When I was in college, I studied engineering. It seemed like the practical thing to do at the time. I was great at math and science, loved computers and enjoyed solving problems. I know; I was a total nerd. It still amazes me that I managed to make any friends.
I grew up in a military family which strengthened my appreciation for different cultures at an early age. But it wasn’t until a six week independent research tour through South Africa that I became hooked. I wanted to set my home base in South Africa and roam around the world, sample local cuisines and connect with all of the new people I would meet. I was even offered a job to jump start the process, teaching math for an engineering prep program at the University of Capetown. Instead I chose the easy, safe, more profitable and expected alternative: I got a corporate job and used my limited vacation days sparingly to discover new places around the globe.
Had I know then that you could get paid to travel the world, my life would have been so much different!
Shortly after I started blogging about my travels, I discovered the MatadorU Travel Writing Course. I swear I read every page of that site over and over and over again before I finally gave in and enrolled. (I HATE just throwing away my hard earned money that could be used for travel).
It’s been a couple of months since starting the class and so far so good. I’m a little slower on the weekly pacing course for class because of all of my other commitments, but the comprehensive curriculum has definitely been a big help. So far I’ve gained a clear understanding of the types of travel writing for print and online. I’ve learned how to get into a publication mindset and how to pitch editors and publications with a unique angle to a seemingly hackneyed topic. Most importantly, I’m improving my writing, finding my voice and overcoming my fears of sharing. While these are all great benefits, the biggest asset is the candid feedback and support from the instructors as well as the alumni and other students in the course. It’s a special “family” of inquisitive and intrepid wanderers pursuing their passion of seeing the world and sharing their experiences with others.
I just recently landed my first paid travel writing assignment that is recurring on a monthly basis. And while I haven’t been invited on a press trip yet, I’m looking forward to continuing to improve my writing and hope that my stories encourage someone to try or experience something new.
Think you’re ready to give travel writing a try? Check out MatadorU to learn more about their new media school and how to get paid to travel the world. Your new life awaits you…