One of the most common questions I get about what I do is:
How do I get to travel so often?
The short answer is because travel is my passion and I CHOOSE to make travel a top priority. I’m a firm believer that if you truly want something, you will get it. If you have a dream to travel somewhere for two weeks out of the year, you can make it happen. If your dream is to travel one month out of the year or even indefinitely, you can make that happen also!
As for the longer answer to that question, I’m a full time travel blogger/vlogger. In other words, I make a living out of traveling the world. Now, this wasn’t always the case. For those of you who’ve been part of this community from the beginning will know that five years ago I started a travel blog called Hopscotch the Globe right before I left for a ten month backpacking trip around the world. I had no idea how to start a blog back then. I just knew that I wanted to have my own domain name and design my own template for this “little” project.
I spent a good one and a half months figuring out how to set up a blog using the famous Google search. I decided on a name I was happy with, signed up for a domain and hosting provider and designed a template and logo (which I drew by hand and scanned into photoshop) that I loved. I would spent morning until night working on my getting my blog template just right while working at my serving job AND job at G Adventures in between. I also spent countless hours swearing in both English and Spanish (thats when you know I’m really angry) for adding an extra letter or number in an html code that would completely screw everything up! But, after that month and a half of sweat and muscle, I had created HopscotchTheGlobe.com and was beyond excited to start this blogging journey.
Five years ago, I had no plan to make this a career.
I set my blog up solely so that my friends and family could follow my adventures. However, it didn’t take long before I was receiving emails from people all around the world who had somehow found my blog. They would ask me questions like, “how can I travel the world like you?” and “how can I find the courage to quit my job to travel?”and “how can I fund my travels? I was overwhelmed with joy by each email. I had no idea how these people I didn’t know found my blog. I thought only my friends and family were the only ones reading it. I also thought it was so cool that people from all over the world were asking for my advice and telling me that I inspire them. I even had people tell me I changed their life. This is the best compliment I can ever receive and the reason why I do what I do. My goal isn’t to change the world but if I can change the world of a few people, that is truly a gift.
While travelling the world for those ten months, I would document my travels weekly and by the time I returned back home, I had about 4000 people coming to my website each month to read about my adventures. I couldn’t believe it! I continued to blog about my adventures as well as give tips and advice for those wanting to travel. I also became part of the Toronto Travel Massive where travel bloggers get together each month to hang out and chat about their blogs. This community has helped me grow in so many ways and the friendships I’ve made from it mean the world to me.
When I came home, there was one thing I absolutely knew; that travelling would always be a big part of my life. I was bit hard with the travel bug and within a month of being home, I was already planning my next trip. For about three years since I started Hopscotch the Globe, I was paying for all of my travels which I would document on my blog and then eventually YouTube channel. At the end of my three year anniversary, my good friends and fellow travel bloggers Dave and Deb at The Planet D emailed me to see if I’d be interested in travelling to Columbus, Ohio to represent them. All they asked in exchange was that I shoot a couple of videos of my experience which they would showcase on their blog. Did I mention that all of my travel costs would be covered by the tourism board?!
I couldn’t believe I would get to travel for free.
Of course I said yes! From then on, I started to get invitations to travel to destinations on what’s called a press trip where all of my travels, accommodations, activities would be covered. In exchange, I would share my honest opinion of my experience which I would share my blog and YouTube channel. I was spending anywhere from 30-40 hours a week working on my blog at this point while working a serving job and auditioning for acting roles. Although I was getting some trips for free, I wasn’t making any money from my blog and still paying for most of my travels, camera equipment, travel insurance, etc.
Fast forward to January 2014 when I got my first paid gig as a travel blogger.
I couldn’t believe someone was paying me to travel and document my adventures!
I got to put together my own itinerary of everything I wanted to do in the destination, but the tourism board was financially investing in me and my expertise. It’s really important that I stay true to my brand and audience and do things in countries that I would do with or without running a travel blog and getting paid. When I went back home after this trip, I walked straight up to my boss at my serving job and quit right on the stop. I told him that I was leaving to work full-time on my blog. I’m sure he thought I was crazy. Right after I quit, I headed to the restaurant’s bar with Siya and a friend and bought a round of beer to celebrate. Then I headed straight home and filming a video titled “I Quit my Job.” It was really scary to take this step but I knew if I wanted to turn my passion of travel blogging into a full time deal, I needed to give my whole self to it.
Fast forward to today, and I am still alive. I have shelter over my head and food in the fridge. Most importantly, I have an endless amount of experiences and incredible community of passionate, loving, curious and adventurous souls (thats you) from around the world that are part of this growing community. Now that is the short version of my blogging story but in this series I am going to dive deep into the entire process of what it takes to be a blogger.
I will be sharing the incredible opportunities I’ve gotten from being a blogger as well as the hardships and struggles that not many people talk about. This series is going to be for those of you who are interested in creating an online business in the blogging world. Maybe you want to start a fashion blog or food blog. it doesn’t necessarily have to be a travel blog that you are interested in starting for you to benefit from this series.
In this series, I am going to teach you in ins and outs of starting starting and running a blog that I have first handedly learned from being a blogger over the last five years and counting. From how to choose a blog name to how to stand out from the thousand of other bloggers in your category to how to create a passive income to keeping the passion of travel alive.
The reason why I am creating this series is because I want to help as many of you as I can to change your lives and live the life you’ve always dreamed of. If blogging is a way for you to do that, then let me share my ways with you.
Now, I need your help.
Leave a comment below telling me what you want to know about the blogging world.
Leave me all of your questions below because those are the questions that I will be turning into episodes. We are here to create this series together. Each week, I’ll be releasing a new episode that will be scheduled in with the other regular content I release on my YouTube channel.
I hope you’re as excited about this series I am.
Kristen Sarah is a full-time traveller, tiny home owner and adventure junkie. She has one of the leading YouTube travel channels and is the head honcha of award-winning travel and lifestyle website, Hopscotch the Globe.