Host: With me in the studio today, I have Jessica Tait, one of Canada’s most popular travel writers. Jessica, how did your writing career first start?
Jessica: I think it was at the age of 12, but not with travel writing, it was with a monthly movie-review column for the Toronto Sun, My column talked about new kids’ movies and was regularly published for over six years. I learned everything I know from my mom, who spent countless hours over the summer holidays teaching me grammar and correcting my misplaced modifiers! From movie reviews, I moved into travel features. For four years, I wrote a monthly travel series for the Toronto Sun, called “Confessions of a Backpacker”. Though, actually, come to think of it, before any of that started, I had stuff printed out quire regularly in a local newsletter. You know, the sort of thing that promotes local talent and publishes items of interest to the community. I used to love writing funny poems when I was at primary school though I haven’t written any in years. 
Host: What is the biggest challenge for you in the writing process?
Jessica: Well, I used to be a very slow writer, I had to think about each word very carefully and often agonised over how best to phrase a thought. I’m a bit better now but writing with tight deadlines can sometimes be a challenge for me. Though that’s mainly because I hate hurrying, I want to really delve into the essence of a new place, but the reality of the marketplace only occasionally allows for such indulgences.  So, what’s a girl to do?
Interviewer: And what gives you the most satisfaction in your work?
Jessica: Well, of course, few people can have seen as many wonderful sights as I have. But above all I’m very aware of how lucky I am to be able to to know people with such different life experiences to my own.  It’s very satisfying not only to have made their acquaintance, but also to have been able to record my encounters for my readers to experience vicariously too. interviewer: Have you ever done other work to make ends meet?
Jessica: In my seven years of travel writing, I’ve been very lucky and been able to support myself almost exclusively on travel writing. However, in order to gain additional income to put towards a plane ticket somewhere exotic, I once worked briefly in the publicity biz at various product launches. I danced with torches at a Hawaiian themed trade show and gave out free nail polish and fake tan on the streets of Montreal! 
Host: Have you any tips that you’d like to offer the young person who dreams of becoming a travel writer like you?
Jessica: Well the first thing is to look for a good hook. You need to take a fresh point of view on an old subject or look for unusual new stories. Many of the places you’ll write about have been done before, so you need to find something new and original to say that will grab your readers’ (and an editor’s) attention.  Up-and-coming neighbourhoods, trends and unique destinations always seem to have an appeal, whatever your intended readership may be.
Host: Finally, Jessica, what do you see for yourself in the future?
Jessica: Well, I have been offered TV work. I’m not ruling out the possibility but it doesn’t hold much appeal for me at the moment. I guess the only thing that’s a certain is that I can’t see myself ever ceasing to be on the move even if I’m no longer writing for a living.  Some people have suggested I must have enough material for a good few novels and that’s certainly true but I don’t think that’s likely to be the way I go. However, I’m sure the lure of the unknown will always be there for me even when I need a stick to make my way around and when I’m no longer fortunate enough to be able to make travel my business.
Host: Thank you, Jessica. It’s been very interesting to talk to you.
The research lab I work in is part of the medical school at the uni. It’s on the edge of the campus next to the main library.  I studied zoology with a view to becoming a wildlife photographer and flying all over the world. But somehow that hasn’t happened. My working hours are quite long in that sometimes I have to go in to check on experiments in the evenings. That makes me envy my flatmate who’s a hotel administrator and has managed to arrange things so she only does the morning shift. Our flat’s halfway between both our workplaces. The people I work with are lovely – they’re all really funny.  She’s got more chances of promotion than I have, though.
This is a great place to work because it’s right beside the railway station where I arrive in the mornings.  I can get up at 8:15 and still be at my desk by nine, which is brilliant. I’ve always wanted to spend my life as a creative person, writing a novel or something, and I haven’t given up hope of that so I don’t think I want to stay here forever. I fancy working in a library where I fondly imagine I’d have opportunities to read a jot and further my own writing ambitions. In the meantime, though, I’m quite enjoying the experience of helping people who come into the office to plan their holiday trips. 
It’s not a bad job though most people think stacking shelves must be pretty boring.  But I have nice co-workers and at least I have plenty of time while I’m doing it to think about my university dissertation and then I can get on with writing it up when I’m at home. My last job was as a nursing auxiliary on a geriatric ward and that was very rewarding —I really felt that I was helping people. It was hard work though and I had no energy left after my shift. In this job I can opt to work in the evenings and then write up my research when I’m fresher during the day. 
It’s quite a boring job at the moment. I used to be a hospital porter and then every day was different, which you certainty couldn’t say about the work here. I meet a variety of people but all I do is sell them train tickets.  They are often hot and bothered and burdened with luggage and can be quite short-tempered if they are affected by the delays of cancellations. I’ve decided to stick to it though because there are some good managerial posts here and I’ll be eligible to apply for one of those soon – that’d be more satisfying work.  If I don’t get one then I’ll think about moving on somewhere, perhaps to a travel agency or something like that.
As a kid, I planned to become a train driver, an airline pilot or a brain surgeon and I certainly never expected I’d end up in the job – I never cared much for reading when I was younger. I work in the main city branch.  It’s next to a hotel with a coffee shop that some colleagues and I often pop into at lunchtime. Whenever we have a break we’re usually planning what to do with our annual leave. That’s more generous than in any other job I’ve done, especially now that I’ve been promoted.  Also the pay is quite good so I’ve been able to do a lot of travelling since I’ve been working here.