Allan Edward Hinton has always been fuelled by wanderlust. He travelled far and wide in his late teens and early 20s, but after an eight-year stint in London, he was ready to start exploring again.
Hinton saved up, quit his office desk job, and took off.
“I had been stuck in the trap of ongoing, un-fulfilling marketing jobs,” Hinton told Business Insider. “I earned decent money, but something just wasn’t right. I needed to get away to gain perspective on life.”
Hinton’s gorgeous travel photography has earned him more than 150,000 followers on Instagram — a follower count that has helped land him a variety of paid gigs while on the road.
In this year alone, he’s travelled around South America, Europe, Central America, and the United States.
Keep scrolling to see Hinton’s amazing photos from around the world and learn more about his journey.
Hinton is originally from Letchworth in the Hertfordshire county of England, just north of London. He attended university in Newcastle, and at 19 spent three months in Thailand.
(Instagram) It was a very very very wet and rainy afternoon in London, where's that nice spring weather gone eh? I decided to pop out after work for a few hours to take some shots. I got completely drenched and now feel like I could be coming down with something... but I hope the shots to follow mean it was worth it!
A photo posted by Allan Edward Hinton (@chaiwalla) on May 27, 2014 at 2:53pm PDT
After graduating, he went backpacking around Asia for seven months, travelling from India to Japan. When he got back, he immediately started to save up for his next adventure.
(Instagram) Spend more time with people that make you happy. So apart from wanting to spend even more time with good friends and family this year I didn't really set a New Years resolution. However on January 3rd I did read the below quote and felt very inspired and decided to make 'following my passions' a focus for 2014. 'If you can't figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.' Did you set any decent resolutions for the year ahead? #skyebychai #skyemofourlives
A photo posted by Allan Edward Hinton (@chaiwalla) on Jan 9, 2014 at 10:39pm PST
'It's so very hard to save in London, but it is possible if you're strong, make some sacrifices, are disciplined, and your goal is exciting enough,' Hinton said. 'Also, after my first job I had a redundancy package, and this helped me immensely. I put all the cash into a savings account, which I called 'my South America fund,' and didn't touch it until I left the country.'
A photo posted by Allan Edward Hinton (@chaiwalla) on Mar 30, 2015 at 6:30am PDT
At the time, Hinton was an account manager with an e-commerce tech company. Prior to that, he had worked in various digital marketing roles, both on the client and agency side.
(Instagram) An Italian man found two new friends. I'm not the only one that tries to talk to animals. Phew. Shot taken whilst wandering around the parameter of the stunning little island town of Gallipoli. #SalentoUpNDown
A photo posted by Allan Edward Hinton (@chaiwalla) on Jun 2, 2015 at 4:07am PDT
Back then, Hinton didn't recognise the career opportunities Instagram could bring. He simply loved 'how people on Instagram have such a desire to explore, to get off the sofa and make the most of each day,' he said.
Hinton joined Instagram nearly four and a half years ago. Since then, his photography has greatly evolved, and his audience has grown to 158,000 followers to date.
A photo posted by Allan Edward Hinton (@chaiwalla) on Jul 28, 2015 at 1:01am PDT
This influx of followers has caught the attention of several major brands, and many have offered Hinton paid opportunities. Tourism boards offer trip deals in exchange for a specific number of Instagram posts. To keep it organic, Hinton is allowed to interpret the scenery and spaces in his own style, and write in his own words.
A photo posted by Allan Edward Hinton (@chaiwalla) on Oct 12, 2015 at 6:36am PDT
This extra income and free travel was not something he was relying on when he originally quit his day job. 'I left (London) before I was getting regular paid work through Instagram, so I didn't quite know of the possibilities back then,' Hinton said. 'The fact that I had seven years marketing experience reduced the risk of leaving, as I had got to a stage in life where I knew that at least I could get a job (if, and) when I came back.'
(Instagram) I wondered what this man was thinking, he was so deep in intense thoughts, I could see it in his characterful face. Was he remembering his own wedding day like it was yesterday, was he reliving memories of his wife and remembering a life filled with celebrations and love, or even struggles. Either way it got me thinking. Will I ever live to his age? Will I ever been a position to have the same memories? #mypugliaexperience
A photo posted by Allan Edward Hinton (@chaiwalla) on Jul 18, 2014 at 2:35am PDT
Since then, he's visited Germany, Stockholm, California, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Spain, Iceland, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Jordan, Singapore, France, Portugal, Scotland, and Italy.
A photo posted by Allan Edward Hinton (@chaiwalla) on Jun 4, 2014 at 11:38pm PDT
Central America was one of his favourite destinations. Besides the great food and wine found there, he said that 'they're really into dance and they love it if you, the tourist, get involved. Coming from a place where dancing in a club may not be 'cool' for guys, it's great to observe local men dance so well and confidently.'
Now he's taking December to celebrate his birthday, spend some time with friends in London, and enjoy some personal travel visiting Stockholm and Istanbul. After that he'll head to Hong Kong and the Philippines to escape the winter.
A photo posted by Allan Edward Hinton (@chaiwalla) on Feb 6, 2014 at 12:52pm PST
Despite not wanting his travels to end, Hinton wants more of a balance next year after travelling so much over the past year and a half. He's planning to move to Berlin in the spring, and use that as a base from which to travel.
Besides the rent in Berlin being almost two-thirds cheaper than London, Berlin is also the only place (besides perhaps Copenhagen) that Hinton can see himself living.
'I am luckily in a position where I can survive financially for a good few months. However, if I start to run out of money, then I will of course have to start thinking about other types of work,' Hinton said. While he can't see himself going back to a typical 9-to-5, he's considered freelance social media consulting, and possibly something involving tourism.
(Instagram) Reykjavík had the biggest dump of snow in a decade whilst I was there. The best bit apart from building a snowman and everything look so super pretty and christmassy? Flights from the north were cancelled and I got to spend an extra day in Iceland. Hehe. #inspiredbyiceland #askgudmundur @inspiredbyiceland
A photo posted by Allan Edward Hinton (@chaiwalla) on Dec 5, 2015 at 9:50am PST
'I have gone from being someone who did work for money -- and worried about money -- to being someone that just wants to be happy,' Hinton said. 'Even if I am just breaking even financially, I don't care as long as I am happy.'
A photo posted by Allan Edward Hinton (@chaiwalla) on Jun 2, 2015 at 2:00am PDT
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