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I'm Terri. I took my kids to all 50 states and I want to help you achieve the same goal. Learn more...

Please visit this article on the new website: A peek inside a travel writer’s office

A peek inside a travel writer’s office

If you’re a subscriber to my site, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve really slowed down in new posts in the last few months. Part of that is by design: as a mom with school-aged kids, I prefer to do most of our travel in the summer and most of my writing during the school year. But I’ve got a few more excuses. A couple are good ones: my new book was released in the spring and I’ve been busy promoting it. Another good excuse is that our family has grown temporarily. We welcomed Ellen, a foreign exchange student from Taiwan, into our family over the summer. You’ll be seeing her in my posts, so I wanted to introduce her. She’ll be staying with us for the entire school year. Here is a picture of Ellen and me at the Asian market with our bubble tea.

Ellen (exchange student from Taiwan) and me

My other excuse for not posting much this summer isn’t very good: I was struggling with information overload. Travel writing might seem like a glamorous occupation when you think about the traveling part. But then there’s the other part which isn’t glamorous at all: organizing and sorting through all the information, both electronic and paper, which needs to happen before the writing part. In June, we took a major 23-day road trip to the Southwest (Trip 5 in my e-book). I worked the rest of the summer, off and on, to organize the photos. I had to compile photos from my phone, my camera, my iPad, my husband’s phone, and my daughter’s phone. But the part I was really procrastinating on was the paper. As a travel writer, I naturally like to collect travel brochures and dream of new trips. PR people must know that, so they give us lots of brochures and information. Whenever I take a trip that’s been organized by a PR person, I can count on getting a folder of information. Sometimes they’ll also give me a tote bag. So until this week, I have been using the tote bag system of organization. In other words, I’ve been leaving my information from each trip in the tote bag and stuffing the tote bag into a corner in my office. But the stress of being disorganized was starting to take its toll and since I have two trips planned for later this month, I decided it was time to tackle the tote bags before I acquired any more. It took me three days, but I did it. These are now all empty!

Empty tote bags

So where did all that paper go? My friend Becky, who is an avid traveler and scrapbooker, gave me a great idea a few years ago: she uses an accordion folder to organize all pre-trip paperwork (confirmation numbers, etc.), then fills it with brochures and memorabilia during her trip. Then when she’s ready to scrapbook her trip, everything is organized.

Accordion file

I already had some of my trips organized this way, but not all of them. Fortunately, I had picked up several of these file folders during the back-to-school sales. And here’s what they look like now:

Completely organized travel files

Yes, some of them are overstuffed, but this is much better than the tote bags! So, now my files are organized and my desk is relatively clean. That means I’m ready to start some serious writing next week. So you should be seeing more frequent posts from me about our recent trips.

Unless I get distracted by the squirrels on the bird feeder outside my window.

Squirrel on the bird feeder


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