Encouraging Writers and Boosting Interns Is More Rewarding than Money or Fame

David Rich, GoNOMAD's uber-traveler and super contributor.
David Rich, GoNOMAD's uber-traveler and super contributor.

What’s the most important thing to me about our website? I think that has to be the impact we have on so many people and that we make their lives richer as a result of the stories we publish. Some people get great joy in getting in the news a lot, others revel in huge bonanzas of money because of clever ideas. But a close friend pointed out to me that the real joy I get to share is in some ways the most fulfilling of them all. It’s not about me, it’s about the writers and the opportunities we can present them.

I thought about this yesterday as I climbed a mountain in Phoenix with David Rich. In 2002, we published his first travel story, a quirky piece about the jagged mountain peaks in China. It needed some work, and I gave him lots of advice. And in the years that followed, David has submitted and published more than 50 stories with us, as he made his way around the world in a staggering 18 years of almost non-stop traveling. To us, he’s the definition of someone who lives to travel. “You gave me my start,” he told me, and he sure went on to be a good investment of my time. David’s photos we published caught the eye of a childrens book publisher, she’s used them in several books. Other writers too, have told us that we gave them their first byline, and many have gone on to write books and even make a living from their writing. What could be more satisfying than that?

One thing that comes close are the interns who have spent time with us, and then leveraged their experience to find jobs in the travel field. We encourage, we recommend, we give them advice and we set up meetings. We believe in them and we share that with prospective employers. Oh, and we send them abroad on trips, giving them topics that make great travel articles, and more clips for their portfolios.

As I reflect on the inspiration of the past week at the Phocuswright show, where entrepreneurs made me feel like I had a lot of work to do to catch up, it’s a joy to be reminded of something that we can be proud of.