Travel Stories Right in Your Backyard By Joan Airey

Travel articles can be written without leaving your backyard. In July, my oldest son informed me that a business acquaintance was leading trail riders and a wagon on a two-week trek starting from our hometown.

Immediately the wheels started turning. How do I find out when they are leaving Rivers so I can photograph them in hopes of selling photographs to agriculture-related newspapers? My first lead on the story offered to take photographs for me as he was taking part in the first day of the ride. The offer was nice but I wanted to take my own photographs that I could market.

After making a long distance call to the person who was leading the trail ride and getting an answering machine, I left a lengthy message telling him what I wanted to do. After waiting three days for a return call, I was getting impatient, to say the least. I tried the two phone numbers I had for him, leaving one message again. At last the return phone call came. He informed me he doesn’t carry his cell and checks it when it’s convenient for him. He added, ìIf you want to take photographs of the trail ride, you’ll have to spend a day on the trail with us.”

My response was there was nothing I’d like better as I’ve always wanted to go on a trail ride, especially one with wagons. I was also curious how I would get back home. He commented that he’d look after that.

The night before the trail ride was to begin, when I returned from my daily run, my husband told me to phone the trail boss. He told me to be at the start of the trail ride two hours before the ride started so I could drive my vehicle to that day’s destination along with the rest of the riders. A ride would be provided to get back to the trail’s start.

For two days before the trail ride I couldn’t sleep. Would I be able to hack this, especially with no running water for a whole day? What if I dropped my camera off a wagon?? Despite my worries, I wasn’t missing the chance.

I had so much fun I really didn’t want to go home at day’s end. We covered approximately fifteen miles of scenic country along a lake a few miles from my home. Next year I hope to spend two or three days on a trail ride with these people.

The wagon trail organizers welcomed me whole heartily. They do the trip for fun, only charging a nominal fee to take part. Any profit goes to help cancer patients and they wanted some publicity, so people would know anyone could join them.

Yes, I sold a travel article to an agricultural newspaper along with three photographs and I’m now negotiating with another newspaper on an article on setting goals and realizing your goals for that year. Don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. Set goals for the year and accomplish them. Follow all leads and you may exceed your goal expectations.

Joan Airey is a freelance writer and photographer for Agri-Post, and Farm Business Communication newspapers, and has been published in Horse Country, The Cottager, WritersWeekly, and Writing For Dollars.