Let’s be honest, your dream job does not just entail being paid tons of cash to do what you love, but should have occasional all-expenses paid travelling opportunities as well, amirite?
But imagine if you were to travel as a full-time career, where heading home is not a daily affair but perhaps a yearly one instead. Imagine spending all year round exploring breathtaking corners of the world across all seven continents, reporting the sights, sounds and smells of every bizarre culture– this is what World of Wanderlust is all about.
World of Wanderlust is the brainchild of a girl with restless feet, a travel blogger and storyteller, Brooke Saward. Brooke, an Australian in her mid-20s, has been traveling since the age of thirteen and has since turned her love for travel into a full time career. Having launched World of Wanderlust onto the global stage in December 2012, Brooke has since gained a global audience and loyal readership.
Up to date, Brooke has published three books about travel blogging, and updates her web articles and social media channels almost every other day.
We sat down with this fearless globe-trotter at a fan meet last month, where about 30 readers in Singapore took time off their schedules to finally meet their travelspiration (that has to be a real word by now, yes?) in the comforts of huge sofas at her hotel lobby.
Hi Brooke! Great to finally meet you. How did your solo travel adventures really start out?
Brooke: “It’s so cliché, but I had just broken up with my then boyfriend and found myself needing a getaway from everything. So I was sitting in the office and somehow booked a discounted one-way ticket to London. I called up my mom and went ‘Hey mom, I’m kinda going to the UK by myself…’ She freaked out *laughs*, but I never looked back since.”
How did you cross the line from travel writing as a passion project to actually being paid for it?
Brooke: “I get tons of emails about where to start as a travel blogger and the best piece of advice I can give is to just start! We all have to start somewhere – when I first began travel blogging I knew I wanted to make it my full-time career, but I had no idea how. So I just started writing, editing, adjusting my approach, and over time improving the way I write, what I write about, and how I connect with my readers around the world.
“Do what you love, and the money will follow” is a quote that has stuck with me. After a few months of writing for free, I was starting to make (small amounts) of money from travel blogging! You can read more about my story here.”
For someone who has already seen so much of the world, what keeps you going amidst all the exhaustion and challenges of travelling?
Brooke: “This might surprise you, but my fans and readers are my drive. I could be having a bad day on the road, then I would read a comment or message from that one individual telling me that my stories and photographs had just made their day, and somehow their appreciation for my work would make my day too. I know that my solo travels may seem very one-sided since I’m the one who’s reporting about my travels, but’s really more of a two-way conversation than most people think, especially when readers like you guys advise me where to go next or what to eat and so on.”
What do you think should be the most important practice of travel writers?
Brooke: “You have to keep things authentic. When brands approach you for sponsored trips or consumer products, you have to be selective. For example, if I were to be approached by a toothpaste company and asked to review their products, I wouldn’t! Toothpaste has nothing to do with travel. So you have to be discerning about how to keep your blog as authentic as possible and not let it be a sell-out.”