tl;dr (Short version, click here)
I began this site just before leaving Scotland, over five years ago now, to head off on indefinite adventures. At the time, the majority of my income came from freelance travel content writing. The plan had been to use Not A Travel Writer as a typical travel blog — to share destinations I visited, talk about what to do there, what to eat, take lots of pretty photos, and generally make more money from affiliate schemes and advertising, perhaps with a healthy dollop of press trips thrown into the mix.
That did not happen. There are a number of reasons for this, each of which shall be discussed soon. ravel, especially slow travel and the ability to work remotely, will feature very heavily here.
Although I also own alexandermcrow.com (and it redirects here), I kept Not A Travel Writer, partly because I was fond of the name and partly because it makes a lot of SEO sense — having both the words ‘travel’ and ‘writer’ (and, therefore, ‘write’) within it.
I am glad I did so, as I begin to make the changes to turn this site into something akin to that I originally envisaged. Very soon, travel, especially slow travel and the ability to work remotely, will feature heavily.
Every month, I write at least one free newsletter and send it out into the ether. Within each, there are several things which regularly appear — I usually open with a piece of nature writing, before a short hello, which gives news about me and my location, for example, before moving to updates on fiction give-aways, promotions, review opportunities and so on. Below this section, I vary what I share. Sometimes I talk about what I have read, watched, or listened to, at others I will discuss forthcoming fiction, or current events. In short, the newsletter is an eclectic mixture — deliberately styled and advertised as a writer’s notebook, all those things I see and do and witness, which often are then chewed over and turned into stories.
This site, Not A Travel Writer, has been the same. At the time of writing (October 2022), there have been few pieces uploaded here, other than as a place to backup my newsletters.
This is about to change.
Soon, you will find many more pieces of travel writing and blogging. Other topics: nature writing, personal memoir, talk of works-in-progress, of the writer’s craft, or discussion of what is now known as bushcraft, the outdoor skills and knowledge which allow you to comfortably exist for extended periods of time in the wilder parts of the world (which I have done, on more than one occasion) — these will be mostly confined to my newsletters.
There are still some old essays, journalism and pieces of thought, available to read here, and I think I will leave them, for now. Some of my non-fiction started life as notes and sketches, before morphing into longer essays, before being paused, as perhaps a book may be better? Once I have more travel related content, I will consider relocating these pieces somewhere else, perhaps alexandermcrow.com.
Primarily and increasingly, Not A Travel Writer will be a place to share my journey — literal and otherwise, with discussion of how to become a digital nomad (although I prefer the phrase ‘globally feral’), how to plan a big journey, why to travel, where to go, what to take with you, and all the little tips and tricks I have learnt over the past few years. I am excited about this.
Time is the currency within which a writer works, and the spending and allocation of it is crucial to development and progress. It can be difficult to know what to share and when, what to work on, what to shelve, and what to return to. I have imported a number of my posts and articles from over the years, brought them from now-mothballed or defunct sites, or places I no longer felt comfortable, like tumblr, or substack. It shouldn’t need mentioning, but owning my own work is also important.
The process of being a fiction writer goes hand-in-hand with being a non-fiction writer. The opposite is not always the case — and this is something often overlooked. To write stories which connect with others, whether to inspire, terrify, thrill, or touch, means understanding people, understanding the world we move through and the cues to which we react. This is a noble tradition, the fiction writer who also shares non-fiction thoughts, and one I wholeheartedly endorse and subscribe to. Travel, in particular, adds a depth of flavour to my stories which would otherwise be lacking.
As with my free newsletter, Not A Travel Writer is a writer’s notebook, full of the things I see and do and think. For example, it contains nature, bushcraft, travel and essays but, increasingly, it will be a travel oriented site.