For those who dream of chucking those TPS reports to the sky, here is a three part series on twenty-somethings to inspire you. Average Janes and Joes who sidestepped the rat race and found fulfillment in the road less traveled. You’ll hear about the ah-ha moments that changed everything, and how they continue to sustain themselves, while manifesting their dreams.
Part 1: “Hi, I get paid to travel the world.”
Meet Kiersten Rich, founder of the award-winning travel blog, The Blonde Abroad. You can find her glacier climbing in Iceland, wandering through Italian alleys, and diving into The Red Sea. The question is how the hell did she get here?
Let’s flashback to 2010. We catch the then 21-year-old on a busy Wednesday, sipping coffee at 4 a.m., beginning a workday likely to last well past 5 p.m. The San Diego native turned Los Angeles resident lived a life most parents would gleam over. She studied finance at SDSU, graduated with honors, and was working for a prominent wealth management company. She was on her way to a life of stability. Yet, she wrestled with angst.
“The truth was, I hated my job and I felt trapped. It took a little while, but I realized that true happiness, for me, would not be found in a cubicle,” says Kiersten.
So, she left wealth management, and began working as a bartender and spokesmodel. Soon the Hollywood glitz began to fade.
“It was at this point that I had to stop and do some serious soul searching. I had gone through my entire life trying to fit inside a mold,” writes Kiersten. “At 22 years old, I wasn’t ready to be ‘A Young Professional’ and wasn’t being true to myself playing the role of ‘Young Hollywood.’ I turned again to The World.”
She booked a flight to Australia for June of 2011, planning to return from New Zealand in October. With little plans beyond the $2,000 she had to live off, she set out for a 4-month excursion. After working at a friend’s office in Australia, she ultimately broke even. From there she used her funds to explore Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bali.
Since then, Kiersten has thrived as a travel blogger, visiting 45 countries over the last several years. She’s racked up over 30 sponsors and travel partners. She also earns cash as a blog mentor, social media strategist, and brand developer. While she’s built a solid foundation, her life calls for flexibility.
“The thing about the travel blogging is that there is never a consistent schedule and you have to be willing to take off on a moment’s notice,” says Kiersten.
Her new career path has led to experiences most adventurers lust after: trekking through the Andes, sailing around Croatia, volunteering in Honduras via Global Water Brigade. She now lives a life relishing in diverse cultures, and enjoys the ability to support non-profit endeavors along the way.
“Through The Blonde Abroad, I am able to share my life as a fully self-expressed and independent woman with the hope that I may inspire others, in all stages of their life, to travel and follow their passions,” says Kiersten.
- Utilize your skills to tap into remote work. Get creative with your potential streams of income.
- Follow your passion. “The only thing you’ll regret is not doing something you’ve always wanted to do–and you don’t need to wait around for a travel companion to do it.”
- Learn to live with less. When saving for long-term/frequent travel, ditching the luxury apartment, high-end gym membership, and optional beauty services offers extra cushion.
Part 2 of this series is on a couple who travels the country in an old school bus. To be notified when the post is finished, like us on Facebook.
Each of these free-spirited folks live different lives. Yet, the theme remains the same.
Armed with agency, drive, and ingenuity, plenty is possible. So, if you’re waiting for your permission slip–here it is. Life is short. The world of conventions will be waiting if you need it. Follow your intuition. Quench your curiosity and make shit happen… We served up the samples. Now it’s your move.