This is an excerpt from our new podcast series, Unfiltered, and has been edited for length and clarity.
Full Interview Video
Instasize: All right, here we are on the Instasize podcast with Annie's Bucket List. We're actually in Vietnam. This is pretty rad, right Annie?
Annie's Bucket List: Yeah.
IS: How's your trip been so far?
ABL: Yeah, it's been really good.
ABL: I think, I've had fun meeting everyone so far, but it's only the beginning. So, there's so much more to do and see.
IS: It's so cool. I know, we're so excited to get started here in Vietnam, and ABL is one of our absolute favorite favorites. So, thanks for joining us today for today's podcast.
So ABL, tell me a little bit, how so, by the way, her Instagram handle is @anniesbucketlist and she has been an amazing influencer in the travel space. So I'm curious, how did you get started doing this? You've accumulated this following of, what did you say, 128,000?
ABL: Yeah, 128,000.
IS: Wow. How did you do that? How did it start? What got you started?
ABL: It's started, actually, quite a while ago. I've worked in digital marketing for nearly 10 years.
ABL: I worked in the digital space for a while, but it started back in, I guess, early school and the Internet was booming and everyone was really interested in learning how to build websites and that kind of thing. And that kind of sparked my interest on how to get my head around the Internet and the World Wide Web, it just felt like there was a lot of opportunity there and it really interested me, so I taught myself how to code and build websites and that's how I started getting really into that techie, geeky stuff.
ABL: It's a lot more complicated now, than it was back then, but-
IS: Oh my gosh, that's amazing. So you're like on the tech side of things. That's incredible.
ABL: Yeah, I was more on the tech side of things and, I guess, I come from like a traditional Vietnamese household, and in terms of like success, to them it was you have to be like a doctor or a dentist. Anything to do with something outside of that wasn't really recognized as a career path that would be, I guess, termed "successful." So I used the Internet and creating websites and that kind of thing as my creative outlet. In the meantime, I went to school and I studied and I had a full time corporate job for over, yeah, nearly 10 years-
ABL: ... before I found it difficult to balance both, and then I had to choose one.
IS: That is really cool. And you mentioned growing up in a traditional family, I think that's a lot of, like a lot of the influencers we've talked to, they've also been like, it's really hard for me to get my family on board with this.
IS: Because it's like, I'm taking pictures of myself in different cool places.
IS: But what was Your family's response when you were like, oh, I want to do this full time? Like what did they say?
ABL: They're still trying to get their head around it, to be honest. Like even now they don't fully understand what I do. They think that I go on these trips quite often and they're work trips, but they don't actually know what it entails. So I guess having interviews with, like you, like this and having cool video content and that kind of thing, helps explain what I do.
ABL: But it's still difficult to explain it even to people that I first meet, not just my family. Often when you meet people they ask, what do you do? And when you say influencer, some people are kind of taken back by it. Other people really embrace it, say that's awesome, how did you do that?
ABL: But there's like, I guess mixed reactions. Yeah.
ABL: My family was definitely a mixed reaction and they're still trying to wrap their head around it.
IS: I feel like that's pretty common after talking to so many influencers, that like, they've done this and they're like, okay, this shift in career path is really different.
IS: So you're from Australia.
IS: That's so cool. And I feel like there's a lot of cool influencers there. How do you balance travel with being at home and, you know are you ever home? How often are you home? I would love to hear about that.
ABL: It probably looks like I'm not home that often, but home is where the heart is for me, so I'm home maybe like two or three months at a time and then the next trip comes. When I do a trip, because Australia is so far away from other countries, I try and make the most of that trip and get as many locations in, as many collaborations in, as much work in. And then, every now and then, like a sponsored trip opportunity would pop up as well.
So, I'd say I'm home for like two, three months at a time and then the next trip comes along. And when I do go on those trips, it's a jam packed itinerary. Every day it's like, wake up for the sunrise and we go here. In the afternoon we'll explore this area. I could kind of plan out your shots and plan out the day, and get a lot of content-
ABL: ... and then slowly, I guess, filter it out. During the weeks that I'm not away, I still have travel content to cover me. Yeah.
IS: So cool. So how long would you say it takes you from, like planning a shoot, to actually posting the photo?
ABL: Really varies. I guess it depends on who I work with. So some people who you work with, they have a very specific brief on what they want to be [shot 00:04:56] and, I guess, the time, like the due date and all of that. But other people are more flexible and give you the opportunity to plan out, I guess, three to six months worth of location ideas and shoot ideas.
ABL: So it really varies. I think people who shoot with like, fashion and clothing, they have a quick turn around time more so than someone who does travel.
ABL: So for me, I have to save up and time all of my travel collaborations around the dates that I'm away. So it really varies.
IS: So, so cool. Oh my gosh. Well, I am so inspired by you. What do you feel like it means to be creative? Because you are, you're in a space where it requires you to be creative constantly. So what inspires you to create?
ABL: I think it's just like a passion inside me. And everyone here, I'm part of this, like, creator group, we all share that same passion of like, putting our own style and our own look and feel onto things and we're proud of the output that we create in terms of photos, videos, whatever it is. So what drives you, I think, is to find that unique angle and that picture that you're proud of, that you produced from beginning to end. So that's what drives me. I feel like a lot of the time when people [grew 00:06:12] up around the world of influencers already, they just think, oh, I want to be an influencer. But they're passionate about, I don't know, getting fame and followers-
ABL: ... versus being passionate about creating content. And for me it's, the passion is creating content. It doesn't even matter if, you know, somebody else might not 100% love it if I 100% love it, then that makes me happy.
IS: I love that. I love that. That's all that matters, right?
ABL: Never stop being you.
IS: Yeah. I love that. I love that. And you just recently did some collaborations with Instasize, can you tell me a little bit about that? Like, what did you like about that? Did you like editing with the app? What was your experience?
ABL: Instasize has like, opened up a whole new world of just taking pictures on the phone, editing it on the go. So a lot of the time when I travel I use an SLR camera, a professional camera, and then I have to wait until I get home and make all the edits that I want to do. Because I'm quite like, finicky, about the way that I want my pictures to look.
ABL: And then with Instasize, like once you learn your way around the app, you know exactly what filters and what settings you want on the app. And it's really fast to find your way around to get that look that you would on a professional photo and professional suite that you'd use on your laptop. So-
ABL: ... very handy for someone who is using it on the go. And I know you've got a lot of seasonal filters. Like for Coachella you had cool borders and that kind of thing.
IS: Look at you! I love.
ABL: Always festive and fun.
IS: Yeah. That's awesome.
IS: Is that your favorite part then, the borders? Or what's your favorite part of the app? Do you like the borders, the filters?
ABL: I definitely like the filters and just tinkering around with my own, I guess, adjustments, on top as well. But it's always good to test out new borders and that kind of thing, because it might make you realize, oh, there's that style that I've never used before that I actually like, that works at this moment in time. So, good to freshen it up.
IS: Oh, that's wonderful, ABL. Well, we're so thrilled to have you on our podcast today.
ABL: Oh, thank you.
IS: We've loved interviewing you. Thank you for taking your time and you really have inspired so many creators throughout the world. So, I am just so grateful that you're here.
ABL: You're so sweet. Thank you.
IS: You're so welcome.
ABL: So I hope my Australian accent is still easy for everyone to understand.
IS: We love the Australian accent. Oh my gosh.
ABL: Everybody keeps telling me, you talk very fast, can you slow down?
ABL: Yeah. If you subtitles for edits, subtitles here.
IS: We'll place them here. Place subtitles here. I love it. I love it. Well, thanks for being here today and-
ABL: Thanks for having me.
IS: You're so welcome. And that's it from ABL's Bucket List. Go follow her. She's incredible. We love her. And bye from Vietnam.