From Blogger to Travel Writer – Ryan James, MSW, LCSW, Ed.D.

When living and working in California as a social worker, therapist, and college instructor my dream was to break into travel writing. Each college winter recess, my partner and I would spend a month in various countries. Our friends and co-workers traveled vicariously through our adventures; they demanded detailed reports of our daily undertakings.

To fill their need, not to mention to keep track of our own memories, I religiously spent an hour to two at the end of each day ruminating, and then recording minute details of the day’s experiences. No element went unnoticed; I would write about the rusty water that poured from the shower for five minutes before running clear to determining whether or not street vendors were reliable lunch venues. In the early days, before personal blogs, I would e-mail this list to all who had asked for it before I left for vacation. With each passing year, additional people wanted to be on my list of “subscribers’ wanting to receive my missives first hand and not wait for it to be forwarded by a friend.

With this encouragement and enthusiasm in my writing, it occurred to me to publish these same posts onto travel website forums with the off chance that some travel editor would see my work and find it as worthy as others have suggested. Initially, I started with and I had considered others like Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum all others I could find online. Some were too restrictive, so they were ruled out. Mind you, this was back in the 1990s, so the options were not as excessive as today.

Years passed, but I continued with increasing fervor. Then in 2005, I received an e-mail from Stephan Bassman, the editor of the Frommer’s guide Budapest and the Best of Hungary asking if I would like to be considered for writing the next edition. He explained that the web editor had been tracking my submissions to the forum, so when a new Budapest author was needed, he suggested that Stephan look at my work. After doing an original sample review for a hotel, restaurant, and an attraction, I was selected over six others. Since then I have written these books and chapters –

Frommer’s travel guides
Complete books:
Budapest & the Best of Hungary 7th & 8th editions

Hungary chapter for these books:
Europe by Rail 3rd & 4th editions
Eastern Europe 2nd edition
Europe 11th & 12th editions

Dr. Ryan James is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Life Coach, and university professor. With plans to travel for a year, after covering much of Europe, he went to Budapest, Hungary to hunker down for the winter in December 2001, but has not left except to explore more of the world now totally 58 countries. He is the Coordinator of the Journalism/Writing Program at E