'Get up with the sun and always shoot swimwear before breakfast': The truth about life as a travel influencer.

Annie Nguyen belongs to the elite group of people who call themselves ‘travel influencers’.

The woman behind the 117,000-follower strong Instagram account @anniesbucketlist, she travels the world with her fiance Will (Instagram @willsbucketlist) and documents her adventures for the world to see.

But beyond the filtered photos and luxury destinations is the business know-how and social media smarts that ensure she can actually make a living doing what she loves most.

We asked her what it was like switching her corporate life to become an influencer, how she actually pays the bills and her advice for people wanting to do the same.

This is what she had to say.

Listen to Annie share her story with Holly Wainwright on our travelling edition of I Don’t Know How She Does It.

Who is hiding behind @anniesbucketlist?

Hi I’m Annie, an Australian-born Vietnamese blogger who currently resides in Sydney. I left my long-standing corporate career for digital nomad life as a Travel Influencer and I’ve never looked back!

Every two to three months, I travel to different destinations, usually with my fiance and travel partner Will, to collaborate with tourism boards, tour companies and hotels from all over the world so that we can create thumb-stopping content to inspire others to do the same.


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How did it all start? What sparked your desire to travel and explore the world?

Growing up I’ve always been a very creative person but I grew up in a traditional household so I studied hard, graduated University and found worked in a corporate job in Marketing. Throughout my school and work life, I used my blog and photography as a creative outlet, but these weren’t things that I had created with the intention of pursuing a career as an ‘Instagram Influencer’.


While I was studying and working, I loved blogging about fashion, beauty and make-up. People started to share my pictures on Tumblr and pin them on Pinterest and my website started to get a bit of attention. Then when Instagram was introduced, I started uploading my pictures there.

Eventually my content evolved from fashion and beauty, to travel. That’s when my Instagram started to grow really fast and collaborations were constantly flowing through…eventually allowing me the option of leaving my corporate job and become an Influencer full-time.


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How easy is it to become a full-time influencer?

There are a lucky few influencers and bloggers that have overnight stardom, but for me it was a slow and steady road.

It took a lot of persistence, early mornings, late nights and working around-the-clock to sustain both my corporate job and influencer work until I got to the point where it was time to choose one.

What country made a biggest impression on you and why?

When people ask me this I always instantly think of Turkey. I absolutely fell in love with the people, places, food and culture of Cappadocia and Istanbul and would love to return again to learn and experience more.

Cappadocia is a whimsical land of fairy chimneys and hundreds of hot air balloons, Will and I experienced the most beautiful sunrises we’ve ever seen in our lives there and we can’t recommend it enough. We hired a car and explored Cappadocia at our own pace without many tourists or crowds of people around and it really made it an enjoyable experience.


Istanbul’s architecture, history and people really made an impression on us too. We spent a lot of our time just roaming the streets, markets, trying different foods and visiting some of the most beautiful landmarks around the area and that was enough to make our hearts fill so full!


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What is the most challenging part of this job?

I guess my family, particularly my parents, still have a hard time understanding what I do. I visit them as much as I can when I’m home but they’re confused about why I’m constantly packing and flying. They’re scared that I’ll be in danger when I’m overseas and they think that I’ve put my University degree to waste. That’s probably the most painful part of this job, knowing that you’ve landed a job of a lifetime but having your family not be proud of you.

What would you recommend people who want to start their own blog? What are the do’s and don’t’s ?

I get a lot of younger people who are still studying in school that tell me they dream to be an influencer when they leave school. But my advice is to not put all your eggs in one basket. You should continue to work and use your social media platforms as your creative outlet but it will take time, persistence and a few trials and errors before things pick up and you can make a career out of it.

If you had any advice to give to someone who wants to become a social media influencer, what would it be?

It’s important to find your passion and purpose. It’s not enough to just want to be a ‘social media influencer’ and forcing yourself to create content that you THINK other people want to see… instead, you should focus on the content that YOU are genuinely passionate about and that’s the only way to have a long-lasting relationship with your social media career.

What’s your dream holiday destination? Tell us in a comment below.

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