2020 September Featured Journalist of the Month: Dave Parfitt
Tuesday, September 15, 2020 04:29 PM
Dave ParfittDave is a freelance travel writer specializing in family travel, and the editorial director of AdventuresByDaddy.com, covering family travel and entertainment from Dad's point of view.

Dave produces content for outlets including Lonely Planet, AAA, Fox News Travel, US News and World Report, Huffington Post, TravelAge West, Family Traveller, TripAdvisor's Family Vacation Critic, USA Today, and Family Circle to name a few.

An academic with a PhD in neuroscience, Dave also works as an educational developer at a four-year college in Western New York. Dave's scientific training and research experience brings a critical, analytic eye to his travel writing. Traveling the US and world for his academic career, Dave chronicles those family journeys on AdventuresByDaddy.com.

 

Dave is interested in illuminating transformative family travel, multi-generational travel, inclusive & accessible travel, under-the-radar destinations, and immersive, authentic experiences. In addition, Dave covers family cruising, theme parks, national parks, outdoors, and the family favorite road trip as well.

 

What got you into travel writing?

Oh, you know, I went the usual route for travel writing – getting a PhD in neuroscience. I’ve always been fascinated by the brain what makes us human, and over the course of my academic career I’ve traveled to many colleges, universities, labs, conferences, etc. I started journaling about my travels, and then when we had children I started writing about our family travels online. I continued to get more and more response to my family travel writing, and decided to try to expand and grow my freelance writing. It’s funny, after publishing a few stories, I remembered that when I was a kid I always said travel writing was my “dream job.” Throughout my career I kept pursuing what was most interesting to me, and eventually wound up where I wanted to be all along.

What’s the most challenging part of being a travel journalist for you?

Maintaining connection with good editors. In the short time I’ve been writing, the landscape has shifted dramatically. Editors move, outlets close, and now the pandemic has altered the environment once again. Whenever I find a good editor to work with, they end up moving on after a short period of time. It’s challenging to constantly strike up new relationships with editors.

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

My camera. I always have it with me, and even use it to take photos of signs, markers, etc. for story notes.

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

Seeing Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff from Disney’s “Frozen” make their first, official character appearance in Norway, and experiencing how gob smacked the Norwegian children were to meet their “hometown heroes.” This trip was part of Disney’s inaugural Norwegian fjord sailing, and I shared it with my entire family. Sailing through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Geirangerfjord together with my wife and two daughters has been difficult to top. Although, I will continue to try.

How did you learn about NATJA and why did you join?

I learned about NATJA through conversations with colleagues on a press trip. When the NATJA conference was held in Syracuse, NY, just down the road from my Rochester home, I decided to attend. At the conference I felt a connection with the team, board, and members, and decided to join right then and there. The conference was so well organized, and I really appreciated the professional development sessions. NATJA felt like an organization that would help me grow as a writer.

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

Ummm, I definitely feel like I am still a rookie travel journalist myself. Sooo… one of the things I think has helped me develop is attending conferences. I’ve learned so much about travel writing from those conferences, and met editors that helped shape and publish my work. I would definitely encourage beginning writers to get involved in the professional community.

Oh, you know, I went the usual route for travel writing – getting a PhD in neuroscience. I’ve always been fascinated by the brain what makes us human, and over the course of my academic career I’ve traveled to many colleges, universities, labs, conferences, etc. I started journaling about my travels, and then when we had children I started writing about our family travels online. I continued to get more and more response to my family travel writing, and decided to try to expand and grow my freelance writing. It’s funny, after publishing a few stories, I remembered that when I was a kid I always said travel writing was my “dream job.” Throughout my career I kept pursuing what was most interesting to me, and eventually wound up where I wanted to be all along.