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Grueling shift work, limited vacation time, and hundreds of hours of overtime had left me exhausted and bitter. I missed holidays with family, rarely saw my husband, and friends had long since given up on inviting me to anything. My job completely dictated every aspect of my life.

Was I really expected to keep this up for the next 30 years? I needed more from life. Something had to change.

On a whim, I Googled “jobs that pay you to travel.” Somewhere between geoscientist and flight attendant, I stumbled upon travel writing… and eventually the Great Escape Publishing site.

Kudos to my husband for not even flinching when I announced, out of the blue, that I wanted to become a travel writer. A couple months later, we boarded a plane, flew halfway across the country, and touched down in San Diego for the 2014 Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop.

I craved more freedom. More adventure. And after I attended the conference, I possessed the knowledge and confidence to reach for both. Realistically, I couldn’t walk away from my full-time career yet, and retirement was still several years away.

But now my five-year plan looked completely different. Travel writing suddenly made taking the occasional mini-retirement a possibility.

It didn’t happen overnight. Life continued on and it took two years to reach a point where I could seriously delve into travel writing.

What I didn’t expect was how quickly and completely my life would change once I began.

After just two bylines, I began writing full-time for a massive regional publication. I spent my off days exploring Austin’s live music scene and hip rooftop bars. I winery-hopped along New England’s coast, awash with fall foliage. And I hiked glaciers, reeled in massive halibut, and photographed grizzlies feasting on salmon in Alaska.

I eventually walked away from my rigid, restrictive job for a freelance consulting position that compliments my part-time travel writing lifestyle, instead of hindering it. I may have taken the long way around to becoming a travel writer, but I don’t regret a single minute of it. I just appreciate the fulfilling lifestyle travel writing brings that much more.

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