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An interview with Gary Peach in Costa Rica

TWWTT: Before we get started why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?   How did you hear about the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Course?

GARY: I am a Certified Executive Chef with the American Culinary Federation. I have been cooking professionally for over 25 years. I am Cordon Bleu Certified and have an Associates Degree in Culinary Science from Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon and am a Certified Master Cake Decorator. I have worked as the Executive Chef at Wilderness Trails Ranch in Vallecito, Colorado near Durango for twelve years. My job is seasonal with six months off in the winter to travel and escape the snow. I subscribed to IL online, and that is where I found the travel writer’s course.

TWWTT: What attracted you to travel writing?   Had you ever considered being a travel writer before you saw our course?

GARY: I have six months in the winter to do whatever I want and was running out of culinary courses.   This looked like an interesting alternative that would also enhance my vacations. This turns out to be a great way to get to play and go on adventures with no cash outlay. I had never even thought of this as a job.   So far I haven’t done it for money, but the benefits are great!

TWWTT: You recently have had some success getting published, specifically through your travels in Costa Rica.   Can you tell us a little bit more about how you landed that gig?   How did you approach the editor?   How did you know where to start and where do you get your story ideas from?

GARY: I spend winters in Costa Rica and found a contact at Costa Rica Travel Magazine, so figured that would be a good place to start.   I contacted the editor and told him that I would write for free for bylines. He met me at the bar, we had a few beers, and he told me what he needed for his next magazine.   It turned out to be sailing and deep sea fishing stories, so he let me swap trips for stories! I got two full pages in the magazine with a bio at the end of the article!

TWWTT: What other travel writing projects are you currently working on?

GARY: I went to Isla Toboga in Panama for a week last week and am writing an article to send to IL to see if they’ll use it.   Maybe I will send it to my hometown newspaper too. I love the writing and don’t mind doing it for bylines for a year or so. I am going to Guatemala tomorrow for 6 weeks of Spanish lessons, about which I think I will write a “how to” story.

TWWTT: You’ve also had some great success in scoring free trips.   Can you tell us how you managed that?

GARY: I’m just starting out, so I offered to write articles in exchange for trips.   Suddenly I found myself doing something I had only dreamed of before — and doing it for free. It was a win – win situation. All five boats that I sailed on have gotten work from my articles, and I have had three of them tell me that any time I want to go I have an open invitation. Plus I met some awesome people!

TWWTT: What specifically about the travel writing course do you think helped you so much? Why would you recommend it to others?

GARY: If you have decent writing skills, it is really helpful in getting to be a better writer a whole lot faster than you would on your own. The course gives you a lot of confidence and makes you believe you actually can do it. It is more important to get just one article done and published. It will shoot your confidence level through the roof. If I had waited until I got my first homework assignment back, I may not have done it, because they were pretty harsh critics. It is better to do it even if your article is not perfect.   If it is good enough for someone to publish it and to get your feet wet, you’ll be able to take the criticism a whole lot better.

[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.]