In that first year I saw a lot (and ate and drank a lot) but had no time to research the trips properly or find outlets to sell the stories. I spent a fortune on airport car parks, taxis and bottled water. I soon got bored with days spent at airports, on ferries and in tour buses.
It's clear that too much travel is as bad as not enough.
So now I've learned to do just what I need and want to do. That means snapping up well-paid commissioned trips or going to places that I really want to go. But not wasting my weeks on trips back to the over-publicised destinations that everyone has read a hundred times already.
I'm still waiting to go to Japan, Tahiti and I can't wait to go back to Patagonia, but I will never again spend ten days by myself in a cheap tourist hotel in Magalluf Mallorca just to see what it's like.
What this means is that every single day I have the odd experience of turning down travel PR people offering me free trips to places all over the world. Today, for example, a wet Monday in May, I've politely declined visits to Egypt, Scotland, the Lake District and Florida Keys.
I could spend the whole next month taking up those offers, earn no money and spend dreary hours on motorways and in airports in the process.
Instead I'm waiting for a trip to Sweden in a couple of weeks which will end up in the Mail on Sunday and thetraveleditor.com/. That'll do for now.
I'm reporting this, not to show off - after any travelwriters will be getting the same offers as me - but to show what a strange view of travel us professionals get.
While most people dream for weeks of their next trip, we end up almost begrudging the whole process. It's work, nice work, but still work.
After a while even the smartest hotels and weirdest landscapes can seem like another day spent clutching a notebook, asking how you spell people's names and reminding yourself to take photos.
So for you, the reader, there's a good side to all this: jaded old travel hacks like me are unlikely to be bowled over by some average new hotel in Tuscany or another bunch of palm trees round a swimming pool in the Caribbean. We've seen it all before and know there are a hundred others just down the road.
So when we do rant about how good something is - then it REALLY has made an impression.