Are you someone who loves to acquire knowledge or experiences? Are you inquisitive, find many things interesting, and enjoy the world because of it’s infinite variety and complexity? You may be someone with the talent of Input. A career in teaching, research, or journalism will charge you with energy each day as you continually learn new information.
Kristin is a trail blazer in her career because of her appetite for learning more. She stands out in her career satisfaction because she was able to identify something that she loved early on, and because she sought specialization in her field through acquiring industry knowledge and new skills. Kristin is thoughtful, funny, and kind. Her strong individualism and self-concept make her wit stand out in her writing and creative choices.
Want to know how to get people to turn to you for advice? Check out what Kristin says below!
What’s your title? What do you do? How long have you done this?
Travel editor at the Austin American-Statesman for the past 2.5 years
As travel editor, I am in charge of producing the newspaper’s weekly Sunday travel section. This job includes soliciting and editing staff and freelance travel pieces, compiling photos and videos, working with designers and copy editors on the look of the section and (the best part) traveling to interesting destinations and writing about them. I also blog, Instagram and Tweet (@kristinfinan), and shoot videos about my travels.
What jobs or past experiences have led you to the current thing that pays you money (your job)?
The thing that drew me to travel writing was simple — I love visiting new places. After graduating from college, I came across a $400 roundtrip ticket to Europe and spent all of my savings on the two-week-long trip. One of my best friends joined me and, like so many young people who make this pilgrimage each year, we had the time of our lives eating baguettes in Paris and wandering La Rambla in Barcelona.That’s when I knew I really wanted a job that could revolve around travel. After interning at the Houston Chronicle newspaper, I was hired as a full-time features reporter and would spend my weekends traveling around Texas and relentlessly pitching travel stories to the travel editor. He became an incredible mentor to me and provided me with a number of amazing opportunities to travel to places where he didn’t want to go. When he eventually retired, I was offered his position. A few years later I was offered a position as travel editor in Austin, my hometown, and I jumped at the opportunity.
What occupation did you imagine having when you were 5? What about at 25?
When I was 5, I desperately wanted to be a dolphin trainer. When I was 25, being a travel writer/editor was definitely my dream job.
The Best: Tell us, what’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is getting to have these amazing experiences around the globe and then sharing those experiences with an audience that trusts my expertise. From having a fish pedicure in Singapore (picture fish eating the dead skin off the bottom of your feet) to eating grasshoppers as a snack in Mexico to getting attacked by an ice-cream-crazed seagull in England, there’s never a dull moment in the world of a travel writer. I also love hearing about readers’ travel experiences, favorite destinations, bonding over anecdotes, and advice.
The Stink: Tell us, what’s part of the job that you really wish were different?
There are so many great stories being told, and so many amazing destinations to visit, that it can be difficult to narrow down the stories I want to feature in the paper each week. I only have four pages each Sunday, so I have to be smart about what we feature. I try to include a mix of far-flung, aspirational destinations, cool U.S. spots and consumer-friendly, need-to-know news on the travel industry.
Outside of your job, how do you spend your time?
Outside of my job, I enjoy spending time with my husband and my two daughters, 6 and 4. I am very lucky to be able to travel with them frequently and love how curious, engaged and excited they are when we go somewhere new. Sure, you may have to deal with a tantrum or two, but to me there is nothing more gratifying than traveling with kids.
Who is someone you look up to for career inspiration?
Travel writer/author/tour guide Rick Steves has definitely been an inspiration to me. I love the way he covers his beat, Europe, in a way that is very, very honest. His biggest concern is that his readers know exactly what to expect when they visit a certain place, and he does such a great job of relating to people while providing candid information about his experiences.
What is your advice to people who are interested in a similar career?
My advice for anyone who wants to be a travel writer is to start by traveling as much as you possibly can. The more you learn about the world around you, the more you’ll be able to express the uniqueness of certain cities, countries and attractions to others. Once you’re a comfortable, confident traveler, you can start to tell your stories with the kind of authority that will make other people turn to you for advice.
If you could read these questions about someone else, who would you want to see answer them? (can give a job title or name a specific person).
I haven’t totally given up on my dolphin trainer dream. Could you get a dolphin trainer (or someone in a similar animal-related capacity) to answer these?
Any other passing words of advice or anything neat you have going on that you would like to share with us?
Finally, I’d just say that when it comes to travel, there’s no time like the present. You don’t know what the future will bring, but I can tell you that every trip I’ve taken has been money well spent and an amazing bonding experience for everyone involved. Can’t afford a far-flung getaway? Plan a visit to somewhere you’ve always wanted to see in the U.S. Don’t have many vacation days? Consider a staycation in your own city. There’s always something new to see and do, and there’s no better way to expand your mind, and perception, than to get out and see it.
Thanks Kristin! It is truly a delight to have you as a guest. If I can get Flipper as an interviewee, you will be the first to know. He’s a dolphin who trained himself, ergo he is a dolphin trainer, right?
Be sure to follow Kristin on Instagram and Twitter, @kristinfinan or on her site, www.kristinfinan.com.