Monday, April 29, 2013

Careers in Travel: Brooke Vs. The World


For the next month or so I've put together a series of guest posts by some amazing women who have turned travel into a full-time career, or have incorporated travel into their existing careers.  I am amazed by each of these women and how ambitious and creative and unique they all are.  I hope that they can inspire you as much as they have inspired me.  I hope that they'll get those travel juices flowing and move you to follow your passion however farfetched it might seem.

This is Brooke from Brooke vs. The World and Her Packing List.  Brooke is an entrepreneur, writer, blogger, and world traveler.  I won't go into too much detail because Brooke has done a fantastic job below. Get ready to be inspired.

"When Lauren asked me to write a post about my current career in travel, I laughed to myself a little because I realized that where I have come started completely out of chance.  I never set out to work full-time as a blogger and freelance writer; this is simply where life has taken me throughout a series of events across several years.


My Work:  A brief synopsis of what I do each day.
In my day-to-day life, I manage two main travel related blogs – brookevstheworld.com and herpackinglist.com – multiple email accounts, twitter accounts, Facebook pages and Pinterest accounts accordingly. In return, I make a bit of money selling advertising or social media campaign participation to companies, and a larger portion in affiliate sales is starting to occur over on Her Packing List.  Besides that, I get offered heaps of free experiences and even some full-out media trips (just returned from Oman!) in return for my work. It's not easy, but I get to lead a fairly exciting life if I say so myself. I also contribute to other websites, creating content directly in return for pay – this is actually my main source of income.

How I Got Started in This Field
This is the part where I giggle a bit because I would have never in a million years thought my current life was truly a possibility. I mean, I always loved the Internet and fooling around with creating websites, but to be a full-time blogger/writer just never seemed a possibility, especially since I had only heard of blogging some handful of years ago.  Instead, my passion for travel and my want to share that with the world has morphed into a profession.


It started back in 2006 when I was desperately researching the Internet about how to travel the world on one big extended trip. I came across other sites where people had documented their lives – mostly websites, not blogs – and I, too, wanted to share my story and adventures and therefore started a site which you now know as Brooke vs the World. When I eventually figured out wordpress and what blogging was (how that truly fit my purpose), I started blogging – but never for the idea of making money or turning that into a profession.

Somewhere along the journey, while I was teaching English in Ukraine, I started a Twitter account and started adding that to the mix – just for fun. About 5 months later when I landed in Australia to chase my Australian boyfriend, I just so happened to find myself at the mercy of a couple of Aussie companies – those who were just now starting to realize that blogging and social media were an integral part of their operations. I got hired, because of my hobby experience, to run their blogs, social media and newsletters, and when my working rights with them ran out, I realized something major.  I thought, “Hey, I can do this for myself. I can write for other company blogs and have a more flexible lifestyle in the process (so I can travel!).”

Before I knew it, I was hired to work on the Australia travel guide site for Bootsnall, selling more ads on my blog, and eventually getting offered some free travel in the mix.

But, being the entrepreneurial-minded person that I am, I couldn't let a good idea go to waste.  I realized there needed to be a place to talk about those unique female travel products that women were discussing in hushes, as well as a place that targeted travel gear just for women.  At the very end of 2010, I started Her Packing List for that reason. Since it was also not my personal travel blog, I felt like I could attack it with a much more business-focused mindset.  I believe that has paid off as it is now heaps more successful these days.

The Driving Force in Working for Myself
As an entrepreneur and sole trader, I wear many hats – writer, marketer, admin, social media manager – and that also means I work longer and harder than I would at a normal office job. That said, I also have much more flexibility. While not easy, I can actually work from the road and take time off whenever needed to accommodate a trip offer or just a day at the beach.  Overall, though, I do love the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from knowing I support myself on my own efforts.


The Future for Me
I (personally) think being a blogger and freelance content writer can feel a bit short-sighted after a while – well, if you ever plan to be able to afford a house and a family. For the past year, I've been really thinking about where I want to take this in the long-run. So, with about 100 different ideas in the works, I'll be making some big changes and improvements to my business model and hopefully turning my hobby turned job into a thriving, long-lasting career.

Tips for YOU Before Transitioning to a Travel Blogging/Writing Career
Being career week, I bet several of you reading this are interested in ways of turning travel into a career. I wanted to share some tips for people looking to go this route – and my number one tip is that you have to be passionate about travel. It doesn't matter if you want to be a tour guide, a travel blogger/writer, work for a tourism board or the like. If you don't have passion for travel (and the specific destination) you probably won't have much fun. A life in a travel career is generally more about the experience than the money.

If you're considering going the travel blogging route, do not – I REPEAT – do not quit your day job just yet. It will take several months (or years!) before many bloggers are able to take it to the full-time level.  Start blogging now in your free time.


Create a business plan from the beginning.  If you really want to do this, and do it well, know what your goals are down the road. Do you want to write for big-name sites? Do you want to write a book, get a TV show, or start a travel related business? Having this sorted before you start can save a lot of grief in the future."

"Don't be afraid to try something new."


About the Author:  Brooke Schoenman is an independent, passionate traveler who shares her tales of travels to emerging destinations as well as those of life lived abroad. Follow her on either blog – Brooke vs. the World and Her Packing List – or on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.


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