This summer, I got an email from a stranger offering me a free stay in a gorgeous French countryside cottage. I was welcome anytime, the kind and excited woman told me, and so was my world-traveling dog, Luna.
Her cottage, which was spacious and beautifully appointed, was in the Loire Valley—a part of France known for its castles and sweeping landscapes. A well-traveled friend of mine told me it was the perfect place for leisurely bike rides and warm croissants.
Similarly, a month or so later, a restaurant in Italy reached out. They would love to have me come for dinner and they wanted to know if I was planning a trip to Bolzano—the intriguing Italian-German part of northern Italy—anytime soon.
A few weeks after that, another restaurant, this time in my favorite European capital—Paris—sent me a fancy invitation to a VIP tasting event. Their PR manager followed up the invite with an email, telling me that even if I couldn’t make the event, they would love to have me visit the restaurant at another time.
In telling you all this, I feel a little like a celebrity.
Who am I to be getting VIP event invites, free fine dining, and countryside cottage stays? I’m not a movie star or a well-known athlete or a food critic. You probably don’t recognize my name.
So, why do I get these emails every few weeks?
It’s because I’m a travel writer. It’s a wonderful second career you can get into with no experience. All you need is a little know-how about how this type of publishing works.
There are a lot of things I love about my job: the opportunity to explore new places, meet new people, and learn new things; the guilt-free ability to spend a whole day sitting in cafés in Paris…lingering over a balsamic vinegar tasting in Italy’s Emilia Romagna region…or attending a special VIP wine tasting event for work; and the fact that so many of the things I love doing have become a tax write-off at the end of the year.
But in a sea of wonderful things I love about my job, this is one of my favorites: receiving these random emails, offers, and opportunities.
Not only do these invitations help me travel more cost-effectively and write about more things, but they also introduce me to new things all the time.
I didn’t know I could go jet boating on the crystal-blue Lake Brienz in Switzerland until JetBoat Interlaken emailed me to offer a ride. I hadn’t even considered a weekend in the Loire Valley until I got that email from the people renting the country cottage. And my recent invite to a VIP wine tasting event at the Rebbau Spiez vineyard in Spiez, Switzerland introduced me to a whole new side of the Bernese Oberland.
And so my experiences grow, my writing becomes richer, and my job expands into something I never really expected. Not just writing, not just traveling, but being introduced constantly to the new and always being excited to see what comes next.
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