When I was 13 years old, I already knew I wanted to be a writer. However, for the next 40 years, I let fear and self-doubt hold me back.
I never stopped thinking about writing, but I never sent out queries or submitted my work. I threw almost everything away because I didn’t believe I was good enough to be published.
I traveled within the U.S. while younger, but in my late 40s, my trips took me to places outside of the U.S. and the travel bug really took hold.
I read people’s travel stories while looking for new destinations, and thought, “I can write articles like these.” I also knew travel writing could help pay for some vacation expenses and decided to give it a try.
In 2013, the final leg of a Caribbean cruise took me through the Panama Canal. I was in awe of the canal and its history and wrote about the trip to share my adventure with friends and family. When my efforts were enthusiastically received, my confidence grew.
That experience gave me the courage I was missing, and in 2016, I sent out my first and second submissions. By the end of 2018, I had nearly 40 articles published both in print and online.
Writing about travel increased my desire to see new places. When my first articles were published, the world suddenly seemed bigger, with so many things to see and people to meet.
I wanted to go everywhere—not just the typical destinations like Paris and Rome.
Travel writing also had an unexpected effect on me. Since I couldn’t visit exotic locations every week, I began to discover interesting people and places right in my own back yard. Once I took the time to look, I discovered amazing experiences just a few miles from home.
Through writing, I grew much more aware of the people at each destination who quietly contribute to our travel experiences. Instead of riding silently in the back of a cab, I started leaning forward to chat with drivers about their city. I asked tour guides how they got started… and where to find the best cheeseburger in town.
By looking for things to write about while traveling, I learned that everyone has interesting stories to tell. All you have to do is ask.