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Life and Work with Rina Baraz Nehdar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rina Baraz Nehdar.

Rina, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve always known I wanted to write but I wasn’t always brave enough to do it. It wasn’t until I went back to college, a little older and wiser, that I had the guts to choose a major that had anything to do with writing: broadcast journalism. I also had the desire to save the world and give a voice to those who didn’t yet have one.

I worked as a reporter and anchor in Fairbanks, Alaska then came back to Los Angeles and worked in radio and in TV newsrooms. I started working as a public speaker, doing workshops about making healthy choices, with kids in private schools around the world. I loved the impact I had on the kids and their families but I also loved the travel and thought I’d need to get it out of my system before I got married and had my own kids.

After making the family and quitting the job to stay home with my first baby, I realized I needed balance and started writing a blog during my son’s naps. From there, I wrote for free for our local paper. I just wanted to build bylines until my writing became of value. I started writing for L.A. Parent, initially also for free, and then they started offering me assignments and I became an official freelance journalist for both publications. It was L.A. Parent that sent me on my first travel story and I knew this was exactly what I’ve always wanted to do, write and travel. Today, I write for various travel magazines, online outlets and my own digital magazine, L.A. Family Travel.

As an immigrant to this country, I struggled as a child – feeling misunderstood and not relating to my new country. My parents didn’t know the culture and couldn’t teach me anything about it except how to work hard to make your dreams come true. I wanted to help build connections between cultures. To travel, write and construct those bridges with my words. Now that I had identified my dream, I worked hard to make it happen. I built on the skills I had learned in journalism school by taking online travel writing courses and reading books on how to become a travel journalist. I joined professional organizations and learned how to network and tried to let my work speak for itself.

As a mother, though, I was limited by the time available to work on my aspirations. And since I was a mother, I wanted to include my children in discovering and understanding the world and the different people living within it. So, between sports schedules and school breaks, we travel the world, try to enjoy it more than want to kill each other and learn about it along the way. My job is to bring our discoveries and tips for survival and growth to other families.

Has it been a smooth road?
Once I went out as a freelance travel journalist, I had to learn how to sell my stories. There was a lot of rejection and often silence. I just had to keep going because travel writing was something I would do even if no one was paying me. I just had to figure out how to get better at it and meet the right people who could see and, possibly, like my work. I joined travel writing organizations, went to their conferences and made connections. Social media helped a lot too. There are Facebook support groups for everything.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with L.A. Family Travel – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I specialize in writing about Real Family Adventure Travel. What that means is: We didn’t sell it all or quit it all to travel. We, like most families, travel on school holidays and because I have two brave boys, we like to jump off things and swim under things and fly through the air. I get to visit many locations and love to share our discoveries with families who want some guidance. Last year, I won two professional awards, one for writing and one for photography, from the North American Travel Journalists Association. I think because I love what I do, I always want to do it. It’s not like a grinding job but I still have to maintain a schedule, otherwise, something else will always call me away because, let’s face it, even though I love to write, often it’s hard. The professionals just do it anyway and fix all the nonsense in editing.

What advice would you give to someone at the start of her career?
If you want to be a travel writer, then read travel books and magazines. Figure out what styles you like and why you like them. Write, write, write. Take online courses, listen to podcasts and network with other travel writers and travel specialists. Start a writing group.

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Image Credit:
Rina Baraz Nehdar

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