Last year I travelled to 11 countries in 5 weeks (crazy, I know!), visiting Iceland, The Faroe Islands, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Italy, Greece, Malta, Belgium, Germany, and Czech Republic. The trip was planned for 4 weeks, but we missed our flight home and it turned into almost 5! We flew between every country, since flights are so cheap in Europe. 17 plane rides!
We mostly stayed in hostels and it's my absolute favorite. It's cheap, usually right in the center of town, and the perfect way to meet people and find activities! We also used AirBnb and Couchsurfing a few times. My favorite restaurants on the trip were Glo in Reykjavik, Flax & Kale in Barcelona, and Avocado in Athens, Greece.
In some countries we enjoyed more outdoor activities like hiking and chasing waterfalls in Iceland and the Faroe Islands. In Greece, Italy, and Malta we spent much of our time just relaxing, wandering the streets, and swimming in the crystal-clear ocean! And other times we were tourists in big cities and did things like see the Acropolis of Athens and the famous Gaudi houses of Barcelona.
We spent three days in Positano on the Amalfi Coast of Italy, which is a picturesque beach town perched on a cliff. Our first day we befriended a group traveling from Australia and New Zealand, and the next day we got 10 of us together to rent a boat for two hours and cruise along the Amalfi Coast. We went cliff jumping, swimming in blue grottos, and exploring sea caves - it was amazing!
Be wise about how you spend money at home and learn to live minimally. I personally don't shop very often and keep my wardrobe simple, and I try to cook my own meals at home as much as possible. I also don't spend money on luxury things like getting my nails or hair done. And don't waste your money on drinks every weekend!
Secondly, I have taken a risk by choosing to work for myself. I do freelance photography full-time at home, which allows me the freedom and flexibility to travel a few times a year. I'm a big believer in the saying, "If you don't build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs." By putting in the hard work to create your own wealth and be your own boss, you will make more in the end and be able to incorporate travel into your lifestyle!
Lastly - I never stay at hotels! When I travel I either stay with friends or reach out to fellow photographers from social media for a place to stay or I stay at hostels which are never more than $40 a night. Skip the hotel and use that money to buy yourself a plane ticket for your next trip!
To view more of The Sunny Traveler’s work, visit her here.
Dear Ashley and Graham circa 2008,
Your business will not live and die by social media. You're going to be tempted to put more time into Facebook and Instagram than you do into in-person relationships because it will feel like that's what everyone else is doing; it will feel like the only way to keep up. Resist that temptation. Resist the urge to jump on the ever changing hamster wheel of social media. When you get on that hamster wheel it will feel like you're running as fast as you can and getting nowhere. And that's exactly where sinking unscheduled, unintentional time into social media will get you: nowhere.
Next to framed art, albums are a favorite, no-brainer product you should be offering every client. Albums are the one product that truly stands the test of time and will be treasured for generations to come. Not long ago, album design went a bit “photographers-gone-wild” with acrylic, metal, and even fur covers. Remember that panoramic ultra-wide album fad?
Luckily the tide has turned back to favoring a classic, luxury presentation.
Netflix. HBO. & Hulu.
That could be about 70% of my off season. The time a friend introduced me to Game of Thrones was the most epic two months of my life (sorry adulthood). BUT, the keyword in that first sentence is “could be”. My biggest love during off season is stepping out of my living room for a travel adventure.