If anyone had asked me a year ago about becoming a travel writer and photographer, I would’ve said, “It’s something I’ve always dreamed about.” And I would’ve thought, “It’s never going to happen.” But turns out that traveling after 50 is possible and even more fun when you pair your two favorite passions with it.
When I was a kid, I followed my dad around the yard with a camera. I watched my mom write short stories and prose for newspaper columns. We spent hours talking about places we wanted to travel, things we wanted to see. I promised them both that I would make it out of the little town where I grew up, live my dream, and write home about it.
Granted, it took me a while to think of photography and travel writing in the same sentence. But, why wouldn’t I pair the two? I loved the days when I left home at sunrise and returned after sunset, a nearby trip done and images on my Canon that I hoped would be worthy to add to a story or edit and upload to stock sites.
I thought that not having the money to travel extensively would be a stumbling block. At the time, exotic places and hot, sandy beaches were a wonderful, though faraway dream.
Reading about photography and travel writing workshops awoke something in me. I decided to jump at the chance to go see Miami in April of 2013 for Great Escape Publishing’s Ultimate Money-Making Photography workshop, then Boston, Massachusetts in August for The Ultimate Travel Writer’s workshop. This was going to be the “break it or make it” for me.
I learned that, living in Saratoga Springs, New York, affords me a wonderful platform, with so much to photograph and even more to write about in my own backyard. It’s a travel destination for a gazillion reasons: from the racetrack in summer… to Chowder fest in late winter… to historical buildings and haunted ghost tours all year round. By itself, the Victorian Street Walk brings thousands to the main drag every year, from all over the country, welcoming Christmas into the city. Carolers wander Broadway, singing about the reason for the season; vendors offer scrumptious dishes and drinks for a pittance; and petting live reindeer while you wait for Santa is something no child or adult should miss.
Who would have thought that taking both workshops would allow me an “in” – enjoying a cup of coffee with Mrs. Clause in December, listening to her own precious memories about the holiday.
Even though I’ve only just started with my photography and travel writing efforts in the last few months, my determination has led to success. I’ve already been hired to photograph a wonderful Italian restaurant’s menu downtown. The Boston Coffeehouse Magazine published the article I worked on at The Ultimate Travel Writer’s workshop in their December’s HOME issue. And I have been featured with several of my photographs and editorial in a two-page spread of a local magazine – with requests from the editor to submit more for a future issue.
My stock photography sales have been successful, as well; I’ve been accepted into six different agencies and I’ve profited from images in each.
I’m happily saving for an exotic trip to photograph and write about in 2014. Everything seems possible now. Start small, but dream huge! You can make it happen.
[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. Sign up today here and we’ll send you a report, Get Paid to Travel as a Travel Writer, completely FREE.]