Kate Siber at RolfPotts.com


Next month at the RolfPotts.com Travel Writers page, I interview Kate Siber, who has written for Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Men’s Journal, and The New York Times. A memorable snippet from our Q&A is this account of how she first broke into travel writing:

I talked to an alum from my college about journalism — she worked at a women’s magazine in New York — and she asked me what I wanted to do. I answered, “well, I want to work anywhere in journalism. I don’t know, newspapers, wire services, magazines.”

“No, really. What is the thing you REALLY want to do, specifically? Your dream job? No obstacles. No qualifications. No prerequisites. If you could be doing any job,” she said, trying to prompt me to narrow my scope. I had to actually think about it; I had never considered looking at it this way. I was so bogged down thinking about jobs that I thought would be good resume-builders or that would eventually pay off that I wasn’t even thinking about my real end goal. I hadn’t stopped to consider what I really wanted to do, what would be my perfect job.

“Well, this sounds ridiculous because I’m so not qualified, but I’d like to do something like write travel and environmental stories for magazines like Outside and National Geographic,,” I responded.

“Then send your clips to Outside and National Geographic and see what they say,” she said. Well, that seems like dumb advice, I thought, but I took it anyway. I looked at Outside‘s masthead and chose Katie Arnold and Elizabeth Hightower, and sent them my clips out of the blue. Then I thought that was really dumb, canned the idea, and started perusing journalismjobs.com again. Two weeks later, I heard from Mike Roberts at Outside, who asked if I’d be interested in an internship after my clips landed on his desk. I packed up my car and was in Santa Fe in a matter of two weeks, and though the job wasn’t writing brilliant feature stories, it was a fantastic opportunity and a giant step in the right direction. I learned a ton. Three years later, I am doing exactly what I want to do. Though I could always be writing bigger and better stories, I still can’t believe it.

I’m not relating this story because I think everyone should go off and randomly send their clips to magazines. I think the moral of the story is that you should consider what you really want, which often gets lost in the shuffle of what everyone else is telling you is a good idea or the best path to success. Things don’t necessarily always fall into place perfectly, but if you at least have an idea of your perfect job, you’ll always have something to shoot for. And with a destination in mind, it’ll be easier to steer the course. That’s my silly bit of philosophy for today.

Full Kate Siber interview online here.

Posted by | Comments (1)  | November 26, 2007
Category: Travel News

One Response to “Kate Siber at RolfPotts.com”

  1. Traca Says:

    Well said! It pays to cut through the noise and dream big.

    Take a listen to this: