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Twenty-two years working in retail. Sigh. They say that retail jobs have a shelf life, and I can tell you that, at 56, I’ve long passed the expiration date. Up until a year ago, I kept reaching for this elusive dream, never really thinking I could actually start living it. In 2013, I took the plunge, attending the Ultimate Money-Making Photography Workshop in Miami and The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Boston. It made sense to combine them, as I love taking pictures that help me share a story. ‘Two birds with one stone’ and all that. Returning home, I started small, right outside my front door. I approached local magazines and newspapers, super excited when I actually got published. In the past, submitting to several stock sites, I had more rejections than I want to talk about — and zero images to show friends and family. After what I’d learned in Miami, I took another chance. I swore it would be my last one. When I got my first acceptance emails…and then they started to add up…I was ecstatic. My new life took off from there. I stumbled across a short letter from Beth Caro Carson, editor of Vacation Rental Travels Magazine. She was looking for writers, specifically trained by Great Escape. I jumped. Believe it or not, that very day I landed not one, but two travel writing job assignments with her. One was a for an overnight stay in a vacation rental right here in Saratoga. The other was in Ireland, where I would stay for eight glorious days, calling an authentic Irish cottage my home away from home. Both stays were complimentary, gifted by the owners, in exchange for PR. My job would be to write about and photograph both for the publication. So, October saw me, with another travel writer (I was allowed to bring a guest!) wandering through old graveyards, learning the history of impressive castles, eating pub food, and drinking strong ales with the locals around Ireland. We sipped tea and devoured scones in the village of Adare, dubbed one of the prettiest towns in Ireland. With charming thatched cottages lining its main road, we could see where the name came from. When we walked along the Cliffs Of Moher, a majestic, natural wonder in County Clare, I’d never felt closer to Heaven. We took a day-trip to Dublin and found Harriet Street. It’s the oldest residential street in the city and felt kind of dark and spooky. It seems fitting that at least one of the Dracula movies was filmed there. On O’Connell Street, we saw The Spire, or “Stiletto in the Ghetto” as the locals like to call it, a freestanding work of art that is nearly 400 feet high. And in Dublin’s Writers Museum we learned about the country’s literary genius and heritage. This is becoming my life now, looking for the next thing to write about and photograph, the next country to visit. Stay tuned, it’s such an exciting ride I’m on. More chapters to follow. 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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