2018 August Featured Journalist of the Month: Tom Bartel
Wednesday, August 01, 2018 12:00 AM

 Tom Bartel:

Tom Bartel and his wife Kristin Henning upended their lifestyle in 2010 when they sold their home, business, and possessions to travel the world. What started as teaching stint in South America turned into a series of adventures across more than 60 countries on six continents, including walking the 500-mile Camino de Santiago in Spain, hiking jungles and volcanos, house and horse sitting, and visiting scores of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and National Parks. 

 Kris and Tom spent their careers in Minneapolis/St. Paul (MN) as newspaper and magazine publishers (City Pages, Minnesota Parent, The Rake magazine). Today, they keep up their writing and photography chops by producing their own award-winning blog, TravelPast50.com, and contributing to other travel and lifestyle publications. 

Tom Bartel's Q&A

What got you in to travel writing?

I've been in the newspaper and magazine business one way or another since high school. When my wife and I retired from publishing in 2010, this was the next logical step. We started blogging semi seriously in 2013, and have done a lot of freelance work for both clients and publications since then.


What’s the most challenging part of travel writing for you?

The most challenging part is not the writing. It's getting people to read what you've written. I wish I had back the hours I've spent on social media trying to make that happen...or pitching editors.


What is one thing [equipment or personal item] you can’t go without on the road?

That's easy. The iPhone. The internet, email, and a pretty good camera at your fingertips.


What’s your most unusual and/or memorable travel experience?

It's hard to pick just one, because I've been to more than 65 countries in the past 8 years, but I'd go with three: walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, hiking 120 kilometers in the Guatemalan jungle to see the remote Mayan ruins at El Mirador, and visiting Tibet. All were amazing for their own reasons.


What is the best piece of advice you could give to a rookie travel journalist?

Read the great travel writers and see how they approach travel, e.g. Mark Twain, James Michener, Paul Theroux. Try to identify what makes their writing interesting. Learn from that. And, don't get discouraged. Writing is hard, selling it is harder.


Find Tom's work here: https://travelpast50.com/

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