How Ned Curtis Travels The World On The Back Of 3,000 Instagram Followers

Ned Curtis has just a camera, a medium to share his images, and the freedom to travel the world creating beautiful content.
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For the young, aspiring entrepreneur, not entirely satisfied with the 9-5 hustle, it can be all too easy falling into the trap of coming up with the next big thing - the next Facebook, Snapchat, Amazon, Google or ‘groundbreaking’ app. But there are times where it’s worth taking a step back and asking: what’s the goal?

Is it to make $100 mil or angel-invest in a $3 bil Unicorn? If so, then what? Would you then want to spend the rest of your days travelling? Surfing? Helping? Eating? If that’s the case, then perhaps we get too ahead of ourselves and forget what we actually need to make our goals a reality. Tim Ferriss labels those that focus on this concept as the ‘New rich’ - this idea of laying out what it takes to realistically do what you want and acknowledging that it doesn’t take a billion dollar idea to do so. Maybe it just takes $62k per year to make it happen.

We’ve been speaking to numerous young Aussies that have done just this - one being Sydney-sider Ned Curtis, aka @_saltwatertherapy_ Ned’s been galavanting around the globe, pursuing his passion for photography. Ned doesn’t have millions of dollars, nor a social reach in the millions. He hasn’t been shooting every day since he was in high school and he doesn’t carry around a suitcase with $50k worth of gear. What he does have is 3,800 Instagram followers, a plethora of tight pics, a medium to sell them, and the drive to learn.

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Think about it. If a framed print sells anywhere between $160-$620 and profit margins are anywhere between 60-150%, how many prints would it take to fund your lifestyle?

No, this has not made him enough to retire in a beachfront house. But it has been enough to fund his travels, continuously exposing himself to more stunning photo opportunities, feeding his instagram, bringing enough pleasure to an individual’s eye such that they want to own a print… and so he continues travelling. A beautiful concept.

In terms of advice for anyone looking to replicate this model, Ned assured us that while it can be hard, it is simple: ‘Take the step and back yourself. I was very hesitant to start doing it as it's a lot of pressure to produce quality and reliable work’.

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Ned used to hustle his way through an advertising gig. How did he feel making the leap from a steady income to something more ambitious? ‘What made me quit and start travelling was the fact that it hit me that this was kind of the last time I could get away with dropping everything and travelling’.

Saltwatertherapy’s fuel is a hybrid mix of a burning desire to explore, FOMO and perhaps a mild quarter-life crisis. ‘I think it's fueled by the want and need to travel and explore the world with my camera in my hand. I don't really see another potential time until I'm old and retired where I can get away with a trip like this. Where I can simply travel for as long as I feel like I need to’.

As I write this, I think Ned is tucked away in the depths of Spain, plotting his next move, like many other ‘new rich’ scattered across the globe. Bravo to anyone that has the courage to chase their dream.

You can see Ned’s work on Instagram @_saltwatertherapy_ and online www.saltwatertherapy.com.au.

Know anyone who you would classify as the ‘new rich’? We’d love to share their story.