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What should I write? How should I write it? And, most of all, do I have what it takes to become a travel writer? Those are the questions that played on my mind when I walked into the room at the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in San Diego last fall. We got all the answers to those first two questions over that weekend. Some of the tips we got from Jennifer Stevens and the other speakers still ring in my ears: “Tell me something I don’t know… Go and dig…. Talk to people.” In interviewing a local chef in San Diego, I learned she was from the Ukraine, and when growing up she wasn’t allowed to use the expensive market items to experiment in the family kitchen in case she ruined them. A conflict she overcame to become a world-class creative chef. I wrote up this piece during a scheduled writing session at the workshop and was delighted to get it accepted by the editor of Edible San Diego. I was paid $138 for my piece in the magazine. More thrilling for me than the money was seeing my first travel article published in a magazine – and hearing from the staff at Café 21 who were ecstatic to get a write-up. Not long after the workshop, I wrote a newspaper article on the Mall of America. While I didn’t get paid for this piece, Mall of America rolled out the red carpet for my wife and me… We got three nights of free lodging — including time at the Radisson Blu, a high-end brand for the Radisson chain. Mall of America met us with free tickets to everything and a gift cash card with $150 spending money. For our three-day stay, we got over $800 in freebies, and a standing invitation for free accommodations any time we come back–we have that in writing. Whenever we ate with our hosts, they picked up the tab. And they gave me lovely testimonials that I can put on my website. This is my travel writing dream come true… In all, I’ve had 15 articles published, and my 16th piece goes out next Wednesday. Just two days ago, I was introduced to one of our state senators, who agreed to introduce me to embassy staff members from the five Nordic countries in preparation for a full-length feature article in the fall issue of Scandinavian Press, a 50-page full color glossy magazine with subscribers in every state and province of Canada and a few foreign countries. The publisher personally introduced me as “one of his writers.” What makes this most remarkable is that my home state has a population only a quarter that of the city of San Diego. I live in Nowheresville, at least a hundred miles from anywhere. In San Diego, I wondered what I could ever write about. There’s no way I could have anticipated this, but when opportunity came, thanks to all the practical help I got from professional writers and editors at the workshop, I was prepared to run with it. Share on Facebook [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.]

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