Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle…Mary Kingsley, Victorian explorer and writer…Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Everest…they all had one thing in common: They kept logs and diaries of their travels to document their experiences and keep them from becoming blurred memories.
Today’s voyager has a different tool—the blog. Not only is it fun, but it can make you money.
My husband Bill and I are avid travelers, a habit formed working for international organizations for many years. When we decided to retire in 2009 and focus on our passion for travel, we looked for a way to stay in touch with friends, make new connections, and—if we could—fund some of our travels by writing about our discoveries. Our blog was born.
Over the past three years, we’ve basked on the shores of the Dead Sea and hiked through the Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia… ridden the Trans-Siberian Express from Beijing to Moscow…celebrated New Year’s Eve on the Straits of Magellan…eaten delicious food in northern Italy… and our blog is our way to let our families and friends know what we’re up to, preserve our memories, and help fund our adventures.
Bill and I work as a team. I write and Bill focuses on photos. We look for unique experiences to share with our readers. For example, one of our most popular blog entries is about the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, England; another focuses on the cemetery in Punta Arenas, Chile; while a third explores World War I fortiﬁcations in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy.
The blog provides a means to highlight our writing and our photographs. Editors who read our blog will sometimes ask us to be guest bloggers or to provide them with articles for which they are willing to pay. For example, based on the series of blogs that we wrote during our trip to Patagonia, one publication just asked us to submit a feature article. And we’ve sold several of our photographs to users who just found them on the site through searches.
Establishing relationships with people is an invaluable beneﬁt of the blog. Invariably, when we tell someone that we are going to write an article about their establishment or location, they offer some token of appreciation—a complimentary meal, free entry to a site, or a free service. These may seem insigniﬁcant but they quickly add up.
Another way we increase the visibility of our site is to send the article to the Chamber of Commerce/tourist ofﬁce when we write about a particular place. In return, invitations to cover other events, press passes, and offers of paid assignments are often forthcoming.
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