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Becoming a travel writer has truly turned my life around...I never cared for the expression: “Milk it for all it’s worth.” I thought it was a cringe-worthy saying that sounded selfish—even rude.

However, after some big transitions in my life, I began to interpret those words in a different, more meaningful way… and it’s completely changed the way I experience life…

Before becoming a travel writer, I knew I wanted freedom from a dead-end retail job that ate up precious hours and left me with no quality of life. And I was desperate to find a way out from under the mountain of debt from a nasty divorce. I felt like I was drowning, and my anxiety and despair were over the top.

But in 2013, when I attended the Ultimate Money-Making Photography Workshop in Miami, followed by The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Boston, I was determined. My plan became clear.

My freelance travel writing lifestyle started in my hometown.

At the time, I had no money to speak of. So I started with local museums, restaurants, community events, even luxury hotels and vacation rentals right in Saratoga. Going this route kept my out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum.

It was exciting to pitch my ideas to local and regional editors and have them accepted. Pretty soon, my articles appeared in print, online, and even in in-flight magazines.

And, my bank account was no longer in the negative. I started to pay off some debt. I wasn’t financially stable yet, but I was heading in the right direction.

Then I began traveling farther, seeing more of the country and world than I’d ever thought possible. I landed assignments in Ireland, Fiji, Paris, England, and Cancun. All of a sudden I found myself planning future trips to Germany and Switzerland, France and Spain. Mostly on someone else’s dime.

I indulged my love for ghosts and history, architectural design, beer, wine, and spirits. I spent hours on the beach and visiting lighthouses and seafood restaurants, maritime museums, and charming little seaside shops. Meeting people along the way was a treat for me, too.

Somehow, during the process, I learned a life-changing lesson about that troubling idiom, “milking it for all it’s worth.”

I realized my new lifestyle isn’t just about the freebies. It has little to do with vacationing in luxury villas on the South Pacific, enjoying a $750 bottle of champagne brought to your table, spa treatments so relaxing they make you cry, seven-course dinners that make you swear you’ll never eat again, or five-star hotels that take your breath away.

All of these things are incredible, yes, but there’s more to this travel writer’s story…

It’s milking my life for all it’s worth, making the most of every single experience. It’s enjoying the people and the places, and the memories long after I’ve returned home. It means being grateful.

It means I get to sink my toes in, soaking up the heart and soul of wherever I am at any given time. It’s about becoming a better person in my local and far-flung travels.

Rather than just existing—I’m thriving. I can’t even begin to tell you what that means. Becoming a travel writer has enriched me in ways I never, ever dreamed possible.

And the best part? I can’t wait to see what comes next.

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