BIG READ

HOW THIS NOOSA GIRL TURNED A HOBBY INTO A JOB THAT TOOK HER AROUND THE WORLD

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | WELCOME - WORDS: AN­NIE CAUGHEY

Many of you may be fa­mil­iar with the pop­u­lar travel blog Mis­ter Weekender, and if you’re not, well, we sug­gest you get Googling.

The site cre­ated by Noosa lo­cal Ja­harn Quinn is a must read for any­one in search of ad­ven­ture, whether it be a week­end camp­ing at Dou­ble Island or a long-haul over­seas

Euro trip.

It’s Ja­harn’s cre­ative skills in de­sign, writ­ing and pho­tog­ra­phy that con­trib­ute to the on­line ob­ses­sion of Mis­ter Weekender.

The blog has caught the at­ten­tion of in­ter­na­tional brands such as Qan­tas, Kathmandu, Tourism Australia, Hil­ton, Mi­crosoft and Shangri-la, who have spon­sored the young cre­ative, send­ing her to many des­ti­na­tions around the world.

In the six years since its con­cep­tion, Mis­ter Weekender has sent Ja­harn to hike Machu Picchu in Peru, the Grand Canyon, she’s con­quered the stairs of Cinque Terre and bathed in the wa­ters sur­round­ing the Greek Is­lands ( just to name a few.)

So, how does one turn a love of writ­ing and pho­tog­ra­phy into a full-time job that takes you to all cor­ners of the globe?

Like many great busi­nesses, the idea to cre­ate Mis­ter Weekender sparked at 3 o’clock in the morn­ing.

Af­ter liv­ing in London for two years in her early 20s, Ja­harn had landed a role work­ing in fash­ion pub­lic re­la­tions in Syd­ney. While it had been a dream of hers to work in the in­dus­try, its fast pace and de­mand­ing na­ture would leave her ex­hausted at week­ends.

Fol­low­ing a few failed and goofy at­tempts at surf­ing (which many of us could re­late to), Ja­harn be­came cu­ri­ous as to what else

Syd­ney and sur­round­ings had to of­fer.

“I knew there was a lot to ex­plore out­side of Syd­ney so early one Satur­day morn­ing I packed my car, drove south to Wat­ta­molla Na­tional Park, and went camp­ing and hik­ing on my own for the night. I had the best time,” she said.

“From then, each week I would plan a new ad­ven­ture and for the most part I would go on my own. Pho­tograph­ing land­scapes has al­ways been my first love, so on th­ese ad­ven­tures I would take pho­tos and share them on In­sta­gram.”

“My par­ents, who lived in Bris­bane, were re­ally cu­ri­ous and prob­a­bly a bit wor­ried about my solo ad­ven­tures. My dad al­ways asked me to email him the de­tails of my trips. My friends were also ask­ing about my ad­ven­tures af­ter see­ing the pho­tos I shared on In­sta­gram and soon they be­gan book­ing their own week­ends away.”

It was the doc­u­men­ta­tion of th­ese trips and a de­sire to fur­ther share her ad­ven­tures that in­spired Ja­harn to cre­ate her own blog.

“One morn­ing I woke up at 3am with an idea to start a travel blog. Within two hours I had a name, a web­site and an email. It was all pretty fast. That’s when Mis­ter Weekender, in Novem­ber 2013, was born,” she said.

At first, it was just a cre­ative out­let for the young pro­fes­sional — a way for her to share her pho­tog­ra­phy and write in a style that was dis­tinctly her own.

She was still work­ing full time while try­ing to grow the blog, so many nights and week­ends were spent on her lap­top self-teach­ing the art of web de­sign mostly by trial and er­ror, ask­ing friends and watch­ing Youtube tu­to­ri­als.

Just six months af­ter the launch of Mis­ter Weekender, Ja­harn said she was ap­proached by Tourism Australia who wanted to send her to New Zealand for a travel blog­ging cam­paign.

“It was mind blow­ing,” she said. “I didn’t even know that work­ing for brands was even a thing, and blog­ging was quite new back then. I doc­u­mented my trip by tak­ing lots of beau­ti­ful pho­tos and I wrote a se­ries of blog posts, too. It was an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence, and from that mo­ment, Mis­ter Weekender took off.”

Then all the stars be­gan to align, work­ing six days a week just to keep her blog alive, Ja­harn landed a part-time pub­lic re­la­tions role. From then she was able to ded­i­cate at least two days a week to Mis­ter Weekender.

“It was a sur­real time as I had an amaz­ing job, and I was get­ting paid to travel the world to pho­to­graph and write about my ex­pe­ri­ences,” she said.

How­ever, what In­sta­gram may not show you is how de­mand­ing and ex­haust­ing travel can be, es­pe­cially when try­ing to jug­gle two jobs, your well­be­ing and a healthy per­sonal life.

Be­hind the scenes, Ja­harn was be­com­ing worn and over­worked and her cre­ative side suf­fered.

“It was very stress­ful try­ing to make sure I con­sis­tently cre­ated the best con­tent, so, it wasn’t a sur­prise that I even­tu­ally burnt out,” she said.

“It com­pletely killed my cre­ativ­ity and love for travel. Tak­ing pho­tos be­came a chore and that made me so in­cred­i­bly sad be­cause land­scape pho­tog­ra­phy is my one true love.

“It all came to a head when I was in the States and lit­er­ally hat­ing ev­ery sin­gle sec­ond of my trip. Here I was, in stun­ning Death Val­ley, ex­plor­ing one of the most beau­ti­ful and bar­ren deserts in the world, and I was not en­joy­ing my­self. I des­per­ately wanted to crawl on a plane and come home.”

By this time, Ja­harn had moved to Noosa with her now hus­band Ja­son. It was the beauty of the sur­round­ing re­gion that en­cour­aged her to get back to her roots of ex­plor­ing na­ture and liv­ing sim­ply.

When she be­came preg­nant with their son Dusty, Ja­harn said she took a few months off to re-eval­u­ate, re­plen­ish and fall in love with her pas­sions again.

It took well over a year but she even­tu­ally learned to love travel again.

When she re­turned to Mis­ter Weekender she started do­ing things dif­fer­ently.

“I pick and choose the op­por­tu­ni­ties that come to me and I pitch the op­por­tu­ni­ties I want to cre­ate. In the past I prac­ti­cally said yes to every­thing. I sin­cerely love liv­ing on the Sun­shine Coast and spend­ing time with my hus­band and son, so I don’t travel as of­ten any­more, and I am to­tally OK with that,” she said.

Af­ter get­ting mar­ried in June last year, Ja­harn, Ja­son and Dusty en­joyed a month in Europe to­gether and Mis­ter Weekender read­ers were kept up to date with their ad­ven­tures. How­ever, while Ja­harn says she is happy at home, she still can’t seem to cure the bite of the travel bug.

“Next year we are plan­ning a big road trip across the States. I def­i­nitely have more bal­ance with Mis­ter Weekender th­ese days and I am more in love with travel and pho­tog­ra­phy than ever be­fore.”

Check out Mis­ter Weekender on­line at mis­ter­week­ender.com or on In­sta­gram @mis­ter­week­ender.

MAGIC MO­MENTS: Ja­harn Quinn has worked with many brands that have spon­sored her to travel to sub­lime des­ti­na­tions.

PHO­TOS: CON­TRIB­UTED

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