AWAI: 2009 Year in Review
Getting paid to travel the globe as a writer, photographer, or both is exciting, fun… and easier than it sounds. The proof is in the scads of success stories we get from AWAI program participants and past attendees every year. (I’ll paste a few of them below.)
Today’s issue celebrates their successes — past, present, and future — and yours, too. It’s a brand new year. A brand new chance to escape the nine to five, do something you love, and leave your stress behind once and for all. Scroll down to read a sample of success stories we collected in 2009. And by all means, let me know if there are any more I’ve missed.
If you HAVE a picture of yourself to upload with your story, you’ll find our Wall of Fame application, here.
I’ve pasted in some of our most recent success stories below as motivation for you to get out there, see the world, and collect a paycheck.
Have a great weekend,
Director, Great Escape Publishing
P.S. Paris… Ecuador… Thailand. Join us on a travel writing or photography workshop or expedition this year and we’ll help you craft your own escape plan — no more stress, no messy health care plans, no boss breathing down your neck because your company is under-staffed so more work is falling on your plate. We have some exciting new destinations to choose from in 2010 — here in the U.S. and around the globe. And I’m going to give you an opportunity to save on each and every one of them next week. Stay tuned for a list of dates and destinations. And don’t forget to scroll down to read what some of your fellow readers have been up to…
AWAI 2009 Year in Review — Successes Abound
*** ALAN MCBRIDE
Alan was skeptical about making a living off of his travel writing. Then he started writing articles for WorldReviewer.com, including pieces on Christmas Island, Borneo, Kakadu, Tasmania, New Zealand, and Australia. He also went on a two-week, all-inclusive tour to Borneo as a travel writer. Last we heard from him, Alan had just been invited to France to complete a story he pitched the week before. He’s not a full-time writer, yet. But as he told us, his string of successes is “not bad for a non-believer.”
*** BILL HAVLE
After beginning the AWAI Turn Your Pictures into Cash program, Bill started seeing blank walls. That is, he saw a possible show space for his photos on the walls of his favorite breakfast joint. He asked the owner if he could show his stuff… and not only did he get the best spot in the restaurant to hang his art, but the owner asked him to do his family portraits, too. “Trust me!” he said, “If it can work for me, it can work for anybody! You just have to tell yourself to start.”
*** HEATHER RATH
Heather was published twice in Travel Post Monthly and once in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper after beginning The AWAI Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program. With more confidence after getting her first piece published, she now finds she has travel writing projects left and right, despite a “busy ‘other’ life.”
*** ANN JORDAN-MILLS
After attending the AWAI Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Denver, Ann didn’t hesitate to dive right in and start submitting articles for publication. One of her articles, on Canmore in Alberta, Canada, was picked up by Travelmag, an online UK travel magazine. And variations of the same article are published on other online sites, as well as included on a CD that TravelWritersTales.com submits to five BC newspapers.
*** ANN KUFFNER
Combining her copywriting and travel writing skills brought Ann success in 2009. She published two articles in the glossy, print version of International Living, as well as one online “postcard” piece. Ann always wanted to write for International Living… and now she has a good relationship with the editor that should land even more assignments.
*** CATHERINE CAIRNS-O’KEEFE
A photo enthusiast since high school, Catherine decided to take the AWAI Turn Your Pictures into Cash program. Now, she takes professional photos alongside her brother and was paid to shoot a wedding last August.
*** FRED BRAUN
Fred used freelance writer Jennifer Stevens’ suggestions to get published three times in his local Sarasota magazine, SCENE. Before, he told us, he was sending out query after query and getting no response from editors. But after using Jennifer’s “painting a picture strategy,” editors began to take notice. Not only did they respond, but one accepted his first piece on the inner workings of the Ringling Museum… and then agreed to a whole series of similar articles about other sites near his home in Florida.
*** LINDA STEINMULLER
Instead of getting discouraged by a slow economy, Linda used it to her advantage. After attending one of our AWAI travel writing workshops, she approached her local newspaper travel editor with the idea that there are plenty of things to do and see in her hometown of Brooklyn, NY — many of which are inexpensive or free. They loved the idea and agreed to publish a series of five “staycation” articles. Each focused on a different area and theme (outdoors, culture, etc.) with an emphasis on special savings at each venue.
*** DIANA RUSSLER
Diana joined us at the AWAI Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop last July in Denver. Soon after, she built up the confidence to go for it… and got her very first article and photos — a six-page piece on the Atacama Desert — published in the glossy pages of Nature Photographer Magazine.
*** ELISA SOUTHARD
A motorcycle enthusiast, Elisa combined her travel writing with her passions to write an article about safety, called Make Road Kill out of Three Myths for Beginning Riders. It was published in HelmetHairMagazine.com. After coming to the AWAI Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop, Elisa used one of the secrets Jennifer Stevens revealed for beginning a travel article… and now the editors tell her they keep getting requests for reprints. Another of her articles on Maui was also picked up by the San Francisco Chronicle.
*** JANETT ZARECKI
A self-proclaimed “chronic slow-starter,” Janett took her time reading through the AWAI Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program. Then one day, armed with the tips she’d gleaned, she decided to try her luck. She wrote to her local newspaper with a suggestion for a regular travel column she could write. The editors liked her idea so much that they decided to let her do it (stories, photos, and all). She now gets a regular by-line and a paycheck.
*** DAWN-MARIE HANRAHAN
We heard from ITWPA member Dawn-Marie Hanrahan back in 2008 when she phoned up her local paper, the Ferndale Record-Journal, and proposed writing a travel column. She wrote in again to tell us she’d had nine stories with photos published in the paper, and that her column had become a local hit. She’d recently been accepted to go on a press trip to Victoria, British Columbia, which then led to two of her articles getting accepted at Washington Travel and Life magazine.
*** MICHAEL SHERER
When we last heard from Michael, he was on his way to Honduras with three article assignments. Michael joined us at the AWAI Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop and shortly after, got published three times — twice in local glossy magazines. “I might have eventually found the road to writing,” he told us, “but with the very good insights/information and continual advice, you’ve made it a lot easier and quicker.”
*** ELLEN AND DAVID HILL
Ellen and David Hill left their lives behind the desk to travel with their budding photographer son. Their stories have been published in Travel Post Monthly, Literary Traveler, and Australian Traveller magazine. One of their articles, Ballooning in the Aussie Outback, even won an award in the RovingEye Expose Your World Competition.
*** KAT SUNLOVE AND LAYNE WINKLEBECK
After getting published on TouristTravel.com, Kat and Layne contacted their local newspaper, which bought a slightly expanded version of the same story and added them as stringers (regular freelancers). Kat also landed a free trip to Raleigh, NC, to attend the “Sensory Overload” festival, filled with museum exhibits, culinary walking tours, art festivals and fashion shows.
*** VERA KERR
Following professional photographer Rich Wagner’s advice on starting locally, full-time nurse Vera Kerr took photos in her hometown and made them into postcards. A friend of hers started selling them in her café and before long, had to ask for more because they had sold out. She also took photos of the hospital in which she works for a brochure, and donated photos to a raffle for a local fundraising event.
*** GAIA RETTINGHOUSE
Gaia told us that she set out to prove us wrong. She heard in the AWAI Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop-At-Home package that she should start small and shouldn’t expect her first published article to be a feature-length piece. So she set out to land just that. Her first published article, along with seven photos taken with her Lumix point-and-shoot camera, sold to her local newspaper in Hawaii. “I love you guys,” she said, “and I love a challenge. So this is in the spirit of encouraging everyone to go for their dream and write that first article.”
*** HELEN MURRAY
Like Vera, Helen took photographer Rich Wagner’s advice in the AWAI Turn Your Pictures into Cash program, and started taking photos locally. Thing is, Helen’s hometown is in remote Australia… with a population of just 45 people. A historic tourist destination, the town had been photographed before. But Helen decided to look at it differently, and take photos that no one else had. Since then, she’s been selling her larger photos as fine art and smaller ones to tourists and passers-by.
If you have a story to share, join our Wall of Fame by filling out the questionnaire on the links below.
If you HAVE a picture of yourself to upload with your success story, use this link.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]