It didn’t take long after I’d completed the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program in September 2014 to understand that if I wanted to be a published writer, I simply needed to find interesting topics to write about, then decide where to send those stories.
My first two stories covered exotic destinations I’d recently visited, like Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I told the story of a romantic, torch-lit sunset dinner for two on the beach. And then of a tropical, candle-lit paradise accessible only by sea, to take a mystical journey to an ancient Aztec wedding.
I quickly realized that it’s not every week I’m going to visit an exotic destination, and I worried I would run out of travel story ideas. So, I asked myself “what other travel-related stories could I write that editors would be interested in?”
All of us are multi-faceted. It occurred to me that travel writing was like a blank canvas, and I was holding the artist’s palate. My inspirations were my interests and experiences. All I had to do was paint the pictures.
Writing about My Hometown
It just so happens I live in San Diego, so what a great place to start. I submitted a story to a local family magazine about hiking a beautiful coastal state park and nature preserve with our grandchildren. The editor loved it! So much, that she invited me to pitch other ideas. Since that time, I’ve published articles on San Diego’s fun waterfront, trolleying with kids, visiting farmer’s markets, and seeing our city up high from “Birds Eye” views, just to name a few.
My city’s colorful military heritage, beautiful parks and museums, sandy beaches and surf culture, great restaurants, historic districts, vineyards and wineries were all great stories waiting to be told. And tell them, I did!
Stories about Day Trips
Day trips to outlying communities rich in their histories gave me unique stories, not well publicized, and ripe for the telling. Places like Julian, with its apple orchards and goldmines, and the resurrected silver-mining ghost town of Calico. Or Idyllwild, a quaint artist community in the mountains, aptly named for its idyllic charm and great hiding place for famous musicians and artists.
Wonderful Weekend Getaways
Weekend getaways have been an attractive and appealing source for stories. Who doesn’t want to read about destinations only 2 to 3 hours from home, providing escapism from the stresses of daily living? I’ve written about coastal, artsy Laguna Beach, pristine Lake Arrowhead, quirky and retro Palm Springs, fabled Catalina Island, and even glitzy Los Angeles and Hollywood.
Love of Family Travel
The love of family travel inspired me to write about sailing adventures in the Virgin Islands, finding buried treasure in the Caribbean with our grandchildren, a Disney cruise to the Bahamas, top family beach getaways, and adventure travel geared for teens in Mexico.
Food and Wine
Food and wine writing has become one of my latest passions. Combining that with exotic destinations, I’ve published stories on dining in a 10,000-year-old cave in Riviera Maya, and an incredibly fun, beachfront feet-in-the-sand restaurant called “The Office” in Cabo san Lucas.
My love for wine and its history landed me a column for a local travel and winery publication. And in multiple venues, my stories have covered wine and chocolate pairing, wine and Girl Scout cookie pairing, the oldest operating vineyard in Southern California, and a new trend across the country – urban wineries.
Writing for a local in-print magazine that promotes healthy, organic, sustainable living, I recently contributed a fascinating article about an olive farm in the middle of the California desert.
Interesting Vacation Accommodations
Interspersed among my travels, I’ve been able to arrange incredibly beautiful, complimentary accommodations that I’ve featured in my articles. These stays not only introduced me to wonderful places, they provided the unforgettable “ah-ha” moments like falling asleep to the sound of the ocean waves or waking up to a gorgeous sunrise over the Sonoran Desert.
More Exotic Tales
In this journey to 100 articles, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience some extraordinary travel locations – cliff hiking in Kauai, getting off the beaten path in Zihautanejo, touring Roman ruins in Taormina, Sicily, and exploring the Baths of Virgin Gorda. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
What’s Next on My Agenda
I just completed a four-generational Hawaiian vacation which landed me two assignments before I even took the trip. And I already have queries accepted to write about destinations such as the Greek Islands, a British Virgin Island sail, and an Alaskan cruise.
My first article about a Hawaiian coffee plantation led to future coffee-related assignments. A published article on the Pirate’s Museum in St. Augustine and surrounding area has earned me a complimentary trip back to feature the storied past of America’s oldest city.
Future writing plans include tales of the Old West, featuring places I recently visited like Tombstone, Jerome, and Prescott, Arizona. A recent Mediterranean cruise to places like Ephesus, Turkey and southern Italy’s Amalfi Coast have yet to be harvested for stories, and I continue to actively seek food and wine stories throughout my travels.
Every destination is like a diamond – with many faces. When I first started writing, I thought the destination was a singular story. I have since come to realize that each destination provides multiple writing opportunities. My mind now grasps these endless possibilities and my own personal well of ideas is thankfully overflowing.