Floating peacefully in the warm Caribbean waters, we’d just about given up on our quest to spot a manatee (sea cow). My friend—a freelance photographer like myself—had been raving about the possibility all day…but now it was almost time to head back to dry land.
Suddenly, I felt something enormous brushing against my leg—a huge manatee, far bigger than us and twice as bold. Despite his size, he was a gentle and playful creature, eager to join in our swim.
Days later, I would still find myself smiling every time I thought of this event. It was, without a doubt, the highlight of our trip—and just about the only thing that neither of us caught on camera. We traveled all the way from Antigua in the central Guatemalan highlands to beachside Placencia on the Caribbean coast of Belize, snapping up a storm along the way. It was a long journey and an adventure in the truest sense of the word.
In Placencia, a dreamy beach paradise on Belize’s Caribbean coast, my yellow cabin was set right on the white, sandy beach and only a few steps from the clear, warm waters. We swam, drank cocktails at the beachside bar, ate scrumptious seafood dishes, and explored on foot photographing rustic, clapboard shacks and stores lining the walkway behind the beach.
We cruised around the shores of Placencia by boat and were inundated with picturesque photo opportunities: small boats moored alongside brightly colored wooden houses, sweeping views of pristine white-sand beaches views, and charming little Caribbean islands (known as cayes).
Today, I’m consistently earning from the photos I shot on this trip through online stock photography websites. My highest earning stock photo is a dawn shot of a volcano on Lake Atitlan in the Guatemalan highlands (pictured above). It’s sold more than 350 times on one stock website. Earnings from this photo more than covered a fun Christmas break I took with friends sleeping in a lakeside cabin.
And imagine my surprise when I spotted one of my photos of a Guatemalan volcano on the National Geographic’s website. I shot this photo while breakfasting with friends at a hilltop restaurant outside the colonial town of Antigua. It was such a beautiful moment that I knew it would sell but I never considered it might show up on the National Geographic website. This image, and others I took on the same morning, are some of my best-selling stock images and continue to sell to this day providing me with a passive income to fund my travels.
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