“How I Earned $1,500 on Vacation in France”

The travel bug runs rampant in my family. That’s why, when I was headed to France for work, my mom and I decided to turn it into a girls’ getaway adventure. My mom flew into Paris the day after my work ended and our adventure began.

Paris was our first stop. It was a thrill for me to introduce my mom to the city I have come to love. After a few days’ crisscrossing it by foot and metro, we rented a car and took off east across the French countryside to the Alsace region.

Neither of us had ever been there before and it seemed an interesting part of the world to explore. The region is dotted with historical towns and villages lined with cobblestone paths, some only wide enough to travel on foot. We stayed in a family home B&B in a village not much more than a dot on the map. It was a blink and you’ll miss it-type place, which we did on first pass.

Although it was work that brought me to France, it was vacation and wanderlust that brought my mom and me to Alsace. A true vacation. I had not had one of those in several years. Since becoming a stock photographer my trips had revolved around photography, not vacation. This was a welcome respite.

But I still wanted to take pictures. It’s who I am. It’s what I do for fun, for vacation, and yes…for work, too. I like to see, experience and document the world through the camera lens. I’m just lucky enough that what I love to do and would be doing no matter what is also something that people are willing to pay me for.

One of the great things about this particular trip was sharing it with my mom. She got to be my model in many of the photos I took.

When I got home from vacation, I not only had the memories of the trip documented for posterity but I was able to take some of those same photos and upload them to an online stock photo company. This is such an easy way of distributing my photos. Once I upload my pictures, people looking for photos for newspapers, travel magazines, websites, book covers or advertising campaigns can see if any are suitable. If they are, they pay me to use them.

None of the shots I took on that trip are huge best sellers compared to some of my other photos. Still, from that one trip they’ve earned somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,500 to date. Not too shabby for a vacation payout.

It really doesn’t get much better whichever way you look at it—a job that feels like a vacation or a vacation that pays you like a job. For me, it’s the best of both worlds.

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