Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

About Kate

My name is Kate McCulley and I travel the world for a living.

I’ve been shipwrecked in Indonesia. I’ve taken a boob to the face in Istanbul.  I’ve hit on Jon Stewart in New York City, which got me subsequently mocked on The Daily Show, and I’ve been an extra in a really, really bad German movie.

That’s my life. If there’s an adventure available, I’ll go for it — and even if I end up punched in the face and bleeding from the eye (yes, it’s happened), it will make a good story later!

I’m a 30-year-old girl originally from the Boston area. After four years of establishing a career in online marketing and a lifetime dreaming of traveling the world, I decided that it was time to make it happen.

In September 2010, at the age of 26, I quit my job to travel Southeast Asia for six months. Six months turned into three years across more than 50 countries.

While in Southeast Asia, I worked on developing this site along with building a freelance work portfolio. After returning to the U.S. in May 2011, I realized that I was making almost enough money to support myself full-time. With a little ramping up, I wouldn’t have to go back to a conventional job. So I ramped it WAY up — and I haven’t looked back since.

How Do I Make the Money to Travel Full-Time?

I’ve been making my entire income online since 2010. Over time, my earning methods have changed significantly. Today my income comes from several areas.

On the blog, I make money through the following methods:

1) Advertising. Today this takes the form of A) branded content posts, meaning posts that advertise products; B) banner and video ads; and C) social media and newsletter promotion. I reject at least 98% of advertising offers I receive and only select ones that I think will be of value to my readers. Posts that contain branded content contain a disclosure stating so.

2) Sponsorship. While the vast majority of my travels are at my own expense, sometimes travel companies and DMOs (destination marketing organizations, like tourism boards) pay me to visit their destinations or take part in their activities. They cover my expenses and pay me for my time; they do not pay for coverage, as coverage is provided strictly at my editorial discretion. I reject the vast majority of sponsored travel offers and only accept the ones that genuinely interest me.

While I receive monetary compensation for most of these trips, I occasionally take part in unpaid trips and activities. Posts that cover sponsored travel contain a disclosure stating so.

3) Affiliate marketing. I link to products I recommend and earn a small commission if people buy them.

Off the blog, I make money through the following methods:

4) Freelance Writing. I write regularly for sites including and, along with publications like The Boston Globe and TNT Magazine.

5) Consulting. I consult in three areas: blogging, travel, and social media. I help bloggers build better blogs, I help readers plan their travels, and I help small businesses manage their social media.

6) Public speaking. I take on a variety of speaking engagements, mostly at conferences. Sometimes I get paid for them; sometimes I speak in exchange for free entry, travel, and lodging.

Know this: making a full-time living as a travel blogger is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. This is in no way passive income — it requires an immense amount of time, work, and networking.

For a realistic look at what it’s like to be a professional travel blogger, read this post (published April 2012); for a more recent update, read this post (published August 2013).

Want to start a travel blog? Get started the right way.

My Travel Philosophy

In many parts of the world, it’s common for women to travel solo and independently. In my home country, the United States, it’s not. I started this blog to show what it’s like for women to travel solo. There is a lot of bullsh*t out there designed to scare women away from traveling on their own; I’m here to clear up those myths.

While these days I travel quite a bit with my fiancé, and sometimes I travel with friends or blogger colleagues, I almost always add on solo extensions to my trips and I continue taking trips on my own. I don’t travel solo because I have to — I do because I love it.

I believe that it’s best to teach by example, and my ultimate goal is to show women that independent and solo travel can be safe, easy, and a lot of fun.

Much of my travel is done on a budget, though my definition of “on a budget” has evolved over the years, and I’m committed to showing you how to find maximum value in your travels — where to splurge, how to save, and plenty of secrets I’ve picked up along the way. Oh, and funny travel stories, musings, and cool travel photos. Like anyone else in the world, I have good times and bad times, but I promise to show you reality — with honesty and humor.

Choosing to live a life of travel is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I’m glad you’ve come along for the ride.

Thanks for visiting.

Kate McCulley

Want more? Sign up for personal email updates from me every Wednesday.