Esther and Jacob run one of the largest travel blogs, LocalAdventurer.com. They’re currently based in Las Vegas but have also lived in NYC, Portland, San Diego, and LA. The idea of Local Adventurer was hatched when they moved out west and regretted not exploring more of their hometown of Atlanta where they lived most of their lives. It’s easy to get comfortable and take your home for granted, so they wanted to practice finding adventure every day and open their eyes to the same awe and wonder as visitors do. Since then, they’ve been traveling full time but with a focus on local exploration in their greater backyard.
Please enjoy this financial case study shedding light on their travel style, income, work habits, and much more!
How long have you been living/working on the road, and where have you traveled to?
The blog started in 2013. Since then, we’ve moved to a new city every year and even spent 3 months living in an Airstream. We spend most of our time exploring the U.S., but also travel internationally a couple of times a year.
Please describe what you do for income.
Our income streams from Local Adventurer have changed over time, but overall, we make most of our money through sponsorships. Our next big income source is ads we run on our site. Affiliates come in third.
How many hours per week do you work on average?
We love our jobs because we can dictate how much time we spend working. All in all, we put more work in than we probably would at a regular desk job, but because our days are flexible, we can take a day off when we feel like it (unless we have a client deadline). We’ve always treated this as a job though, so we try to put in a regular workday.
How much money do you make?
Income was a slow growth for us. In the beginning, we focused on creating quality content and learning SEO. As time went on, Jacob shifted his focus to increasing revenue. We used to post regular income reports and in 2019, made over $300k.
2020 was definitely a hard year for travel, but we were able to get through it with savings and some projects here and there. Although traffic numbers haven’t quite bounced back to pre-Covid, we’ve seen a great upward trend so we’re excited to start grinding again.
Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?
We do! Our goals have changed over time, but at this point, we want to find a good work/life balance. We recently bought a home in Las Vegas and it feels nice to have a more permanent home base for a while.
(Nora’s Note: Yes, after 12 years of full-time travel, getting a home base to return to and travel from was a game-changer in the work-life balance department! I’ve also discussed this with other full-time travelers who eventually got home bases, like Sherry Ott and Gary Arndt, as well as others who didn’t get a full-on home base but found other ways to cope like Hannah Dixon and Derek Earl Baron).
In addition to that, we’ve always wanted to give back with any success we have. We support three main organizations that we have a personal connection to. We’ve built four wells with Thirst Project, supported multiple programs in a local Atlanta organization called Presencia, and we also donate to FurKids where we adopted our two boys.
What do you like most about your career and lifestyle?
We love helping others discovering new things within their own cities and encouraging them to step outside their comfort zone. Beyond that, we love the flexibility it gives us. It allows us to work on our own schedule and also shift out time when we need time off. We’re even able to work on other projects we’re passionate about like food, climbing, or filmmaking.
What are some of the challenges you have with this career and lifestyle?
It’s easy to work all the time! Since we’re naturally workaholics, there have been times when we’re on our computers working on the blog 10-12 hours a day nonstop. There is always something to improve, work on, build, create, and learn.
It also takes a toll on relationships when you’re always on the go. We end up building relationships in the year that we live in the city but have to keep in mind we’ll be leaving. On the flip side, we have friends all over!
What is your vision for the future of your lifestyle on the road?
We’ll keep doing this as long as we can! We’ve shifted a bit this past year making the decision to settle down in Las Vegas, but we’ll still be traveling plenty. We came into this knowing that at any point, things could change so we re-evaluate how we’re doing year to year.
(Nora’s Note: I did an interview with Derek of Wandering Earl who has been traveling full-time for 21 years; he also swears by regularly taking stock of how and why he’s traveling so he can adjust as necessary. Watch our interview here).
Any advice for the aspiring traveler about living and working on the road and managing finances?
Do it responsibly! We’re all about chasing dreams but in a responsible way. Find out how long you can commit to giving it a go, but also be okay with walking away if it just doesn’t work for you. We all have different lifestyle goals and thresholds and it’s important to keep that in mind as you start your business.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If this is something you want to do as a full-time career, it’s important to know what your goals are and to know that it’s not just about what you see on social and the blog. We spend a ton of time working on the site and working with clients. Not only do you need to learn how to create good content, but also learn how to do sales, accounting, account managing and more. Spend time working on those skills as well!
Nora’s Note: YES! I’ve lost count of the number of times people have assumed/inferred that blogging is simply “writing an article every now and then”. It’s a full-fledged publishing business! I get into the weeds about blogging in this article – including reasons NOT to blog about your travels!