I’m a former full-time traveller turned web designer who loves spa days, fine Italian cuisine and a glass of wine. KellyEllaMaz.com was created in late 2012 and has since become a leading resource for luxury travel information. For each destination I visit, I create an in-depth guide that shares the top hotels, my favourite restaurants and the must-see sights in the city. Together with my husband Paul, I’ve explored some of the most beautiful corners of the world, and when I’m not blogging about it I’m using my travels as inspiration for my web design projects at North Palm Digital.
Although I’ve always loved travelling, it wasn’t until Paul and I started dating in early 2011 that travel became a significant part of my life. Thanks to his bartending job at the Park Hyatt Toronto, we had some amazing hotel discounts that we took full advantage of. Before I knew it we were travelling twice as much as the average Canadian, and friends and family started to take notice. On a daily basis I was being asked questions like “where should I stay in Paris?” or “where should I eat in Rome?”. I was asked these questions so often, that I eventually typed up a one-page summary after each trip we took, just so I could print them off and hand them out to people who were asking!
I started establishing myself as a travel expert within my personal network, so starting a travel blog seemed like a natural progression. In December 2012 KellyEllaMaz.com was created, and within a month of blogging I was hooked! I loved designing my blog, creating content and connecting with other travellers on Instagram. My passion for blogging was obvious to others and it wasn’t long before brands and other bloggers started to take notice.
A year into blogging I secured my first press trip – a weekend getaway to Quebec City that included a sponsored hotel, transportation and dinner at a high-end restaurant. It was incredibly rewarding to have established businesses take notice of my blog, and this first sponsored trip is really what opened me up to the idea of travelling full-time.
On February 14th 2014, after a few glasses of champagne, Paul and I took a huge leap a faith and booked a one-way flight to Barcelona. After 5 months of planning we moved to Barcelona on July 1st. I’ll never forget that flight, because it was Canada Day and we watched the most beautiful fireworks display over Toronto as our flight took off.
We had saved enough money that we could take three months off from working, and just enjoy every day living in Barcelona. Since I didn’t have a day job to go to I started working on my blog everyday, and this is when I really started to see the biggest change. Not only did I have a ton of new content to share, but I finally had the time to apply new marketing strategies and engage with my audience. At this point it was safe to say the blog was no longer a hobby, as it started to grow into a real business.
Our next big move came in fall 2014, when we packed up our apartment in Barcelona and headed to Australia on work visas. We spent the next year living and working in both Sydney and Brisbane, and enjoyed travelling around the country at every chance we got. I landed an amazing job as a Marketing Coordinator in Sydney, which further added to my blogging skillset. I remember working on SEO projects at work, then coming home and recycling those same techniques on my travel blog – and seeing incredible jumps in my website traffic as I did this!
When our work visas were up, we took our savings and started on a 6-month journey through Southeast Asia. It didn’t take long for this to become my favourite corner of the world, thanks to the laidback environment and luxury hotels.
Despite the blog’s continuous growth, when we returned to Canada in 2016 I needed another source of income. The idea of returning to a 9-to-5 seemed unreasonable after two years of freedom, so I relied on my unique experience in blogging, social media and content creation to launch my own digital marketing agency, North Palm Digital. Owning my own agency gave me the balance of income and freedom that I craved, plus it allowed me to continue doing creative work everyday. Now, in 2017, North Palm Digital has evolved to focus on web design,
Although we travelled less in 2017, we still had some incredible journeys! Not only did we get married this year, but we had a total of three weddings in three different countries. Now, in late 2017, travel is still very much a part of our lives. We look forward to checking 3-4 new destinations off our bucket list each year, and between trips I use travel as my main source of inspiration for my web design work. This blog continues to thrive and grow and now serves as an incredible database of information for some of the world’s most luxurious destinations.