Erick Prince is a writer, photographer, and world traveler. After serving over ten years in the United States Air Force, he is on a quest to become the first African American to visit every country in the world. His blogs and shares photos and videos of his travels at Minority Nomad.
How did you get started traveling?
I started traveling as a member of the U.S. Air Force. I joined prior to 9/11 and found myself crisscrossing the globe. After finishing my career I decided to start a program to inspire low-income kids to travel the world and document their lives through photography. Many potential donors to the project felt it wasn’t worth supporting, as poor people of color don’t travel. I set out to prove them wrong. I saved all my money from two side jobs, sold all my belongings, and hit the road. Almost five years later, here I am.
How did you get started writing?
My personal writing started young. Around fourth or fifth grade. Professionally, it started with my University of Texas at Austin newspaper, The Daily Texan. Then, rolled over into my travel blog. My career actually started as a photographer first and a writer second. I came in around the time papers and magazines were laying off staff writers and photographers. Since I had the ability to do both, I picked up small gigs here and there.
What do you consider your first “break” as a writer?
Honestly, I don’t believe I’ve gotten it yet. While I’ve been blessed with consistent writing work over the years, I’ve never received anything I would truly consider a “break.”
As a traveler and fact/story-gatherer, what is your biggest challenge on the road?
Staying consistent. Travel is the biggest detriment to travel writing for me. Not only is the act of consistent travel strenuous physically, but it’s exhausting mentally. I’m an emotional writer. Whatever I feel at the moment comes across in my writing. Part of travel is navigating the emotional waves you’ll experience. From extreme sadness to immeasurable joy. I’m not particularly good at navigating those emotions yet.
What is your biggest challenge in the research and writing process?
Finding valid information. Whenever I write about subjects in the areas of politics, social justice, or science, I research extensively. The problem is, there’s a lot of false information out there. Another, finding sources in English. Sometimes the best information isn’t in your native tongue.
Have you ever done other work to make ends meet?
I’ve always had three sources of income, since I was thirteen years old. So making ends meet really isn’t a concept for me. While travel journalism is something I’m passionate about, it’s only one of several ways I make a living.
What travel authors, books, or blogs might you recommend and/or have influenced you?
Gordon Parks has been an inspiration of mine since I was ten years old. The way he was able to capture the African American experience through photography inspired me to look at the world differently. I own every book on the man. One of my favorite travel memoirs is Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? by Thomas Kohnstamm. It’s still the funniest travel memoir I’ve consumed. That book inspired me to become a travel blogger.
What advice and/or warnings would you give to someone who is considering going into travel writing?
Don’t do it if you’re doing it to make money. Do it because you truly want to help people. Money will come if you’re sincere. And be you. People will ride with you until the end if they feel like you’re honest.
What is the biggest reward of life as a travel writer?
Easy. Travel. I’ve created a lifestyle which doesn’t rely on travel writing for money. Which gives me freedom to do and say whatever I want.