Freelancing Equals Freedom: How to Become a Writer as a Digital Nomad

Freelance opportunities have always been attractive to people who crave freedom and flexibility in their professional lives. Thanks to technology, it’s now easier than ever to work remotely from the location of your choosing as a writer. You may even have such success that you end up morphing your freelance gigs into a bona fide small business opportunity. Guest blogger Lisa Walker of Neighborhood Sprout shares some tips on how to make it happen.

Assess Your Skill Sets

There are a number of different occupations that can be done in a freelance or independent contracting capacity. Before exploring the potential for your industry, make a self-assessment that includes an honest appraisal of your ability to work and write in a sometimes challenging environment. Being knowledgeable in your field, having enough industry contacts, and being well prepared can all help boost your odds for success. Good time management skills and a self-starter personality are essential to being a freelance writer.

Where Will You Work?

As a freelancer, you won’t be working a 9-to-5 office schedule, but you will need to have the appropriate workspace and equipment to be able to do your job effectively. This typically means a quality laptop with reliable internet connectivity as well as access to private and quiet work spaces you can use as necessary. You may also need a noise-blocking headset or private workspace that allows you to conduct Zoom or phone conversations with potential clients. You may even be able to work on-site for some of your clients, reducing the need for your own office space.

When first starting out, choose a handful of job boards where you can detail your work skills and experience as well as share your portfolio. For example, you can offer blog writing services through a site like Upwork. Here, potential clients can read reviews from other clients and learn more about what you have to offer.

Traveling as a Freelancer

According to Influence Digest, many freelancers decide to work in this capacity so they have the ability to travel and to build flexibility into their lives. Others travel because it’s related to their particular line of work. For example, if you’re a freelancer who reviews vacation destinations or different points of interest across the globe, you may be traveling on a regular basis. If costs are not covered as part of your assignment, look for low-cost rentals and off-season travel times, and make sure tech capabilities are adequate so you can efficiently do your job. Travel via public transportation or fly standby. According to CNET, having a credit card that gives you rewards points toward travel can also be beneficial.

Building a Business

You may find that demand for your writing is expanding to a point where you’d like to establish yourself as a small business. In this case, taking the steps to register a business name and establish a formal business entity is a good idea. A DBA, which stands for “doing business as,” is the way to name your company without necessarily having to attach your own name to it from a public perspective. A DBA makes it easier to branch out into ancillary services if you decide you would like to do work for different industries under the same business umbrella. You can also use the DBA to establish banking and online accounts, as well as use it in billing statements and in cashing checks.

Working as a freelance writer provides numerous opportunities for flexibility and choosing work you find personally and professionally rewarding. As a small business, you may also have a greater degree of control over your earnings. Careful budgeting will be essential to ensuring success. Also keep in mind that as a freelancer, you’ll have to pay your own share of taxes as well as that of your “employer” (you) in making contributions to your Social Security account. Keep these matters in mind for long-term planning, budgeting, and expense tracking.

Historic Swiss Journeys

 Travel back into the past by car or aboard the Treno Gottardo, a VIP train trip along an ancient trade route that crosses the fantastical Gotthard Pass, a north south journey connecting the German speaking region of Uri to the Ticino, the Italian speaking area of Switzerland.

Prehistoric Pile Dwellings in the Alps

In 2011, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee added the remains of prehistoric pile-dwelling also known as stilt house settlements in and around six Alpine countries that were built from around 5,000 to 500 B.C. on the edges of lakes, rivers or wetlands to their list.

The sites provide glimpses into what life was like in prehistoric times during the Neolithic and Bronze Age in Alpine Europe as well as the way communities interacted with their environment. In an exciting new find, archaeologists diving in Lake Lucerne discovered pile dwellings from the Bronze Age.

Exploring Roman History           

Augusta Raurica near Augst/Kaiseraugst, a 2000-year-old settlement on the southern bank of the Rhine, is located near the beautiful city of Basel. Named after the Celtic Rauriker tribe and the Roman Emperor Augustus, the city at its peak had a population of around 20,000 with workshops, commercial enterprises, taverns, temples and public baths closely strung together. Because no new towns were established during the Middle Ages or our modern area, Augusta Raurica is amazingly  well-preserved.

Visitors can view the myriad of wonders discovered here like the largest silver treasure dating from Late Antiquity, a Roman domestic animal park with ancient animal species, and the architectural remnants of the city, the museum offers great insights into the daily lives of the people who lived here around the time of Christ’s birth.

1821—Napoleon’s End

On May 5 was the 200th anniversary of the death of Napoleon I on the island of St. Helena, where he was placed in exile. His stepdaughter Hortense des Beauharnais also lived in exile at Arenenberg Castle and Napoleon Museum in Switzerland.

As the only German-speaking museum on Napoleonic history, a special exhibition during the “Année Napoléon 2021” will take place from October 10-24, 2021, showing the long lasting influence of Napoleon on Switzerland even today.

Inventing Milk Chocolate

Food and beverages reflect a country’s culinary traditions and customs. Many of today’s Swiss cheese brands go back to the 12th century, but Daniel Peter’s much newer creation in 1875 really took the world by storm—a passion that continues today. Peter was able to solve the problem of how to combine chocolate and milk. Most Swiss cities offer chocolate tours and several chocolate brands features visitor experiences.

Newly Restored LGBT Pioneer’s Spectacular Painting Returns to Monte Verità

After a lengthy restoration, the super large circular painting “Il Chiaro Mondo dei Beati” or “The Clear World of the Blessed”  by Estonian artist and LGBT pioneer Elisàr von Kupffer (1872-1932) is on display at the Monte Verità museum complex located in southern Switzerland near Ascona.

Ballenberg

Instead of destroying more than one hundred historic buildings, many of them farmhouses, were instead carefully taken dismantled and rebuilt at the Ballenberg Swiss Open-Air Museum.

The museum is nestled in the beautiful pastoral landscape of the Bernese Oberland and can be reached by bus from Brienz. The many hands-on activities were created to provide insight in old traditional crafts like forging, weaving, and herbal medical treatments

Choose Chicago Announces a Relaunch of the Chicago Greeter Program

Just in time for the  summer 2021 season, the Chicago Greeter program will now showcase the city’s diverse neighborhoods through four different initiatives

Chicago, IL – June 17, 2021 – Choose Chicago announces a relaunch of the popular and world renowned Chicago Greeter program. The program now includes four different initiatives bringing the knowledge and passion of this network of 200 volunteer guides to locals and visitors alike in new ways, while remaining free to the public: the original In-Person Greeter experiences, Welcome to Our Neighborhood walks, InstaGreeter Downtown meetups and Self-Guided Greeter tours presented by Bank of America.

From Chinatown to Pilsen and Greektown to Little Italy, Chicago’s neighborhoods tell the stories of the people who made the city their home throughout history. Since 2001, Chicago Greeter has shown how these neighborhoods have remained just as vibrant today, with bustling cafes, restaurants, museums, public art and more.

“Choose Chicago is proud to relaunch and expand the renowned Chicago Greeter program this summer and share authentic Chicago neighborhoods with locals and visitors alike,” said Jason Lesniewicz, Director of Cultural Tourism for Choose Chicago.  “We now have four great ways to experience fascinating histories, diverse cultural traditions, iconic landmarks and off-the-beaten-path gems.”

Chicago Greeter Experiences

A recipient of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for over ten years, the original In-Person Chicago Greeter experiences offer deep dives of 2-to-4 hours of the Chicago neighborhood of your choice. Guests are paired with a friendly, local volunteer based on their neighborhood and subject of interest for a personalized experience. Tours are available in over a dozen languages and are available to book now.

Welcome to Our Neighborhood Walks

Explore Chicago’s neighborhoods with these new, free walks led by diverse community groups and neighborhood organizations. Walks will dive deep into the highlights of each community’s unique stories, top attractions and under-the-radar finds, all through the eyes of people deeply embedded in the community. The first of these tours to launch will be through Chinatown in collaboration with the Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute on June 19 and July 17.   

InstaGreeter Downtown Meetups

The InstaGreeter downtown meetups, returning July 2nd, were designed with those who are pressed for time or looking for a more flexible option in mind. These free, hour-long tours of Chicago’s downtown Loop neighborhood operate Friday, Saturday and Sundays departing at 11:30 am. No reservation is required and InstaGreeters depart from the Chicago Cultural Center’s Welcome Center located at 77 E. Randolph Street.

Self-Guided Greeter Tours

The new Self-Guided Greeter Tours, presented by Bank of America, provide visitors and locals alike curated, virtual tours designed by local experts to showcase each neighborhood’s unique history, culture and hidden gems. 

Through the power of video, blog and social content, this series will shine a spotlight on six Chicago neighborhoods by leveraging the knowledge and expertise of the Chicago Greeter volunteers. Each part will feature a different neighborhood, including a unique Chicago Greeter itinerary and logistical instructions on how to best explore the neighborhood in person.

The digital content will launch this month, with a blog post highlighting a self-guided walking tour of Chicago’s South Loop. Additional content will follow on a monthly basis, with Kenwood, Bronzeville, Bridgeport, Pullman and West Ridge to follow. 

“Chicago’s neighborhoods are teeming with history and culture, and that deserves to be celebrated,” said Paul Lambert, President of Bank of America Chicago. “We’re honored to partner with Choose Chicago to spotlight communities across the city’s South and West sides, to encourage people to visit these local landmarks, and to drive economic activity where it is needed most.”

This self-guided program is an extension of the successful 2020 International Greeter Day “do-it-yourself” tours, which was created during the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual series highlighted Ukrainian VillageUptownPilsenHyde ParkChinatown and the Chicago Riverwalk.

For additional information about the newly updated Chicago Greeter program, visit https://www.choosechicago.com/chicago-greeter/.

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About Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. For more information, visit choosechicago.com. Follow @choosechicago on Twitter and on Instagram. Like us on Facebook.

Pikes Peak Cog Railway: A Ride to the Heights of Colorado

The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, America’s highest railway takes passengers to the 14,115-foot summit where the song “America The Beautiful” was written starting this May.

The round trip aboard one of only two cog railways in the U.S. begins and ends at the new Manitou Depot and features an expansive passenger platform and viewing deck for photographs and two retail stores with snacks and beverages. Perched at the top  amidst stunning views is the new fully accessible, environmentally sustainable, $60 million-plus Pikes Peak Visitor Center. Here to help visitors learn about their surroundings are digitally interactive displays that bring the history, significance and geology of the mountain to life.

There’s more adventure as well including hiking, biking, and such trail experiences as hiking on the 13-mile Barr Trail up to Pikes Peak and  then riding the train down or taking the Cog up and biking down the 19.5 mile from the summit on a guided excursion. 

“The Cog is an important part of Colorado and the West’s heritage,” said Ted Johnston, assistant general manager of the Railway. “We’re excited to re-open the railway for the public to experience and enjoy this scenic American adventure that has such a rich history. We’ve been working on this project for three years, and we are very excited to take our first trains and passengers up the mountain.”

Originally built in 1891 and owned and operated by The Broadmoor since 1925, this historic railway is the highest railroad in America, the highest cog railway in the world, one of Colorado’s top attractions, and one of the nation’s most unique experiences. Since October 2017, it has been undergoing a $100 million renovation of its tracks, cogs, railcars, and depot to create a new and improved journey to the summit.

Aerial shot of Cloud Camp courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Travelers who would like to ride the Cog and make their visit even more memorable may stay at The Broadmoor and take advantage of the historic hotel’s one-night package offer, which includes classic accommodations (upgrades available), Cog Railway train tickets for each person on the package, a commemorative gift, plus suites available at 25% off published rates. The rates start at $640.00 per night, based on double occupancy.

In celebration of the 130th anniversary of the Railway this June 30, The Broadmoor and Pikes Peak Visitor Center will host a celebratory event and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the historic site.

About The Broadmoor

The Broadmoor

Situated at the gateway to the Colorado Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, it is the longest consecutively rated Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond resort in the world: The Broadmoor and its Wilderness Experience properties: The Ranch at Emerald Valley, Cloud Camp and the Orvis-endorsed Fly Fishing Camp encompass 5,000 acres. The resort campus has 784 rooms, suites and cottages.

Broadmoor Golf.

It includes two championship golf courses, an award-winning spa and fitness center, nationally recognized tennis staff and program, 19 retail boutiques and 17 restaurants, cafes and lounges. Other activities include falconry, mountain biking, hiking, rock-climbing tours, fly-fishing, Wild West Experiences and more.

The BROADMOOR Wilderness Experience properties are three unique, all-inclusive boutique facilities that highlight an authentic Colorado experience while offering mountain rustic luxury along with The Broadmoor’s legendary service. In addition, The Broadmoor owns and manages three attractions that include the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Seven Falls and the Soaring Adventure zip-line courses.

To Get There: Colorado Springs Airport, 15 minutes from the resort, offers over 4,900 seats a day for passengers via Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier and United.   Denver International Airport, 70 minutes north of Colorado Springs, hosts more than 1,600 national and international flights daily with connections to worldwide destinations. Door-to-door shuttle or sedan service from both airports is available through Gray Line.

The Ranch at Emerald Valley courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Cost: To experience the scenic 9-mile journey to the 14,115 foot National Historic Landmark of Pikes Peak may now purchase tickets online for dates and times this spring and summer. The cost for standard admission is $58.00 for adults and $48.00 for children 12 and under for advance e-ticket purchases or $59.50 at the depot ticket window. Guests may select specific seats on the train by upgrading to the reserved seating option for $68.00 for adults and $58.00 for children. 

The fall and winter schedules and seasonal holiday experiences will be announced soon. Visitors interested in updates can sign up to receive email alerts on the Cog’s website.

Easter Train Rides on Vintage Trains

whitewater Valley (1)Dancing bunnies, singing rabbits, a cotton-tail waving from the engine room and a Bunny Patch with over 4000 Easter eggs—it’s going to be that kind of Easter celebration for those taking a ride on the many Easter trains near and around Northwest Indiana. So go ahead and hop aboard.

Coopersville & Marne Railway: Easter Bunny Express, Coopersville, MI; (616) 997-7000; coopersvilleandmarne.org

Saturday, March 31 at 11am and 1:30pm; Boarding 20 minutes before departure

Easter Bunny is joined by Quack the Duck, Story-Telling Princess and Bo-Bo the Lamb on a 90-minute ride aboard a vintage train decorated for the holiday. Stories are told, by the princess of course, while bunny and his friends offer each child a chance to choose a toy from their baskets.

Easter Bunny Express: French Lick Scenic Railway, French Lick, IN; (812) 936-2405; indianarailwaymuseum.org

March 25 at 4pm

Board vintage railroad cars for a trip to Easter Egg Field. Here passengers disembark to hunt for more than 4000 eggs and have their photo taken with the Easter bunny. Proceeds from the Easter Bunny Express go to benefit Goody B’s Teen Center.

Easter Train: Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, North Judson, IN; (574) 896-3950; hoosiervalley.org

March 31 at 10am, 12:30pm, and 2:30pm

This hour-long excursion crosses the Kankakee River at English Lake and then returns to North Judson for a stop at a park to hunt eggs and meet the Easter bunny who will be handing out candy and a bag of toys to every child.  The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum has one of the largest collections of working railroad signals so take time before or after the ride to stop by (admission is free). Visitors are invited to touch the museum’s C&O 2789 steam locomotive and take stroll through the museum’s grounds with its displays of rolling stock, engines and memorabilia of railroad history. Purchasing tickets online is recommended as trips have sold out in the past.

2004 Bunny Train 025 (1)Cotton Tail Express: The Old Road Dinner Train Experience, Blissfield, MI; 888-GO-RAIL-1 (888-467-2451); murdermysterydinnertrain.com

Saturday, March 31 at 10am & 12:30pm; boarding is 15 minutes before departure.

Visit with bunny, color pictures and enjoy doughnuts and juice on a 90-minute ride on an antique train. Reservations are required.

Easter Bunny Train: Waterman & Western Railroad, Waterman, IL: events@petestrain.com; petestrain.com

Saturday, March 31 from 12:00-5:00pm

Mr. Bunny will be on hand to say hi, pose for photos and hand out candy filled eggs on a one-mile ride through Waterman’s Lions Community park.

Whitewater Valley Railroad, Connersville, IN;  (765) 825-2054; whitewatervalleyrr.org

March 31 at 10am, 12pm, 2:30pm & 4:15pm.  

Grab your basket and board the Indiana’s longest scenic railroad, for their 18th annual Easter Bunny Express. Departing from Connersville Grand Central Station, enjoy the two-mile trip to the Easter Bunny Patch, meet the Easter bunny and search for his golden egg.  Reservations are recommended. Train operates rain or shine. The egg hunt is open to ages 8 and under.

Bunny Trolley Hop: Illinois Railway Museum, Union, IL: (815) 923-4000 or (800) BIG-RAIL; irm.org

Saturday, March 31; 10am to 5:00pm