April 28, 2017

Second Thoughts: April Edition

Second Thoughts

by Meredith Bethune
food & travel writer

April 2017

I've just returned from a trip to the Balkans. More specifically, I visited Montenegro, Croatia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina. Although Dubrovnik was extremely touristy, much of this fascinating region felt undiscovered, which is such a rarity in Europe. This was especially true of Sarajevo. The city is a little difficult to access due to its location in the middle of the mountains, but I'm really shocked more visitors aren't going there. It's inexpensive, there's great food and wine, and the culture is truly unique.

This week my parents are visiting and we're taking the train to France for a few days. Then I'm going to Ireland next month. I don't post all my photos to Facebook, so it's best to follow my travels on Instagram or Twitter
What I've written:

My story about Montenegro is already out on Conde Nast Traveler
I wrote two articles for Tasting Table this month: one is about the best place to eat in Jerusalem and the other outlines why Singapore is one of the best places to eat in the world
I didn't write this, but I was a guest on the latest episode of The Expat Sandwich podcast. Hear all about my life in Belgium and as a travel writer. 

Photos from Montenegro & Croatia:

What I'm reading:

My friend Marija (COO of Remedy) was interviewed for the Huffington Post
Sandor Katz, the king of fermentation, is back
The life of the head guard of the Tower of London
Tricks for extending your phone battery life
Stop freaking out: you don't need a visa to go to Europe yet.
Designing hotels for millennials 
Seeking modern Polish food in London

The Hills perpetuated lies about interning
Many undocumented immigrants actually pay taxes
Revamping a classic restaurant is a challenge
The women behind Oasis
A day in the life of a New York City food vendor
How to predict the next hot travel destination
Persuading hotels to be more female friendly

What I'm recommending:

As a freelancer, time is money. This year I vowed to track my work time and installed Rescue Time on my computer. It generates reports on everything I do on my computer, including how much time I spend on various websites and programs.

Yes, it sounds a little bit creepy and Big Brother-like, but it's been totally eye-opening about how I spend my time. Unsurprisingly, I realized I was spending too much time scrolling through social media. But I was also spending more than two hours a day organizing and answering emails!  I also wasn't giving myself enough credit-- I thought I was working about 25-30 hours a week, but it was actually more like 50-60 hours. 

Photos of Bosnia:

Question: How do I get invited on press trips?
Answer: First of all, press trips aren't the answer to launching your travel writing career. You need to spend significant time pitching, getting, and writing quality assignments first. In my experience, it does take awhile for new writers to get on publicists' radar thought. The first, and easiest thing you should do is submit a request to have your information as a journalist added to a database called Cision. You can also contact PR firms with an introductory email and show them links to your writing clips. 
Tips for writers:
You really can make a living as a food writer
I've been thinking a lot about how to write faster
Do you want to be known for your writing or being good at email?
Hit "reply" to respond. Or, maybe even pass it on to a friend. 

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