Alyssa Ramos, 29, admits that when it comes to world travel, not everyone is suited to go it alone. In fact, it wasn’t her first choice. “I took my first solo trip because I kept waiting around for other people to travel with. I just got tired of missing out on opportunities,” Ramos says, revealing that as a self-described “ambitious adventurer,” she realized how much she loved being on her own after her first solo trip to Thailand and Australia in 2014. “The only time it’s negative is just the hassle of constant travel and not really having a normal life,” Ramos says. “But then again, I really love not having a normal life.”
A Jupiter native, Ramos was restless after college and struggling to find a job that would give her the freedom to work from anywhere. At that time the “anywhere” Ramos had in mind was poolside in Los Angeles, so she packed up in 2011 and moved west. She found writing gigs she stitched together to make ends meet and used the scant money she earned on travel. It wasn’t long before she started putting those feel-good pieces together as a full-time job and made a niche for herself as a solo female traveler.
Ramos started traveling the world, writing about it and getting paid. She had to scrape and save, ditch her apartment and put all of her belongings into storage. “I decided it was better to pay to roam the world than to pay rent,” Ramos says. “The amount I was paying to stay abroad was equal to or less than what I was paying to live in West Hollywood.” Armed with that justification, she continued to book flights from one country to the next for months at a time, blogging all the while.
Living an enviable lifestyle of course came with criticism. Comments like “you’re just using your good looks to get attention” especially irked Ramos. “You can’t imagine someone saying that to a man,” she says. So she adopted a signature style for the images she included with each blog posts—something she calls “back-of-head” selfies. “I did that for my entire first year,” Ramos says. “They were a way to prove that I could become successful without showing my face.”
To vent her frustration, Ramos wrote a semi-sarcastic rant for The Huffington Post in late 2015, titled “Yes, I’m Pretty and I’m Traveling Alone.” The article went viral, and soon Ramos was being featured in Daily Mail, Daily Mirror UK and a TV interview on “Inside Edition.”
With the increased attention from that viral rant, Ramos began to rake in the kinds of audience numbers that got her noticed by resorts, tourism boards and brands, including GoPro—her first paid collaboration partner. She began to travel full time by early 2016, and by midyear, she was able to fund her travels solely through collaborations and blog and social media paid posts.
Today, Ramos is considered a top travel influencer and blogger, making a living trotting the globe and sharing it all on Instagram (where she posts under the handle @mylifesatravelmovie and has an audience of more than 200,000 followers) and on her blog. She gets paid for the publicity her posts offer, and these days she makes several times what she earned just a few years ago. Still, she says, she’s an extreme minimalist who saves most of her money for travel.
“I’m making more money than I’ve ever made in my life, but I basically live out of a carry-on suitcase,” Ramos admits. “I don’t buy myself new clothes or accessories unless I’m in another country and it’s a must-have. I don’t buy coffees or eat out at nice places. But I wouldn’t trade my life for any amount of pricey restaurant dinners or fancy clothes.” Instead, she’s happy to inspire others to travel, whether it’s by providing inspiration and travel tips, or showcasing a destination through her photography—and doing it all on her own.