‘I make a better living travelling’
A WOMAN has told how she quit her high flying job as an investment banker to backpack around the world and now earns more than she was before as a travel blogger.
Kristin Addis, 31, from Southern California, has travelled to almost 60 countries on nearly every continent since upping sticks in September 2012 - hiking, hitchhiking, and solo travelling each time.
She has since set up Be My Travel Muse, a resource for like-minded travellers who want an enriching cultural experience when they travel.
Kristin explains on the site: "I never had a trust fund, and never thought of myself as particularly brave, but five years later, I'm still travelling the globe and sharing the exact way that I do it on this blog.
"I was the one who spent hours searching the weather and capital cities of far-off places around the world, just to imagine how it would feel to be there. I used to write imaginative stories and paint all the time. I was a dreamer.
"Somewhere along the way, however, I started to doubt my passions and instead went for a stable career. I worked as an investment banker for four years in Newport Beach, which burned me out and pushed me to make a change. So ... I sold my belongings and, armed with nothing but a carry-on bag and no company but my own, became a solo female traveller."
Kristin admitted she found the idea of solo travelling daunting, but she's learned to appreciate the pros and pitfalls of being alone.
"The one thing that never gets easier for me is eating alone, but it's worth the upside of solo travel," she told the Evening Standard.
"I've learned so much more about myself, gained confidence and problem-solving abilities, and I'll never have to wonder what if, because I honoured what I wanted in every moment and that's an incredible gift."
Kristin now has an impressive 114,000 Instagram followers and is an official "influencer", which helps her to make a living out of her adventures.
She has also written two books - Conquering Mountains: How to Solo Travel the World Fearlessly, a guidebook for solo female travellers, and A Thousand New Beginnings, a memoir of her first year travelling alone in Asia.
Kristin also hosts adventure tours for women around the world - with Peru, Namibia and Botswana planned for 2018.
So, would she ever go back to a "normal" job?
"I want (travelling) to be a part of my life for as long as I'm able to move," she said.
"Exploration is what makes me feel alive and it isn't something I get tired of, at least not yet.
"I sometimes work more hours at a time now than I did at my old job (which was more like 8-7), but it's not about the hours, it's about the freedom. I wouldn't go back to working for anyone else, I know that for sure."