I first came to Antigua, Guatemala in 2006 to study Spanish and extended my one-month language course month-by-month for seven months. By then, I’d fallen in love with the city and lifestyle, befriended both locals and expats and felt I wanted to make this a more permanent lifestyle…so I stayed.
The lifestyle is simpler and cheaper than back home and the climate is sunnier and warmer. I love having six months of no rain! I also love speaking Spanish and living in Antigua–a beautiful, cosmopolitan city, where festivals and cultural activities abound. I can choose from an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables in the market, or local street food and cuisine from around the globe.
People here are a mix of locals, expats and travelers so there’s a real melting pot of language and culture. Boredom isn’t an option!
I’ve always loved to write about my travels, but the idea that I could actually become a paid travel writer seemed an unattainable dream. Then I came across a writing workshop from AWAI and decided to see if it could help me. I gained invaluable advice and tips but more importantly, I realized that the inexperienced could also break into travel writing.
In fact, I got my first assignment here in Guatemala, when I was asked to write about and photograph a local town. That was the first time I sold my writing, but it wouldn’t be the last. Today my work has been published on websites, guidebooks and in magazines.
I haven’t just been writing about Guatemala, either. I’ve just been offered work writing for a magazine about a recent trip to Mongolia. My income from travel writing helps toward paying for some of my trips and it makes living in Guatemala (or elsewhere!) and traveling a much more enjoyable and fulfilling experience. As long as I have a decent Internet connection, I can work from anywhere—there’s nothing to keep me tied to one location.
My next trip is to a village in the highlands of Guatemala for a unique festival with inebriated, traditionally clad locals racing horses on All Saint’s Day on November 1. I’m then spending Christmas on the edge of a volcano-rimmed lake in Guatemala and next year I’m visiting Thailand…and maybe moving back there to live.
I prefer working to my own schedule and earning while doing what I love.
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