Jess Lu, Travel Blogger @jessomewhere
What started as a personal instagram account has now blossomed to over 40K followers for travel blogger best known by her handle @jessomewhere. See below for more on how she does it, and how she keeps herself from falling into the dark side of being an influencer.
Tell me a little bit about your world. How did you become @jessomewhere?
It really all started pretty organically. I was travelling and taking photos, sharing them on Instagram mostly just for my friends and family to keep up with where my husband and I were going. In 2016 after our honeymoon, my photos really started to see traction and that’s when I thought it’d be a good opportunity to take it more seriously.
In 2017, I created the blog and there was a real mindset change. I turned my personal account into a business account and rather than posting for fun, I found myself thinking about hashtags and strategies to get my photos more exposure. I wanted to see what I could make it.
As a pharmacist, I have a flexible schedule that affords me the time to play around with being a travel blogger. Plus, because it’s not the most creative job, blogging has become my creative outlet that allows me to use a totally different side of my brain. I’m lucky that I can leave work at work, and so on my free time this is truly a hobby.
What inspires you with your photography? I love the way your photos are taken, it really captures the beauty of your surroundings.
My photos really reflect what I’m inspired by at the moment. Lately it’s been the outdoors as I’ve been getting more into hiking. When I look back on my past travels it was definitely more about capturing the vibe of a city. What’s great about the blog being more of a hobby is that I can really let my personal interests dictate where I want to go.
There’s obviously a lot of planning that’s involved getting the shots you have. How has your blog changed how you approach travel? Have you ever considered going full time as a travel blogger?
All of last year I played around with the idea of taking a year off to travel full time and do the Instagram thing. But now, I don’t think that’s going to happen, and I’m okay with that. I think I just liked the idea of being nomadic but the lifestyle just isn’t for me. Having a home as a base is important.
As for how it’s changed how I travel, well for one, it involves a lot of waking up really early. I’m not as intense as some of the folks I know (I’m not a morning person), but they’ve been known to start hikes at 2AM just so they can be there for sunrise! That being said, I do plan my itinerary around sunrise and sunset because it’s really all about having the right lighting.
The other way it’s changed things is the need to find balance. There’s a dark side to social media, people will go to destinations just to take a shot, they trespass, and don’t even take the time to enjoy where they are at, ruining the place or space. In the past, I’ve found myself obsessed with getting the perfect shot. I’ll labour over it and won’t leave, getting frustrated just wanting people to move. When I get like that, I’ve had to really learn to ground myself and remind myself why I started all of this, which was to travel and see more of the world.
So what happens after you’ve got the perfect or almost-perfect shot? Take us behind the scenes and tell us about how your time is spent.
I spend about 20% of my time on the shoots and editing, 20% on writing the blog, and 60% on Instagram engaging followers to get my profile and photos seen. When I was at the peak of my Instagram days, it would take up all my free time to the point where I was on Instagram for at least 4 hours a day. It was all consuming and this was scary. It became too much.
After that, I took a step back. I needed to talk to people and just spend more time being present, less time on my screen. It was definitely a challenge finding a balance between wanting to be successful while not being completely absorbed by it.
The part that I enjoy the most though is editing. I’ve always loved digital art and how subjective your eye can be and how it all evolves over time. When I travel with other bloggers, we can take the same photo but it can come out looking totally different based on how it’s edited. Even when I look back at my own feed, I can see how I’m changing and that’s what keeps all of this so fascinating.
So then, what’s next for you? Do you want to keep growing your Instagram presence?
When I think about what I’m going to be doing the next few years, I definitely want to focus more on the blog.
Writing, while painful at the start, is so incredibly satisfying. Instagram could disappear tomorrow, but my website and blog is mine. It’s hard to find my voice sometimes but ultimately I want to get better at saying what I want to say and sharing my travels with everyone because I’ve been so lucky to see so much of the world.
The next trip we’re doing is to Patagonia, so stay tuned for the blog post! I’m so excited!
Follow Jessica Lu on Instagram @jessomewhere. If you’re coveting her vacations, you can find out more about her trips on her blog https://jessomewhere.com/