From the very moment I learnt to read, I decided I wanted to be a writer. As a kid, I rode along on my bike, notebook and pen in the front basket, stopping every few minutes to make a note of my big ideas. When we visited my grandparents, I wouldn’t get in the car to go home until I’d written my grandma another story.
Then I grew up, and it seemed like having what everyone called a “real job” was a much more practical idea. I worked in the education industry and eventually mutated that into traveling around the world, living and teaching English in Japan, Slovakia and Germany.
The spare time I was lucky to have as a Business English instructor was soon put to good use: traveling, writing about it, traveling again. Small travel magazines, both online and print, started to publish and pay for my stories. If you’d seen the celebrations for my first sale, you’d have thought I’d won a million in the lottery, not picked up just $40 for a whole day’s work.
But to be able to trade in some of my teaching hours and spend more time writing, I realized I needed some kind of stable income. And that’s when I learnt I was really born at the right time. The Internet’s providing all kinds of new opportunities for regular writing, and I wanted to get in on the action. I started by publishing my own Not a Ballerina blog, sharing tales of my trips, life overseas and pointing readers to my articles as they were published. With two or three entries weekly, I could prove to prospective employers that I have staying power.
Next, I just had to stay alert for the right opportunities. First, it was my specialist knowledge of Eastern Europe and Russia that landed me a regular gig with my column, and then my worldwide travel experience that has me blogging daily at Jaunted. I’m not highly paid, but the monthly regularity of a check (or a Paypal deposit, as is increasingly the case) is enough to give me both the motivation to keep going and the belief that I really am a writer.
Amanda Kendle is an Australian addicted to traveling. She has lived and worked in Japan, Slovakia and Germany, and spends her free time writing about past trips and planning future ones. Finances for these come from her job as a teacher of English to speakers of other languages, and she worries that she learns more from her students than they do from her. Her articles have been featured in Student Traveler, Hidden Europe, Go World Travel and Inside Out Travel.