Of course, you do. We all want to get paid to travel. It’s the dream and fantasy of countless digital nomads, professional students, free-range families, photographers and Instagrammers, writers, bloggers, freedom lovers and hell, A LOT of other people. Read on to find out how to do it.
I’ve dreamed of world travel for as long as I can remember. And my dreams have come true – I’ve travelled around the world and for some of it, I got paid (I once worked as a cruise ship photographer so I got to see many European, Middle Eastern and Asian ports).
I’ve been writing professionally since 2011: a mix of travel, health & wellness; and parenting articles and blog posts. But when I heard that Georgia Rickard, former editor of the glossy travel magazine, Australian Traveller, had teamed up with 2 of the top influencers in the Southern Hemisphere to teach budding and dreaming travel writers, bloggers and photographers how to start a career in travel, I knew I had to attend.
So, off to Melbourne, I went to go to The Travel Bootcamp so I could learn how to get paid to travel around the world. In this post, I’ll tell you what I thought about it. And if you read to the end, there’ll be a special offer waiting for you.
What I loved about the Travel Bootcamp
After you buy your tickets to the bootcamp, you’re invited to a closed Facebook group where you can “get to know” the other delegates before the big day.
I hated the thought of arriving at the conference alone, so I asked if anyone would be keen to meet for a drink the night before. There was a great response (Hallelujah!) and a dozen or so of us met on Flinders Street in Melbourne’s CBD, then went to a cosy bar.
And this is what I loved most about the conference: face-to-face networking. I don’t get out much and when I do, I’m the one nursing a beer and trying to blend into the wallpaper or plotting my escape (unless there’s a dog or a cat, then I’m fine).
There were 140+ travel career hopefuls, so it was impossible to meet everyone but I did connect with a handful of cool cats that I continue to keep in touch with (Josh West is doing SO well). And the Facebook group remains open so we can chat, ask questions, share wins and get advice.
What about the bootcamp content
I learned heaps about how to gain a following on Instagram from Lauren Bath, Australia’s premier Instagram influencer. Lauren conducted her session with ease, honesty and passion. I put the practises in place and went from 100 followers to over 300 in a couple of weeks, which is not amazing but it proved “the system” works. The thing is, you need to be super pro-active. You need to keep at it. Daily. (And you can see from my insta profile, I haven’t but I’ll get back to it soon).
Georgia was second to take the mic about travel writing. What I liked best about her presentation were the pitch examples. Of course, I know how to pitch a story to an editor (not always successfully, mind you) but it’s always good to see how others do it. It was especially helpful to hear her talk from an editor’s POV. Georgia has a real “anyone can do this when you know how” kind of attitude.
The conference ended with Liz Carlson, The Young Adventuress on blogging. I didn’t think I’d be keen on this section but her story and rise to fame is inspiring. There are quite a few ways to monetise your blog, which as a freelance travel writer and photographer, is a great way to diversify your income.
And they were all approachable, I got to speak to them all privately at some point over the day and a half. I even got a selfie with each (so cheesy, I know). And let’s not forget, after the full-day conference, there was an evening meet-and-mingle over canapés and drinks. #winning
Shit’s about to get real
I’m a real I want it all and I want it with whip cream and a cherry on top or nothing at all kinda person. The problem with this all or nothing attitude is the pile-on stress that comes from realising how much work and hustle is involved to make it as a travel writer/influencer (they really drive home the “lots of hard work” message but hey, nothing comes from nothing, eh?). So, if you think there’s a magic spell cast upon you at this bootcamp that will instantly find you work as a travel writer or blogger, there’s not.
And there were a few things that made me cringe a little:
- The venue was hard to find (and it wasn’t just me!)
- It started a bit late, which gave a rushed feeling to some of the speakers
- Sometimes, the handouts didn’t match what the speaker was talking about
- There were grammatical errors and typos on the handouts (I’m not perfect but when I pay $450 for a conference about professional writing, I expect the copy to be spot-on – yes I’m a bitch)
- There wasn’t enough time for many questions (again, the rushed feeling)
In the big scheme of things, this is a small and maybe even a bit of a petty list. Some of it is just growing pains that I’m sure will go away. I didn’t want this post to be a gush-fest either because I wasn’t all gushy about the conference.
In the end, only you can decide if spending the money is a sound investment for your career as a travel writer, influencer or blogger.
So, is the Travel Bootcamp worth the money?
Let’s not pretend that freelancers have shitloads of money, well most that I know don’t, so the money part is a big deal. But, this is business and conferences are INVESTMENTS.
I live near Perth so for me to attend the bootcamp, flights were a necessary expense. I budgeted $1500, which included flights, the conference ticket price and everything else I needed for 5 days in Melbourne. Believe me, I don’t have that kind of money laying around but I love investing in travel and education. And if you want to be a travel expert, you should too.
Like I said above, there were things I loved and things that irked me but overall, it was a great day out. I met awesome, like-minded people and I even sold a story to Fairfax about something I did while in Melbourne. Like everything, the benefit depends on how much you put in to it once you go home.
I’m a serious over-thinker so it’s taken me much consideration and reflection as to whether I would ever attend again. And I think I would. I wouldn’t travel purposely for it but if they ever come to Perth, I’ll be there.
Do you want to get paid to travel?
Have you gone to The Travel Bootcamp? What did you think?