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15 May

You Have to Meet This Blonde Vagabond

Posted by Bikini Owner in blogger, Blonde Vagabond, interview, Jordyn, Kraemer, travel

We first met Jordyn Kraemer at a festival, as she was dancing in a Mikoh-gone-morpho ensemble. Trust: She dazzles — which means we had to chat it up and hear what she's all about. Here, Kraemer — better known as The Blonde Vagabond — shares how she lives her dream out loud.

 

 

BIKINI: How did you get started with your blog?

Jordyn Kraemer: It all started as I stared blankly at my computer screen, daydreaming of the exotic destinations that I’d never been to. I was stuck, like so many millennials I know, at my boring desk job, watching the days go by. In a moment of desperation, I emailed my old modeling agency from college — like the majority of my starving fashion student peers, I dabbled shamelessly and quite unsuccessfully in that industry.

My agency started submitting me to fit modeling jobs in the city. For those who don’t know, it’s in no way related to fitness – this is where the model analyzes the fit of garments for designers, day in and day out. Eventually, after sneaking to go-see’s on my lunch break, I booked for Victoria’s Secret Swim. I immediately quit my boring office job for the more temporary job as a bikini fit model and began working less consistent hours but at a higher pay rate. 

The travel bug began to bite, only this time I had the funds and flexibility to do what I wanted. It started with sneaky weekend trips to the islands, an art gallery opening in Paris, a road-trip down the coast. During these self-paid, small getaways, I would pitch travel guides, articles, and images to online publications and magazines. 

Eventually I had, such an overflow of images, content, and thoughts about my travels and experiences abroad that I realized I needed my own platform, which was when I started The Blonde Vagabond. I began making enough money fit modeling, pitching articles, and creating content for brands that I was far surpassing what I was making in my boring 9-to-5 job. 

This was how I transitioned from my sad office job to being able to see the world, on my time and in my own way.

 

 

A post shared by Jordyn Christine (@theblondevagabond) on

 

BIKINI: Was there a pivotal point during this transition that made you decide to fully pursue this career path? 

JK: There was a pivotal moment for me — it's when I knew there was more out there for me than the conventional lifestyle. I had this dire need to create content, explore the far ends of the earth, and share my thoughts and experiences with the world. It wasn’t this huge "ah-ha" moment ... it was always there, creeping up on me. Within five months of my “dream" corporate job, the dread and panic were overwhelming enough that I knew I needed to get out. 

I think it’s something everyone experiences from time to time: hating their job and wanting out. But honestly, I think it comes down to how loud that voice of rejection is in a person's mind. For me, I lasted five months and had to change the way I was living.

 

 

BIKINI: In a sea of bloggers, how do you strive to differ and stand out? 
        
JK: Goodness gracious — isn’t every person you know some sort of social influencer or blogger? It’s actually kind of exhausting, isn’t it? I personally wish there was a different word for what I do because, to me, it’s about my vision. I have a concept or image in my mind of how to best show or depict a place. To me, I feel as though I'm a writer and a content creator, not a “blogger” by the terms that we’ve all grown calloused to. 

The only way I know how to stand out is to produce imagery that speaks to me and really captures the moment as I see it. It’s the words I pour my heart and soul into, with hopes of bringing readers to places they haven’t been before. My goal is to remind people that life is short and should be experienced and lived fully. This is what is important to me — not the amount of clout or influence I have over people. 

I like to think of myself as a creative, directing my own life, orchestrating my travels, images, and post to feed me creatively and inspire others. I believe as long as I’m doing that, I will be different. Because no one can have the exact same words, thoughts, and images as me. The originality, passion, and dedication — I think that variation is what sets us all apart.

 

 

BIKINI: So what does a typical day look like for you? 

JK: There are a variety of things I do day in and out consistently. I’m either on a flight, exploring a destination, taking pictures, editing pictures, planning another trip, writing a post, or negotiating contracts and collaboration details. 

 

 

 

BIKINI: Is it as glamorous as it appears? 
    
JK: It’s only glamorous if you truly love what you do. Last year, I flew over 200,000 miles, and I still get butterflies when I get on a new flight, going somewhere amazing. It still has the sparkle and sex appeal to me. Also, because I do a lot of my trips alone, it allows me time for introspection and appreciation for the meaning and purpose behind why I travel. I try and stay away from massive press trips with hoards of “influencers” all trying to “get the shot” because to me that’s not glamorous or realistic. 

That isn’t an environment that is conducive to my creative work. For me, it really is as glamorous as it appears because I pick and choose the destinations and trips that really speak to me. I also often shoot and travel with one of my best friends, so the creative process feels so connected even when we're thousands of miles from home.

 

 

BIKINI: Is your travel buddy a photographer? How do you shoot when traveling solo? Any self-picture taking tips?

JK: I’ve had the luxury of bringing along my best friend Madi Atkins, who's an amazing photographer, but most of the time I am traveling on my own. Which means I am the queen of interval timer shooting and tripods. 

I think the destinations are part of the beauty, nothing better than a fabulous beach or a majestic mountainside village. Also, my favorite time to shoot is sunrise and sunset, which makes for the most beautiful images as the light is very soft and forgiving. I use Fujifilm X Series (X T-10, to be exact), and I love it. It has remote access and timer shooting, which is amazing when I'm by myself. 

I also have no shame, and will frame a photo perfectly and then ask a security guard, boat captain, beach comber, golf cart driver to get the shot! You’d be surprised what amazing things can come from a little help from a local.

 

 

 

BIKINI: How do you get to travel so much? People dream of this but have financial limitations. Does blogging cover travel expenses?  
        
JK: I started off paying for all my own travel through the money I was making as a fit model. Eventually, the articles that I pitched would just barely cover my travel expenses. Now I travel almost entirely for work, working with tourism boards, hotel companies, and brands. Payment and compensation are different from job to job and really depend on the destination and the deliverables, but as I’m not modeling as much anymore, any travel I do has to be paid for or compensated. 

 

BIKINI: Can you share an example of what kind of jobs these tourism board, hotel companies or brands offer? 

JK: I will shoot a look book for a clothing company, post for a bikini brand, and write a review of a hotel all in one trip to make sure I am maximizing my time and profit margin.

 

 

BIKINI: Has there been a point in which you wanted to quit doing this? What made you push through? 
        
JK: Absolutely. I think the biggest obstacle for me was what I explained earlier, that everyone and their mom is a “blogger.” I would have these moments of fear, doubt, and dread that would wash over me. What makes me different? All these other people are going with much bigger teams, to much cooler places with much better equipment. I can’t compete. I missed the “blogger wave,” etc., etc. All of this is essentially true. 

Yet the reason I keep going, the reason those negative thoughts don’t ruin my dream, is because of the feeling that I get when I create something beautiful. The feeling when I envision exactly how to capture a destination and then successfully do it. Or I get to share a moment that is so special to me, and it positively impacts other people. That’s when all the chatter is silenced, and my passion and intuition feel fed. 

 

BIKINI: Blogging is a newish field, so what career path did you have in mind as a kid or teen? 
        
JK: I always knew I wanted to be a writer. I was published first when I was eleven and knew I wanted to move to New York City at 13. I thought at first I wanted to be a fashion editor. Growing up in a small city in Minnesota, fashion was my strongest form of identity and expression, so I had a divine connection to it. I worked at Vogue, British Vogue, and Cosmopolitan, and then quickly realized while my love for editorial content was being temporarily satiated, I knew I could never be trapped to a desk, which changed my career path forever. 

 

 

A post shared by Jordyn Christine (@theblondevagabond) on

 

BIKINI: What did you study at college? 

JK: I went to school at the Fashion Institute of Technology and studied advertising and marketing communications. This major was extremely relevant and helpful for me, as it taught me all about capturing an audience, utilizing branding, strategy, and tone to be an effective communicator in a world that is so overstimulated and oversaturated. 

 

BIKINI: What are your summer goals? 

JK: My goals for this summer are to start producing more videos. I feel like there is such a huge market for videos and believe my creative freedom is much more broad with moving images. I can depict and show exactly what I see and feel of a place through a mood film/video. I want to keep traveling with integrity to places that I am truly interested in exploring. I love spending summers in Europe — it feels close enough to home to spend longer than a month in but far enough away to keep me busy.