How did you get that f-ing awesome job?

My office on Koh Jum

Yes, it’s a job. And it’s an awesome job.

It’s a job because I work, I get paid, I grow my business every year. It is work. It’s fun, too, but it is work.

It is awesome because I get paid to travel. Or sometimes I am paid with travel.

The Work Part

It’s still a job because often in those situations (but not always) I have to produce content about that travel and share it across my influencer networks.

Producing content – I don’t like that term. I prefer “create” but somehow the business people (i.e. the people that pay people like me) like to commodify things so to them we are not creating beautiful works of art but we are producing content.

Influence – Hate it. But this is what we do with that content we produce: we share it across our social media networks, we inspire people, we make them dream about the places we produce content about, and then we help them make their travel dreams come true. That’s the way I like to think about it. In business-speak, we are influencers.

Getting Paid

The holy grail of awesome jobs is actually getting paid to do the awesome job. So how do I get paid?

    • freelance writing – I get paid to write about travel and food and beer for other websites and print media. Check out my travel writing portfolio!
    • advertising – businesses pay to advertise on my site
    • sponsored posts – I write sponsored posts for companies who either contact me directly or through a site like Cooperatize. I always disclose sponsored posts, as required by law.
    • affiliate sales – some of the links on my site are affiliate links, like the link to my web hosting service, or my mailing list builder, which means that if you click them and buy something on that site, I may get a little (and I do mean little) money.
    • travel planning – I plan trips for people through my travel planning service All Over the Map Travel.
    • selling tours – I am a founding member of Unquote Travel, which offers small group tours to destinations around the world.

How did I get this F-ing awesome job?

I created it for myself. I just started doing it. First it was just something I did in my spare time while I worked part time for a nonprofit organization. It was mainly to inspire myself to travel, back then. And I did! I took a year off with my family and traveled around the world, visiting 30 countries along the way. But I didn’t blog very much as I was traveling. I was having too much fun traveling to let work get in the way of it!

But when I got back, I wrote about some of the places we visited, and started working on building income streams for the blog, with mixed success. I started to get invited on press trips to some pretty fabulous places. But as great as those trips were, I missed the sort of experiential immersive travel that I was doing with my family. The sort of travel I’m passionate about is the kind of travel where your eyes are opened to different cultures and different points of view.

But I also adore a good beach vacation where all I do is lounge, read, and swim.

Now I’m writing about my travels and hope to have a book out about it sometime in 2018.

Look, anyone with a data plan or a library card can start a blog. And there really are great opportunities out there for bloggers who have an audience.

If you want to start a travel blog of your own, I would recommend checking out some of these organizations:

  • TBEX presents conferences several times each year for travel bloggers to learn about trends in blogging and travel.
  • ProBlogger offers loads of free articles offering advice on starting, growing, and monetizing your blog.
  • MatadorU offers online classes in travel writing, photography, and many blogging and social media topics, as well as job boards and forums for members.

If you want to do it, do it! You can blog as much or as little as you want, but it does feel great to carve out a little space for yourself on the internet.

*HDYGTFAJ was one of my favorite columns in the late lamented ReadyMade magazine. They would interview people about how they got their freakishly awesome jobs. Usually it involved some combination of hard work and luck, just like any job.