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Inside the world of the Instagram influencer: how Kristin Addis has spent five years travelling the globe

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 03/01/2018 Laura Hampson

a large tree surrounded by water © Provided by Evening Standard Limited One look at Kristin Addis’s Instagram feed and your urge to travel to an exotic destination kicks in.

With an unfulfilling job in investment banking, in 2012 Kristin bought the domain along with a one-way ticket to Bangkok.

Kristin told the Standard: 'Gap years are not a common thing in the US, where I grew up. We go straight through school right into the adult world of jobs and rent contracts and that’s what I did, too. I was in a rush to grow up, graduating early from university and getting my job in finance at age 22 like I thought I was supposed to.

'Eventually I realised that buying things didn’t make me happy like the commercials and pop culture shows I’d been watching promised. In fact they made me feel empty, so I decided I might as well give my dream a chance, to see if that would feel different. It made all the difference in the world.'

Her final push to quit her job and pursue a career in travel was the lack of time she got to see the world with a job that only allowed 14 days of sick and annual leave combined, of which you could take just seven days at a time.

Now, the 31-year-old has been travelling the world solo for five years - and making money from her adventures.

© Provided by Instagram

Kristin made the bold decision to travel the world solo, something she initially didn’t want to do.

'I tried asking everyone I could think of to join me - my boyfriend at the time, my friends, acquaintances. Nobody had that unshakable desire to travel like I did,' Kristin explained.

'It wasn’t a dream that other people in my life had, and that’s okay, it just meant I had to consider going alone or waiting forever for someone to join me, so I chose to go solo.'

Travelling solo, particularly as a female, has been billed as dangerous - something Kristin disputes.

Kristin said: 'I feared that it would be lonely and dangerous but most of that has not turned out to be true. The decisions for everything fall just to me, but that’s something I’ve learned to appreciate rather than resent or fear. The one thing that never gets easier for me is eating alone, but it’s worth the upside of solo travel.'

These upsides include the ability to be spontaneous with plans – because no one is going to be annoyed by your spur-of-the-moment decisions – accepting more invitations and other travellers being friendlier to a solo traveller.

Kristin mused: 'I’ve learned so much more about myself, gained confidence and problem-solving abilities, and I’ll never have to wonder what if, because I honoured what I wanted in every moment and that’s an incredible gift.'

Related: Inside the fabulous life of Negin Mirsalehi, an Instagram influencer who makes £14,788 for a single post (Provided by Time)

With more than 111,000 Instagram followers, Kristin can add ‘Instagram influencer’ to her ever-growing list of hats (which already include travel blogger, author and photographer).

Kristin is one of the thousands of people now making a sizeable income from Instagram, a platform she says helps her to get work with hotels and also takes her to various parts of the world to film and photograph.

With two books under her belt - Conquering Mountains: How to Solo Travel the World Fearlessly, a guidebook for solo female travellers, and A Thousand New Beginnings, a memoir of her first year travelling alone in Asia – Kristin is dipping her toes into all forms of media.

Her latest venture is into the video sharing platform, YouTube and she also leads adventure tours for women around the world – with Peru, Namibia and Botswana on the docket for 2018.

© Provided by Instagram

The secret to Kristin’s success is simple: relatability is key.

She said: 'I think that in this business, as in many if not most, diversification is of the utmost importance to be able to survive. That goes double for innovation and staying relatable and not selling out completely. It’s all a balancing act but one I’m having tons of fun with.'

A question Kristin is often asked is if she would ever go back to a ‘regular’ job, to which she says she doesn’t see a reason to ever stop travelling.

Kristin added: 'I want it to be a part of my life for as long as I’m able to move. I find the unknown to be thrilling and I love photography, adventures, and being in the wilderness. Exploration is what makes me feel alive and it isn’t something I get tired of, at least not yet.

'I sometimes work more hours at a time now than I did at my old job (which was more like 8-7), but it’s not about the hours, it’s about the freedom. I wouldn’t go back to working for anyone else, I know that for sure.'

You can follow Kristin on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook and visit her website

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