An interview with Ash Bhardwaj
Is there a better life than one of a travel journalist?
City, University of London tutor, Ash Bhardwaj has made a career of his passion for travel and world adventure. Braving the extreme altitude of Everest Base Camp, trekking the length of the River Nile and wading through crocodile infested parks in Uganda are just a few breath-taking experiences of Ash’s career so far.
He has written for The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times and Huffington Post and produced television content for the BBC and Channel 4. Not only that, Ash is an established film-maker and works as Head of Production at his own video company, Digital Dandy. An expert in video production, article writing and photography, Ash uses these skills to capture his journeys and bring them to back to us.
Being a travel journalist sounds like a dream job, how did it all start for you?
I was backpacking around Australia and NZ for a year, working on farms and playing rugby. I wrote an email update every few weeks (this was in the days before blogs) – people enjoyed it. Later, I started a blog and offered to write for online magazines for free. A TV documentary I developed became a travel article instead and my online portfolio meant it could be commissioned.
What has been your most memorable experience so far?
Travelling to India with my sister to take my father’s ashes to Haridwar. We discovered the Indian half of our heritage by seeing our family tree dating back over 400 years and learning about Hindu rituals. We then spent a few days in Rishikesh, where the Beatles had gone to learn about Hinduism. It’s a beautiful place that combines Hindu heritage with modern travel and fun, like white water rafting!
What are the most important skills needed to become a travel journalist?
Learning how to pitch by knowing what magazines or newspapers want, otherwise you’ll never be published! That means learning how to write for an audience and not just for yourself. You need to be able to network and reach editors, which requires skill in using social media; so learning how to use Instagram, Twitter, blogs and LinkedIn to promote yourself effectively is important.
Next it’s the journey and the story itself – how do you find stories, and what do you focus on in your writing. That leads into the art of writing, and understanding how and why different styles work. I cover these areas in my course at City.
Why did you decide to teach the course, Building a Career in Travel and Adventure Journalism, at City?
Being successful in journalism isn’t easy, but if you follow a plan, network and give yourself a few years to do it, it’s certainly possible. Over the years (and mostly through making mistakes) I’ve learned some key skills and tips that have made a big difference. If I’d known those from the start, it would have really helped. So I’d like to pass on what I’ve leaded over the 10 years that I’ve been a writer and journalist.
Ash teaches the one-day Masterclass, Building a Career in Adventure Journalism, at City, University of London. The next course will take place on Saturday 11th February, to book your place on the course visit our website.