The Adventures of an American Travel Writer

Two-and-a-half years ago my life changed dramatically. I decided two things:

  1. I had to do more international travel.
  2. I had to find a way to fund it.

Since writing was something that I’d always loved, it seemed reasonable that it could become my ticket to traveling the world. I spent a couple of months researching the best way to get started on this new career, and then submitted my first story about Costa Rica to International Living. You can’t even imagine how excited I was when they agreed to publish it!

That was all it took to motivate me. Since then, I’ve had dozens and dozens of stories published in print and online publications.

My life motto has always been, “Above all, life should be fun,” and when it comes to travel writing, life is just one adventure after another!

Trying to choose my favorite adventure is kind of like deciding which one of my kids I love the best—they’re each very different but I love them all! Here are some of the highlights of my travel-writing trips:

—In the culturally-rich city of Kyoto, Japan, I stayed in a luxury hotel just a few minutes’ walk from the vibrant open-air Nishiki Market where I sampled many different kinds of authentic food, colorfully displayed in shop after shop.

In the nearby Gion neighborhood, I was turned into a Geisha. The three-hour makeover consisted of applying the white clay makeup, jeweled black wig, traditional kimono and obi sash, and six-inch high geta sandals. Giggling at the stares of passerby, I painstakingly made my way along the cobblestone street to the nearby shrine. It was definitely an experience to remember.

—Tugging on my wetsuit, I slipped quietly from a boat into the cool, blue-green waters of the Sea of Cortez in La Paz, Mexico—a sea called “the world’s aquarium” by Jacques Cousteau.

Soon I was swimming face-to-face with two curious baby sea lions, blowing bubbles in my face and playfully bumping into me. Later, we sailed to a deserted island where my lunch was prepared by the ship’s crew—freshly caught fish were cooked over an open, warm tortillas and rice. Then I returned to my beachfront resort (which had three pools, a marina, and a golf course).

— On the Caribbean island of Curacao, I stood perfectly still, hardly even breathing, as two huge ostriches came around either side of me, leaned their long necks over my shoulders and began to peck into the pail of feed I was holding. After a morning tour of the ostrich farm, I spent the afternoon relaxing at stunning Kenepa Beach.

—Down the beach from the Rosarito Beach Hotel where I was a guest of the owner and the mayor of the city, I found myself locked inside the “human cage” from the movie Planet of the Apes. But not for long. Now closed to the public, my travel writer’s credentials got me an insider’s pass to tour Foxploration, the movie theme park in Rosarito, Mexico.

Just a few minutes away in the small seaside town of Puerto Nuevo, a steaming plate of deep fried lobster, just-out-of-the-oven tortillas, rice, salads, and a salt-rimmed margarita were set in front of me by the restaurant owner.

Getting to have those kinds of adventures is the biggest perk of being a travel writer. And because PR agencies and tourist bureaus want to entice travel writers to visit their destination, they organise press trips—usually an all-expenses-paid way to see the world.

I have also stayed in some amazing accommodations—overwater bungalows in Bora Bora…luxury resorts in Mexico…even the old-school traditional ryokan hotels in Japan—because of my travel writer credentials.

And my adventures pay off. My first press trip to La Paz, Mexico, where I swam with the sea lions, came just six months after I’d had my first article published. There I was hosted at the very best five-star resort, provided a spa treatment and wined-and-dined at upscale restaurants and beachfront cantinas. From just that one trip, I was able to get six articles published!

People sometimes tell me I have the best job in the world. I’ll admit, I’m inclined to agree…

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