I am asked these questions every week, and they’re all great questions. Although I’ve touched on them in previous posts, I’m going to address them here as more and more readers seem to be very curious about travel blogging and how to get into the industry. After all, if I can inspire and/or educate even just one person with anything pertaining to travel, this was a very successful venture indeed!
What’s your job title?
On any given day, I could go from Expert Packer to Sun Worshipper to Photographer to Nomad. Jooookes. While I’m all of those things, I refer to myself as a Travel Blogger. Simple as that! I’m paid to visit various destinations and share them with the masses. I love experiencing new cultures, new cuisines, different views and viewpoints.
To me, this career path is very rewarding because I see it as a form of education, allowing readers the sense of wonder and awe and notion that they can, in fact, do the same thing and replicate my trips, as many have already done. Traveling expands your thinking, contacts, memories, and livelihood. If people didn’t allow the grass to grow under their feet and got out more, the world just might be a better place. It’s a good way to avoid misunderstandings, war and suffering. It’s simply a matter of not having a preconceived idea of what something or someone is, but rather going to see what something or someone is.
How did you get to where you are today?
This answer dates back to many years ago when my adoration for travel began at an early age. Family vacations to the lake turned into trips to the beach which turned into visits to faraway lands overseas. From humble beginnings come great things, and it’s the little moments that have made travel so impactful for me. My mom was determined to get me up on water skis at the ripe age of 4 by throwing me in the lake and bribing me with $5 to hold onto the rope and stand up. Little did I know that exchange was the best deal I would ever make, as it jolted my adventurous spirit into 6th gear.
Not too long afterwards, I met my best friend at the ripe age of 7. She’s an only child which sparked a never-ending love and travel affair as I became her sister from another mister, our bond growing stronger with each international ‘family’ trip I was invited on (or invited myself on, I forget). I also credit her for coming up with the name ‘The Road Les Traveled.’ I guess you could say she was always a counterpart to this crazy adventure.
I’ve wanted to start a blog for years, but I didn’t want it to be some half-ass project full of latte art and 101 Ways to Braid Hair. I wanted it to be full of pertinent travel info, funny situations with comedic relief and a plethora of pretty pictures. I wanted it to be an extension of who I am while also giving my readers what they want and need. Moving abroad to Argentina three years ago gave me that push I needed.
There, I managed a marketing team for a luxury hospitality company for a year and loved every second of it. The knowledge I acquired and the travels I had done over the past 27 years of life prepared me for starting my own website. It was just a matter of finding the best way to present it to my readers and inspire others to follow in my footsteps. I quit my job and put major focus and undivided attention on my own creation which took a lot of work, research and patience. My background in communications with a B.A. in Journalism (and B.S. in Psychology) was definitely an aiding factor.
How Do You Create A Successful Travel Blog?
Lucky for you, I already wrote about this one! Read The 9 Most Important Steps to Creating a Travel Blog. We can talk all day about the mechanics of starting a blog, but bottom line: you must exude passion. Throughout the long flights, the airport delays, the never-ending drives and the mind-boggling inefficiencies along the way, frustrations absolutely arise while traveling, but the passion always outweighs them.
How do you afford to travel so much?
Ah, yes. The age old question. I’m very fortunate to partner with hotels, airlines, tourism boards and brands in order to fund my travels. I work with companies all over the world that align with my brand and my goals. Nobody told me how this world worked. I began by reaching out to any and all travel-related companies and through trial and error, I realized what worked, what didn’t, and most importantly, what it took to build a brand. Additionally, in some cases my relationships and agreements with these brands go beyond my actual stay. I have experience advising brands on social media marketing and content strategy. I also serve as a freelance journalist on travel and adventure related subjects.
In terms of personal finances, I budget and save just like most people do! It’s all a balance, and the 9-5 Monday-Friday thing doesn’t exist. Travel blogging is a full-time (weekends too!) job that does not have set hours. Sometimes, I’ll write a blog article at 3am on an overseas flight. Other times I’ll have to jump on a call at 7am or 11pm due to time-zone issues. I don’t write this as a humble brag about how hard I work. I simply use it as an example to explain that blogging is not all daisies and rainbows. It takes dedication, perseverance and patience. Nobody builds a blog in a day, much less a brand in a day. By no means is it all glamorous or easy. I live out of a suitcase, but I believe there are far worse things than not having a closet of my own!
Some people collect stuff. I collect memories.