Grueling shift work, limited vacation time, and hundreds of hours of overtime had left me exhausted and bitter. I missed holidays with family, rarely saw my husband, and friends had long since given up on inviting me to anything. My job completely dictated every aspect of my life.

Was I really expected to keep this up for the next 30 years? I needed more from life. Something had to change.

On a whim, I Googled “jobs that pay you to travel.” Somewhere between geoscientist and flight attendant, I stumbled upon travel writing… and eventually the Great Escape Publishing site.

Kudos to my husband for not even flinching when I announced, out of the blue, that I wanted to become a travel writer. A couple months later, we boarded a plane, flew halfway across the country, and touched down in San Diego for the 2014 Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop.

I craved more freedom. More adventure. And after I attended the conference, I possessed the knowledge and confidence to reach for both. Realistically, I couldn’t walk away from my full-time career yet, and retirement was still several years away.

But now my five-year plan looked completely different. Travel writing suddenly made taking the occasional mini-retirement a possibility.

It didn’t happen overnight. Life continued on and it took two years to reach a point where I could seriously delve into travel writing.

What I didn’t expect was how quickly and completely my life would change once I began.

After just two bylines, I began writing full-time for a massive regional publication. I spent my off days exploring Austin’s live music scene and hip rooftop bars. I winery-hopped along New England’s coast, awash with fall foliage. And I hiked glaciers, reeled in massive halibut, and photographed grizzlies feasting on salmon in Alaska.

I eventually walked away from my rigid, restrictive job for a freelance consulting position that compliments my part-time travel writing lifestyle, instead of hindering it. I may have taken the long way around to becoming a travel writer, but I don’t regret a single minute of it. I just appreciate the fulfilling lifestyle travel writing brings that much more.

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[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Five Fun Ways To Get Paid To TravelA Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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