John has been an avid amateur photographer for about 15 years specializing in Travel, Landscape, and street photography. John recently transitioned to blogging and photography as a second career and established the website www.bucketlistthings.com
John has previously published 25+ articles in professional journals and had two professional photographs published. He also works as a professional photographer for marathons and triathlons.
1. What got you into travel writing?
I was primarily a traveler and photographer posting my adventures on Facebook and other social media. I began to write captions and blurbs about the photos so that my friends could understand some of the nuances of the countries that I was traveling through. Everyone kept insisting that I should have a blog and finally I came around and set up a blog at bucketistthings.com. I focus on adventure travel for the 50 plus demographic.
2. What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
Outside of my COVID Travel restrictions??? Generally finding time to sit down and create engaging articles and posts. I have more time now and consequently expect my volume to increase.
3. What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
I have a great set of noise-reducing headphones which has made air travel far less stressful.
4. What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
While traveling through Jaipur India, I was pulled into a wedding parade. This was a major production featuring elephants, camels, white stallions (ridden by the Groom and Best Man), and a full brass band. We danced through the streets as I shot frame after frame of the celebration. Indian weddings are not for the faint of heart! Apparently having a foreigner at your wedding was a sign of good fortune in the new couple’s married life. Such a shame that they could not produce a higher quality foreigner.
5. How did you learn about NATJA and why did you join?
I listened to the This Week in Travel podcast and Gary Arndt mentioned that, if you wanted to be professional, joining a professional organization like NATJA or similar associations should be one of your first activities. I jumped on the bandwagon not long afterward.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
Well, that makes an assumption that I am not a rookie travel journalist myself. I think the story you tell is the most important task and everything else is just window dressing (mentions of places to stay, restaurants to enjoy, etc). An amazing story backed up with great photos will provide your credentials.