Jane Canapini spent years as an award-winning creative director hoarding every vacation day in order to pursue her travel passion. Now she applies her love of storytelling and keen eye for imagery as ‘Chief Experience Officer’ at GrownupTravels.com, a website she founded that offers inspiration and information to travelers 50+. Jane believes in the kind of travel where you bring home stories, not souvenirs, and she makes it her mission to find those experiences and share them with her readers. When she is not creating content for her own site, Jane contributes freelance articles to numerous travel and lifestyle websites as well as Canadian print publications including Maclean’s and Chatelaine magazines. She has also been recognized by Sunlife Financial as one of their top travel/retirement contributors.
1. What got you into travel writing?
I’ve always been passionate about helping others get the most out of their travels by sharing my own experiences, tips and advice, so it was a natural fit. And when my ‘expiry date’ came up in my previous life as a Creative Director, I took that as a sign to jump in with both feet!
2. What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?
Publishing platforms have either disappeared or evolved hugely in the last 10 years especially and will continue to do so. While the digital world has broadened our audience tremendously and provided opportunities for us to publish our work directly, small players are at the mercy of big-tech algorithms when it comes to reaching our audience. Producing good content is just the beginning: we have had to become well-versed in social media and SEO, too.
3. What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?
My iPhone. It has become indispensable for so many reasons, not the least of which is navigating transit systems in foreign cities!
4. What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?
An impromptu meeting with members of a Hadzabe tribe of hunter/gatherers in Tanzania – somehow we managed to find a way to bridge our communication gap (and share a laugh) despite the vast differences in our cultures and lifestyles.
5. How did you learn about NATJA and why did you join?
I was looking to build my own credentials and expand my network by joining professional organizations not just in Canada, but in North America.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?
Don’t be intimidated or discouraged by people who may appear to be ‘more successful’. If anything, let them inspire you and make you better at telling your stories.