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It’s a Big World and Steph has Small Pockets, but She’s Still Travelling Continuously!
Steph is the founder of budget travel blog Big World Small Pockets. She’s from the UK, is now based in Australia, but spends much of her time travelling as she aims to grow her website into one of the leading resources online for budget travellers. We caught up with Steph to find out what inspires her to travel and how she made a life of continuous travel a reality.
Big World Small Pockets
Steph recently completed an epic overland journey through Africa from Cape Town to Cairo, before travelling across relatively unknown parts of the Middle East and into Turkey. This fascination with long journeys and long term independent travel all really began as soon as she finished school.
“In terms of independent travel”, Steph tells us, “I began at the age of 18 when I took a gap year before university. During this year I travelled in Italy for 2 months, before embarking on a 6 month adventure in Southern Africa – so I guess I’ve always been a bit adventurous!
“Despite then studying at university in Leeds and then completing my Masters in London, the travel lifestyle has always called me and I made long trips whenever I could – during study holidays or in between periods of work.
“For me, travel has always been about long term voyages, ones where I can get lost in the adventure and absorbed into the culture. I guess I took this to the extreme when I travelled to Central America. I intended to go for 4 months, but ended up leaving my life in London and instead staying out there for almost 2 years, living and working my way around that gorgeous continent”.
“I’ve always been a bit of a nomad!”
Steph is a self confessed nomad. Since she left University, she’s been travelling the world, working different jobs and industries to allow her to travel continuously until she took on full time travel blogging as a Digital Nomad.
“I did my Masters in Social, Community and Educational Theatre, so worked freelance for some time in the London arts and non-profit sector, but once I left London permanently and lived in Latin America I started relying on hospitality work for my income.
“This continued when I went to live, work and travel in Australia for 4 years and I’ve done just about every job under the sun now – from bar and barista work to managing restaurants, cafes and guest houses, as well as working front of house in theatres, hotels and car hire businesses!
“Now however, I’m a full time travel blogger and also have my own social media consultancy business for other small travel brands”.
A Budget Travel Blog
Steph began blogging over 3 years ago, and since then she says she’s become obsessed! Her frugal travel lifestyle led her to start a budget travel blog, as this was the most appropriate niche for her travel style. Now the blogging life is starting to open many more doors than she’d ever anticipated.
“Initially it was a techie friend of mine that set the whole thing up and basically forced me into it”, Steph says.
“I actually knew nothing about websites or social media when I started, and I’m so glad he did. He taught me a lot about the initial steps to blogging and then I just read and researched as much as I could while growing the site over the next 12 months”.
Research and Development
Steph started monetising her blog after 18 months of hard work, but it wasn’t until she had been working on the project for 30 months that she actually began to make enough to concentrate full time on the website. And it doesn’t end there, every day, she’s still learning, developing and researching to continually grow her business.
“I am still learning”, Steph tells Travel Continuously. “In fact R & D (research and development) is one of my daily jobs – because the world of digital enterprise moves so fast that unless you keep on top of the changes constantly, it’s easy to get left behind.
“Ideally I want to grow Big World Small Pockets to become the leading resource for budget travellers online – particularly for solo female wanderers who are interested in visiting more off the beaten track destinations.
“That’s why I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Middle East and Africa this last year – with more adventuring in these parts of the world forecast for the next 12 months as well”.
Steph’s recent adventures across Africa and the Middle East have been fast paced, while at the same time she’s been writing ebooks and setting up travel agencies.
Her latest aim is to travel slower to get the most out of her work and her travels.
Steph tells us that recently, “I work 7 days a week, often late at night, when hostels are quiet and the WiFi is good because everyone else has gone to bed! So my number one tip for new digital nomads – and my new resolution – is to travel slower!”
Ultimately, no matter how hard the road to success is in the blogging world, and how many hours have to be put in to make it, Steph’s passion for travel will keep her working and growing constantly to allow her to live the life she wants to live.
“I travel because it is the thing that makes me feel most alive, that sets my heart of alight, firing up my passion and my soul. That may sound cheesy, but it’s true!
“I travel to continually push and grow myself – I love the personal challenge adventuring provides, whereby everything you consider normal or true or real is called into question.
“I also travel to meet amazing people, to be inspired and learn more about this amazing world we live in.”
“You have to dream big and you have to work hard.”
And what advice does Steph have for anyone wanting to live the life of a travel blogger too?
“You have to dream big and you have to work hard.
“I honestly believe no one ever made their dreams reality without day in day out graft! Just because you dream of something, and it’s on your path, doesn’t mean you’ll get handed it on a silver plate.
“Stay focused and keep motivated, even when the going is tough, because it will be tough!
“And learn about the stories of all those successful people you admire, because trust me they got knocked back, rejected, failed and started again more than you realise!”
Stephanie Parker is a travel addict and creator of the budget travel blog Big World Small Pockets. Never one for staying still, she’s always had to travel cheap to maintain her nomadic lifestyle … even into her 30’s! Originally from the UK, Stephanie likes nothing more than backpacking the world on a shoestring collecting stories she shares with a smile. Follow Steph on Instagram and Facebook now @bigworldsmallpockets.
Interview And Article By Richard Collett
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