I love a good story about someone’s life experiences, and I really love sharing my own stories.
I’ve done many things people seem to find interesting, like aerial photography, sailing the Great Lakes, or traveling by motorcycle. But possibly the best part of doing these things is always going somewhere different to do them.
I’m frequently asked, “Where were you this time?”
I love to write, putting thoughts and stories into print, on paper or screen, and I love to add my photography to the story.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, everything from (bad) lyrics to occasional journalism. My education is in photojournalism, but I never made it a career. Instead, my photography knowledge has been used for a career in photogrammetric engineering—but there’s little creativity in engineering photography.
So outside of work, I write and take photos for the joy of it—and somewhere along the way, things coalesced into a “what if” idea…
As my children grew, I found time for more local exploration by motorcycle.
With all the people I was meeting on my rides, and all the questions asked, a plan began to form. I realized my stories and photos of local attractions were fun to create and might have value.
So with the slimmest of plans, I reached out to any motorcycle magazines I could find.
It was hard… I felt stupid and ill-prepared putting myself out there, but then the publisher of a mid-sized newsprint magazine called Midwest Motorcyclist finally took a chance on me with a monthly column—and even used several of my photos for covers. I finally had my name in print!
About this time, I took the travel-writing course from Great Escape Publishing, and the materials helped me find the focus and confidence to keep moving forward.
I kept writing, and I started to make a name for myself in the motorcycling community, gaining access to new contacts.
A couple of my favorite stories came from my newfound industry contacts and revolve around Buell Motorcycles. I planned to go to Mid-Ohio Race Course to watch a Buell promo event, take some pictures, and scribble notes for an article. Instead, thanks to a Buell rep I met, I was fitted for leathers and sent out on the track on a pre-production prototype motorcycle!
Then the next year, the same folks reached out to me to spend a week in Milwaukee participating in the Buell 25th Anniversary celebration.
The celebration included food, lodging, Buell demo rides, more racetracks, and time with Erik Buell himself!
Once-in-a-lifetime moments just by taking a chance and telling folks who I was and why I was there—with conviction.
I have since been invited to promo events by Harley-Davidson and others, been given gear to test and review, been privy to insider information and the opportunity to see and ride motorcycles before public release. As my confidence has grown, I’ve started my own website, RideLocalDreamGlobal.com, focusing primarily on my travels.
I now ask for comped tickets or lodging for my articles and find, while it doesn’t always work, it never hurts to ask.
I doubt I’ll ever write as a full-time career, but the feedback I get from sharing is awesome—and the occasional paycheck or free stay is welcome!
As a bonus, I’ve discovered travel writing to be somewhat “self-perpetuating”—sometimes the story comes from something you’re doing, and sometimes you try something amazing because it might make a cool story.
You could say I’ve been lucky, finding a way to make my interest in local travel and motorcycles intersect with my loves of writing and photography.
But I believe we make our own luck. The hardest part was putting myself out there and asking someone to find value in my work.
But it does get easier. Take the chance and make your own luck.