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Release Date: 06.22.2017 | Location: All Metro Atlanta | Organization: Green Global Media

"4 Questions Journalist Spotlight" with Bret Love of Green Global Travel

Leff's Atlanta Media's Weekly Feature Conversation with an Atlanta Journalist

Each week, in partnership with Leff’s Atlanta Media (www.leffsatlantamedia.com), Atlanta Daybook presents our "Journalist Spotlight." Mitch Leff offers a conversation with a journalist in the Atlanta market, asking them four questions that'll help you learn more about local Atlanta media. What makes them tick? What's new at their media outlet? What drives them?

This week we’re talking with Bret Love, editor-in-chief of Green Global Travel and co-founder of Green Travel Media. Bret is a journalist/editor with 21 years of experience freelancing for more than 100 publications (including American Way, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, National Geographic, and Rolling Stone). With his wife, photographer/videographer Mary Gabbett, he co-founded ecotourism/conservation website Green Global Travel, which has grown into one of the world’s top niche travel blogs.

The couple also co-founded Green Travel Media, a blogger-driven digital media agency that offers brand-based turnkey solutions for integrated Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Influencer Marketing & SEO.

Bret has become increasingly in-demand as a speaker/teacher on topics such as branding, digital media marketing, journalism tools for bloggers, responsible travel, and brand/blogger partnerships. He’s also made a name for himself managing marketing campaigns for companies such as International Expeditions and Zegrahm Expeditions. 

What kind of story makes you proud to be a journalist?  

One of the best back-handed compliments an editor ever gave me was that my stories are like "playing 6-dimensional chess." As a travel writer I like to examine the history and cultural evolution of a place, talking with locals who can provide insight on what makes that destination distinctive from any other place in the world.

It might be profiling Creole chefs and Mardi Gras Indians for a piece on how the Treme neighborhood was the birthplace of New Orleans culture, interviewing a guide who worked Dian Fossey about the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda, or talking to a local drum maker about the connection between Belize's Garifuna culture and ancient African traditions. My favorite stories are those that get to the heart of a place, bringing its soul to light.

Hopefully in doing so, I help readers see a different side of it that goes beyond the trappings of mass tourism, inspiring deeper and more personal travel experiences. 

What's new and different about what you're doing at Green Global Travel? 

Our biggest claim to fame is the fact that we were one of the first independent travel blogs to focus exclusively on Ecotourism, which is defined as “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.”

Ecotourism was a brand-new concept when I started writing about it for Atlanta's INsite Magazine (of which I was National Managing Editor) back in the last '90s. I tried for years to pitch stories about the topic to my freelance clients, including many airline and hotel magazines, but most weren't interested. So I started Green Global Travel largely out of frustration, because I was getting to write the stories I wanted to write.

Within a few years of launching GGT in 2010, ecotourism and responsible travel were becoming the fastest-growing segment of the $7 TRILLION a year travel industry. Now we're in the process of creating an extensive series of "Ecotourism in..." destination guides, which we hope to compile into book form next year.

What is the best and worst thing about your job?

The best things about it are being self-employed (which means I get to work from home and be with my family 24/7), having control over my own creative direction and financial freedom, getting to do work that I'm passionate about and proud of, getting to travel around the world, and being able to share the benefits of ecotourism in a way that inspires people to travel more responsibly and sustainably. In some small way, I feel like our work helps to make the world a better place.

The worst part about it is that travel blogging is such a nascent field, with so little barrier to entry, that it's very difficult to make a decent living at it. More than 70 percent of all professional travel bloggers make less than $30,000 a year. Like a lot of creative fields, there are a LOT of people who think bloggers should just work for free. So I work twice as hard on my blog to make half the money I did when I was a full-time writer/editor in the print world. Fortunately, our Green Travel Media agency has some great tour operator clients that more than make up the difference!

What’s the coolest thing people should know about you? 

I've had an interesting life with a lot of twists and turns. I had a troubled childhood plagued by bullying and abuse, but my singing ability landed me in the Atlanta Boy Choir, singing for Pope John Paul II in the Vatican at age 12. I was homeless after high school, but wound up working my way through college at Georgia State and interviewing icons in the music and film worlds while I was still a student.

I got laid off from my full-time gig at INsite two months before my daughter was born, but managed to scrape together a freelance career that ended up making me more money than I ever had before. I went through a difficult divorce in 2004, so I turned to improv comedy, joined the cast at Dad's Garage, and wound up co-founding my own successful company. Even Green Global Travel was borne from adversity, after my wife got laid off in 2009.

So I guess the coolest thing about me is my ability to find the opportunities where others might only see obstacles. I never give up, I never stop pushing forward, and I never let the rollercoaster of life distract me from pursuing my dreams. I really believe that the definition of a champion isn't someone who always wins, but someone who gets back up, brushes themselves off, and tries even harder after they lose.

About Bret:

  • Last Book Read: Persepolis, a graphic novel about the Iranian Revolution.
  • Favorite Atlanta Restaurant: UMI Sushi Bar
  • Favorite Guilty Pleasure: Binging Netflix (a major indulgence for a workaholic like me!)
  • Local Getaway: Lake Allatoona, where we keep a pontoon boat docked year-round.
  • Favorite Non-Work Hobby: Playing music with friends I've known for nearly 30 years.
  • Twitter: @GreenGlobalTrvl

Mitch Leff is the president of Leff & Associates Public Relations (www.leffassociates.com), an Atlanta-based PR agency. Leff also operates Leff’s Atlanta Media (www.leffsatlantamedia.com) an online database with contact info for thousands of Atlanta-based journalists, and Mitch’s Media Match (www.mitchsmediamatch.com), a service that connects Atlanta journalists with local experts and sources. Contact him at mitch@leffassociates.com, (404) 861-4769, on Twitter (@mitchleffPR), or on Facebook at Leff & Associates.

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Contact Info

Contact Name: Mitch Leff

Company: Leff & Associates Public Relations

Phone: 404-861-4769

E-mail: mitch@leffassociates.com