Don't misunderstand me. Being a travel writer, though not always as glamorous as it sounds, is a wonderful career choice – especially if, like me, you enjoy traveling, writing, taking photographs, meeting new people, and embracing new experiences. It also helps that I rarely feel lonely as a travel writer – after all, almost everywhere I go, I go with my favorite traveling companion: my husband, Daniel. Still, there is a downside to this business.
As my fellow Moon author and blogger Joshua Berman  has written in his refreshingly honest piece “Questions I've Been Asked About Writing Guidebooks,”  “guidebook writing is too much work for too little pay.” In fact, it's often necessary, as Joshua suggests, to take on freelancing work, such as magazine writing, as well as seasonal jobs, which, in my case, includes operating two film  festivals  with my husband.
Writing guidebooks might not be easy, but nevertheless, I consider it a rewarding way to spend my time. Indeed, I take my responsibility as a guidebook author rather seriously. With every word I write, I hope that all my careful research will ultimately enable my fellow travelers to have a safe, happy, memorable journey to the destination in question. Although I realize that many factors – such as crime in Baja California , blizzards in Michigan , and hurricanes in the Florida Keys  – are beyond my control, I still hope that my guides will help folks more than they might hinder them.
Another downside to being a guidebook author – especially a detail-obsessed one like me – is that no matter how hard you try to check and then recheck all the facts, from phone numbers to websites to prices, such things can change at any time. As a perfectionist, I feel as though I'm never really done with any of my guidebooks – despite the fact that deadlines make it necessary to finish them... eventually. After all, I can't help my fellow travelers if the guidebooks are never published, right?
Of course, most travelers are savvy enough to know that, by the time a guidebook is published, some of the information might be slightly outdated. Nevertheless, it's still disheartening to learn that something has changed drastically – especially just after a book has been released. But given all the places and details that one guidebook usually contains, such unfortunate occurrences can certainly happen. While researching Moon Florida Keys , for instance, I was lucky enough to visit the Pirate Soul Museum  in Key West, but sadly, this intriguing place, which is mentioned in the Florida Keys guide, closed its doors last year. Luckily, though, it's not gone for good, as you can still experience Pat Croce's impressive collection at the new St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum  in St. Augustine, Florida.
Despite the fact that listed establishments can change or close at any time, I would still rather travel with a well-researched guidebook in hand than a cumbersome laptop or a cell phone in search of a signal. So, to those who prefer websites and travel apps to printed guidebooks, I'd argue that there's room for a variety of travel tools  in the marketplace. For me, there's definitely an advantage to reading an entire book about a particular destination, with all the history, character, and details included – instead of simply trusting the abbreviated bits of information to which techno-savvy Tweeters have grown accustomed. But, no matter where you find your information – whether in a guidebook, on a website, through your cell phone, or via a fellow traveler – it's always advisable to contact the intended establishment or service directly instead of relying solely on third-party sources.
In the meantime, whenever something changes down in the Florida Keys – as it inevitably will – I'll try my best to report such news in an up-to-the-minute place like this blog , or that one  – or, naturally, through my Facebook  and Twitter  pages.
Until then, be sure to let me know if you hear something, too. Although I visit the Florida Keys often and try to keep abreast of the happenings down there, being an American Nomad makes it difficult to be everywhere at once – not that it keeps me from trying, of course!
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below or contact me via laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com.
Disclosure: While I occasionally accept free or discounted travel assistance when it coincides with my editorial goals, my opinion is never for sale, which means that everything written in my American Nomad blog and Moon travel guides is my unbiased reflection of the things that I see, do, and experience while traveling across the United States.
Photo of the former Pirate Soul Museum © 2011 Daniel Martone / Text © 2011 Laura Martone
Laura Martone is Moon’s American Nomad  and the author of Moon Florida Keys , Moon Michigan , Moon Baja RV Camping , and the upcoming Moon New Orleans that will be published in Fall 2011.