Travel, Perks, and a Money-Making Blog

I don’t like any weather that requires a jacket. My solution is to escape to warmer climates. This past fall and winter, I spent more than three months living in Italy and Spain. Last year I spent almost two months in Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia.

I spent my weekends exploring Cinque Terre and small Tuscan towns like Siena, Lucca, and Cortona. I enjoyed soaking up the Italian history and culture by wandering through cobbled streets, climbing up old towers, and eating more pizzas than I can count.

I sat at an outdoor cafe in Seville, basking in the sun. For six weeks, I ate tapas, practiced my Spanish, and took side trips to explore Granada and Cordoba.

Last year I was island hopping in southern Thailand, admiring ancient temples in Cambodia, and eating satay in Malaysia. I exchanged my winter coat for my bathing suit, gray skies for blue.

And during all this time in Italy and Spain and Thailand, I was still working.

Blogging and freelance writing help me live this flexible life. Since I can work from anywhere that has a decent internet connection, I’m not tied to one location.

My husband and I live in Berlin, but if we want to go to Budapest or Paris for a week, we can. And when winter comes, we can take our laptops to sunnier places. We see the sights and taste the food, and I schedule in enough time to work from an apartment rental or cafe while we’re there.

I started blogging at the end of 2009 as a hobby, never thinking it would turn into something bigger. Now I run several travel websites, and the income from those sites contributes to my overall earnings of more than $2,000 per month.

At first money came in sporadically, but now I average $350 a month from advertising and $50 a month through Amazon’s affiliate program. I also earn an average of $50 a month from a book I wrote called Packing Made Simple…plus a further $1,600 from freelance writing for websites and magazines.

Having travel blogs helped me get into freelance writing. When the content manger of a travel site needed a few articles on short notice, she contacted me because she knew my writing. This led to more assignments from that company, and they are now my biggest client.

And blogging has other other perks. By working with tourism boards and travel companies, I’ve received free accommodation, meals, and tours in exchange for writing honest reviews on my sites.

That’s less money out of my pocket.

Next winter I’m hoping to head for Central America, though it’s too soon to decide exactly where. Costa RicaPanamaBelize? When I can earn from anywhere, it’s hard to choose.

But if it’s warm and sunny and comes with WiFi, I’ll be happy, exploring and writing.

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