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I arrived in Oswego, New York, around noon yesterday. A friendly representative of the tourism bureau flashed her mega-watt smile as she greeted me. We spent the next six hours visiting four historic museums, finishing Day One with dinner and a chilled glass of wine, chatting like old friends, watching a brilliant sunset over Lake Ontario…

Right now, I’m at “the office,” out on the balcony of my 4-star hotel room, compliments of the town’s Chamber of Commerce. Moonbeams shimmer over calm water early in the morning. I hold a steaming cup of coffee, willing it to work its magic.

I’ll need another cup — I have five museums to tour today! 

When I decided to become a travel writer in 2013, I had a lot of hesitations.    

Would I need money to travel, a state-of-the-art camera, plus a ton of free time? I hoped not, because I had none of the above. I was over 50, working long hours, living paycheck to paycheck.   

How the heck could I make anything happen, when the state of my finances from a painful divorce were in shambles? It sure seemed impossible!

For me, this harsh reality made it simple. If I wanted it to happen, I’d have to bite the bullet and start locally, in my hometown. It was the most cost-effective. It made the most sense. 

To my delight, when I gave it a try, “Discover Saratoga” was thrilled to hear from me. They’d wanted more stories from people who actually lived in Saratoga and were open to anything I wanted to pitch.

So, I wrote about museums, family vacation spots, and restaurants. I shared my own impressions of the  city. I submitted a few images to accompany each article.

Within the first month of pitching, I had five by-lines. It was so exciting to see my name beneath each headline. Taking another step, I began to search for local print magazines.

With a few solid travel articles under my belt, I began to ask for media passes whenever I found something nearby that interested me. I was amazed at how willing venues were to have me come as a guest. I’d experience all they had to offer and write about them once I returned home.

Starting locally was the perfect way to launch my career as a travel writer and photographer. Since 2013, after attending the Ultimate Money-Making Photography Workshop and the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop, I’ve published 98 articles, in on-line and print magazines, even landing a UK cover/feature about a historic garden right here in Saratoga Springs! 

I’ve checked off travel to Ireland, Fiji, and Paris. All on assignments, with letters of commitment each time… and I even took friends with me! I’ve enjoyed free stays in vacation rentals, five-course meals in restaurants, and free entrance to museums and zoos all over the country.

Here I am, holding a Blue Linckia starfish in Fiji!

become a travel writer

PR folks have bent over backwards for me, customizing itineraries that revolve around my personal interests. 

The thing is this; One door opened three years ago and I walked through it. Haltingly, perhaps, but I walked through it. That led to other doors, new opportunities, and true-blue friends—a network that seems to expand every day. 

You have an open door, as well.

Why not dare to walk through it?

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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, Profit From Your Photos: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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