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True or false?

1.  Life is to be enjoyed and lived to the fullest.
2.  You’re only as old as you feel.
3.  “Crazy” is relative.
4.  Opportunity is everywhere.
5.  The world is full of adventures waiting to be had.

Bonnie, here, still at the helm while Lori’s away on maternity leave.

If you answered “true” to any (or all!) of the above, then you’ve got what it takes to be a travel writer. After all, anyone can string two sentences together… but not everyone relishes life the way a travel writer does.

This week, I’m going to share three stories from travel writers who regularly get paid to experience life and take adventures. Basically, they’re getting paid to stay young.

Stay tuned for the first story, from freelance travel writer Steenie Harvey, tomorrow. You’ll like it — it’s a real “cliff hanger.”

In the meantime, scroll down to find out how successful you’ll be as a travel writer, based on a little quiz from Executive Editor at International Living Magazine, Jennifer Stevens…

P.S. Travel writing can be a pleasant hobby that earns a few dollars… it can allow you to see the world while getting paid… or it can be an exciting way to make a good living. And, no matter how you take advantage of it, it will enrich your life. Take the first, most important step toward your new freewheeling, travel-writing life, today — right now — by reserving a seat at the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop, this July 26-28, in San Francisco, CA. You’ll be rewarded with a huge $300 discount when you sign up today.

By Jennifer Stevens in Colorado Springs, Colorado

You don’t need the literary flair of Frances Mayes to be a successful travel writer. (I’m not saying it wouldn’t help — I’m just saying it isn’t necessary.)

What you do need to make it in this business, however, are a few important traits and a handful of proven techniques — all of which you can learn with a little effort.

Do you have what it takes? Let’s find out. Answer “yes” or “no” to each of the questions below:

** 1. Are you interested in exploring new places and discovering the ways they’re different from your home? You’ll have more success — and, indeed, a more enjoyable travel experience — if you don’t always try to get things done “The Texas Way.” Instead, are you ready to take pleasure (and find humor) in discovering what makes every place unique?

** 2. Do you enjoy meeting new people?

** 3. Are you opinionated? In other words, are you able to articulate why, specifically, you think one place or experience is superior or inferior to another?

** 4. Are you persuasive? You’ll need to sell yourself, your ideas, your articles, your photos. You need to be able to line up in your own mind — and in the mind of your buyers — the reasons why they will benefit from what you’re offering.

** 5. Are you observant? Do you pay attention as you travel to what you see, hear, feel, smell, and taste around you? (Or are you willing to learn and hone this skill?)

** 6. Are you willing — indeed, even eager — to travel on your own (or with friends and family) without relying on a pre-packaged trip or tour? Are you willing to make your own travel arrangements and even play some of your travel “by ear,” perhaps forgoing reservations occasionally so you stumble upon lesser-known villages, cities, hotels, restaurants, shops, markets, and such as you discover a destination?

** 7. Are you polite? Believe it or not, a certain measure of success as a travel writer or photographer is due to common courtesy. The more pleasant and easy you are to work with, the faster and more regularly you’ll land by-lines and perks, the more welcoming people will be when you get your camera out.

** 8. Are you willing to read and do research? You needn’t learn everything there is to know about a destination before you write about it or photograph it, but you do need to give yourself some context in which to place your own observations. And, you’ll want to make sure your time on the ground in a place is well-spent. So a bit of research ahead of time — online, in the library, and through personal contacts — can help enormously.

** 9. Are you able to follow directions? For example, the writers who do what a publication’s Writer’s Guidelines suggest find more success, faster, than those who do not. So, even though you might have a full-length article in mind, if the guidelines say, “Start by submitting a short piece for our ‘Postcards’ section,” are you ready and willing to do that?

** 10. Do you subscribe to at least three travel-related publications and read at least one travel article a week?

How many “yes” answers do you have?

How many “no” answers do you have?

The more yes’s you have, the more success you’re likely to enjoy as a travel writer.

That said, any “no” you may have listed certainly indicates an obstacle you can overcome if you’re willing to try.

[Editor’s Note: Meet Jennifer Stevens and find out how to turn your travels into paychecks and free trips at the one and only Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop, this July 26-28, in San Francisco, CA. Sign up now to reserve your seat for just $465 down — and save a whopping $300 on admission! Other discounts may apply, too. See the schedule, details, and all of the discounts, here.  -Bonnie Caton]

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