Travel writing—something we can do well as we get older

By David Hammond  

Life gives us windows of opportunity for peak physical and mental performance.

In sports, most athletes reach their peak before they’re 30.

So, setting out for a career as a professional athlete in your 40s or 50s might not be the best use of your time.

But if you like to explore and like to write, developing your skills to become a travel writer in your 40s, 50s, or 60s can make total sense.

Here's why…

We have several categories of mental function. And the window of opportunity for peak performance among these categories varies.

For example, the window of opportunity to develop peak mental quickness is young—usually under 30. By our 50’s, the decline is often noticeable. We may find ourselves reaching for a name that’s temporarily escaped our memory. And it might take longer to solve a math problem.

However, when it comes to more complex mental functions like reasoning, making accurate judgments, and some language usage skills, it’s a different story. The age-related window of opportunity for peak development in these areas doesn’t come until middle age. Think 40s, 50s, and 60s.

This includes skills useful to travel writers, like:
  • expressing ideas in words
  • finding your way around in a new place 
  • accurately evaluating situations and predicting outcomes

The bottom line is this: We can start training for a travel-writing career in middle age and still have plenty of time ahead of us to develop our competence and serve readers with high-quality work.

How old is too old for travel writing?

For some of these cognitive skills, we pass out of our window of peak performance in our late 60s and early 70s. However, it’s not the end of the line. It’s more a matter of maintaining good health.

If we stay healthy, some of our key mental functions (although past our peak) may still perform at higher levels than travel writers in their 20s and 30s.

So, if you’re on the lookout for a new career you can stay with as you get older—consider travel writing.