Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia. (Photo: Tsh OxenReider)
What’s better than traveling the world, experiencing one-of-a-kind adventures, and then getting paid to write about them? Being a travel writer is a highly coveted job that many writers dream of landing one day.
The position is typically reserved for those with a pedigree of published pieces and thousands of miles under their belts, so the thought of a kid taking on that role seems relatively impossible. That’s until Tatum Oxenreider entered the picture.
At 10 years old, she’s been to over 30 countries and has spent most of her life on the road with her parents, who work for a nonprofit and run their company The Art of Simple Travel, and two brothers. School days are spent visiting places like the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall of China instead of sitting in a classroom. Her parents have been encouraging her to write about her experiences as part of her untraditional lesson plan. “I enjoy writing because I can just let my ideas out on a piece of paper; then others can read about them and know about them,” Tatum tells Yahoo Travel.
The family of five in China. (Photo: Tsh Oxenreider)
Tatum’s mom Tsh was the first one to encourage her daughter to start blogging. She began taking the next steps of teaching her daughter how to turn those writings into publishable pieces. “We were already having her keep a journal of the places we’ve gone to,” Tsh tells Yahoo Travel. "So, we thought we could turn this into more of a lesson by polishing them up and posting them online, and it would be great for people to get a kid’s perspective of traveling and the benefits of it.“
Now, Tatum contributes to her mom’s successful travel blog The Art of Simple Travel and has written pieces such as “My Day at Elephant Nature Park” and “Queensland, Australia is Awesome for Kids.” Her charming posts are part humor, part photos, and part tour guide, just what you’d expect from any seasoned writer.
The burgeoning blogger was even approached by HomeAway to write about how long-term travel has changed her life. “Not only is long-term travel brain-changing and fun, but it is also life-changing,” she wrote in the piece. "I have most definitely grown, not only in height and muscles, but my heart as well. I have really matured.“ It’s that viewpoint that her mother says makes her feel like it’s all worth it. "Of course, they’re kids and they complain and whine when we’re on the road,” says Tsh. “But, getting to read everything she’s taking away from our travels makes us feel like we’re doing something right.”
Tatum feeding the elephants in Chiang Mai, Thailand. (Photo: Tsh Oxenreider)
Tatum hopes her writing and blogging will help change the idea that it is hard to travel with kids. “I want people to learn that what you dream about is possible if you just believe it can happen,” she adds. “Put action behind your travel dreams, and it really can happen. We’re a very normal family, and we did it!”
So, could full-time travel writing be something that runs in the family? “I want to be a biologist when I grow up,” says Tatum. “But, I could also be a blogger and just write about biology.”
Check out our original adventure travel series, “A Broad Abroad.”