I want to show you that it’s possible to work, travel, and live in various ways. In this interview series, I’m featuring women that have created online businesses that allow them to follow their dreams and travel the world.
I’m very excited to feature Kristin Lajeunesse from Will Travel for Food as our first interview! Keep reading to learn more about this digital nomad rockstar!
( Cover photo by: Phillips Payson )
In 2011, Kristin Lajeunesse quit her job, sold or donated almost everything she owned, bought and renovated a van, and spent the following two years traveling the US in an effort to eat at every vegan restaurant in the country. It was supposed to be a singular project but she fell in love with the nomadic lifestyle and hasn’t stopped city-hopping around the country since.
Though she no longer travels by van, she does move to and explores new cities every 2-4 months. She earns an income as a marketing consultant for restaurants; working remotely from her computer as she travels.
Read her inspirational story!
Interview with Kristin Lajeunesse
Q: What’s the name of your business?
That’s a tough one! Haha, the name of the project that started this whole adventure is “Will Travel for Vegan Food”. It’s my primary focus and passion – sharing vegan food and travel adventure stories on my website and with my online communities.
Q: Do you have a website?
Q: What are your social media handles?
Photo by: Annie Hall
Q: Can you describe your business/ Online Job Details?
The way that I make money is different. I am self-employed and do freelance work for a non-profit. In addition, I do marketing consulting work for restaurants—my masters degree is in marketing communication and since I have a passion for food, I thought it made sense to combine the two.
Though I still do lifestyle and business coaching on the side as well. I have two digital products coming out soon as well – a course and ebook entitled “How to Launch & Promote Your First Book on a $0 Budget” and a self-guided video series on restaurant marketing. All of the above is housed under my business: Kale Media LLC
When you give yourself permission to dabble in a bit of each of your interests, some of which may earn you an income and others not, it can lead to multiple income streams. Which is fun. But also a lot of work. 🙂
Q: Does your business or job allow you to work remotely?
Q: If so, what countries have you worked from?
Primarily the United States. But also Canada, Italy, France, Turkey, and Lebanon.
Q: What inspired you to start your business or what made you find this type of job?
It began with the project idea for “Will Travel for Vegan Food”. Initially I thought it would be a 1-year long project just for fun. Little did I know just how much I’d fall in love with the nomadic and minimalist lifestyle.
After that initial road trip ended (in August 2013) I knew I didn’t want to go back to a traditional 9-5 desk job. So I began coming up with ways to work for myself and earn passive income. I haven’t slowed down since!
Photo by: Phillips Payson
Q: What type of work did you do previously before becoming a digital entrepreneur or deciding to work abroad?
I worked in the communications department of an animal welfare organization, in Boston. At the time I primarily answered the main phone line and email inquiries about the work the organization did. No joke, my desk was literally in a cubicle!
Q: Did you find it difficult to make the transition from living a traditional life at home to choosing the life you have now? If so, what has been more difficult?
At first, no. Since I started it off with a very specific project in mind I ended up raising money and living off of donations for a full two years.
It was stressful and a LOT of work for one person (planning logistics of the travels, outlining the daily, weekly, and monthly itinerary, making sure donations were coming in, driving, writing, eating, meeting up with new people, finding places to stay, etc. etc.)
I enjoyed being busy and on the go. As the project was coming to a close I panicked. I didn’t know how I would make money and pay bills. I had put my student loans on deferment during the road trip and now I had to start making money again and figure out where to live and what to do.
Initially inspired by The 4-Hour Workweek, by Tim Ferriss, and the myriad of resources from Chris Guillebeau, I knew I could get it all figured out. But it was still scary.
That’s when an ongoing, remote, freelance gig landed in my lap – with a non-profit animal rights group. It was like a golden ticket! Not only could I maintain my travels and work remotely but I had plenty of time during the week to work on my other projects that might not yet earn an income.
All the while, each day can be both exciting and nerve wracking. At any moment one of my projects could earn $0 or I could not know where I’m moving to next. Then again, this is the price I pay (albeit a really cool price) for living a lifestyle that’s designed by me, for me.
It’s a lot of work with many unknowns around each corner. But it works for me and I’ve never been more creatively fulfilled or excited about what’s to come.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you experience with your lifestyle?
Feeling lonely at times. Leaving new friends behind, or meeting someone (romantically) who isn’t able to travel with me or does not’ desire the same kind of lifestyle. Also, making sure I am financially stable.
Q: What are the biggest rewards you experience with your lifestyle?
Being able to pick up and go, or stay whenever and for however long I wish. Being able to follow my whims, work on various and diverse projects or interests at anytime. Meeting interesting people from all over the world with unique life experiences. Being more creatively fulfilled than I never knew possible! Being able to work from bed in my PJs, or out at coffee shops, or wherever I may find myself at the ime.
Q: What advice do you have to offer to women that are considering this lifestyle or are have fears about pursuing goals others might find to be non-traditional?
If you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen. But more importantly, start before you’re’ ready.
Photo by: Jennifer Simmons
Q: Do you have anything additional to share?
In early 2015 I had another first: I became a traditionally published author! One of the cool things about the project that started everything is that it led to cool opportunities, one of which is the memoir. I was approached by a new publishing company to write about my travels.
The book was released in April 2015 and is available on Amazon: “Will Travel for Vegan Food: A Young Woman’s Solo Van- Dwelling Mission to Break Free, Find Food, & Make Love”
If you’d like to be interviewed on Work, Travel & Live, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.