We live in an age where if you want to create your own T.V. show on the internet…you can! That is exactly what Andrea Valeria has done. After working as a news reporter for a few years and realizing that it was not the particular job for her, she left it. She clearly is not afraid or shy to be in front of a camera, but she wanted to be more creative and tell stories on what she loves. She has two skills that make a great vlogger (in my opinion), great camera presence and creative storytelling. She combined that with a subject she is passionate about- travel- and voila! her vlog channel “It’s a Travel O.D.” was born. She has been able to make vlogging her main source of income, she is a published author, and a digital nomad. How has she been able to make this lifestyle happen for herself? I had the pleasure to chat with Andrea to find out.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I was born and raised in Panama City, but moved to the US for college at age 17.
After getting my Communications degree and becoming a TV News Reporter, I realized that it wasn’t the job for me.
I wanted to explore more, have more creative freedom, and also take a shot at entrepreneurism, so I took a year-long sabbatical and then went back to college for my Master’s in Entertainment Business.
When did you decide to begin a traveling/nomad lifestyle? Why did you stick with it?
After having a corporate job for a few years and understanding that staying put wasn’t for me, I made the transition into location independence. While it’s not a lifestyle for everyone, it works for me because I like being on the move, being ‘uncomfortable’ in different scenarios, and challenging myself. Being a nomad allows me to do all that.
I stick with it because I find more ways every day to make it sustainable. When I began as a digital nomad, I had one full-time remote job, but now I have multiple sources of revenue. The transition from having something steady to figuring out new services to offer, new business ideas, or new projects to get involved in is exciting to me. I want to continue being nomadic for quite some time actually!
What inspired you to begin a vlog?
Back when I was getting my Master’s Degree (2012), I needed a creative outlet – a fun hobby to come home to after school. That’s how it started. I was vlogging about different topics than I do now.
I’ve always liked making videos, being on camera and telling stories, so I thought this was the perfect medium for me. I also enjoyed dressing up, writing scripts, and editing.
For about 6 months I did it entirely for fun. Then, I got to attend the 2013 Shorty Awards in New York – as a finalist for Best Video Blogger. A few months later, I started getting paid vlogging gigs. That’s when I realized I could monetize it and continue to do what I love.
What topics do you vlog about?
My vlog “It’s a Travel O.D.” features my overdose in travel while telling motivating stories to get people to incorporate more travel into their everyday life and do what they love. Sometimes I tell the stories through eyes of a successful digital nomad, an inspiring local, or just me giving you the behind the scenes of my lifestyle.
What do you think makes your vlog unique from other travel vlogs?
I won’t just show you a destination, and tell you to come to this beach or that national park.
I’ll tell you personal travel stories or how it’s possible to work while traveling. It just so happens that I’m always in cool places while shooting the vlogs.
What is your advice for someone who may want to begin a vlog but has no idea where to begin?
Firstly, get rid of all your excuses…
Think talking to cameras is intimidating? It’s not as hard as you think once you get used to it!
You don’t have the funds to invest in equipment? You can start small and upgrade later!
Don’t let anything stop you and get started creating. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see results and get opportunities to grow your personal brand or get to the eyes of a bigger audience.
If you have zero background in video, then I’d recommend picking up my book which is a guide for anyone starting from scratch in the vlogging world.
What countries have you visited?
In the past 3 years, I’ve lived in many cities around Latin America. I have also lived for many years in the USA including 2 years in Hawaii. I’ve been to Europe a few times.
I don’t really keep track of the places I visit, and don’t believe in country-counting as a measure of travel expertise. In a short period of time, you can’t really get to know a country or its culture, so it would be unfair for me to list it as a place I actually know.
That’s also why I’m a big fan of slow travel, and getting to stay in a country for at least one month instead of trying to tackle a bunch of countries quickly.
Tell us about one of your favorite travel moments?
What might be a fabulous travel experience for me might not be one for another person – traveling is so subjective.
However, last week I went back to Panama City, and went to a place that’s considered ‘not safe.’ I grew up hearing that you should never go there, but I went this time around. A local tour guide escorted us through this area, and I had one of the most special days of my life.
Everyone was welcoming when you’re used to hearing everyone there is a bad person. The kids were happy and dancing in the middle of a park- something you don’t see often these days. Families welcomed me to their homes. A passerby told me his story…
It’s just proof that you should never go somewhere predisposed. Take precautions, but don’t miss out on a great experience because of what people might say.
Tell us about your book! What was the experience of writing a book like?
I wanted to share what I’m doing, how I turned my hobby of vlogging into my career. I like being as transparent as possible, and I knew I could help at least one person if I broke down how I’ve done it.
That’s why I wrote “So You Want to Vlog?” It’s a guide for people to get started vlogging. I make sure to say it like it is, be helpful, offer valuable tips and ideas, and share what I’ve learned in my 5 years as a vlogger.
In the process, I have acquired so much respect for authors. Writing a book takes time, discipline and organization. It was one of the most challenging projects I’ve taken on, but it’s also very rewarding.
Now, I’m receiving the positive comments of people who are reading it and enjoying it – which is a killer feeling to have!
Where can folks buy your book?
‘So You Want to Vlog?’ is available on Amazon on e-book version and paperback.
You can purchase it for the price of less than 3 frappe coffees here:
Where can folks keep up with you through social media? Where are your vlogs posted?
I’m on Instagram as @itsatravelod: instagram.com/itsatravelod/
There you’ll see photos of my travels, and read behind the scenes of my vlogs and my lifestyle – on both my captions and my IG stories.
My vlogs are on Facebook: www.facebook.com/itsaTravelOD