I used to think that traveling the world for free (or pretty close to it) was a fantasy until I experienced it for myself. After quitting my corporate job in New York City in 2016 to travel full-time and pursue my passion in storytelling, I quickly learned that there are many creative ways to earn income while on the road—and even get paid to travel!
Since then, I’ve met many people who have cracked the code for subsidized travel, including entrepreneurs, influencers, and high-vibe individuals who aspire to change the world and make money while doing it.
Meet Sorelle Amore, the Australian woman who landed a dream job that, over the course of three months, allowed her to travel to luxury homes in 12 countries—earning her a monthly $10,000 salary and travel allowance in the process.
Within six months of starting this opportunity, she became a successful full-time travel influencer with a following of over 250,000 on her social media channels, where she now teaches how to work with brands, get paid to travel, and create content that people will love.
Amore shares what it means to build your own dream, become your own boss, and reinvent entrepreneurship on your terms.
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Celinne Da Costa: Tell us a bit about your background.
Sorelle Amore: I had the travel bug for as long as I could remember: I was born in Sydney, Australia, to a Polish parent and lived in Poland for a few years as a child. Being exposed to different cultures and ways of living at such a young age inevitably prepared me for a life of seeking adventure.
Throughout my youth, I excessively photographed every trip I had embarked on. I loved seeing what others may not have in a unique and artistic way, as well as capturing memories which I feared would slip my mind.
Despite my passion for photography, I pursued a Bachelor of Business and majored in Marketing because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I then spent two years in a cubicle doing what so many of us do—pursuing a dream that wasn’t at all mine.
Da Costa: What kick-started your photography career?
Amore: I was really good at my job but my heart was hurting.
At the age of 25, I decided to quit my job to focus on my online fashion business (another false dream I was pursuing). I took 10 days off to attend a silent meditation Vipassana retreat so I could calm my mind and reconnect with my heart.
I came out of the retreat with an impulse to call my photographer friend and ask her to intern at her studio, even though I hadn’t picked up a camera in over 15 years. The moment I started working for her, opportunities came flooding in—I landed a gig at a high-end photography agency shortly after and started picking up clients all over the place. Even though I was inexperienced, I took the jobs and figured out how to do everything as I went.
Nine months after my meditation retreat, I bought a one-way ticket to Europe with the hopes of living there and building a YouTube career. Within a few weeks, I was living in Iceland and started making YouTube videos about travel, which were horrible at first because I didn’t know what I was doing! This changed when I met a famous German YouTuber who quickly helped me grow my following and got me on track to becoming a travel influencer.
Da Costa: What prompted you to apply for the “Best Job On The Planet” opportunity?
Amore: My YouTube start was very smooth, but then I hit a career block.
I was feeling lost in my content creation, and my channel stopped growing as a result. To top it off, I was making no income and exhausting my savings to feed my dream of becoming a YouTuber.
I was also wholly unprepared for the dark and cold Icelandic winter. Only having two hours of sunlight a day quickly plummeted me into depression. No matter how much I tried to think good thoughts, my mind was clouded in darkness.
I spent four months in a pit but one day, I decided I couldn’t go on this way. I started eating healthier, exercising, and writing down my goals: the main one was to travel to 12 countries in 2017 and get paid for it.
One day, my brother sent me a link to a “Best Job On The Planet” competition that was ending within 24 hours, which offered the winner $30,000 USD to travel to 12 luxurious homes worldwide. A strong burst of energy overtook me. I instinctively knew this job was made for me. After all, this was exactly what I had wished for!
Long story short, after numerous marketing strategies, video submissions, asking followers to vote for me, sleepless nights, and rushes of excitement… I was named the winner out of 17,000 applicants.
That day, my life changed.
For three months, I documented my experience via video, articles, and photographs as I traveled through Costa Rica, Bahamas, China, Scotland, England, America, Dominican Republic, Australia, Fiji, Spain, Indonesia, Croatia, and Morocco… and I got paid for it!
Da Costa: You quickly went from broke to making $10K a month. What have you learned about making money in the digital world?
Amore: Before winning the contest, I had about $1,000 left in my account, no sign of income arriving in the future, and bills to pay in a very expensive country. This drastic shift in income taught me that there are many ways to earn good money in the digital world. My key insights include:
1) Identify a small niche within your area of expertise. You can’t be all things to everybody. For example, target “luxury travel within tropical countries” instead of just “travel.” Become an expert in a specific field so that people and brands know exactly what you have to offer. Having a smaller and loyal fanbase can be as valuable, if not more, as millions of followers.
2) Improve your skills every day so you can command higher prices. Focus on your strengths and eventually hire others to take care of the work you hate. You have specific strengths in your personality for a reason. Concentrate on them.
3) Value your work. It’s easy for people to walk all over you if you don’t know what you’re worth. Do your research about what your skills/expertise is worth, and negotiate high. People will either say yes, stay within your range, or tell you that your price is too high and give you wiggle room to keep negotiating. I’ve yet come across a situation where someone just runs away from me because I initially set the bar high. We just negotiate until both sides are happy and if I feel I’m undervaluing myself, I walk away.
Da Costa: What have been your biggest obstacles and fears during your journey? Was it really the dream job?
Amore: I was exhausted and recovering for two months after the job was done. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining because this was the best experience of my life, but dreams do require work.
Some days, I would get off a 35-hour flight and have to stay up until the early morning exploring the place and editing content I captured. There were cities I don’t even remember being in as it all happened so fast. I felt a lot of pressure around seeing all the best sights, capturing quality content, and letting my employer down. I did the best I could with the time and resources I was given, however, I do wish I could re-do some of the content.
The good news is, my employer was happy with the work!
Da Costa: What has this opportunity taught you about entrepreneurship?
Amore: This experience has taught me that with the right strategies, we can absolutely execute our crazy ideas and reap the rewards. The real question to ask is: is it really what you want?
Being an entrepreneur isn’t pretty. It’s late nights, stress, and possibly bursts of little to no income. However, if you’re like me and hate the idea of someone else running your life, then trying out this lifestyle is worth it.
Before venturing into any new, wild idea, I note the very worst-case scenarios that could come out of pursuing my dream and steps for how I could get out of trouble and make extra money if that situation materialized. Then, I write out all the beautiful possibilities that could happen if my dream came true.
When you have patience, diligently develop your skills, work smart, and create a niche that you can conquer, the positive scenario becomes the more likely outcome.
Da Costa: What advice do you have for those who aspire to live their dream?
Amore: One of my biggest fears is being on my deathbed and not feeling like I lived the life I wanted. I often think about death to remember what it means to live.
My actions may seem irrational at times, but frequently uprooting my life and seeing what sticks has helped me hone in on my skills, goals, and desires. I can’t imagine only doing one thing for the rest of my life. I need novelty because it helps me grow.
Although entrepreneurship is not a life for everyone, I encourage you to constantly seek adventure. Too many people are stuck in a rut and sad with their existence, and perhaps the solution lies in taking a different road home one day, surprising your loved one with a date night, or going to see a movie by yourself. These small signs of self-respect will breathe life back into your everyday existence, and slowly you’ll remember who you are again.
Nurture your excitement for life, don’t be afraid to entertain your truest desires, and reinvent yourself. Dream of the life you want just like you did when you were a child. When you set goals and take baby steps to actualizing heart’s desire, it’s only a matter of time before you get there!
Originally published on Forbes
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