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