Hands up if you’ve ever seen headlines like these:
“Why I Quit My Job to Travel the World”
“Man Who Quit 9-to-5 Job Makes $1 Million While Traveling the World”
“3 Ways to Quit Your Job and Travel the World Without Going Broke”
My guess is that you have, because I see these headlines around everywhere. I’ve even written a few of them (hint: the last one).
And let me guess …
When you see a headline like that, you’re a bit skeptical. You check Google Analytics and with your meager traffic, you can’t imagine ever being able to quit your day job to go on an epic adventure, let alone make money while doing it.
But I have news for you.
Not only that, but more bloggers than ever are doing it.
They’re doing it without having to pinch pennies, without having to stay in cheap, bed-bug-ridden hostels, and without going broke.
In this article, we’ll meet 16 bloggers who are doing this exact thing. We’ll take a look at how their blogs make money, where they’re choosing to spend their time, and even the downsides of building a location-independent lifestyle.
Let’s jump in.
Blogger #1: Paula Pant from Afford Anything
If your bank account balance makes you shudder every time you look at it, you might not agree, but …
You can afford anything. Just not everything.
At least, that’s what Paula Pant thinks.
Paula went from an office job in Colorado, earning $25,000 per year, to a personal finance blogger earning a 6-figure income.
On a typical travel day, Paula spends about half of it working (maintaining hardcore focus), and the other half exploring with her partner, Will. At the end of the day, she typically clocks almost 8 hours of productive work (and just to be clear, while the average office worker is at work for 8.8 hours per day, they’re only productive for 3), proving that bloggers don’t get a free pass to do nothing even when they’re traveling.
Let’s look at a few awesome-to-sucky ratios from the day:
- Time Gawking at Gorgeous Mountains: 80 minutes
- Time Cursing the Crappiness of Powerpoint: Constant
Here’s another one:
- Time Spent in Hot Springs/Hiking: 1 hour, 30 minutes
- Time Spent in Transit: 8 hours, 45 minutes (includes work overlap)”
So make no mistake, blogging while traveling the world involves work. But those moments in the mountains and hot springs sure are worth it.
Blogger #2: Nat Eliason from NatEliason.com
You may have heard rumors that the “riches are in the niches”, and that may be true … for some bloggers.
But not for Nat Eliason.
Nat runs the popular blog NatEliason.com, and his claim to fame is a lack of an overarching theme. He’s proving that you don’t have to be Tim Ferriss to blog about what you’re interested in, as long as you put in the work.
Nat moved to Argentina after a stint of digital nomading across the world: Paris, Austin, New York, Colombia, Florence, and even the Antarctic.
But it’s not all pretty.
There’s what he calls “the void.”
After he took his blog full-time and built his own four-hour work week, he found that he just wasn’t happy.
“As soon as you get that freedom, you realize that a fundamental part of being human is doing things, and once you have no things you need to do you can get listless and depressed.”
So while freedom is a worthwhile goal, keep in mind that you’ll need to fill that void somehow.
Blogger #3: Michelle Schroeder from Making Sense of Cents
We’ve seen one example of a personal finance blogger already, but this personal finance blogger does things just a little differently.
Michelle Schroeder from Making Sense of Cents started her blog in 2011 and since then has grown it to become a massive success. She blogs with her husband and two dogs from the road, putting a whole new meaning to the term “location independent.”
Michelle and her husband travel from place to place in their RV, taking their dogs on adventures and exploring national parks.
That means that they explore in the daylight and work in the evening as much as possible.
Michelle is in it for the long-term game. She knows blogging isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It took her years to earn the income she does from her blog.
She inspires her readers to persevere and stick with their own goals so they can reach the success she has.
Blogger #4: Amber Fillerup from Barefoot Blonde
Think that most bloggers who are able to travel the world have the privilege of little responsibility?
This next blogger might change your mind.
Amber Fillerup Clark is the blogger behind the massively popular lifestyle blog, Barefoot Blonde.
She lives in Hawaii when she’s not traveling to places like Paris, Australia, and Japan, and she runs her blog and social media accounts from wherever she happens to be at the time.
And also takes care of her one- and two-year-old children, Rosie and Atticus.
She started her blog with a very different focus: to document a service trip to Fiji. When she returned to the US, she continued updating her blog from school, having to borrow her dad’s digital camera to take pictures.
After getting a couple of brand sponsorships, she decided to take her blog more seriously and focus on it full-time.
Now, her husband works with her on their blog business, managing photography logistics, and they spend much of their days taking photos for Barefoot Blonde’s Instagram and Pinterest accounts.
Blogger #5: James Clear from JamesClear.com
Let me guess.
Building the freedom to travel into your career wasn’t the only reason you wanted to start blogging.
You probably also wanted to start blogging to make an impact. Right?
If you’re nodding along, I have good news: this next blogger proves that both of these outcomes are possible.
James Clear is the blogger behind JamesClear.com, a self improvement blog that helps his readers lead better lives through habit change. He’s a weightlifter, photographer, and international traveller.
At the beginning of his blogging career, he published articles every Monday and Thursday, and his consistency paid off. He amassed an email list cult following of over 400,000 people.
He did this while traveling to places like the Bahamas, Iceland, Peru, Scotland, and Vietnam … all in one year.
Blogger #6: Brandon & Dan from Zen Dude Fitness
Let’s say you wanted to start a blog about fitness.
But you weren’t sure how to monetize it in a way that would still give you that sense of freedom and flexibility you crave. After all, personal training isn’t exactly location-independent.
Enter Zen Dude Fitness.
Zen Dude Fitness is run by Brandon and Dan, two friends who lost 130 lbs. combined after years of struggling to do so.
Should you be lifting weights? Depends on where you are right now and where you want to go. Watch our most recent YT video to find out if you should be lifting weights with your jump rope regimen or if you're someone who should stick to bodyweight workouts. Click link in bio to watch now @zendudefitness . . .
They’re the type of location-independent bloggers who aren’t always on the move. They packed up their life in the US to move to Colombia, where they create YouTube videos to inspire their audience to get fit.
If you don’t value always being on the go and want to explore one place more deeply while also living a location-independent lifestyle, look to Brandon and Dan for inspiration.
Blogger #7: Benny Lewis from Fluent in 3 Months
He travels cheaply, blogging from the road and holding events in whatever locale he ends up in.
But it wasn’t always this way.
Benny started his blog after six years of full-time travel. His main motivation for starting his blog? A challenge he made for himself: learn Czech in 3 months. He began to blog for accountability, with the intention of growing his readership.
Benny admits to not getting much sleep, waking up early to work and staying out late to enjoy the city he’s in. But, there’s no “normal” for a traveling blogger:
“In Rio I worked most of the day from a penthouse apartment with a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and in India I had a hut with no hot water or kitchen where the power would go out several times a day. There is no typical for a traveling blogger!”
From struggling to find Wifi to traveling to cities with power outages and unreliable transportation, it’s not always a walk in the park, but the pros outweigh the cons.
Blogger #8: Steve Kamb from Nerd Fitness
Some people build a business from their blogs and find themselves in the fortunate position of being able to live a location-independent lifestyle.
Others, like Steve Kamb from Nerd Fitness start their blogs with the intention of building a location-independent career in hopes of fulfilling their travel dreams.
After reading Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek, Steve started building his now-popular fitness blog so he could achieve more freedom and flexibility in his career.
By 2011, Steve had built his blog up enough that he was able to take off on a round-the-world trip, visiting 4 continents, 9 countries and 15 cities over the span of 35,000 miles.
Steve was traveling alone during that initial trip, and while he enjoyed it, he found it to be lonely. Not only that, but the limited amount of work he did on the road (while following the 4-Hour Workweek model) taught him that he actually enjoys working on his blog … and wanted to do more of it.
Blogger #9: Anthony Metivier of Magnetic Memory Method
If you’ve ever wondered whether you niched down a bit too much, Anthony Metivier’s blog might put those fears to rest.
Unlike many of the other bloggers I’ve mentioned who run blogs in popular niches, Anthony Metivier took a different path.
Anthony is the blogger behind Magnetic Memory Method, which teaches people how to improve their memories.
Not exactly your run-of-the-mill blog topic, but Anthony has turned his blog into a massive success.
Originally from Canada, his blog has helped him move to Germany and then travel to places like Israel, Egypt, Australia, and more.
Blogger #10: Cait Flanders from CaitFlanders.com
In 2011, Cait Flanders was deep in credit card debt, and had one goal: to get herself out.
She started her blog to keep herself accountable to paying it off, and since then it’s evolved from a debt blog to a minimalism and slow living blog.
Cait took off on a road trip across Canada and the US in 2016, covering over 17 States and 6,900 miles, and and has been exploring North America since she quit her job in 2015.
The first thing I noticed when I crossed the state line was how green Minnesota is. Everywhere I look, there's more green green green. My first night here was perfect: @anthonyongaro @amy.ongaro and I went to @birchwoodcafe (where I had the best turkey burger of my life) then walked around the falls for a bit, where we ran into friends who gave me a list of things I must do when I'm in Colorado. Little did they know, I never want to leave here. #simpleyear #day236 #greatamericanroadtrip #roadtrip #minnesota #minneapolis #mpls #onlyinmn #citybynature #solotravel #campercait
As far as what life looks like for Cait while she’s traveling, it’s not all glamorous.
Conflicted between working and exploring the cities she found herself in, she quickly found that nobody talks about the difficulties of the location-independent lifestyle.
“I couldn’t have gone on this road trip at all, if I still had a full-time job. But working for yourself is still a job — and trying to work on the road is even harder than working at home.”
Still, if you’re willing to make some sacrifices and put in the work, you can do it, too.
Blogger #11: Colin Wright from Exile Lifestyle
In 2009, Colin Wright sold everything he owned that wouldn’t fit in his suitcase, scaled down his business, and started his blog, Exile Lifestyle.
This was a drastic change from the corporate career and consumerism excess he left behind.
Since then, Colin has traveled full-time, spending a few months in each country before moving onto the next destination.
He’s visited over 60 countries, and lived in 8, all while running his businesses from the road.
Exile Lifestyle is where he publishes articles about his life and businesses.
Blogger #12: Jodi Ettenberg from Legal Nomads
Ever want to visit Siberia?
Yeah, me neither, but Jodi Ettenberg from the popular travel and food blog Legal Nomads did — so much so that she quit her six-figure job as a lawyer to do so, turning her blog into her new career so she could travel as much as she wants.
She used to live on the road, living out of a backpack and traveling to locations like Italy, Japan, Vietnam, and Spain while working on her blog. Now she lives in Mexico and travels for just 4-6 months of the year.
That time I drove 12 hours from Marrakech to M'Hamid, including the beautiful High Atlas pass. This was one of those trips where you just get out of the car and stare around in awe at what the world is capable of showing you. Full write up of the insanity of driving in Morocco here: http://www.legalnomads.com/driving-in-morocco/
Jodi lives and works where she wants, enjoying the flexibility she built into her blog business. That’s not to say there are no challenges with living the lifestyle she does; she just deals with them as they come.
Blogger #13: Matthew Kepnes from Nomadic Matt
In 2006, Matt Kepnes quit his cubicle job and took off on a round-the-world trip.
A round-the-world trip that he’s still on to this day.
Matt is the blogger behind the ultra-popular travel blog, Nomadic Matt, where he blogs about his travels across 80 countries and territories, helping his readers travel more for less money.
His corporate escape plan included starting his blog, finishing his MBA, and booking a one-way ticket to an adventure around the world.
When he’s on the road, he works in the morning and early evening to leave time for him to sightsee during the afternoon and after dinner.
Blogger #14: Josh and Ryan from The Minimalists
Most of the bloggers in this guide travel because their blog businesses allow them to have built a location-independent career.
Josh and Ryan from The Minimalists travel because their blog business requires them to.
What do I mean?
Well, the two friends who started the popular minimalism blog together in 2011 have monetized their blog by writing a book — one that required them to go on 100-city book tours across the country.
They also tour America to host events (live versions of their podcast, The Minimalist), and plan to take their tours overseas.
Boston! We just confirmed our first tour stop of 2017: "The Minimalists Live" in Boston on April 15th at the historic Wilbur Theatre, where we'll present an in-depth talk about minimalism and host a live version of our podcast. Presale tickets will be available in two days, starting this Wednesday, January 18th, at noon EST, which means our audience gets first access to the best seats in the house. Simply visit our tour page at Minimalists.com/Tour and use the code “boston” during the presale window to get your tickets before they go on sale to the general public. (Note: 100% of the profits from this pre-sale go toward building an orphanage. It's also worth noting that last year's Boston event sold out fairly quickly, so get your tickets ASAP.) #LessIsNow #LessIsNowTour
Packing everything they need in a carry-on bag, with the 20/20 rule in mind where they “don’t bring anything [they] think [they] might need that can be replaced for $20 in less than 20 minutes,” they hop in their car and take off.
But in 2010, their lives looked different. Instead of having a thriving blog that allowed them to spread a message they were passionate about and travel while doing it, they both worked in traditional careers where they scaled the corporate ladder, accumulating “stuff” as status symbols.
But when Ryan was laid off and Joshua quit, each from a six-figure career, they banded together to build a better life for themselves.
Blogger #15: Chris Guillebeau from The Art of Nonconformity
You may have already heard of Chris Guillebeau.
He’s the best-selling author behind The $100 Startup, Born for This and The Happiness of Pursuit.
He’s also the mastermind behind some of the digital world’s best conferences, like the World Domination Summit and The Art of Nonconformity.
He’s travelled to every single country in the world, launched several online businesses, and has been featured in The New York Times, Wired, The Globe and Mail, and on NPR (to name a few).
But before the books, the conferences, and the Internet fame, there was his blog.
Chris started The Art of Nonconformity in 2009 as an experiment: could he become a full-time writer online in under a year?
It turns out he could — it took him 279 days to become an “overnight success.”
Blogger #16: Sean Ogle from Location Rebel
Eight years ago after going on a trip, Sean Ogle decided he wanted to travel more.
So after a lot of research, he worked up the nerve to ask his boss at his financial analyst job to work remotely. But despite asking nicely, Sean’s boss shot down his request.
So he did what any sane person would do:
Quit his job, sold his car, and booked a one-way ticket to Thailand from which he spent the next seven months traveling Southeast Asia, building his blog, and earning money through freelance SEO as he travelled.
Sean’s story proves that you don’t have to have an already-successful suite of product offerings on your blog to make this lifestyle work.
He started with the lowest-hanging fruit: finding freelance clients and working one-on-one with them while he built his blog business on the side.
Now he teaches his readers how to do the same (from wherever he is in the world) on Location Rebel.
Blogger #17: You
Traveling the world while you blog isn’t a privilege specific to these 17 bloggers.
They weren’t born with the successful-blogger gene, and most of them started exactly where you are now: with an idea, a few articles under their belt, and a passion for their topic.
It doesn’t matter if you started your blog last week, last year, or in 2010.
It’s not always glitz and glamor, but if you focus on building an audience, choose the right model to make money from your blog, and maintain massive discipline, you can earn enough money with your blog to become a digital nomad and travel the world in style, too.
Just make sure your passport is up to date!