Jim has been in the media world for over 20 years. Starting as a Sportscaster, Talkshow Host, and Producer, Jim continues to work as a freelance travel and food writer, photographer, and vlogger for several travel and tourism brands worldwide. Besides media adventures, Jim also hosts interactive, online Greek food cooking classes, curates Greek Food Gift Baskets, and hosts his Fact Up Podcast.
1. What got you into travel writing?
I’ve had the travel bug since the age of two. Although I don’t remember that first trip to Greece, it must have done something to build that love of travel. Throughout the years, traveling to and from Greece, coupled with annual summer road trips to Florida with family, that travel urge continued to intensify to the point where I started chronicling my experiences. And I stress ‘experiences’ because that’s what I wanted to focus on when writing about my travels. Anyone can travel, but taking a step back and appreciating the people you meet, the food you eat, the courage it takes to try something new, all accumulate to the experiences you end up with. Documenting travels and having the opportunity to passionately convey a positive message about the joys of travel experiences inspired me to not only get into travel writing but pursue it as a career.
2. What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
Brands who either outright refuse to work with new people and in turn, reject new perspectives or aren’t flexible to see content value from people outside of their box, happily staying in a routinely narrow state of mind.
3. What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
ONE thing? Odds are, many will say their cameras and yes, although that’s one thing I can’t go without, there’s something else that I’ll try to combine as one thing. A compassionate mind that combines humility and respect for place, people, and environment.
4. What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
Like many others reading this, we’ve all had a few I’m sure that we love to share. But one that pops to mind for me was when I was nine years old. My Mom and I went to Greece to visit my Grandma. A few days in, we got word that there was a nuclear meltdown in Ukraine. Trips to my ancestral homeland usually lasted all summer and were few and far between. But this one in 1986 lasted only five days as Chernobyl forced us to find the first flight back to Canada.
5. How did you learn about NATJA and why did you join?
Fortunately, I’m grateful to have several incredible travel colleagues/members who I could go to, ask questions and find out more about NATJA. These are colleagues I respect professionally and personally, and because I’m a big believer in like attracting like, knowing that they were a part of NATJA convinced me that this was the right fit for me. I joined to grow my network, get inspired by others on their travel journeys, and be in the company of positive energy, and a community of professionals who believe that collaboration means far more than the competition. We’re all in this together and knowing that there’s a group of people you interact with that feel the same makes all the difference.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
If you compare yourself and your work to others, it may cripple your creativity, inspiration, and motivation to create truly great work of your own. Keep your head down, spirits high, and remember that with time and hard work comes a touch of good fortune and a ton of great friendships.