Last Updated on July 13, 2023 by Christine Kaaloa
There is an insane brilliance to what I do as a female solo traveler, YouTuber and content creator.
…And an equally insane burnout.
Video storytelling is my career and a long-time passion of mine. Filming travel is how I adore expressing myself and inspiring others. But while I am grateful to be a creator with the freedom to share my female solo journey with travel audiences, it comes at a sacrifice.
For nearly seven years I’ve created YouTube videos on a non-stop weekly hustle, forgoing holidays and weekends. I’ve stretched myself thin with side gigs and freelance travel jobs to support what I do. I’ve been through burnout, but due to my weekly publishing and content schedules, I typically only have time to slap a bandaid on my burnout before jumping back into the sling. Through it all, there is one group which pulled me back from the ledge and instead, rallied me through… my Patreon family.
What is Patreon?
Patreon is a site where artists, musicians and creators can grow their own insider community and reward their biggest fans with bonus behind the scenes content . On Patreon, I produce exclusive vlogs, written posts, and behind-the-scenes updates to my private Facebook group. I also run voting polls to get creative feedback (my Patreon crew voted on my first t-shirt design! it’s coming soon). This special access and content is produced specifically for Patreon members. The rate is $5 per month.
I also have higher tiers, with other fun rewards like name credits in my videos, video chat and (Board of )Directors status, etc… but the starting tier is still a good one.
My Patreon family is a small but informal community that I have fun with! Due to its closed environment, I know I can be raw and un-judged, so I tend to post regularly, confiding uncomfortable bits in life, YouTube business and travel.
One month, I shared a private vlog story of a sexual harassment experience I filmed while on a press trip. It didn’t have a place for it in my video guides and I didn’t want to go through the hassle of dealing with negativity and trolls, so I cut it out of my channel. But it was a scandal I went through which few know about.
What does Patreon fund?
There is a reality to Patreon. They take 5% off all my earnings. I still pay annual federal and state taxes on those earnings too.
But Patreon has helped me with small expenses like gear repairs, affording accommodations, equipment purchases, etc.. Last year, it aided me partially in my first goal– hiring a part time video editor. This was sooooo needed, because it helped me keep burn out at bay, while helping me scale up.
As a solo female travel YouTuber, each trip entails navigating, coordinating and filming several episodes around a city. Alone, of course. Many travel YouTubers I know, work as a power couple or team and having an extra person helping you film makes a huge difference in bearing burdens of filming, safety, confidence. You’d definitely see me smiling more in my videos, if I weren’t so cautious about my surroundings and where I put my camera and bags down as people stare at me for talking to my camera.
When you see me traveling on video, it’s often my first time to the city/country, so I’m occasionally finding my way around like a lost tourist also. I do this while finding ways to set up my camera to capture my journey for YouTube storytelling and Instagram Stories. It’s a full mental-physical work out. It’s tiring but a real endorphin high! There is nothing like filming in a new country and finding stories at every corner to show you.
Returning home, I have a minimum of a week’s worth of trip footage to pour through for entertaining stories and video trip guides. If I travel a lot during a year, the trip footage can really pile up and overwhelm me. And it’s not only enough to make my videos– I have to promote them and generate views. Usually this is done by creating more content in the form of Instagram & Facebook Stories and posts, attractive photos and a blog guide too (yup, I manage a growing solo travel blog too)
Where did my travel videos go?
I have a crap load of travel videos I filmed last year which are all ready to publish. But I won’t publish them right now. It’s just too crazy and I feel like anything I share will get lost to virus and protest news and such. It overwhelms me too.
After committing myself to a seven year solo creator hustle on YouTube…
I finally decided to take a hiatus. I’m following how network television shows operate their seasons (keep reading below!).
During this time, I’m working on my merch and mastermind YouTube e-course . And I’ll slowly be accepting students for 1:1 Coaching for YouTube, solo filmmaking and influencing. I want to teach what I do and help new Creators grow in video branding and marketing.
Meanwhile, I will be releasing one premium travel video a month to Patreon. Last month, I shared an iconic food tour of Arashiyama, Kyoto (this was a fave video of mine because the foods were unique to the destination). This month I’ll be letting Patreon members vote on the adventure they want to watch. This will all be in addition to ongoing Patreon reward perks.
To be clear— my YouTube channel will stay the same as will my blog. There will occasionally be new videos on my channel albeit less frequently and they will be more tip-related, so that audiences know I am not traveling. I won’t be uploading my premium videos to my YouTube channel until Fall.
I have a silly goal that if I get 100 patrons or make my first Patreon goal (to hire a monthly editor), I will release a travel video to YouTube earlier than fall.
With all that’s been going on with Australian brushfires, coronavirus, riots, political controversies, 2020 is an emotional rollercoaster for all of us. As a content creator, most of us feel like we need to keep posting because the survival of our brand is survival of our business. But with all the craziness and springing obstacles, this rocky terrain weighs emotionally on me too. My exhaustion is severe.
My solo travel blog, YouTube channel and freelance income streams are decimated. My YouTube deadlines take the most out of me and there are obviously costly expenses which go into creating my travel videos. Rather than fight this rollercoaster whackadoo world, I’m going to go with the flow and allow myself to break, absorb and re-find myself.
Will the network television framework be a good guideline for self-love?
I hope so.
• Television shows generally take nine months to film a full season of 22–24 episodes. Each episode is 22 minutes duration for a half hour show.
• One shoot day = 8 minutes of show time
• Principal crew such as camera man, audio person, producer, earn anywhere from $600-$2,000+ a day and a legitimate travel host might make anywhere from $250-900 a day.
• Film production goes on hiatus for three months, so the crew and actors can recharge.
My YouTube hustle is different.
• Last year, I produced 48 weekly episodes.
• Many of my videos are full video guides with insane lists of things to do and eat solo. I film 2-3 videos a day while collecting all my daily experiences for final compilation videos.
• My season runs straight through the year with no vacations or holidays.
• Editing a video can take 2-5 days depending and while I hire an editor, i’m still directing the edit, music choices and storytelling.
• Any income my videos make go directly back into GRRRLTRAVELER to cover expenses. And I haven’t even put myself on my own payroll because finding a bookkeeper would simply overwhelm me. My mind was fried simply trying to figure out how to write off 7 Eleven food hauls as a taxable expense for my film budget.
• I’m the entire crew of departments from pre-production to marketing.
• This year, I’ve already published 15 episodes.
By stepping away from my channel, it is channel suicide for YouTube algorithm. Even if I recover in energy, my channel may not. Is this year my last? It’s possible. But I’m choosing stronger priorities.
Join my GRRRINSPIRED Community
Patreon is an ongoing, monthly fan funding campaign to be a part of my creative/business process and an insider to how i’ve been keeping this going. You control how much you want to donate and when to quit.
If a one-time donation is more comfortable to you, then you can do so on Paypal. The only drawback is that you won’t be able to access Patreon rewards and they are cool.
Patreon is not for everyone though. If you’re in a rutty financial situation, please do not donate.
You can also support me by via a variety of ways:
• Watching my YouTube videos with the ads ON, while commenting and liking my videos
• Purchasing things through the affiliate links on my blog or in my YouTube description box
• Doing a one-on-one trip or YouTube creator consultation with me
• And here’s other ideas to keep me on the road.
I’ll see you on the inside!
Watch my first Patreon video
How do I afford burn out as a travel vlogger?