I’m Alyssa Ramos, a 28-year old self-made travel blogger claiming residency in LA when I’m not traveling around the world. I’m an adventure junky and an explorer, and I tend to opt for challenges and pushing limits. I suppose you could say my niche is “solo female adventure travel”, but that sounds extremely tame considering the type of stunts I usually pull. So far I have been to 44 countries and 6 continents, and my top favorite places have been Iceland, Japan, Svalbard, and India!
I truly do aim to inspire others to travel, whether it’s by providing information and travel tips, or showcasing a destination through my photography (a skill I learned through traveling!). If you like my site, or have found it useful, please consider signing up for my newsletter, spreading the word, and/or following along on my social media sites, because it’s because of you that I’m able to keep this thing going!
So now for the information you’re probably actually here to read about…
Travel blogging isn’t a job you can just apply for. And I’m not “lucky” that I have “the dream job”. I spent countless hours working low-paying freelance writing gigs just to support myself while building up my blog, and now I spend about 15 hours a day solely working on my blog and social media. I paid for all of my first initial trips after saving for over a year, then kept writing and reaching out to people for opportunities until finally I traveled and wrote enough to find a niche and grow an audience, and make a name for myself in the travel blogging world.
That moment really happened for me in August 2015, when I wrote a semi-sarcastic rant about the way I felt I was judged by people when I was traveling solo, and gave it a highly controversial (yet highly sarcastic) title called “Yes, I’m Pretty and I’m Traveling Alone” on the Huffington Post. I really put myself out there with the article, and endured tons and tons of negative/hateful comments (mostly from people who only read the title), but I also received an equal amount of positive messages, and a sudden catalyst in growth on all of my social media accounts.
The article went viral, and was translated and published on Huffington Post in over ten countries. Immediately following the article’s success, I was featured on major press outlets like The Daily Mail, The Mirror UK, and even a TV interview on Inside Edition. At the time, I was also bittersweet, because everything was happening at the same time that my grandfather (who I was very close to) was dying. His passing is what kept me level-headed, and even more determined to keep going.
The spotlight was great, and it’s definitely what I owe a huge increase in my audience to, but it still took a lot of work to get where I am today, which is solely profiting from my blog, as a full-time travel blogger.
In all honesty, I thought making money from blogging would come a lot quicker than it did following the Huff Post article, which is why I dropped every other freelance job I had to only work on my blog, and used the little money I had that my grandfather had left me to get a one bedroom apartment that I could rent out on AirBnB in order to make money while I was traveling.
That idea kind of worked, but since I was still at the stage of growing and becoming established as a travel blogger, I wasn’t getting paid yet from my blog (only exchange-collaborations), so I was barely breaking even with AirBnB…AKA I was hitting rock bottom.
I was struggling so bad for money that I would take road trips and go camping, just so that I could make money renting my apartment out! I kept going though, and even ended up maxing out my first credit card so that I could continue to travel and have content to post.
In February of 2016 I had to give up my AirBnB apartment, because it was costing me more than I was making. I was at a major loss and low point, and had no idea what to do next. I knew traveling would be cheaper than getting another apartment (because of the deposit mostly), so I took a 2-month sublet with plans to travel for the month of May, and worked non-stop every hour of every day for 2 months on my SEO, social media, and any contributing articles/websites I could get paid to write for.
My hard work paid off, and during those two months I was contacted by GoPro for a sponsorship – a major milestone for me, and to my surprise, a couple of paid post offers. After doing my first couple of paid posts, I learned what works and what doesn’t, and worked my ass off to find a couple more for my trip to Asia.
In May of 2016, I was able to fully fund my travels through collaborations, and paid posts on my blog and social media. That being said, it took one year of part-time blogging, and ten months of full-time non-paid blogging, to finally become a full-time profiting travel blogger.
As glamorous and amazing as that may sound, I should also mention that I have not had a break or stopped working since starting this blog. I haven’t wanted one either, but I do feel guilty of glamorizing being a travel blogger as a “dream job” that involves traveling the world with minimal effort.
Yes, I am living my own dream, but it’s because I work extremely hard to make it happen. When I’m home I’m working non-stop, and even when I travel, I work every day as well, and I have no intention to stop.
Before being a full time travel blogger, I went to college for pre-veterinary (I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Florida State University), I was a veterinary technician in Florida, quit and started planning charity events, then accidentally moved to LA where I discovered the amazing world of freelance writing and journalism. After realizing that writing and traveling were my two true passions, I figured out how to combine them and thus began my attempt to start a career in travel blogging.
Although now solo travel is insanely popular, when I first started doing it it wasn’t. I took my first solo trip because I kept waiting around for other people to travel with, which made me miss a lot of opportunities. After my first solo trip though I realized how much I loved not having to worry about someone else’s schedule or behavior.
I mostly prefer traveling solo because I’m an ambitious adventurer and I like to do a lot of aggressive traveling at random which makes it hard to coordinate with someone else. When I travel I also work a lot which is difficult to do with someone else, and also as an “outgoing introvert” I find it easier to meet people when I’m on my own.
But, these days, after having traveled to 20+ countries solo, and finding that I have tons of new friends in every corner of the planet, I’m starting to do more meet-ups when I travel, and even working on a big group trip!
Related Articles: “Yes, I’m Pretty and I’m Traveling Alone”
I make money from writing travel articles for various sites, including Matador Network, Geo Chic Magazine, and The Huffington Post (but I get paid in publicity…). I also work with brands and companies for sponsored content if I think my audience would like them. I’ve also been fortunate to gain the title of “social media influencer” thanks to my mad Instagram photography skillz, which helps when using my brand for business.
I save everything I make and put it towards traveling (well..and rent, wine, and food), plus I can work from anywhere in the world, so it all works out! I also Air BnB my place out when I’m traveling which really helps, especially since I’m almost always gone! Oh, and of course, I’m a master at finding the cheapest possible ways to travel!
Obviously I love traveling, otherwise this job would SUCK! But what I also love is helping and inspiring other people to travel as well. As a self-proclaimed computer nerd and one of the most curious people on Earth, I learn a lot, and know I can use what I’ve figured out to help other people travel and go after their dreams.
I literally chased a dream, and I caught it. It took a lot of work, but if I could figure out how to make it happen, I’m confident that anyone else can too.
Recently I launched a charity I started called HeartSleeves.org to help send T-shirts to a school I volunteered with in Muizenberg, South Africa, and I am proud to say the first campaign was a success! I now plan on trying to do fundraising campaigns for places I travel to depending on what I see that the people there need.
Happy and Safe Travels!
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (*Please note that if I don’t respond, there’s a good chance I’m traveling with limited wifi!)