*You’re welcome. For what, you ask? For putting the fine print at the top. Yep, you got it, this is the part where I tell you I’m a good, upstanding writer and convince you that Matador didn’t slip some money under the table, pay me off with Swedish Fish, or promise me that all my dreams would come true if I wrote favorably upon them. While I have contributed to Matador and friends with some of the editors, these thoughts are solely my own. I didn’t even use complimentary WiFi to write this. I wrote it in Open Office, because I’m cheap, and don’t feel like paying for Microsoft Word. However, I have all intentions of using what will probably be a bar’s free WiFi tomorrow morning to upload it to my blog. Affiliate links were used in this post.
I was first introduced to independent travel magazine Matador Network a couple years ago, during a time when I wasn’t very “indie”. I had a “corporatey” editorial job, listened to John Mayer, and had just eaten Hummus for the first time. I know, living on the edge right? That’s when I virtually met Matador’s Managing Editor, Julie Schwietert Collazo. She sent me a direct message on Twitter saying hello and we conversed back and forth briefly because she was from the area of South Carolina where I was living at the time. I figured if a managing editor was nice enough to reach out to me like that, then I should pay attention.
Since then, I’ve watched as Matador has quickly grown to become one of the most successful travel publications. Their website has grown to include 13 different departments, spanning travel, nightlife, volunteering, living abroad, sports, and more. Their website receives over 2 million pageviews per month. Last year they launched a web TV series with award-winning TV host Robin Esrock and have just launched a print travel magazine, with the first issue coming out in a few weeks. However, today I’m highlighting their online new media school: MatadorU. If you’re a visual person, the following video is a good introduction.
Before going too deep, let me just communicate from the outset, that the MatadorU travel writing course isn’t just for people who want to become full-time travel writers. Don’t dismiss it just because you love travel, but don’t see yourself being a published author. Matador’s offerings have several focuses, and aren’t just limited to travel writing per se. Maybe you’re interested in setting up a travel blog to log your travelers or want to learn how to write travel narrative that you can keep in your journal. Also, MatadorU’s travel courses aren’t just limited to writing. They also have a travel photography program and are introducing a travel filmmaking program this spring.
To provide an adequate overview of Matador’s travel writing and photography programs, I wanted to reach out to some people who have taken the course themselves. I contacted one person who is currently participating in MatadorU and reached out to another who has taken the course and is putting what they learned into practice.
Norbert Figueroa, MatadorU Alumni
If you’re seriously thinking on becoming a travel blogger or a freelance travel writer, MatadorU will give you a solid foundation on the structure and techniques of travel writing. In addition, it will help you take it a step further by understanding how to complement it with photography, video, social media, and monetization, among others. Another valuable lesson on the course helps you connect the dots between good writing, blogging, successful pitches, press trips, and other aspects that are important to make it in the travel writing industry.
Sandra Riesco, MatadorU Student
Two things: I love writing and I love traveling. I’ve been always fascinated when reading about travelers sharing their experiences in different places. I came across MatadorU when I actually decided to find a way of becoming a travel writer. To quote Nike, ‘Just do it’.
If nothing else, at least go to MatadorU’s website to check things out for yourself. The website has more information on MatadorU’s offerings, including testimonials, free resources, and interviews from travel magazine editors who have published the work of MatadorU alumni. If you need a little “push”, Q&A Skype sessions are available to answer your questions. Both the travel writing and travel photography course cost $350, and includes 12 weeks of coursework, exclusive access to paid writing and photography opportunities, and lifelong access to resources and continuing education.