Interview with an Influencer: Flying the Nest (@heyitsjessvalentine)
We chat with Flying the Nest about travelling as a full time job. They take us through how they became influencers in the travel space and the freedom that brings them to work with their favourite brands to live the life they want to lead.
This week we are lucky to catch the influential and travel loving couple from Flying the Nest. They spend their year crossing the globe capturing the best sites it has to offer. They have a strong following across Youtube, Instagram, Facebook and their blog and have developed a style that attracts fans across any platform.
Stephen and Jess talk about how they came into the travel space and what its like to travel the world as their job. They spill some of their insights into what makes this lifestyle a possibility and how they work with their favourite brands to make partnerships that are loved by their fans. Keep reading before they fly out!
Introduce yourselves, tell us about your blog?
We are Stephen and Jess, an Aussie couple from Perth. We have been travelling the world full time for the past four years while sharing our love for travel through our blog & YouTube channel ‐ Flying the Nest.
We have been travelling together since we were 19, and our passion for exploring the world and wanting to inspire others to go out and travel has basically turned into our career. We now create “travel series”, allowing our audience to learn and experience a new destination through our lens. We share everything from where we stay, the best things to eat and unique things to do & see in each country we visit.
Our style is very different to your standard Travel Network program, we want our audience to feel as though they are on the adventure with us. We love capturing moments, our first reactions to new destinations, tastes, and cultures, sharing an authentic travel experience.
Why did you decide to start a YouTube channel?
Ever since our first international trip together just out of high school we instantly caught the travel bug. Over the next few years, we were able to balance our love for travel alongside our university studies, filling up our passport with as many stamps our measly student bank accounts would allow.
After graduating, we both landed full time dream jobs ‐ Stephen at a marketing firm and Jess as a primary school teacher. This was the first time we were experiencing full time work, and even though we loved what we did ‐ it wasn’t our passion. We found ourselves day dreaming about travelling and it didn’t help that at the same time Jess discovered the world of travel blogging.
In September 2014 we decided to dive into the world of blogging, and this is when Flying the Nest was born. We started to write about our past travels, sharing tips and advice from countries we had explored while at university ‐ and people were reading it! After 6 months of blogging we had hit over one million visitors to our site.
In February 2015 we ended up quitting our jobs, spontaneously booking a one way ticket to Hawaii, packed everything we owned into 2 suitcases and left with a goal to travel full time for one entire year. We wanted a way to keep a daily recount of this year long adventure and this is when we decided to create a YouTube channel for Flying the Nest. This is where we shared videos of our travels, which were very much aimed for our friends and family to watch.
We lasted the year, travelling through the US, Canada, Central America, Europe, and Africa before making our way back home in February 2016 ... extremely broke. This was the moment we had to make the big decision, do we go back to our full time jobs or do we put all our energy into Flying the Nest.
We chose the latter and spent the next three years putting all our time, money and efforts into creating Flying the Nest into the brand it is today. Our videography and photography skills evolved, we started to create travel series that people began to attach to and find helpful and have now grown to be Australia’s most subscribed travel channel on YouTube.
What do you think was your breakout moment?
For us, we don’t exactly have that one breakout moment ‐ we never had that viral video that gained us hundreds of thousands of followers.
We think for us, the moment we started to grow was when we began to create mindful, purposeful travel videos. As we mentioned before, when we started YouTube we weren’t looking at it the same way we saw our travel blog. Instead of giving advice and creating videos that would be helpful for fellow travellers, we were filming videos about our day to day life as we travelled.
The moment we released that, we had the platform to be able to help people travel and share new countries and cultures with others was when our audience grew drastically.
What social media channels are you active across? What is your favourite and why?
We are very active on just about every platform our audience consumes content on. The main ones being YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and our blog.
We definitely think you get out the most of what you put in. We put so much time into YouTube, from planning and filming to spending sometimes over 8 hours editing one video (and we upload 3 of these videos a week) ‐ our YouTube channel is our baby and by far our favourite platform to create content on.
How important has social media been to your current success? We wouldn’t be here today without social media.
It’s absolutely mind boggling to be apart of this innovation and new era where you can have an entire career run from a laptop, an internet connection and have a global audience tuning in to watch your videos. We have viewers from 190 countries and regions, from Australia all the way to Yemen.
How has your vlogging style changed since you got started?
So much has changed even in the last 6 months, let alone since we started back in 2015. We think it’s vital to rewatch old videos to constantly learn and improve. I think right now our videos have never been better, but I thought this 6 months ago and I can’t even re‐watch those videos today ‐ haha!
I think the biggest difference has been that we used to film for the sake of filming. But now we really think about the purpose and focus of each video.
What is your favourite video that you have posted and why?
Our favourite travel video would have to be when we went to Cappadocia in Turkey ‐ it is one of the most magical places we have visited. We spent the morning floating alongside 100 hot air balloons, slept inside a cave hotel and explored an incredible underground city all in one day!
What equipment do you use (Camera/software/editing apps)?
We have been juggling our equipment for the last few years trying to find that sweet spot of getting quality footage whilst also being lightweight at the same time. Carrying around several kilos on your back whilst full time travelling can wear you down very easily.
We primarily use the Sony A7SII with our favourite wide angle 16‐35 f2.8 lens. We have a GoPro which we only use for adventure or underwater scenes and a DJI Mavic 2 Pro drone to get our aerial shots. On top of that, we have two laptops which we use Adobe’s Creative Suite for our video and photo editing.
What do you feel is most important to your community and how do you provide that in your content?
Just always being there and being available to chat and reply to comments. Every day we put aside time to engage with our audience, whether it’s replying to discussions on our videos or having private DM’s on Instagram with viewers that need our advice on an upcoming trip.
We also love asking our audience for advice on things to see and do when we visit new destinations. Not only do they love seeing us take on their suggestions, but we also love being able to find hidden gems that only a local would know.
How do you go about choosing the brands that you work with?
When choosing who we work with we always ensure that they are a genuine fit for our brand. We always take into account if we believe in the brand or if we have personally used them in past. When you start to promote products or brands that you don’t personally believe in and would never recommend to a friend, your audience will see right through it and you will lose that trust and respect you have built.
What has been your favourite brand collaboration to date and why?
We have been so thankful to work with some incredible travel brands around the world. With some of our faves being: Intrepid Travel, On The Go Tours, Australia Tourism, Germany Tourism, Ireland Tourism, The Coca Cola Foundation, Cotton On, Qantas, and Sofitel.
Career highlight since being an influencer?
To be honest, being able to call travel our job still blows our mind. We feel so unbelievably grateful that a platform like YouTube is available for us to create travel series that we love and from this, we have built an amazing community of like minded travellers who share our passion for exploring.
We just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who follows Flying the Nest, who encourages and supports us ‐ we wouldn’t be here today without you all!