Behind the Instagrammer Part 2
The Second Instagram blogger is @backpackwithme and her personal instagarm account is @jessbackpack. Her images are beautiful and also features great travel photos from other Instagram on the back with my account. Just looking at her photos will make you want to travel.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
My name is Jessica, and I’m a 24-year-old travel blogger and social media manager from a tiny town in New York State. I’m also the founder and manager of the Instagram and blog, @backpackwithme!
What were you doing before traveling?
I was working in insurance and hating the 9-5 life with a burning passion! I have always loved traveling, but it wasn’t until I finished college and settled for an office job that I realized I needed more in life.
What does photography mean to you?
Photography is a huge part of my life because it allows me to share my experiences with my family back home, my friends, and even other travelers from the online community. It also lets me capture moments in time so I can look back on them years down the road and remember those special moments.
Do you use any follow and unlike software for your Instagram account?
No, I track my analytics using SocialBlade but that’s pretty much the only website/software I use.
Can you tell us a little bit about your decision to start traveling?
I was working a 9-5 office job making a decent income, but it was far from the life I wanted. Woke up, went to work, went to bed then repeated. Then remember thinking “there’s got to be more to life than this.” Then one day, I was watching tv after a long day at work, and I saw a Dawn soap commercial (bare with me, I promise this story is going somewhere!). In the commercial, they were cleaning up baby birds from an oil spill in the ocean, and right then and there, I thought “I want to do something like that!!” I started looking online at volunteer opportunities in other countries and realized that I could easily combine my two passions in life: traveling and animals. So I saved up money, quit my job, moved to Thailand to volunteer at an animal shelter, and haven’t stopped traveling ever since!
What has been the most exciting destination for you?
Bali. It was so full of culture, had AMAZING foods, not to mention some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen. I want to go back ASAP.
Where have you never been that you would love to go?
The Philippines. Vietnam. Africa. Norway And India. Oh goodness, I want to go everywhere….
What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced while traveling?
I always forget to tell my bank that I’m traveling, and so it’s no fun to find out your credit card has been declined and shut off! It also gets lonely traveling solo sometimes, so I choose to stay in hostels to socialize and make friends easier.
What have been some of the biggest challenges with Instagram?
Instagram lowers your engagement as your account grows. When I was under 30K, I would be getting the same amount of likes on photos that I am now. I guess they make the rules though, so I can’t complain!
Do you have any training in photography or are you completely self-taught?
All self-taught. I’m still learning every day!
What are the main tips you can provide to help boost your Instagram following?
Post interesting photos with a similar style aesthetic, engage with your followers, use the right hashtags, and don’t piss on the Instagram algorithm.
What are your travel photography tips?
Put the camera down every once in a while and take time to actually look at what you’re photographing. So many people get caught up not appreciating the beauty of where they are, and instead just looking at it through a camera lens.
How do you get sponsorships?
Travel brands contact me after seeing @backpackwithme, and then I decide whether it’s something my followers would be interested in – sometimes I reach out to companies who I would love to collaborate with if it is something that I think would be mutually beneficial.
How do you choose which brands to work with?
If it’s something I would be excited to use myself, then I will usually choose to work with the brand because my followers would also be interested in it.
What’s the most extreme thing you’ve ever done to get a photo?
Spent an unnecessary amount of money to gain access to an exclusive party on top of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. I just wanted to get a photo of the famous rooftop infinity pool., but there was some huge party going on. That party was expensive AF to get into.
For those Instagram travelers who want to travel like you, can you give them some tips?
Travel inexpensively – stay in hostels, eat where the locals eat, take the local transportation, and then you’ll have way more money to keep traveling (until you run out of money!)
What’s your been your favorite place that your travels have taken you to?
Southeast Asia, 100%. I have an insane love for Koh Phangan in Thailand. Where I volunteered at the animal shelter, but also fell in love with Thailand in its entirety.
What equipment do you normally carry to accomplish your photography?
Canon 6D DLSR, Canon lens, tripod, iPhone, and GoPro Hero 4 Silver
What is one tip you have that has helped you boost your blog?
Cross-promoting on my social media channels has helped boost my viewers a ton!
How much money have you made to your Instagram account roughly a month?
Not much – I typically don’t collaborate with brands for paid posts because I like to keep my feed organic.