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Read on to delve into what it takes to become an international travel influencer like Georgia Hopkins courtesy of Primer.com
A few years back, I stayed on the remote and rocky Satellite Island, a small verdant outcrop off the coast of the better-known Bruny Island, near Hobart. Even though it was chilly, our boat house on the jetty was comfy. By scooping wild oysters off the rocks, we ate them fresh with lemon, and drinking local sparkling wine (which we had been chilling in a makeshift cooler in the sea).
We slept with all the boathouse roller door wide open during the night and when dawn arrived, we left cups of tea to drink in bed, watching as the day lit up around us.
It was delightful. And at that moment, I really did wonder how on earth I’d been lucky in living my greatest enthusiasm. Even now, it is a word which makes me feel slightly uneasy.
How I started travelling as a job
Looking back, the life-changing moment was stopping my company job in investment banking. I was in the game for seven years and even though it was fun for a moment, the speed was intense and I didn’t feel the values shared were quite so in line with my own. My job promised me a transfer to our New York Office, but because it kept being postponed, I decided instead to stop my job and make the move myself with no real plan for if I got there. At just 32, I had just ended a long-term relationship and for me, the time was right. I had some savings, so that I knew I had the freedom to travel for maybe six months prior to returning into the “real world”. But that never happened.
After landing in LA, I saw some friends and fell in the love, the slower tempo, the joyful people, the healthy way of life, along with the ever-present sense of chance — it all seemed too good to be true. So, I decided to stay alert.
Without a visa, it meant I was leaving the country every couple of months on rather wild and arbitrary solo experiences. I lived in Tel Aviv, and also a very small town in Mexico (San Miguel de Allende), spent a few weeks in Colombia, and even drove medication down to a family friend in need in Costa Rica.
So it’s beautiful here
‘So it’s beautiful here’ was created almost by mistake: an Instagram account and online journal to share photos and record my adventures for my family members and friends. However, as more people began to reach out for travel advice and tips, the more I started to realise that my off-the-beaten monitor travels equates to others. A growing number of people started to follow along.
The response was wonderful. It was a surprise. Although I had felt quite nervous initially to share snippets of my life and my journeys on such a public discussion (‘Who the hell would care anyway?, I thought), but it has always been less about me and more about the beauty I find in the small things, the regional folks I meet, and their tales.
I was fairly clueless in regards to social websites, but slowly taught myself the way to use Instagram, then I built a simple website using Squarespace. Simply, I’d just jump on every now and then to update content. There was no specific rhythm or plan.
I have not studied pictures, but have always enjoyed being behind a camera, and I guess that I trust my ‘eye’. In terms of content, I learnt very quickly that blue is the planet’s most treasured shade — in whatever form that might take. Oceans, blue sky, or swimming pools — my beach and island shots have been consistently the greatest winners, for sure.
It took a long time for the it’s beautiful here community to grow. I remember feeling eager to reach 1,000 followers after one year. It further reinforced the idea that there was a true appetite for genuine travel suggestions and individuals wanting to discover places not located on the conventional tourist route. Inadvertently, I’d tapped into that zeitgeist desire for bespoke, individual adventures.
And the thing is, travel has always been hugely important to me personally. We were fortunate as kids to travel through the majority of Australia with our parents. I went in my first solo adventure (three months residing in Japan) when I was only 15, which was life-changing — I loved feeling completely outside of my comfort zone, even at a new culture with different traditions and language. In a way I believe that it actually shaped me, and it was likely in that period I realised (knowingly or not) that travel could be a massive part of my life.
Truthfully, I am blessed that my job for a traveling influencer now supports me financially, but it took a few years for this to be the situation. Although I’m earning probably a quarter of my income in banking, but it doesn’t bother me whatsoever. I feel so much more fulfilled and happy with this particular lifestyle and, the freedom it provides. I would not change a thing.
Most of my income comes from editorial — freelance writing for other travel books — and customised itineraries that I plan for clients (a very lively and curated collection of travel advice for their next excursion).
The Reality of Travel
It is not necessarily roses, though. I sometimes think people might take a look at my lifestyle (and other traveling influencers) from the outside and think it seems really glamorous, but there’s obviously a lot more to the job than lying on a sun-bed in an exotic place (although there’s a bit of that!).
I spend roughly half of each month on the street and, on average, 365 times a year exploring and planning trips, editing photos, and composing. To be honest, I feel lucky to have the liberty to choose where I go and when, and how many trips I take on, dependent on the areas which are really speaking to me at the time. I rarely subscribe to big websites ‘famil’ (familiarisation) excursions, however, since I prefer travelling with hardly any programs, and solo or within a really small set, if possible — preferring to stay open to the end!
Being on the street does imply a good deal of time away from your loved ones, that can be really tough at times — but I figure it just makes you love home that much more. Even though I do quite a lot of the trips on my own– where there’s room for a plus one, I take along my partner, sisters or friends. I never feel lonely on the street. I really love traveling by myself. It means you’re much more open to unexpected situations and meeting new people.
My Love For Travel
But I love the freedom and spontaneity which comes with this kind of lifestyle. I am curious by nature and love the unpredictability that includes travel and how it motivates you to remain open and receptive to different cultural methods of living. I believe that is what helps us to grow and evolve, and assists us take inventory of what’s really important in life.
For me, family, friends and freedom Is most important. And of course my hometown of Melbourne, too. I love calling Melbourne house, although my list of areas yet to discover continues to rise, I understand I can also feel as home on the street, and that wherever I am is always precisely where I am meant to be.