Financial Case Study: Isabel Leong, Travel Blogger and Digital Nomad

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Isabel Leong is from Singapore and is a travel writer and founder of Bel Around The World. A year after graduation, she decided the corporate life was not for her. Rather than working to appease other people and slogging hard for someone else’s dream, she decided to make her own dreams a reality. Today, she’s a full-time travel blogger and digital nomad with over 36 countries under her belt by the age of 25. 

Learn more about Isabel’s lifestyle and career here! 

Financial Case Studies

This post was originally published in 2019. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content. 

How long have you been living/working on the road, and where have you traveled to?

For over a year now. I’ve lived in New Zealand, Japan and Singapore. I’ve travelled to Bhutan, Germany, Finland, Laos, Vietnam, Australia and Indonesia in that time.

Please describe what you do for income.

I’m a travel blogger, as well as a digital marketing, social media, and SEO consultant. As a blogger, I partner with relevant brands to produce informative travel content for my readers.

How many hours per week do you work on average?

40

How much money do you make? 

Freelance writing – USD $650 on average

Advertising – USD $600-800

Sponsored Posts – USD $600

Affiliate – USD $300 on average

SEO/ Social Media Consulting – USD $200 on average

Do you make enough money to support your lifestyle?

Yes I do. I’m not versed in investments so I typically just put any extra money in the bank to accumulate interest. 

(See also: A Guide to Financial Planning for Travelers)

What do you like most about your career and lifestyle?

Location independence – the freedom to work anytime, anywhere; the ability to travel wherever and whenever I want. My travel blog also gives me the opportunity to go to places I never thought I would, and come across new discoveries I otherwise wouldn’t have. 

Being my own boss. There is the sense of direct ownership and sense of belonging, which results in a natural commitment to making it successful as it is my livelihood and represents my personal brand. 

The sense of achievement that I get from reaping my rewards according to the amount of effort I put in, whether in the form of traffic or income boost.

What are some of the challenges you have with this career and lifestyle?

My income is not as stable as a salaried person. I have to constantly hustle for work, though as I refocus my priorities on building up my passive income streams, my monthly income will predictably be more stable.

What is your vision for the future of your lifestyle on the road? 

For the foreseeable future, I’m looking to expand my travel blog, as I’m loving what I do and loving what I reap. I may end up working abroad for a full time job, but it’ll ultimately still be in travel.

(See also: How to Start and Manage a Travel Blog)

Any advice for the aspiring traveler about living and working on the road and managing finances?

If you’re thinking of working on the go, think about what kind of skills you have and how you can capitalize on them. 

If you’re working for a client remotely, manage their expectations and inform them if you’ll be going off the grid for awhile, so they don’t panic when you go MIA.

Your travel style will also change when you’re a digital nomad. Gone are the days you cram all the sights and attractions in a couple of days. Instead, you’ll be travelling slower, stretching your trips abroad to fit in time to work on your deliverables.  

You have to be organized about finances if you have diversified income streams and different clients with different pay structures. Spreadsheets are important to keep track of who pays what when. 

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2 thoughts on “Financial Case Study: Isabel Leong, Travel Blogger and Digital Nomad”

  1. Wow! I just started my travel blog a few months ago after traveling no-stop for almost 3 years and reading your post has given my hope and also inspired me to push on.

    Thanks for sharing this awesome stuff.

    Cheers!
    Laura

    Reply
    • Thanks Laura! It’s tough developing an online career whilst traveling, but you have the advantage of travel experience already, so you don’t have to figure all that out concurrent to building your blog. Happy travels!

      Reply

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