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From hiking in Ireland… to wine tasting in France… to basking in the sun in Aruba… to exploring around Japan… the life of a travel writer is certainly a romantic one.

I’m in Denver, CO this week with more than 115 of your fellow readers, and an impressive team of travel writing experts from around the globe. We have just one aim – to launch the travel writing careers of our Ultimate Workshop participants… and do it all in less than a year.

Some of last year’s graduates have joined us to share their experiences, too.

Good things come to those who get out of bed,” said John Bechtel on the success story panel today.

John was with us last year in San Diego and has since been published 21 times. Most recently he was asked to write a regular column for his local newspaper. Things are snowballing fast for him..

And 47 was the magic number for Noreen Kompanik. Since attending last year’s Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop, Noreen has sold a total of 47 travel stories that range from hiking with her grandkids to riding horseback through a local vineyard. She says: “I just want to pinch myself because I had an amazing career as a nurse and now I’m a travel writer. One year ago I didn’t even know this job existed. This workshop has changed my life.”

And those are just two examples from our panel of six recent graduates. Terri Marshall who was also back this year to tell our aspiring writers what life has been like since attending this workshop four years ago said: “When I came to this event in 2011, I didn’t even have a passport. Now I’ve been to 15 countries and 48 states. This second half of my life is far more exciting than my first.”

While each of their journeys has been different, they all said the secret to their success was the practical 10-day plan Jen Stevens gave them at the end of the workshop. 

If you want to get paid to write about your travel experiences, here’s some of the key tips they shared for getting started on the path to travel writing success:

  1. Start local by picking a museum, event, restaurant, landmark, or B&B to write about near you.
  2. Pick a topic that interests you. If you like food, include food. If you like history, research the history. Don’t feel compelled to write about horses if you don’t like horses or beaches if you don’t like beaches.
  3. Read the Writer’s Guidelines, and pay attention to deadlines.
  4. To get your foot in the door, try a ‘mini-article’. They can be anywhere between 200 and 500 words, about one small aspect of a destination; a winery or fun local tour for example… Publications love them to fill the first few pages of their magazines.
  5. Start today (it’s easier than you think once you get your first byline under your belt.)

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