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“I never got to go.” Mom says this during the last week of her life. “Go where?” I ask. She’s in the mood to talk now, and I’m in the mood to listen. I cannot get enough of her voice. I hug it close to me as she speaks. “Paris.” She smiles. Her eyes drift off to another place. “Dad and I never got to hold hands in Paris.” I have a clear snapshot in my memory. Mom is sitting at the kitchen table, turning the pages of a thick book. A voracious reader, she has fallen in love with countries all over the world. “Someday,” she sighs. “I swear.” I ask why they’ve never traveled to even one of the places she’s dreamt about. She shrugs her shoulders. “It’s easier to stay where I am.” Her answer is heartbreaking. It IS easier to stay where we are. Taking a chance can be very scary. Right then and there I promised my mother (and myself) that I would find a way to travel and live the life she never got to. I would become a travel writer and photographer. In April and August of 2013, I took a giant leap (though scared to death!) and attended both the Ultimate Money-Making Photography Workshop with Great Escape Publishing in Miami and The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in Boston. I took everything that was taught, brought it home, and ran with it. My very first travel article was published in December that same year. Settled back in Saratoga, I started small, writing about my hometown, taking pictures to accompany my travel articles. Getting in touch with the Chamber Of Commerce and other local organizations led to five articles being printed in the glossy pages of a local magazine within a matter of months. Since then, I have had articles published in many different venues and landed press passes to places I’ve always wanted to go. I’ve stayed in a $400-a-night vacation rental – FOR FREE – in exchange for an article that will be out in September’s issue of a world-wide travel magazine. And, in October, I’m on assignment again, this time traveling to Ireland, landing a FREE week’s stay in a charming little cottage in County Limerick. I will spend seven wonderful days, working on photo essays, visiting the local area, and writing about the cottage itself for an article that will come out in Spring of 2015. My life is totally different than it was a year ago. I smile as I tell people that I’m a travel writer/photographer when asked what I do for a living. Taking that leap, getting out of my comfort zone – from the “here and now” into the “where and when”- has been the best decision I’ve ever made. Paris is in my future. I will go there in memory of my mom and dad. Somehow I think I will see them, holding hands as they walk toward the twinkling lights on the Eiffel Tower after another day’s glorious sunset. Share on Facebook

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