Gypsea Lust

Wondering how to become a travel blogger? Ask these travel influencers

Put down your Google search for the best job in the world, we’ve found five people who have it. We’re talking digital influencers who don’t just amass followers, but sponsorships, to travel the world and make a pretty penny while they’re at it.

We sat down with these 9-5 escapees, to discover how they kick-started their travel blogging careers so you can follow in their Insta-steps.

If you’ve been wondering how to become a travel blogger, the unanimous recipe for success is simple: just be you.

The ultimate fly-in fly-out employee: @Gypsea_Lust, Lauren Bullen

The back story

Magnetic Island | travel the world

Magnetic Island by @gypsea_lust

Before you were #instafamous and travelled the world, where were you living and what were you doing?

I grew up in Lennox Head, New South Wales and when I was 19, I moved to the Gold Coast to become a dental assistant. I travelled whenever possible and when I was 21, I had the opportunity to move to Cairns, which changed everything for me. It was during this time I really started gaining a following on Instagram.

When did you know it was time to give up your full-time job?

It was in December 2015 and I was getting a fair few jobs from my Instagram account. I had around 40-60k followers and was constantly having to take time off work to go on photoshoots. My workplace at the time was really supportive and always made it possible for me to be able to take up these opportunities, but I wanted to give it my everything.

How to become a travel blogger

@gypsea_lust | How to become a travel blogger

Photo by @gypsea_lust

How many days do you spend on the road each year?

Now that we base ourselves in Bali we try to do two weeks on, two weeks off a month. Travelling can be exhausting especially when you are working while travelling, so it’s great to balance it out and have some routine and catch up on work at the same time.

We can guess the best part of your job, tell us the worst part?

The failures – especially when you are on a job for a brand and things don’t go to plan with the creation of the content. You feel pressure to have a certain standard of content, which can get to you.

From a financial point of view, we love how you’ve diversified into travel presets. How did this come about?

We (Jack and I) were always flooded with requests about how to edit the same way as us, and we always said we would not sell our presets as that’s what sets us apart creatively. But, after chatting with some other influencer-friends, we were convinced.  

We were already so well known for our images and edits, we came to the conclusion that we should sell our presets so our followers could learn from us and potentially achieve their same dream. As we always say; we have our followers to thank for our success and opportunities.

You’ve become a fashion icon too – tell us about that. How do you logistically even get your packages?

I guess travel and fashion go hand-in-hand, and fashion is now a big part of what I do. For me, a lot of what makes a good photo is what you are wearing and how you wear it.

I still send packages to my grandma’s place in Brisbane and whenever I’m home, it’s a great excuse to go spend time with her. If it’s urgent and we are on the road or need it for a trip I will send it to Bali or to a hotel that we will be staying at on the trip.

Blogging and travel tips

Best piece of advice for someone wanting to do what you do?

Be authentic and do it out of passion, I think if you are going into it for the sole purpose of financials then forget it – it’s a long road and it’s now so saturated, you need to have your heart in it and not get too disappointed if you don’t gain success from it quickly.

I think these days the only way to really get ahead in this industry is to stand out and do something completely different, be unique, be you!

Tropical North Queensland | travel the world

Tropical North Queensland by @gypsea_lust

Favourite place in Queensland?

North Queensland – 100% it’s where it all began for me.

I still want to go back and explore this region and take Jack. He’s never been and I think it would be cool to see how much my style has changed since I was there and the different angles I would now take.

What can’t you live without when you’re on the road?

I always need my noise cancelling headphones! I also 100% need a portable charger and a toothbrush and toothpaste – maybe this is because of my dental past!

What can we expect in 2019?

More videos and really putting more into building our YouTube channel. We think video can give so much more and express ourselves and personalities to our audience!

The man who spends more than half the year living out of a rooftop tent: @seanscottphotography, Sean Scott

The back story

Western Downs | travel the world

Western Downs by @seanscottphotography

Have you always been a photographer?

No, I started my career as an electrician and linesman for Energex, and I used to take photos out of the cherry pickers on the job. Like a lot of people, photography started as a hobby, before it grew into a profession.

What did the early days look like?

It was a lot of hard work. We were renovating our house, having our first child, I was juggling both jobs and selling prints at the markets before launching the first shop in the Burleigh Arcade. Thankfully by the time we had our second child, it was a full-time job. The rest is history and this year, the gallery celebrated its 15th birthday – and we now have three kids.

How to become a travel influencer

When did you decide to give Instagramming a red-hot go?

I started my career before social media, but I was lucky enough to be an early adopter. It started for me with Facebook and that opened a lot of avenues to extend my photography and brand partnerships. With travel, I was always paying for my own trips, then as my social media following started to grow I started getting paid by travel brands, which combined my two loves.

But you don’t just have one account do you, you are an influencer three times over with @seanscottphotography, @seanscottseries, @australiasoutback?

I guess so! My main account is @seanscottphotography but then @seanscottseries (which used to be @inthesea) is where I show by behind-the-scenes content. I more recently started @australiasoutback to showcase not just the final images but the journey through central Australia.

Oh, the gallery (@seanscottgallery) has its own account and @seanscottboutique too. So yes, five accounts.  

Your business model is a bit different from other people’s in that you have a bricks and mortar shop too – how important is that to your success?

I think it’s important to diversify – but more important than that, I think the recipe for success is just to be authentic. Do what you love and the rest will follow.  

Biggest learnings you’ve had along the way?

I think you learn that you have to be in the right place at the right time – and the only way to do that is to be out there.

Learning how your camera works is also important, so you know exactly how to capture what you’re seeing. The more you know about your camera, the more you’ll find yourself in the right place at the right time.

Blogging and travel tips

Beach camping | travel the world

Beach camping by @seanscottphotography

You spend a lot of time on the road travelling through remote places – what are your must-have accessories?

It might sound cliché but the best camera is the one you have in your hand. For me, my phone is the most important tool I take. It’s probably the only non-negotiable when it comes to packing. That and an adventurous spirit.

Favourite part of Queensland to visit?

I’m lucky enough to be a Queensland ambassador so travel a lot through Queensland. I think Lady Elliot Island and Fraser Island are hard to beat, but I have my eye on a trip up the Birdsville Track then through to Bedourie for 2019.

Any tips for people wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Showing people what you love is at the heart of photography, so just do what you love and the rest will happen.

What about the three junior Scotts? Would you encourage your children to be photographers?

Yep, both boys are keen – one even sold a picture for a surf magazine. He was shooting tight and I was shooting wide some barrels at Burleigh and his picture got chosen over mine.

Let’s talk about work/life balance? Are your family the most patient people ever?

Ha! Yes! I’m away a fair bit but I always blank out school holidays, so when I’m home, I’m home. I probably spend more time with the kids than most dads with corporate jobs.

Two Brisbane vloggers doing it for themselves: Little Grey Box, Phoebe Lee and Matt Turk

The back story

Brisbane city | travel the world

Brisbane City by @littlegreybox_phoebe

How did Little Grey Box start?

Little Grey Box started on the floor of our flat in London. I had always loved reading and writing but lost my self-confidence and connection to my passions over the years. I finally confessed to (partner) Matt that my dream career was to be a travel writer and he told me to start a blog as an outlet for my writing. Over the years, it evolved into a travel blog, a full-time job and our very own small business.

Before you decided to take this thing full time, where were you living and what were you doing?

I was working in a normal office job in the public sector and Matt was a graphic designer for a not-for-profit. We were engaged, living in beautiful Brisbane (ps – Check out Phoebe’s local’s guide to Brisbane) and firmly on track to tick off all the usual life goals. We were doing everything we were supposed to be doing but we were both unfulfilled and unhappy in many ways.

When did you know it was time to give up your full-time job and take it from hobby to profession?

I was walking home from work and stopped on the side of the street. Suddenly, I realised, there had to be more to life than going to work, earning money and coming home. I craved meaning and so did Matt. It was terrifying but, that’s when I knew! I told Matt I wanted to quit while we were on our honeymoon and, while we were both scared, he supported me wholeheartedly. Little Grey Box wasn’t ready but I was and by leaving my job I had the time and energy to grow it to the point where it could be a full-time job.

How to become a travel vlogger

How many days do you spend on the road each year now?

We spend about half the year travelling and the other half at home in Brisbane, which works really for us. It’s a nice balance of being away gathering new content then coming home to spend our time editing, writing and publishing.

Best part of your job?

Because travel is part of our job, we get to experience things we never would otherwise! Brands and tourism boards organise incredible experiences for us and we get taken to unique destinations we just never would’ve seen otherwise. Unless we were very wealthy with no jobs, I don’t think we’d ever get to see as much in our lifetime as we do now and we’re both so grateful for every moment.

Worst part of your job? What bit don’t any of us see?

There’s a lot of challenges like going from a secure job and guaranteed double-income to not knowing where your next pay check will come from. You have to handle your own self-doubt, online negativity and regular put-downs from people who claim you don’t have a job.

Blogging and travel tips

Darling Downs | travel the world

Sunflowers on the Darling Downs by @littlegreybox_matt

Favourite part of Queensland to film?

Queensland is so beautifully diverse, from snorkelling with turtles on the Great Barrier Reef to exploring wineries and mountains in the Darling Downs and meeting stockmen in Outback Queensland. I’ve always loved the water so I have to say, visiting places like Lady Elliot Island where we can make the most of Queensland’s incredible marine ecosystems is always a highlight for me.

Best piece of advice for someone wanting to do what you do?

Don’t let fear or doubt hold you back. I was also afraid to leave the security and comfort of my job and afraid to fail. I let those things hold me back for a very long time but not one of them has come true!

The nomadic family who live in 14m2: Blonde Nomads, Rob and Tracy Morris

The back story

Double Island Point | travel the world

Double Island Point by @theblondenomads

How did The Blonde Nomads all start?

In 2007 when we decided to do a lap of Australia in our campervan (back before the van-life movement was even thought of!), our family named us ‘The Blonde Nomads’ as we were too young to be Grey Nomads! We embraced the namesake and created a blog to share our travels with our family and friends and it just grew from there. 11 years and counting!

Why pack up the whole family and go on the road?

We sold our house and most of our possessions and hit the road over 14 months ago now. We are originally from Sydney, a city that is getting busier by the day and we knew the fast-paced 9 to 5 ‘hamster wheel’ was not for us. So, we made the decision to strip it all back, sell everything, lose the big mortgage and live a slower, simpler life. Now we love not being tied to anything and being able to run our own race. We’re lucky that we can decide what, where, when and how things happen for us, which is such an amazing position to be in.

How to become a travel blogger

Agnes Water | How to become a travel blogger

Paperbark Forest Boardwalk, Agnes Water by @theblondenomads

Do you think travel is the best education for kids?

It definitely helps! Our kids are thriving in this new lifestyle, their confidence and social skills have grown so much. They are quick to make new friends and are confident having conversations with any grey nomads or fellow travellers we cross paths with.

The kids spend their days outside getting down and dirty and we just love that. If we come across an information sign on our adventures they insist we read it to them and often ask questions about things we have learnt along the way. They have a great memory and often bring up random information from a previous location at the most random times so something must be sinking in right!? Not all classrooms have four walls.

Best part of life on the road?

Every day is an adventure! We get to see every bit of our kids’ development which is an amazing thing – every cheeky grin, every funny remark, every new experience like learning to ride their bike or snorkelling with a turtle. We share so many days that are life memories and realising that we were all there as a family to create them is pretty magic.  

Worst part of life on the road?

Being together 24/7! Along with being the best thing, this can also be the hardest thing. Most ‘normal’ families spend very little time together when you consider school, childcare, both parents working etc whereas we are literally living in each other’s pockets in a box on wheels!!

Blogging and travel tips

Heron Island | travel the world

Heron Island by @theblondenomads

Favourite place in Queensland?

Heron Island is one of our favourite destinations. We call it a ‘nature lovers paradise’… we were all in our element. When we visited, the baby turtles were hatching and it was SO AMAZING to share such a wonderful moment with our little ones watching the tiny turtles erupt from the sand and make their dash to the water.  

Best travel hacks or tips?

A trusty backpack to fit all the things in is a must. And in it, we always have a small first aid kit and our Satellite phone (for more remote adventures).

In terms of travelling with kids – we HAVE to have food with us when out adventuring. So we pack loads of healthy travel snacks. They just eat, eat and eat… and happy kids means we can get more out of our day.

The family who travels together stays together: Together We Roam, Rene Young

The back story

Cairns Esplanade | travel the world

Cairns Esplanade by @togetherweroam.com.au

When did you decide to give this family travel blogging thing a red-hot go?

I’ve been blogging for five years now and I started professionally from the get-go, making sure my site was a commercial, for-profit website. If I was going to make this my job, then I had to be successful and that meant turning a profit.

How did it all start?

I’ve always loved the written word and have worked in the digital space, creating content for online TV, the web and advertising. Having kids is a sacrifice, you either return to your occupation which means, nannies, grandparents or after-school carers or take a career pivot be it part-time, step down or making the choice to be the primary caregiver of your kids. Blogging offered the opportunity to work from home and the flexibility of working around the kids.

How to become a travel blogger

Maroochy River | How to become a travel blogger

Maroochy River by @togetherweroam.com.au

Biggest learnings you’ve had along the way?

Social media is a drag and it’s not healthy to trawl through a feed and compare yourself to others. Instead, influence by being you, through your words (and some very clever SEO).

We know you don’t just blog, you also write for traditional publications – how important is it to do both?

It was really important to me to be considered a true blue ‘travel writer’ so being published made me feel more legit. It’s also a good idea not to put all your eggs in one basket.

Blogging and travel tips

Fraser Island | travel the world

Fraser Island by @togetherweroam.com.au

Must-share travel tips for anyone travelling with kids?

If you’re heading overseas, load up on probiotics for the entire family at least a month before you go. Always make sure you have at least six months validity on your passport and invest in good travel insurance!

Favourite place to take the whole family in Queensland?

There’s so many, however, Lake Birrabeen at Fraser Island has to be at the top of the list. Playing second fiddle to the gorgeous Lake McKenzie, we like it because it’s rather unpopulated with the same powder white silica sand and sapphire lake made purely from raindrops.

Any tips for people wanting to follow in your footsteps and start a family blog?

Put your phone down, don’t stress the small stuff and never compare your journey and your life to ‘blogging’ strangers!

Are you starting a travel blog? Share with us below.