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During many years of travel and teaching English as a foreign language in Thailand and Guatemala, I’d often dreamed of earning from my combined passions of travel, photography, and writing.

However, I believed it required years of training and was an unattainable goal. 

Then, at a time when I needed some direction in life, I attended Great Escape Publishing’s Ultimate Photographer’s Workshop followed by their Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in New Orleans.

New paths of possibility opened before me as I mixed with like-minded folks and learned the craft of selling my travel photography and writing.

All that, while exploring the historical French Quarter, savoring the flavors of New Orleans cuisine, photographing the rowdy Saint Patrick’s Day parade, grooving to live jazz, dipping into voodoo curio stores, dressing up in Mardi Gras masks and beads, and cruising the Mississippi River.

Afterward, I stayed in touch with some of the workshop attendees, and we encouraged and supported each other as we embarked on new adventures.

To maintain motivation, I later purchased GEP’s Travel Writer’s Workshop-At-Home package for more tips, tricks and confidence to pitch articles to editors.

Then, their online Money-Making Travel Blogs program helped me figure out the blogging world after starting my own travel photography blog.

Now, my articles and photos are published online and in print publications including Great Escape Publishing and International Living magazine. I’m also a contributing guidebook author for Guatemala.

After signing up to GEP’s Breakfast Stock Club newsletter, and spurred on by my graphic designer sister-in-law, I dove into stock photography. I’m now growing my portfolios with seven online stock agencies and so far I’ve earned over $5,500 with my highest earning agency, Shutterstock.

A dawn shot of a volcano by a lake in the Guatemalan highlands is my highest earning stock photo.

It’s sold around 550 times with Shutterstock alone, and earnings of that image with just that agency have more than covered my Christmas break with friends sleeping in a lakeside cabin!

My highest earning stock photo: San Pedro Volcano on Lake Atitlan in the Guatemalan highlands.

My stock photography highlight was when I discovered one of my photos of a Guatemalan volcano landscape on National Geographic’s website advertising their Guatemala and Belize trips!

My stock photo on National Geographic’s website: View of Agua Volcano outside Antigua, Guatemala.

And a few weeks ago I sold 80 images (of Guatemalan landscapes, festivals, and celebrations) in one day with Dreamstime!

Although initially time-consuming, I love that once my images are uploaded they bring in passive income while I’m sleeping or out hiking and I never know what each day’s earnings will be!

I’m currently based in Thailand and have no shortage of colorful article and photo fodder every time I step outside the door. However, now, wherever I decide to be, I have the freedom to earn from my writing and photography. 

I’ve never regretted that decision to go to New Orleans. Great Escape Publishing gave me new meaning and changed the direction of my life.