2014 was an extraordinary year for me. Not only did I quit my six-figure job, but I also sold everything and moved to Colombia, South America with my husband. Adventurous? Maybe. Crazy? Not in the least.
I called it my leap of faith. A major life change in my 40s was a bit risky, but I knew that somehow it would work out.
The biggest unknown was how to spend my time, and somehow make money overseas, in a new country where I didn’t even speak the language. But, after taking a few months to settle in, one morning I woke up around 4 a.m. with an inspiration. I knew I wanted to travel and write about my adventures.
An online search led me to Great Escape Publishing where I enrolled in both the travel writing and travel photography courses. I dove into those programs, learned everything I could, and started pitching stories.
Like most new writers, some of my queries went unanswered. Some of my suggestions were outright rejected—usually for lack of experience. However, some pitches were accepted and became my first bylines.
A few turned into multi-story projects—including five stories published in a full-color airline magazine over the space of six months.
Then, my career took an unexpected turn in January 2017. Now, I still send queries from time to time… but I’ve also had a lot of opportunities come to me. By simply telling everyone I met that I was a writer, three fabulous opportunities literally fell in my lap, all within 30 days.
It all started at a cocktail party when I told a local businessman that I was a writer. He was expanding his website and needed a native English writer to fill the site with descriptive language that would encourage other people to come to Colombia, just like I did.
At that same party, I told the host about my writing and he asked me to attend a conference in the Dominican Republic and report back with a series of lifestyle articles for his online newsletter about living on a Caribbean island.
At a luncheon a few weeks later, I met a man who had bought a mountain property and was turning it into a wellness retreat destination. I offered to write the copy for his website and provide photographs to entice visitors. Within a week, he had whisked me up to the property to get my creative juices flowing.
Now, just over a year later, I’m writing a series of articles about the growing gastronomy scene in Medellín (my adopted hometown), local festivals and entertainment, museums and music venues, and more. Although my work for the wellness event is done, I have maintained that relationship in case a new opportunity develops.
The trip to the Dominican Republic evolved into a weekly online newsletter covering the global real estate beat. Having a weekly commitment has changed my lifestyle and I’m working more now than I originally expected. Consistent monthly income and travel opportunities are exciting additions as well.
My advice to any aspiring writer is to embrace the unexpected and take a leap of faith. Hone your writing skills and launch yourself into the universe by telling everyone you are a writer. The results may not be exactly what you planned, but if you are open to new possibilities, your life could be better than you ever expected.