Q&A with Young Adventuress
Liz, founder of Young Adventuress, considers herself a normal girl chasing extraordinary adventures. Inspired by her lust for travel, Liz started a travel blog in 2010 to chronical her musings as she moved from America to Spain to teach English. Seven years and 50 countries later, she's become a professional nomad, working online and documenting her travels around the world. We caught up with Liz in between trips to find out more about the lessons she's learnt from years of travelling, how she earns money through travel blogging, her tips for travel lovers and her next big project.
As someone who has travelled to 50 countries and counting, where are your favourite places in the world?
I have a few favourite spots, but my adopted home of Wanaka, New Zealand is my favourite. No matter where I go, I'm always happy about coming back. It's a great location to be based and it has everything I need – from mountain hikes, to lake swims, to snowboarding, to nearby cities. It's great. Besides New Zealand, my favourite country is Turkey.
What destinations would you recommend for people planning a trip for 2017?
My pick for places to visit in 2017 include Finland, which is pretty much the weirdest and coolest place ever, spend a week in Lapland in the Arctic Circle and wind down in the chic city of Helsinki. I'm dying to go to Myanmar, a place that is changing rapidly, and also Greenland and Namibia. I love nature, wildlife and adventure, so anywhere that offers that kind of experience is appealing to me.
If you could recommend one place or experience, where or what would it be?
I recommend going to Svalbard in the high arctic north of Norway. It's not as expensive as you might imagine but it will blow your mind. Take an expedition ship around it in summer. It has the northern lights, it's very remote and wild but still accessible and no one knows about it. You can see amazing wildlife like foxes, reindeer and polar bears, but also huge glaciers, mountains and stunning fjords. Svalbard has it all.
After 10 years of travel adventures (and misadventures), what are the most important lessons you've learned?
I have learned so many lessons over the years while travelling and living abroad, but I think one of the most important ones has to be patience. So many things are out of your control and mistakes seem amplified when you're on the road. I'm normally quite an anxious person, so travelling has taught me to understand there is only so much I can control and I had to learn to roll with the punches. You miss your train? Not a big deal, you catch the next one. It's mellowed me out.
What are your top tips for other travel lovers who want to travel more?
My best tip for people who want to travel is to really prioritise it, especially when saving. Travel is such a luxury but it doesn't have to be as expensive as you might imagine. I started travelling 10 years ago with nothing. I would save as much as I could, forgoing coffees, phones and even shopping and put every dollar I had towards trips. I would sleep in airports and take overnight buses to save on accommodation and even couch-surfed. When I realised I was still super addicted to travelling, I gave up on grad school and moved to Spain to teach English. Working and living overseas is a great way to extend your travels.
What are the different ways you earn money as a travel blogger?
The main ways I earn money are through affiliates on my blog (if someone purchases something I recommend, I make a percentage of the sale), with long-term brand partnerships and advertising. I've worked with a few key clients over the years that share my values, as well as licensing images and content for destinations and brands around the world. It's a bit of a mixed bag really, and I'm always trying new things. I'm hosting my own tour in New Zealand in a few months and I've done everything else in the meantime – from social media consulting, freelancing and even working as a location scout through my blog.
What's the best thing about being able to travel full time?
My favourite thing about being able to travel full time is the freedom and flexibility that comes with running your own business. Even though I work more hours than I ever had before, it's on my own schedule. If I want to go out and hike, I can work later or schedule what I need to in advance. I also love the freedom of taking on as many or as few jobs as I wish. For example, if I am feeling a bit burnt out, I can scale back the amount of work I accept, or trips I have to take, or vice versa. I feel very privileged that I am now in a position to look at a map and say "I want to go here" and I can make it happen.
We've heard a little about your new project the Travel Bootcamp with Instagrammer Lauren Bath and Australian Travel Editor Georgia Rickard – can you tell us more about that and what inspired you to launch it?
I was inspired to launch the Travel Bootcamp with my business partners because we were tired of attending conferences that didn't offer any concrete or valuable information about how to actually break into the travel industry. No one shares rates or fees, or often is open about how to pitch and plan these trips or build a solid following. Everything was very airy fairy about "following your dreams and money will come" which isn't exactly helpful. Now that this market is becoming so saturated with people trying to make it, we are also hoping that by sharing our stories of how we have made it with detailed facts, we might be able to help set a standard in influencer marketing. The Travel Bootcamp is essentially a one-day intensive workshop that teaches the ins and outs of travel influencing in a no-BS environment. Between us, we have decades of experience working as writers, editors, photographers, videographers, Instagrammers and bloggers and we want to share that knowledge with the next generation.
If you're inspired by Liz and her way of life, you can follow her Instagram and read her travel musings and misadventures
on her blog.