Kelly Maz quit her job at 25 and decided to travel the world with her boyfriend. But instead of coming back home from her journey like most people, she has been abroad for more than a year.
Kelly Maz traveling away with her boyfriend, Paul Miniov. What a beautiful couple!
In fact, Kelly started her own travel consulting company along the way. I was extremely interested in her story so I decided to reach out. It’s always refreshing to hear about someone who’s built something impactful from ground up that allows her to be location independent. Kelly was nice enough to answer a bunch of my questions I oh-so-curiously asked, and she not only shared her past but also gave some specific tips we can all learn from. Check out our interview below!
Kelly Maz on How to Quit Your Job and Travel Full Time
Hey Kelly! Thanks for speaking with me. I was curious about your story. When did you quit your job, and what were you doing before? What company did you start?
Kelly: Happy to help! So before traveling I worked as a receptionist. Decent money, but very boring and VERY limited vacation time. I moved back to my parents’ house for a year and a half (2012) before traveling to help save money – which was hugely helpful.
I started a travel blog in 2012 for fun while living at home and after about a year it grew pretty quickly.
In July 2014 I took a one way flight out of Canada and I’ve been traveling ever since.
My income comes from three places:
– Sponsored posts (ex: a travel-related app paid me to write an article on my blog about them)
– Freelance writing (ex: I write for TravelFashionGirl.com and get paid for it)
– Book sales (I wrote and published an ebook that I sell on my website)
The revenue isn’t always consistent but it’s been enough to live off of in countries like Spain or Bali. BUT, the biggest advantage is that because of my blog, I don’t pay for travel. Hotels, tour groups and activities give me complimentary services in exchange for online coverage. Because of that my living costs are next to nothing.
Wow! What was your method of getting these travel companies to sponsor your trips? Was it hard to grow traffic on your site?
Kelly: I spent hours and hours teaching myself SEO online and that was really the turning point for me as far as blog traffic. I have articles that I wrote two years ago that get hundreds of views TODAY because I applied proper SEO to them. (Which basically means I optimized the article to the point where it is on the first page of Google search results for certain search terms)
Once the traffic grew I started ranking higher and higher in Google until hotel chains started to notice and they were offering me free stays. After a number of wonderful press tours I had established relationships with many marketing and PR figures in the hotel industry that really helped me find even more press tours.
Of course this isn’t a viable long term option so I recently launched a consulting company (which is really the best option for being self employed with location freedom!). I specialize in improving social media accounts for hotels and now instead of traveling for free, I get paid to visit hotels around the world while helping them get noticed online.
It’s amazing that you’ve launched your own company within a year of traveling. In terms of SEO, did you look up rank-able keywords and optimize in this way?
Kelly: This article really helped me for SEO.
Yes, the keywords were a big part of it. So once I had my keywords (use a 3-4 word phrase) I used them:
– In the blog title
– In the first paragraph
– Throughout the article
– In file names for images
– In the meta description
– In the post URL
– In the image alt text
Also, using a combination of pictures and video in majority of my articles has been helpful!
So with all of your optimization efforts and increased site traffic, your sponsors were coming to you rather than the other way around?
Kelly: Yes, the sponsors were coming to me – which was awesome! But now that I travel full-time it’s not exactly easy for me to jump on a flight from Bali (where I currently am) to Chile (where a hotel offered me a free stay for next week). So these days I do find that I have to reach out to hotels just because the ones that are offering aren’t always the location I need.
I minimize my flying to cut back on costs – no flying back and forth multiple times per year! Since July 2014 I’ve only had a few major flights… Canada > Europe > Australia > Asia.
You’ve been so successful with all of your ventures! Do you have any last advice for anyone who wants to take this path?
Kelly: Whatever you’re an expert in, find out who needs your help, launch a freelance consulting company and market yourself to companies in whatever region you want to travel in. E.g. I wanted to spend 8 months in Southeast Asia… So for the next 8 months I’m only working with hotels in this area.
Also, don’t pay too much attention to what other bloggers are doing. Don’t compare yourself to the “bigger blogs” because you’re never going to be exactly like them. It’s YOUR pictures and YOUR stories that readers will grow to love. Create your own path instead of trying to follow someone else’s and you’ll be much more successful!
I’m so happy to have gotten to speak with Kelly Maz about her ventures. She provided a lot of great advice on blogging and the right mentality to pursue a location independent life!
You can check out her links here: