Kristen Sarah: How to Make a Living While Traveling the World

02 May 2016 by National Bank
Kristen Sarah Hopscotch Founder

Kristen, a self-professed adventure-seeking travel junkie, is the creator and owner of Hopscotch the Globe, a travel and lifestyle website and YouTube channel celebrating all things travel, from destinations to planning to recipes from around the world, with wit, charm and style.

Her video honours include a Judges’ Choice Award at the Vloggers in Paradise Film Festival in Puerto Rico and a Viewer’s Choice Award by Marriott Hotels. Kristen writes, stars in and produces her entertaining videos, offering a unique mélange of travel tips, tricks and unexpected activities, wrapped in her quirky sense of humour.

What sparked your passion for traveling?

When I was 18, I went to Paraguay for four months on a high school student exchange program. It was an amazing experience. Then I received a scholarship that paid my college tuition and for a summer abroad. I worked at a TV station in Ghana. I was hooked. Because my tuition was paid for, I spent the money I had saved for college traveling during the summers. I went to Peru with my then-boyfriend Siya Zarrabi – we’re married now and he’s my business partner - to film a documentary focused breaking the stereotypes of developing countries.

What’s the genesis of Hopscotch?

After I graduated from college, I went on a 10-month trip around the world – the first three months I traveled on my own, and my husband joined for the last seven. I started Hopscotch just before I left as a way to share my experiences with friends and family. But people started asking me questions and it just exploded.

There are lots of travel blogs – what makes Hopscotch unique?

What separates us from the other blogs is our YouTube component – very few travel blogs include a YouTube channel as an integral part of the blog experience. We use humour in all our videos to tell stories and reenact travel situations, which is also unusual. And I often play characters, rather than myself. It’s our laugh and learn policy!

You earn your living primarily from Hopscotch. How do you do that?

We partner with tourism boards and other branded products. But we are very picky about our partners; they need to be compatible with the Hopscotch brand.

Now, what about money. Are you a saver?

I’m not! I’m good in the moment. I make money to spend on travel experiences, not to say I have a certain amount in my savings account. I don’t even have RRSPs – I should though, right? I really need to learn more about money. I need to get a balance between my need to live in the moment, and my need to plan for the future.

What is your future?

I’d like to buy land somewhere, probably in British Columbia, and create a sort of commune with my friends. We’d all build our own homes but we would work together to create community. I have seen this way of living in so many cultures – and I want to live like this too. I guess I need to start saving!

So if your fairy godmother handed you $1 million, what would you do?

Spend some on travel! But I would invest most of it, and develop my dream community.

Photography: Dave Starrett , Editing: Martin Flamand, 2016

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