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There’s an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean that’s home to giant tortoises weighing more than 500 pounds. The volcanic islands are also home to countless blue-footed and red-footed boobies, magnificent oceanic birds with bright and colorful feet. You can also find equatorial penguins, the only one of their kind, playful sea lions, and flightless cormorants that lost their ability to fly because, well, they don’t have to. In these islands, you can hike on cloud-covered volcanoes that still spew heat through active fumaroles, or you can SCUBA dive among submerged craters surrounded by sharks. These islands were the inspiration to one of the most important scientific legacies of our time. Of course, I’m talking about the Galapagos Islands, the famous archipelago off the coast of Ecuador that was the catalyst to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. As a biologist, traveling to these faraway islands has always been on top of my bucket list of places to visit. However, their remoteness and the fact that the government of Ecuador controls the number of visitors — to protect the fragile natural resources — makes the islands a not-so-cheap destination. For everyone except travel writers, that is.  Fortunately, when I finally made it to the Galapagos last year, my trip paid for itself. When you’re at The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop, you get all sorts of tips for working with editors, contacting the right people, and saying the right things.  But I credit one single tip for landing me my inflight magazine article assignment with the editors of Silver Kris Magazine (Singapore Airlines inflight magazine). The tip came from Denver Post Travel Editor, Kyle Wagner.  She said: You don’t want to clutter your e-mail to an editor with a bunch of different story ideas or details about who you are.  Otherwise you risk coming off as unfocused and all over the place.  But it’s impossible to know what editors are working on or what they have planned for future editions. So, a P.S. works as a subtle pitch that (with a bit of luck) could gain you another foot in the door. And that’s exactly what happened to me. The editor of Silver Kris Magazine replied to my e-mail with interest.  But not in any of the awesome articles I pitched. Nope. What caught her attention was the last line of the e-mail where I had included a short P.S. (post script) about my upcoming trip to the Galapagos Islands. It read: P.S. Traveling to the Galapagos Islands in September, in case your magazine is interested in commissioning a story from that unique part of the world.  And that was it. I followed all the other instructions I received at the workshop to a “t” (and that probably helped) but it was that simple line at the end of my e-mail that led to my Galapagos article becoming the main feature and cover of their January 2014 issue.  Something I never expected when I sent the pitch. And here’s something else… Editors work many months ahead of their current issues, so during the process of putting this story together (it took several months), I was able to sell them another short article about Jerash (Roman ruins in Jordan) for their November 2103 issue, because I already had my foot in the door. The income from those two articles paid for my entire Galapagos trip!  A dream come true. 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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