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My room overlooks two pools and a vast expanse of ocean. There’s a box of chocolates on my pillow at night. I sleep like a baby. I walk along the beach, watch the warm colors of sunrise, capturing images with my camera. Every meal is over-the-top; from fresh seasonal fruit followed by crab cake eggs benedict in the morning, to Georgia Shrimp and Grits Demo at night. One evening we enjoy a five-course meal, with wine pairings. A trolley ride takes us around the Island, while “Cap” fills us in on the history of St. Simon’s Island. We visit the lighthouse. It’s rumored a love triangle went terribly wrong there, and that the ghost of one of the lighthouse keepers still roams its tower in a restless combination of anger and grief, scaring the heck out of visitors. After a history lesson about life during the war on St. Simon’s Island, we’re treated to an ultra-private flight, high above the Golden Isles, in a WWII DC-3 plane. We eat at local restaurants, shop in charming little towns, enjoy a painting lesson by one of St. Simon’s beloved artists, then fall asleep under starry nights, with the sound of the tide, right beyond our hotel balconies. I’m on a FAM trip and have never been treated like such royalty. Let me tell you, I’m enjoying every single minute of it. When I first attended the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in August 2013, I heard about trips like these. But I never believed I’d take one. Lucky for me, the travel industry is hungry for “real folks.” They WANT us to come visit, NEED us to become familiar with the area, HOPE we go home and share our experience with the world. And they don’t mind paying for it. Here’s how I scored my first FAM trip as a travel writer and ended up being treated like a queen: The minute I got home from the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop, I took what I’d learned and hit the ground running. I wrote a few articles for a local print magazine and an article for Boston Coffeehouse Magazine. I got several travel articles and photo essays accepted for publication in Vacation Rental Travels Magazine. And I contributed to a blog on my hometown’s web page. Then I took my published pieces, called “clips,” and applied to Media Kitty, a service for journalists and businesses to connect. Through them, I applied for a FAM trip sponsored by The King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort. Like magic, I landed the official invite to enjoy three nights/four days of wining and dining with 11 other writers at this world-famous resort. After enjoying one of the best trips of my life, I pitched a number of articles about my experiences. One of them comes out in “Travel Through History” soon. And several more are coming out in the next issue of Vacation Rental Travels Magazine. I’m busy with other ideas and will send every published link to The King and Prince. Of course I couldn’t stop there! My next FAM trip is to Jacksonville Beach, Florida, in August. I can’t wait!

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