My fishing was interrupted by my sister and brother shouting a loud, “Whoa, look.”
I did, just in time to see a school bus-sized humpback whale fall from the sky and hit the water with the largest splash I’d ever seen. He was just one of several whales we saw that day under the gaze of snow-capped Alaska’s coastal mountains.
Before I became a full-time travel writer and get paid to have fun, I was searching for ways to travel more while spending less. One of my greatest passions in life is fishing. I grew up in a family that loved the great outdoors and we hunted and fished Colorado from corner to corner. Still, I never dreamed I’d be able to write about such outdoor pursuits.
Shortly after getting my first travel article published I asked the same editor if he’d be interested in a story about going to the wilds of Alaska on a self-guided fishing trip.
I had already taken the trip and had good photos to go with the story.
Much to my delight, the editor agreed.
I was surprised at first — I had thought most of my stories would be of the typical travel and food variety.
But turns out, fishing and the great outdoors sell, too.
After that first success, I started planning for my next Alaskan fishing adventure.
I invited a fishing buddy of mine and asked if his wife and 12-year-old daughter would like to join us. I knew I could write a good story about how these female first-time visitors to Alaska enjoyed the experience. Both mother and daughter had a great trip, enjoying fishing, kayaking, and a trip to the Kenai Fjords National Park.
When the tour operator heard what I had planned, the park trip was comped for all five of us! We didn’t pay a cent and I earned $465 from the articles I wrote and sold about it.
On a roll, I started dreaming up the next grand fishing trip to Alaska.
One high-end lodge I queried offered me and my wife a discount on our stay worth $4,500.
We had a blast motoring around the pristine waters of the Inside Passage with my brother and sister. Each day we witnessed magnificent humpback whales, playful Dall porpoises, grunting sea lions, and bald eagles. We also caught several pounds of prime Alaskan halibut and rockfish to bring home.
From this trip, I’ve already secured two stories to write about the city of Juneau, where we stayed on a two-day layover. I also expect to write a feature article about the lodge where we stayed.
If the feature article ends up in a well-known sporting magazine, it will increase my odds of getting another discounted or comped rate at a new fishing lodge next year, so I’ll spend some extra time this month really working hard to get in there.
It’s not just my passion for fishing that travel writing has enabled me to enjoy.
Travel writing has also allowed me to gallivant around the world to write about wine, organic farming, and food.
All three of these subjects are passions of mine (I was a chef in one of my former lives) and it amazes me that I get paid to do this fun work. It’s less like a job and more like an extension of my passions – food and the great outdoors.
When you write about something you love, you bring much more to the story than just facts. You bring life, color, sounds, and textures that lure your readers back again and again.
I highly recommend life as a travel writer and will gladly welcome you to the club. I look forward to reading about your travels soon.