Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
I love this quote.
Nothing has ever fallen in my lap. And in life, nothing’s ever been handed to me. Which is okay–I’m used to working hard for what I have.
In 2013, when I attended the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Boston, instructors talked about the life of a travel writer and how glamorous it could be. Free trips, red carpet, rich experiences, all on someone else’s dime.
It sounded like a dream.
They were honest, though, when speaking about the amount of work that goes into becoming a travel writer.
They talked about research, how important it would be to find the story within the story. The panel of editors went over things they looked for and things that upset them when working with new writers.
Those three days in Boston were eye-opening. Everything we learned was like the pull-back of a curtain. And the excitement in the room was palpable, even though the information was a lot to take in.
Regardless, I drove home, unpacked my bags, and hit the ground running.
I was ready to work.
I was managing a jewelry store in a retail setting at the time. It was stressful—putting in a 60-70 hour week while taking care of my parents who lived in another state every chance I could.
But, I was determined to make my life better. And I truly believed travel writing would help make that happen.
I structured my days, fitting the work of travel writing into the nooks and crannies of any free time I could find. A half hour here, two or three hours there, whatever I could manage seemed to work.
I was invited to attend one media trip that year, which was a thrill. The next year, when I was invited on five personalized media trips, I knew I was onto something.
I dedicated time every week to research visitor’s bureaus, reach out to CVBs and also became active in the Chamber of Commerce. By the time my third year of travel writing was over, I’d been included in eight media trips, each more personalized than the one before.
I finished 2017 with a dozen specialized media trips, all built through networking, then producing quality stories for publications and their readers.
They seemed like mini-vacations. And they catered to things I was interested in experiencing and writing about.
In 2018, I finished with 20 hosted trips. Some were about ghosts, while others centered around food and culture.
Most revolve around history and living museums, farming and nature, breweries, wineries and distilleries, hotels, bed & breakfasts, shipwrecks, lighthouses, and long, lazy days at the beach.
I know it sounds glamorous. Truly, it is.
But I dig deep to find the perfect home for every story. That takes time. I strive to beat deadlines and edit only the best pictures to compliment each article.
It’s my job to breathe life and emotion into my words. And it’s up to me to transport readers into the story.
But I can tell you… hard work pays off, big time.
My everyday life is so much richer now as a travel writer. And though I’ve never had a silver platter in life, I certainly have a silver lining.