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Kevin Casey has wanted to explore the most remote parts of the world ever since he watched nature documentaries as a little kid. Now, as a location-independent freelance writer—one that went from $0/month to $7,000/month in six months—he’s able to fully fund his adventurous, nomadic lifestyle.
Here’s his story:
Since I was a boy living in California, I’ve wanted to explore the world’s wildest and most isolated rivers. Now based out of Brisbane, Australia, I live that dream and my one-man copywriting business has been paying for all my overseas adventures since 2013!
Growing up on David Attenborough documentaries, I’ve always wanted to visit untouched, wildlife-rich, little-known parts of the planet. The more inaccessible and distant from civilization the river is, the more excited I get.
I have filmed wild orangutans in Borneo, discovered unknown waterfalls in Australia’s Kimberley region, survived flash floods while exploring rivers in British Columbia, tracked pumas in Paraguay and once spent several weeks crammed into a tiny boat with four chain-smoking, Baka pygmies while venturing up the Ntem river in northern Gabon.
I don’t explore to prove anything, to myself or to the world. I’m not really interested in being the first to explore a region or the first to paddle down a river. I don’t justify journeys by cloaking them in a pseudo-scientific purpose or making them about sponsoring a noble cause or raising money.
I believe wilderness exploration in its purest form is a noble calling all by itself.
From Odd Jobs to Full-Time Writer
For years, I paid for my journeys by working an assortment of jobs, but that all changed when I decided to bite the bullet and become a professional freelance copywriter a few years ago. In my first six months, I managed to go from having zero clients to earning over $7,000 per month. And these days I make enough money from writing, so I only have to work two-thirds of the year—I have the rest of the year to travel.
I write copy for businesses of different kinds: insurance companies, construction outfits, e-commerce websites, conservation organizations, app development firms and a whole range of other clients. I write articles, product descriptions, case studies, eBooks, product guides, online brochures, blog posts, and more.
Show Me the Money
People always say “there’s no money in freelance writing.” I tell them there’s plenty of income out there; you’re just looking in the wrong places.
Many aspiring writers focus on content mills and writing sites, but there’s no financial future there. I pursued my own high-quality clients. I created my own writer website and initially used Linkedin to reach out directly to potential clients with what I had to offer. I still approach new clients through snail mail, networking, and (mostly) cold emails targeted at the industries and individuals I’d like to write for.
These techniques allowed me to establish a good base of clients before I spent much time on my own non-paying blog. In fact, I wrote for three full years before starting my Jet-setting Copywriter blog, writing my eBook of the same name, and offering advice to aspiring writers.
Travel By Numbers
Over the past 15 months, I’ve spent a month in the Bolivian jungles (last July) and a week on a Great Barrier Reef island (October), had two weeks exploring Tasmania (January), enjoyed 5 weeks in a comfortable AirBnB apartment in Argentina (May) and visited Spain, Portugal and Italy over the European summer (July and August).
In Cordoba, Argentina, I spent about $4,300 on the whole trip but invoiced $6,700 of writing work while I was there, so I made money while on the road and saw an interesting place, which was pretty cool! Even with all the traveling I did, I still earned well over $50,000 last year. I am the exact opposite of a starving writer – I make a good living at it!
While I don’t waste money, I can afford to stay in nice places and visit expensive destinations when I want to. To me, this is the true definition of location-independence: making enough money so you can travel whenever you want, for a long as you want, to wherever you want.