Doesn’t everyone dream of becoming a travel blogger? Well as we sit back in The Asia Collective office, wanderlusting over our lifestyle influencers’ incredible travel photos daily, we find it hard to try and think of a better job in the world: soaking up 5-star luxury, indulging in world-class cuisines, getting pampered by award-winning spas and adventuring off the beaten track to capture that postcard-perfect photo that gets re-gramed around the world!
WHEN DID YOU START YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT?
My account @sjanaelise isn’t my first Instagram account actually. I originally had one about 5 years ago which jumped up to 55K rather quickly, but that account then got hacked and it took me a while to get the confidence to build another public account. I actually started @sjanaelise in November 2013 as a lifestyle/food/fitness/beach/yoga account. The travel opportunities grew because of the following I was attracting, and from my first travel assignment, more just came regularly rolling in.
WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST TRAVEL ASSIGNMENT?
It was in February 2014. An international group of tech entrepeneurs and elite athletes called Mai Tai, asked me to come along and be a intern photojournalist on their Perth kiteboarding trip. With about 20 other people in our share house, the week was one of the most fun I had ever experienced. There were people kite-boarding in cow suits, I wakeboarded on someone’s back, the beach was filled with bean bags and Red Bull massage tents, and an exhilarating level of energy filled the air. It was a whole week of fun and memories with some extraordinary and unforgettable people. A few other brands and travel organisations saw the work (photographic and blogging) I did with Mai Tai, and from that, the travel-domino effect started!
WAS THERE A DEFINING MOMENT OR IMAGE WHERE YOUR FOLLOWERS WENT CRAZY?
No defining moment, sorry. I wish there was a more interesting story to tell but unfortunately it’s a rather bland tale haha. Since it was my second account, it grew rather rapidly as people were re-finding me and re-following. Instagram was rather different back then too. At that time the “explore page” was actually the “popular page” with Instagram using a formula to collate their own page of what was popular from hour to hour across the world. The formula Instagram used back then meant that getting on the popular page was relatively easy for profiles with popular themes, and each time a photo made it to the popular page, thousands of followers would inevitably come with it.
AT WHAT POINT DID YOU REALISE TRAVELLING THE WORLD COULD BECOME A PROFESSION?
I still don’t think it has fully sunken in … I actually have the best job in the world; there is no doubt about that! And it blows my mind when I think about just how blessed I am to have such a harmony and connection between work and play.
DID YOU EVER THINK OVER 1 MILLION PEOPLE WOULD FOLLOW YOU?
No way!! I remember on my first account when I reached 10k. (Going from 9,999 to the big 10K was huge back then), my Mum said, “what’s next? 100k?” And I laughed (a lot!) and said “maybe 50k. But I don’t even think that’s rational!”.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL BLOGGING?
Ooh good question! I’m not too sure to be honest. But I’m excited to find out. Perhaps television? I think a few travel bloggers will probably end up doing a travel show OR perhaps a whole bunch of travel photojournalists will group together and make an EPIC travel show. That’d actually be really cool I think.
WHAT ARE THE TOP 5 DREAM DESTINATIONS WE HAVE TO VISIT?
4. SOUTH AFRICA
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR GIVING US AN INSIGHT INTO YOUR AMAZING LIFE AS A TRAVEL BLOGGER!