In March 2012, Kristin Addis quit her job as an investment banker in Southern California.
Less than a year later, she bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok, planning to travel overland through Southeast Asia.
Since then, the now 29-year-old has largely stayed on the move, documenting her journey through her blog, Be My Travel Muse, and sharing the expertise she’s gathered in her book, “Conquering Mountains: A Guide to Solo Female Travel,” produced with Nomadic Matt‘s Matt Kepnes.
“For a few years there I was living off the savings,” Addis told Business Insider. “Thankfully I was keen to save for a rainy day back when I was 22 or 23. I remember it was the 11th hour, I had been on the road for almost two years, and I got a contract that was good for $600 a month guaranteed for one year. That was really the piece I needed.”
It still wasn’t enough to fully cover her expenses, but it gave her a cushion to look for more work, Addis said of that first contract. “Little by little, I was able to start turning down the lower-paying freelance roles, and now it’s rare that I take one.”
Between affiliate sales from her website, sales of her book, and work with tourism boards and brands, she said she earns about 40% of her banking salary, and it’s growing. She said she has a strict policy of only endorsing or working with products she comes across on her own and likes, and of working with brands and bureaus in unique ways that allow her readers to learn from her experience.
Addis said she works longer days now than she ever did in California, but manages her schedule to accommodate periods of being “off the grid.”
“Figure something out that you’re really really good at, and figure out a way to market that skill online,” she advised people who want to seek a similar adventure, supporting themselves through long-term travel. “Or if it’s more mechanical or physical, consider a working holiday, or teaching English, whatever skill you have that you can be creative about and use around the world, because chances are pretty good that you can figure out a way.”
And, she said, ease yourself into the nomadic lifestyle. “You’re more adaptable than you think, so if you really want to travel the world on a shoestring, just try it, even try for a shorter term. If you like it, you can save up to travel for longer.”
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