159. Getting Paid to do Something You Love

Getting Paid To Do Something You Love: I love writing. I do it a lot. When I make time for it, I feel good. When I go a day without doing it, I get irritable. Amy took my mood swings in stride when we were overseas, because it often wasn’t possible for me to find time on busy days. I also love to make photos, although I’ll always think of myself as a writer and not a photographer for the simple reason that I’m too lazy to get any better at photography. I have one filter, don’t know how to use a light meter and can rarely remember which number makes the aperture thingy big and which one makes it small. But I still love to take pictures.

And about two-thirds of the way into this trip, I finally started admitting to myself that I wanted to try writing for a living. Or at least half a living. So I have a few things happening, some “projects in the works” as the unemployed in Los Angeles say. I’m getting paid to write for a nice little website about collector cars, called Cars That Matter. I’ve had words and photos bought and published in a wonderful new print magazine called Everywhere Magazine and expect to have more in the next issue. I was also commissioned for an article about our trip in one of the most beautiful travel/adventure/enviro magazines you’ve never seen, called Wend. That article, with photos, is due out in April and it’s a collection of stories relating to how getting around – in rickshaws, boats, trains, whatever – was more than half the fun of our trip. Look for Wend in bookstores soon, it’s a terrific magazine.

Anyway, these things are loads of fun for me and all happened because I took a chance on myself. Like “Follow Your Bliss,” but without all the new agey baggage. If you’re not happy doing what you’re doing, if you want to travel around the world, if you want to be a professional dog walker or if you want to fly planes, try it. Take a damn chance on yourself. Because even if this doesn’t work out the way I want it to, I’m loving every minute of it. That may be the best reason to wander.

PS – We got a nice, brief mention in the Boston Globe Sunday travel section last week. Online version is here.


  1. The Chez says:

    You know what? You’re right. I quit my job today and am going to go find some things that could make me happy. Lord only knows that Portland doesn’t make my sinuses happy.
    Most older people I know wish they would have done one thing differently: travelled while younger. Now they’re just older with money and less ability to travel.
    Good luck to maintaining fun and travel. You two are my inspiration!

  2. Ben says:

    Congrats, Sloan! I’ve always been really impressed by the writing here, so it’s no wonder that you would find success in that sphere. I’ll keep an eye out for that Wend piece. Best of luck, safe travels, and keep scribbling those letters.

  3. Ali says:

    I’ve been meaning to ask you what kind of camera have you been using on your trip? Your images are so vivid and clear. I’m searching for a good camera so I thought I would ask, since yours are certainly the best quality pics i’ve seen in a long while!

  4. Dan says:

    Hooray! If I haven’t suggested writing to you in the past, it’s only because I haven’t said out loud what I think every time I read one of your blog entries. (You even inspired me to give blogging a whirl on my last trip for Mercy Corps, to Sudan, http://www.mercycorps.org/sudanblog.) Can’t wait to talk shop when you return (if returning is still your plan…).

  5. Sloan says:

    Dan, that Sudan travelogue is incredible, I love it. And not just because it finally answers the question, “What happens when a regular person stands next to Manute Bol and puts his arm around him?”

    Ali, we use a Nikon D40 and a Canon Powershot s70. The real trick though is to shoot in RAW format and process the pictures in Photoshop for better color and clarity.

  6. Ali says:

    Thanks Sloan! And by the way, congrats on your articles and photos being published online. I certainly am moved by most of what you write and wouldn’t have thought an article about cars would move me to tears. Guess I’m sentimental about my sister’s ole trusty VW campervan “Delilah” she took through the Yukon territory, Denali and across the country a couple of times. I can imagine you writing some of the sagas of Delilah and doing her justice. They certainly are loveable vehicles brimming with personality. Thanks for sharing about your connection with yours! Cheers! Ali