When Matt Gibson left his native British Columbia in 2004, he wasn’t looking for adventure.
He was looking for a way to pay off his student loans.
Over ten years later, 37-year-old Gibson has long been loan-free and is still on the move, working as an adventure travel writer and photographer. In 2009, he started the first iteration of his current website, Xpat Matt.
Today, he earns $3,000-$5,000 a month writing and blogging, both for his own site and others. “Like many travel bloggers, I live a pretty lean lifestyle,” he told Business Insider. “In most places living abroad, it’s not very expensive — $1,000 a month goes pretty far. I’ve been saving money pretty regularly for the past couple of years. My day-to-day is pretty inexpensive, but sometimes I’ll splurge on trips.”
Gibson runs his business from Ban Phe, Thailand, and when he isn’t visiting places like Sri Lanka and Bhutan, he works from home across the street from the beach, where he goes for a run or a swim nearly every day.
He credits his dream career to having a goal — writing professionally — and “working one step at a time towards it without worrying about how far away it is.”
Gibson advises people who dream of travelling and writing to combine that step-by-step pursuit of their goal with a concrete business plan. “Fumbling around without a plan makes it so much harder and creates so much extra work,” he says. “I could have gotten where I am a lot faster if I had read some business books first, that’s for sure.”
“Don’t be afraid to start,” he adds. “Trust in your ability to overcome whatever obstacles arise, because you will. But planning never hurts, and a good business plan is the best way to avoid the most common pitfalls.”