Bloggers, Instagram influencers discuss how to make a living by traveling

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DENVER — The Denver Travel and Adventure Show kicks off this weekend at the Colorado Convention Center. There are dozens of presentations and activities. FOX31 and Channel 2 talked with two people who have made a career out of their outdoor adventures.

“It’s a lot easier than you think,” said Emily Hart.

“Probably about six years ago was when I first started getting paid to do little things,” said Sherry Ott.

Both Ott and Hart have part of their careers to thank because of the internet.

Hart has gathered a following of more than 20,000 people on Instagram as she zigzags across North America. Hart is a math teacher by day and leaves her weekends and summers for exploring U.S. National Parks.

“I’ve been to 47, now there are 61,” Hart said.

You’ll find pictures of Hart’s updated checklists posted to her Instagram page. While she still has a full-time job, there are perks to lots of traveling with thousands of followers.

“I’m still paying for all the trips myself. I’ll get maybe like a jacket or a dress,” Hart said.

For Ott, a travel blogger, documenting her worldwide trips is how she pays the bills.

“South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Nepal, India, I think maybe around 70 countries or so,” Ott said.

Ott has developed such a following, advertisers will pay for spots on her website. She’ll be the first to tell you that none of this happens overnight. Ott left her corporate job more than 10 years ago and often traveled on her own dime at first.

“You got to put in your time, because that’s never going to happen right away,” Ott said. “You have to be OK marketing yourself, talking about yourself. You have to be able to pitch ideas and why you’re important and why a company should hire you.”

Her biggest piece of advice to people wanting to travel the world and make money is: “It’s really not always about the writing; it’s really a lot about how well you can understand the web and how websites and how Google works. And the writing is a kind of secondary part of it,” Ott said. “I don’t make a lot of money necessarily, but I go to a lot of wonderful places and get experiences like you wouldn’t believe, so I can’t complain about that.”

If you’re itching to start traveling either around the world or locally, Hart says, “just go for it.”

“You should just enjoy your time. And if you’re enjoying your time, get some cool photos and a good story to tell. That’s what people want to hear,” Hart said.

Both Hart and Ott do all of their traveling alone and say they love it that way. Ott will be at the Denver Travel and Adventure Show this weekend.

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