JoAnna Haugen was recently named the managing editor of the Journey Beyond Travel website, an online travel guide focused on Morocco. We talked over email about this new project and some of her other work.
What is Journey Beyond Travel and what is your role?
Journey Beyond Travel is a cultural and eco-tour operator in Morocco. I am the managing editor of the travel guide section of the Journey Beyond Travel website. I’ve been working with my direct supervisor to create a plan for a consistent and interesting flow of articles related to Morocco.
Over the long term, I will completely run this section of the site by editing and posting 3-4 articles per week, putting together an email newsletter, and running the social media components that are related to the travel guide.
What interested you in taking on this position?
I personally have never been to Morocco, but I’ve always been fascinated with the country, so I was excited to take on a position that allowed me to really dig in to the culture, places, and people of Morocco. In the short time that I’ve been working on the site, Morocco has definitely made a big jump to the top of my bucket list.
Also, the Journey Beyond Travel site had reached a point where it needed fresh eyes, and it’s been a lot of fun to create long-term plans that will help develop the site into something more comprehensive and user friendly than it is now.
What are your plans for developing the site?
Right now, everything is a work in progress, but I have developed an editorial calendar and we’re talking about redesigning the layout of the travel guide so that we can begin posting photo essays.
We have a few other ideas on how to make the travel guide more useful for people interested in traveling to Morocco, which we hope to implement before too long, but no other major changes to the site have been decided on at this point.
One of the most pressing things right now is finding one more long-term writer for our editorial team. If any Matador readers are interested in learning more about the open position, they should contact me at joanna[at]journeybeyondtravel[dot]com.
What niche or gap does JBT fill in online travel writing?
Journey Beyond Travel is strictly focused on travel to and in Morocco. Though the site is for a tour company, the ultimate goal is to make this a go-to site for people who would like to travel to the country.
Because of this, I’m hoping to cover all aspects of travel to Morocco from what to pack and what kind of weather to expect at certain times of the year to finding the perfect place to stay for a honeymoon or where the best rock climbing is. We aren’t trying to cover everything related to travel, but we are trying to provide information for anyone who wants to go to Morocco, regardless of budget, age, or interests.
What else are you working on apart from travel editing and travel writing these days?
I’m always juggling a lot of different projects, but I do have a couple new interesting writing assignments that stand out right now. First, I’m getting ready to work with a client on some web copy writing and ghost blogging about a new, very exciting niche business she is starting. She has a brilliant idea, and, quite frankly, I’m surprised no one else has thought to create this business first.
Also, I just signed with a literary agent to have my first children’s picture book represented, so I’m working with her to develop a marketing / promotional plan. I knew getting an agent would be tricky, but I didn’t know how much work would be involved once I found one who wanted to represent my book!
What are some of your long-term writing plans?
That’s a hard question to answer because I love everything I work on and write now, but I also could use a little more time to sleep and a bit more focus on what I write. I have about a dozen half-started novel ideas–some are 50,000 words and eight chapters in, some no more than an outline and a few words or thoughts–and I would like to get back to those some day.
Matador’s ultimate resource for Morocco is our Morocco Focus Page. We have articles on Surfing Morocco, finding the best food and spiritual experiences in Morocco, and gorgeous photo essays by Matador contributing editor, Morocco guidebook author, and MatadorU faculty member, Paul Sullivan.
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