Travel writers are regarded as an adventure-seeking breed, adrenaline junkies risking life and limb, boldly going where no person has gone before like the crew of the Enterprise.
I am none of those things.
I am rather lazy, and I don’t like to get dirty. I prefer to stay at good hotels – they don’t have to be five-star, but I need my own bathroom. My adrenaline thrills are served by Avengers movies, and my sense of direction is poor. And yet, I have written a travel book. Two, actually.
My qualifications for being a writer of travel books, though accidental, are as follows: I write, daily and copiously, I like being alone and I enjoy being an alien. (In foreign countries I am a literal alien; at home I am just a weirdo.)
The writing part is easy (I didn’t say the product was good) because I’ve had decades of training. When I was in college I read that one of my favorite writers, Graham Greene, wrote 1,000 words a day.
So, I got into the habit of writing 1,000 words a day, longhand, like a professional tennis player serving 1,000 times a day until his hand is a solid callus. There is a permanent dent on my right index finger and a callus on my middle finger, proof of my steady labor. I’ve since read that Greene actually prescribed 500 words a day, which means I have met my quota well in advance and can take a day or a month off now and then.