I get A LOT of questions about how I got started in travel, how I managed to make this my “job” and how I got my books published. I receive far too many emails to respond to them all personally, so here are some answers to those burning questions.
Q. How did you get started in your travels?
I grew up in New Jersey and my friends have said that I made it clear that I wanted to get away from there from very early on (and I thought I was hiding it better). My first “real” adventure was when I was 20. I took a semester off from college and went on a 3-month-long road trip around the U.S. in my brother’s sporty Fiero. I visited friends who were attending school from Virginia to California and also stayed in youth hostels. The thing I loved the most was meeting people from all over the world who were also staying in the hostels. I was fascinated by all of the accents and varying points of view. I got hooked on travel and never looked back.
Q. Weren’t you afraid to travel on your own?
A. Of course! But my desire to travel was far stronger than the fear. I remember my legs shaking as I pulled out of the driveway on that first trip, but I was still determined to do it.
Q. What other big trips have you taken?
I’ve done lots of travel over more than 22 years but the highlights include: Driving from N.J. to Alaska twice (once, solo); Backpacking around the Pacific Rim countries for a year (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand); Riding my BMW motorcycle solo from Seattle to Panama.
Q. What piece of advice can you give a person who wants to live a similar lifestyle as you?
A. Just do it. Seriously. If you have the same burning desire to travel that I do, you’ll figure out a way to make it work. Choose a job that gives you some flexibility in your schedule (a teacher is the perfect example) or make it clear to your boss that you must have extra time off for travel (even if it’s unpaid). You’ll have to make sacrifices along the way (don’t get used to a fancy car and expensive clothes, in other words) but if travel IS your passion, then follow that dream!
The reality is that most people don’t get rich in the travel biz. And few make enough of a living to actually pay expenses. I know, that’s not what you wanted to hear. I’ve managed to make enough to pay the mortgage, buy some groceries, have a nice meal out now and again AND pay for more travels because I’ve cobbled together a number of different travel businesses that all work together.
- I own my own publishing company, Dispatch Travels, and have now self-published four books.
- I own my own tour company and have four tours that will be running in 2009.
- I’m the editor of this website, which gets updated more than several times a day and which brings in a (very) modest amount of money in ads and associates fees. (Did you know when you click on an Amazon link and make a purchase, you’re helping support this site?)
- I write for several on and offline publications that pay a bit – just enough to buy that occasional expensive meal.
Oh, and I don’t sleep a lot. I wake up at 5 a.m. most every morning. I either practice my classical guitar or go to the gym before the sun comes up. After making fresh carrot/beet/apple/ginger juice, I’m on the computer by 7, answering emails, writing blogs and figuring out more ways to get the word out about Wanderlust and Lipstick and, hopefully, inspiring more women to travel!
Q. How do you afford to do so much traveling?
A. If you have a passion (an addiction, really) like I do with travel, you figure out every way possible to make it work. For years I worked two and three jobs at a time in order to pay for my travels. I worked a temp job during the day, I delivered pizza at night, and I was a radio disc jockey on the weekends. I saved all my money and when I had enough, would take off for another trip. Travel can be incredibly cheap. I’ve always chosen to spend less on a hotel so that I could use that money to extend my trip.
These days, travel IS my work. So, when I jet off to Thailand or India or Europe, I’m often researching a book, leading a tour or conjuring up some other reason that will allow me to write it off on my taxes 🙂
Q. Do you wear lipstick?
Q. Why Wanderlust and Lipstick, then?
A. Because Wanderlust and Chapstick didn’t sound right 🙂
Q. Books? You write books? How do I buy them?
A. You can simply click here to buy your very own signed copy of any one of the 3 Wanderlust and Lipstick guides.
Q. Why are your books geared toward women?
A. Well, because I AM one, and can speak from experience.
I think women are truly more adventurous than guys, but sometimes we need a little extra prod to get going. Really, most of my tips are appropriate for guys, too, but they aren’t prone to asking for help. Women are more likely to pursue answers to their questions and the Wanderlust and Lipstick guides do seem to resonate with WanderGals.
Q. How did you get your books published?
A. Aaaaah, this a long answer. You can find it here.
Q. You own your own publishing company, Dispatch Travels. Do you accept manuscripts for publication?
A. At this time I am not looking to publish full manuscripts beyond my own Wanderlust and Lipstick guides. I had considered publishing an anthology of women’s travel writing but this is on hold for the moment.
Q. Who’s your web designer and tech support?
A. My site is built in WordPress. My amazing partner/lover/husband/sambo/significant other actually designed the site (don’t even ask, he’s VERY expensive) and Ron and Andrea did the WordPress magic to make it all function properly. Great job – eh?
Q. Are you hiring?
A. I’m not currently hiring but I am offering internship opportunities for the right candidate(s). I’m always looking for gals who know their way around WordPress, have some talent in writing and are eager to get involved in the travel industry.
Q. Do you pay for articles on your site?
A. While I am always on the look out for quality travel stories to add to the WanderTales section of the site, at this time I’m unable to pay for articles. The website just doesn’t make enough money for me to do so. Here are submission guidelines.