Does This Look Like Work to You?

by Jennifer Stevens

I hesitate to share this photo for fear you’ll think it’s utterly obnoxious….

…obnoxious because, well, you’re probably sitting at your desk.   And I, by contrast, am at “work” in the colonial town of Granada, Nicaragua – getting paid to travel.

Jennifer Stevens here, author of the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Program and Executive Editor of International Living.

Jen Stevens Poolside

From my perch, I can hear the water tumbling over the stone fountain in the courtyard of the house we’ve rented. My three boys are lolling in the pool. And I’m in the gazebo, under a fan… “on the job.”

My “office” this week is this garden.

I’ve included this shot not to make you jealous, but to make you think, “does this look like work?”

Since I’m down in Central America with my notebook and pen out, practicing what I preach, I figured it would be a good week for me to step in as your guest editor.

You know, I always tell people at our live workshops that travel writing is not rocket science.  And I mean it.

Take a look at these travel article titles from the New York Times:

Can you write articles like these? Absolutely. All you need is a little know how.  A little experience.  And a good approach to finding and contacting the right editor.

And look what that can get you … (says I from this lovely colonial home in Nicaragua).

All-expense-paid trips… complimentary meals… VIP access to parks, museums, zoos… on-the-house overnight stays in lavish resorts… you name it. As a travel writer you really can enjoy red-carpet treatment.

Take a look through those articles I listed above and think about how you might write something that mimics one of those themes… or uses it as a springboard for an idea of your own…

For example, what would you recommend to visitors if you were to write about “36 Hours” in your own hometown?

Or consider the Pilsen piece from the Times — is your town (or someplace nearby you) known for something in particular – like Pilsen is known for beer? What else is there to do there near you? What do most tourists miss?

What about a hotel review? You could write one about a new hotel opened up near you or about an unusual place that has something in particular to recommend it.

And consider that last article I listed.  That New York Times piece takes a look at oyster collecting on Cape Cod. What’s the equivalent in your neck of the woods? Think about an activity visitors can enjoy with a local – something that’ll give them insights into the local culture and history.

At our annual workshops, I walk participants through – step-by-step – exactly how you go from an idea like one of these to an actual article. And we work together on getting a piece written. I pull back the curtain and show you how to turn an experience into a story you can really sell.

And the “you can sell” part is critical. Because you might be surprised at what editors put on their “can’t find this” lists. When you can provide it… you make yourself a valuable resource for magazines, newspapers and websites. The more often they turn to you – the more often you’re getting paid to travel. And you don’t need a writer’s background to make it happen.

I guarantee: You walk away with all the tools you need (at the ready) to turn your travels into paid-for vacations. Even if you’ve never written anything before but reports at work or postcards to friends.

Whether you dream about a week at an eco-resort tucked into the jungle above a deserted beach… or a history-rich tour through Normandy… or a sailboat trip in the San Juan Islands… or something like the trip I’m on right now, a week spent living in and exploring a colonial city in Latin America…

I can show you how you can make something like that happen… and get paid for it, too. Maybe even go for free. But you don’t have to attend a live event to get going.  Get more details about the tools you need to get started yourself, from right there at home, below and learn how your fellow readers have done it with grand success too.

Editors’s Note

What’s on Your Bucket List? How does access to exclusive galleries, backstage passes, private tours of luxury resorts, dinners with celebrity chefs, and guided wine tastings sound?  Found out how to travel the world like a VIP while everyone else is just an average tourist by clicking here.


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