There I was sitting on the train again for my two-hour commute to the city. Four hours a day commuting, eight to nine hours working in a corporate cubicle. That gave me enough time in the evening to cook dinner, eat, clean up and go to bed, only to start all over again in the morning.
I was approaching 60 years old, and time seemed to be flying by. I felt like the proverbial hamster on a wheel, going all day, every day, but not getting anywhere. Life wasn’t as fun as I knew it could be, and it wasn’t adventurous at all.
I longed to travel and do more exciting things, but adventure and hotels are expensive, so aside from a few quick trips a year with my husband, travel was limited to day trips, mostly hiking in nearby forests.
Doing a quick email check during my commute, I noticed a message in my inbox from Great Escape Publishing introducing a new travel blog program. I had always dreamed of being a travel writer. I had written articles about places I visited but had no idea how to go about getting them published. To start a travel blog would be perfect, since I could write and publish whatever I wanted without the hassle of dealing with magazine editors.
Following step-by-step instructions, I got my blog rolling. At first I published articles about nearby attractions and restaurants. I contacted tourism bureaus around the state to let them know about my blog, and I was shocked when I started getting invitations for complimentary weekend trips.
Since then I’ve been on more free trips than I can easily count, and I’ve done things I couldn’t have afforded on my own, like helicopter rides, ziplining, and canoe trips. Being a travel writer, I’m given the VIP treatment, often with private tours and exclusive interviews with attraction owners. I’ve even dined with city mayors and top-level tourism executives.
While all of the perks I get from being a travel blogger are fun, I get the most satisfaction in meeting interesting people, from fellow bloggers who have become good friends to restaurants chefs with a great story to tell. And I have learned more as a writer than I ever would have as a tourist thanks to the research I do before a trip; because my senses are more alert to sights, sounds, and scents of my surroundings; and often because of those exclusive tours and insights a regular tourist isn’t privy to.
Today I’m no longer working in the corporate world, so I’m free to travel anytime the opportunity arises. Time is still passing quickly, but I’m squeezing as much adventure into life as I can.
A few words of advice as you start your own travel blog:
- Don’t wait for “someday” because it will never come. Begin your blog—and your adventures—now.
- Get your basic blog in place, and go with it. I don’t know of any blog that hasn’t gone through updates and overhauls after it’s been up and running.
- Let people know you’re a travel writer. It’s unbelievable how people open up when you tell them that.
- Social networking is an important piece of blogging. Experiment with a few different platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to see which work best for you.
- Never stop learning. Keep abreast of the latest in technology, writing, networking, and marketing tips and techniques.
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