How This Woman Turned a Passion for Travel into a Six-Figure Salary—Really!

Christy Woodrow turned her passion for traveling and gorgeous Instagram shots into a well-paying job and isn't looking back.

03-I-Turned-my-Online-Obsession-Into-a-Six-Figure-Salary-courtesy-Christy-WoodrowCourtesy Christy WoodrowIf you’ve ever wondered how your favorite travel bloggers have the time to run around the world eating the most wildly delicious meals without so much as showing up for a single day of work, the answer is probably in their social media followings. Large followings mean big sponsorship dollars, and that’s exactly how Christy Woodrow of found a six-figure income without ever checking into a cubicle. (Want to increase your Instagram followers? Amazing Instagram captions have a lot to do with that.)

“In 2010 I started travel blogging mainly to keep a journal of my travels, starting with a six-week trip through Southeast Asia,” she shared. “Blogging wasn’t really a viable source of income at the time, so it really was a passion project when it began. Over the next couple of years, Ordinary Traveler’s audience grew beyond my wildest dreams and I decided to quit my job to do this full time.” That’s saying a lot—because at the time she was working as a financial planner and owned her own bookkeeping business. However, Christy understood the ins and outs of business and had a deeper appreciation for managing finances; she knew passion for traveling would be able to cover her life expenses and then some.

She threw her old life away, followed her dreams, and ended up richer for it. “When I was stuck in the office, it often felt like I was wasting my life away. I knew there was more to life than a paycheck, but the idea that everyone hates their job and life is meant to be hard was deeply ingrained from a very young age. I now provide real-life travel tips on the blog, shoot photography for hotels and destinations, and create videos for brands.”02-I-Turned-my-Online-Obsession-Into-a-Six-Figure-Salary-courtesy-Christy-WoodrowCourtesy Christy Woodrow

Her new “work” has taken her to the Cook Islands, up to Norway (did you know you could go surfing in Norway?), gotten her up close and personal with the puffin population of Newfoundland, had her snorkeling with humpback whales, and even onto parade floats through Dusseldorf.

“I’ve experienced cultures in a whole new way, and I’ve learned so much about myself through travel. It has expanded my world exponentially, and I wouldn’t have had these opportunities if I hadn’t quit my job,” she says.

Christy’s passion rings through in just about all her posts on social media, which is one of the main components she credits for her success. “I never promote something that I wouldn’t personally pay for myself, and I’m extremely conscious of providing an honest view of any destination. This isn’t just a job for me. I turn down more than I accept.”

01-I-Turned-my-Online-Obsession-Into-a-Six-Figure-Salary-courtesy-Christy-WoodrowCourtesy Christy WoodrowAs for the nitty gritty details of how much she and other top travel bloggers really make on assignment, the details will have you drooling. Trips are typically all expenses paid, and traveling cheap just doesn’t exist as an option—everything from first class flights to hotel suites, multi-course meals, and chartered boating expeditions are seen as somewhat typical when it comes to press trips. However, free trips don’t keep the lights on—sponsorships do that. “I recently worked with a brand on a $20,000 campaign which involved traveling through Sweden and backpacking the Channel Islands in order to shoot travel images with their product.”

We’re infinitely jealous, but pleased to hear that living your passion can actually pay off—big time. Ready to head out on your own adventure? Check out these 10 extreme travel adventures around the world.

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Bryce Gruber
As Home Editor, Bryce Gruber is an expert in gift ideas, shopping, and e-commerce at Reader's Digest. You've likely seen her work across a variety of women's lifestyle and parenting outlets and on TV shows. She lives and works in New York's Hudson Valley with her five small children.