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Ten years…

That’s how long I had been reading Great Escape Publishing’s inspirational newsletter, The Right Way to Travel, before I finally took action and attended the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop in 2017.

Now, I’m a paid travel writer and photographer! I’m so thrilled with my new network, my new tribe. Networking with them throughout (and after) that action-packed, event-filled, three-day weekend has made all the difference to my new part-time adventure.

Since then, I’ve been consciously practicing my late mother’s “philosophy of gratitude” every day…

Looking at what I’ve achieved since the workshop, I’m thankful to have met Lori Allen, Jennifer Stevens, Kyle Wagner, Efraín Padró, Betsi Hill, Theresa St John, Mary Charlebois, Noreen Kompanik, Cat Holladay… the list goes on and on… because they all inspired me to literally change my life.

With the confidence I gained from the workshop, I’ve had articles published in a variety of online publications (including the Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s blog), more accepted, and others are in the works.

Bonus boost: my writing success also fueled my photography confidence. My art photographs are now selling in prestigious shops in and around Omaha, including two museums. And I recently had my first Omaha solo Art Opening!

The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop works. You get all the tools you need to be successful. But don’t fool yourself into thinking you can just attend a live event and success will miraculously fall into your lap…

First, You need a plan. So here’s what I recommend:

1) Start by continuing to carefully read every edition of The Right Way to Travel newsletter, taking notes, and putting those inspiring tips from contributors into practice.

2) Attend a live workshop because putting faces to these names is invaluable in making it real.

3) When you return home (or after attending via Livestream), join—and be an active member of—the event Facebook groups. Continue your journey to becoming a paid travel writer by contributing ideas and supporting other members’ milestones and successes.

4) Keep networking! Never stop practicing the philosophy of gratitude along the way. Express your gratitude to those who encourage you. No matter how small your first successes may be, one success leads to another and another…

5) Start with stories that are close to home.

When I returned home to Omaha after the 2017 Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop, I followed Theresa St John’s advice to start local. Travel writing doesn’t mean spending your hard-earned money on expensive flights and hotels a world away.

Instead, enjoy the process of rediscovering your own hometown through a travel writer’s eyes. Become an expert.

Pursue your passions right in your own backyard. Check out the latest and greatest your hometown has to offer. It may be home to you, but to someone else it’s a travel destination.

Cat Holladay—a wonderful new friend that I met at the workshop—shared some action-inspiring statistics that helped to motivate me and keep me on track once I returned home…

When you simply think about your goals, she shared, you are 43% more likely to achieve them. But when you write, rate, plan, and SHARE your goals on a weekly basis, your odds of success increase to 76%! So hold yourself accountable. Share your goals. And help the other members of your travel writers’ tribe do the same.

Make and follow your plan. And remember to practice the philosophy of gratitude along the way.

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