All of your most common questions answered.
How old are you?
32 and counting!
Where are you from?
I am Canadian! Born and raised in Brantford, Ontario and splitting my time between there and my cottage in Northern Ontario. I lived in Kingston for 4 years and have bounced around between London, Chile, Florida and variety of other places.
When did you start traveling?
In 2009 I was lucky to have the opportunity to travel for the first time to the United Kingdom to attend University at Herstmonceux Castle, an International Study Campus as part of Queen’s University. It was here where I enjoyed my first international trip, and also where I got bitten by the travel bug. I have never in my life felt so free and so myself. I knew the minute my adventure began that the travel-sphere was the place for me.
After completing my 8 months of University at Herstmonceux, I opted to spend a summer working in a pub in London with other travellers and I fell in love with the backpackers culture as well. Fast forward to the end of University where I set out on what I thought was going to be a 3 week family trip to Bolivia and Peru… and about 5 months later I was pretty committed to traveling. I have been on the move ever since.
How do you afford to travel?
This is everyone’s big question….how do you afford travel? What I should be writing is that this blog brings in income that allows me to independently move around the world while still making loads of money. The truth is though, that is NOT the secret to ‘affording to travel’. The secret to affording to travel, and how I afford to travel is simple…I make traveling my priority. When I am at home, I work, both on my blog and social channels, as well as a few odd jobs here and there. I save all of the money I make which means I’m not going out for dinner and drinks with my friends, or to concerts and festivals. I am not updating my wardrobe with fancy pieces or seeking beauty treatments. What I make goes towards travel gear and trips. My theory is that I can have a little fun here and there at home…or I can work really hard for a few months and then have fun for a few months.
Of course I have the positive of making some money while on the road through this blog, however I strongly believe if you want to travel then you prioritize it. This is totally reasonable and doable. You would be surprised by how much you save by not going out for dinner and drinks, passing on that pair of shoes that were a great deal on Amazon, or forgoing that facial and manicure/pedicure.
What do you do for work?
My ‘job’ is to create content. I create content for my blog and social media channels, as well as freelancing for a variety of alternate outlets. I always say, bloggers have their hands in many pies, but a lot of it is behind the scenes. I’ll break down a few of our jobs here.
The first and most important job I have is to run this website. This means that I am constantly updating not only the website from the back end, but also the content. Whenever I create a piece of content on here, I have to research and visit the location to provide the most updated information. I then write the article, edit the pictures, build the layout of the piece, input affiliate links, make sure the SEO is effective and get it ready to share. Also throughout the week I am travel planning, shooting photos, editing, managing social media, and reaching out to brand partners and tourism boards…and so much more.
My next gig involves freelancing. I am a content creator throughout the week because I am not only creating content for myself, but for also for a variety of brands. Sometimes you will see some of this brand content on my social channels but only if I contract with the brand. Often the content I create is for the brand’s personal site. I create content for travel companies, tourism boards, hotels and tour suppliers. I also create content for clothing brands, luggage and travel gear, house and home, beauty suppliers and even companies like Google. The type of content I create can include photography, freelance writing and editing, video and graphics, and social media. In these situations I am paid a set rate per article, photo, video, and anything else I can create for companies to use in their marketing. If you are curious, you can see some of the brands I have worked with and content I have produced for them on this portfolio page.
When it comes to sponsored traveling, say if I am working with a tourism board, like this, I not only produce content for them to use on their sites for their marketing, but I also create content on my site to share with my audience. This would include posting on my social media channels throughout the trip. In this scenario I would work with a variety of accommodations, restaurants and activities recommended in the area, with everything disclosed as part of the project. These trips are my biggest asset with regards to income.
While I am traveling, I am also constantly reaching out to companies I am interested in working with. This means contacting accommodation sites to see whether hotels, hostels or resorts might be interested in hosting me in return for content. While in an area I also reach out to tour companies, restaurants, rental companies and tourism boards offering them my services. Basically I am always on the search for unique things to try and places to go and companies to work with so I can report back here. I’ll be real with you. Often this means I do not have to pay for my stays or activities in return for media coverage which helps me keep traveling longer. Do not be fooled though, content creation for these enterprises is work. They expect value for their sponsorship and it requires significant time and effort on my part . These companies however are all researched and selected by myself, and the reviews are 100% honest.
Where did you learn to blog?
From other bloggers! No really, that’s the truth. There are a number of bloggers out there, even in the travel-sphere, who post very informative articles on how to start blogging. From finding your hosting, to website design, to social media strategy; there is a ton of information out there. I learned SEO from Make Traffic Happen, and branding from Aggie Lal. I invested in courses; Pinterest with Ell for example, and Gary Vee’s $1.80. I also learned a lot about blogging by getting involved in Facebook groups and Instagram pods, reading, responding and asking question to those who are already successful in the business, and learning along side those venturing forth at my own level. Getting involved with your blogging community is the ultimate resource. I have created a few of my own blogging resources, feel free to check them out or connect with me on IG if you want to chat about it!
What is your travel style?
Long term, slow, remote and adventurous is my vibe. One of the things I appreciate about slow travel is that it provides an opportunity to really get into a culture, allowing me to experience as much of it as possible. This means that I take my time when traveling. Often my trips are 5-6 months long, sometimes spending up to a month in an individual city. By traveling this way I am able to work on learning the language, make friends who can teach me about the culture, and to explore both popular and off the beaten path activities. I hate rushing.
My travel style? Adventurous. I mean that in both my choice of location and activities. I travel to remote destinations, many of them well off the beaten path. I like to travel to the places that people say ‘are just too hard to get to” and show them how easy it actually is. You can find me wandering through the Amazon jungle, walking through the rugged mountains of Patagonia, and exploring the deserts of the world. As far as activities go, I love hiking and multi day treks, scuba diving, climbing mountains and paragliding. I participate in “homestays” and eat everything I have the opportunity to try. If I can jump from waterfalls and camp under the stars, I will.
How are you growing your IG?
Honest, genuine engagement. People always want to know what the secret is to growing an instagram account. Is it comment pods or Facebook and telegram groups? What about BOTS? Is it how many photos you like, or the pictures you post or the stories you make? Well, kind of that last one, but the real truth is, engagement. The minute I switched my mindset from ‘how to grow my instagram’ too ‘how to make friends on instagram’, it all changed. The truth is, for people to follow you and your brand, they must feel connected to you. You need to chat with them, get to know them, become friends with them, and care about them. The people you engage with on IG, even though it may be through a phone screen, will feel genuinely connected to you, and it is that trust that will make your brand grow. Scroll through hashtags and common accounts and chat to the people engaging there and in no time you will see your brand take off.
How do you edit your photos?
Adobe Lightroom. I love Adobe Lightroom. For me, it’s the best program out there for editing colours. I also occasionally use Photoshop. I tend to keep my photos and the subjects in it pretty natural and candid so adobe Lightroom allows me to edit the colours perfectly. I also have a selection of presets I have made on Lightroom that keep my feed and photos in a consistent theme. This means I can edit my images rather quickly on both my laptop and my Lightroom mobile app. I hope to one day make my presets available for those who wish to edit like me!
When it comes to editing photos and videos on my phone, there are a number of apps I use along side Lightroom. Inshot and Splice are great apps for editing video content. Snapseed and ColourStory are great for playing with colours. Lightleap and LD are amazing for adding touches of magic to photos, and Canva is unrivalled for graphic design with unfold being my go to app for instagram story layouts.
Where have you been?
A slow traveler, I have spent many years making my way across the Americas, Europe and more recently the Middle East. I have traveled across the United States and Canada and into Mexico. Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama top my list. I made my way through Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. I hit the remote areas of Chile, Argentina and took a cheeky trip to Easter Island and the Galapagos. In Europe I lived in the United Kingdom and explored Wales and Scotland while I was there. I checked Ireland, France, Belgium, Amsterdam, and Italy off of my European list. I even once dated a guy from Scandinavia and so had the chance to explore Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The Middle East is new territory for me. I had an opportunity to see The United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Qatar. Next on my radar? The Camino de Santiago, a 900km walk through Spain! Learn more about the destinations I cover here!
Do you travel solo?
Sure, sometimes I do. Well, actually most of the time. I started out that way. However, since I love every aspect of travel, and I really do, I try to participate in all forms. So this means I do friend travel, family travel, Couple travel, group travel and solo travel! Every different style of travel has something unique to offer. But of course, the majority of my travels have been solo. Solo travel brings something special to the table. It teaches self reliance and shows you how strong you really are. It provides the opportunity for you to do whatever you want to do, and to go where ever you want to go, no compromises. Do I find it unsafe? No, not at all. Do I get lonely? No, not at all, its actually really hard to get lonely while hosteling. Would I recommend it? Absolutely.
Do you get homesick?
Honestly, no, not really. I mean, I DO miss my dog when I am traveling, but do I miss my home in Canada? No. I am too busy experiencing what’s in front of me to spend time dreaming of home. Do I miss people? No, I mean it is 2020 and its so easy to contact loved ones that you can practically bring them on the trip! I have never been the type to miss someone or something. I find it pretty easy to find comfort in my current surroundings. I am also pretty content alone, and I know home is always there, waiting for me.