bylines in other pubs along the way.

2. What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
Balancing home life and road life. My wife and I welcomed a daughter in October, so this will only be more challenging going forward.

3. What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
Noise-canceling headphones. I use them for everything from taking calls to sleeping in a noisy motel to catching up on podcasts. Come to think of it, I use them daily at home as well.

4. What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
I spent a decade in a punk rock band in my twenties and early thirties. Being on the road as a musician is a world away from leisure or work travel because you’re in and out of a town in one night. Rarely do you get to know a place beyond the venue, a restaurant, and on a good night, a cheap hotel (as opposed to the backseat of the van or someone’s couch.) But the people you meet in this lifestyle are unlike any I’ve met elsewhere and the camaraderie amongst the bands is something to cherish. A bunch of kids sharing rowdy nights in random towns, not realizing until later that these days of being broke and creating memories from your passion are the dream you were after all along.

5. How did you learn about NATJA and why did you join?
I met Linda Aksomitis on a press trip to Quebec City in 2016, and decided to formally join after getting on staff at Matador. Seemed like a good networking opp.

6. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
Don’t pitch editors your press trip itinerary. Go out and find what the story is — what the other writers aren’t covering — and report it. Do interviews, and keep the reader in the story. The reader cares more about what they can do than about what you did.

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