When I set out on my around-the-world trip more than four years ago, I had no plans of still being on the road this many years later. In fact, at the time, I only planned on a six-month tour of Southeast Asia. I thought it would be a time to think about what I wanted to do with my life, to prioritize, and evaluate.
However, when I began traveling and exploring other countries and cultures, I became addicted to travel and decided I couldn’t return home as I’d originally planned. I had to find a solution that would allow me to work from anywhere and continue to live my new lifestyle.
I first considered teaching English, but even though there seemed to be plenty of opportunities to travel with these positions, it would ultimately still mean having a 9-5 office job.
So instead, I started my travel blog, www.foodieflashpacker.com. I enjoy the whole blogging process—providing useful information, engaging with readers, answering questions, and, most of all, the research aspect of my food and travel writing (often this “research” means exploring new cities and trying out restaurants).
Going in, I knew it would take years to make a living through a blog. I knew it was slow and that I’d have to develop a brand and gain an audience before I could monetize a site. But then, an interesting side benefit emerged that I wasn’t aware of: blogging comes with a built-in community of people who support you. This made it easier to keep going.
Just as I’d hoped, my blog eventually helped me make money and continue to travel. It also became my calling card—I was first approached by the editor of a small publication who wanted me to contribute to their site. They had seen a post of mine, liked my writing style, and wanted to commission a piece. While the pay was small, I was excited.
After contributing to their site, I began researching publications that paid a bit better. My blog centers around food-focused travel, but I quickly realized I could pitch my experiences to many different publications from many angles—budget travel, solo travel, adventure travel, even luxury travel when I splurged on resorts. The possibilities felt endless!
As I dove deeper into freelance writing and won more bylines, I began to focus more of my time and attention on freelance writing than blogging. The financial benefits from freelance writing came faster.
I still actively maintain my blog—it’s a useful tool when pitching clients and a great way to showcase my writing style. It was especially helpful before I had a lot of bylines. But now I use it as a gateway to more freelance travel-writing opportunities where I’m paid… and also gain fun perks that support my ultimate goal of more travel.
Today, four years after boarding that first flight, I can’t imagine returning to work in a conventional office. I love collaborating with clients on exciting projects and assignments… and now I have the freedom of being able to work from anywhere in the world.