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Working Hard & Playing Hard in LA with Ashlee Major Moss

By Ashlee Major Moss

I’m typing this early in the morning beside my hotel window. (I’m always up early - it motivates me to greet the day with as much productivity as possible!) I’ve gotten quite used to hotel windows after my two years as a content creator, which is mind-blowing to even type. My room today overlooks the gorgeous LA sunny skies and distant hills.

And even though I’m here to work, I’m still taking in each moment with so much gratitude.

When I lost my job in 2018, I was feeling really low. So I saved up some money and began freelancing and traveling solo in Asia to find my spark again. I began sharing my travels on social media, really to just my friends and family to update them. But suddenly I started gaining followers. A lot of black women and women of color in particular were interested in my journey, because traveling solo just wasn’t something we did in our own communities.

I fell in love with all of the beautiful places I could explore, and living life on my own terms. And just two years after my first trip, I was lucky enough to become a full-time travel content creator.

That’s why I’m so grateful. Traveling isn’t just a passion anymore, it’s a full-time pursuit. I want to share what work goes into living my dream with The247.

Pre-trip: set the mood

I’m an interior designer by trade, so I love aesthetics. That’s why I start making mood boards before any trip. I get to envision the places I want to go and experiences I want to have before the plane even lands. If it’s a work trip, a mood board helps me find the aesthetic I want to capture in the posts I’ll be making.

Early morning essentials

I really strive for work-life balance, even on a work trip. I’ll be honest, this is the busiest I’ve ever been. During the pandemic I was really able to establish myself online, going from 20K followers to 90K followers on Instagram. As soon as they said the borders were opening after the pandemic, I got email after email. And I’ve had to say no to trips.

I don’t always have the physical capacity to be everywhere. And I’m starting to realize how important it is for me to establish some work-life balance. If I’m inundated with invites in this capacity, I’m going to have to slow down or I’ll burn out.

So even when I’m so excited to explore a new city, I have to set aside time for my self care so I have the energy to do all the things I want to do. That’s why I give myself a lot of time in the morning and seek out a healthy breakfast before I get to work.

Getting down to business

My content is so much fun to create, but it takes a lot to get the perfect shot. Because this is a work trip, I’m going to walk you through my set-ups as I explore this wonderful city. Behind each photo/reel is a lot of planning. I have to make sure the lighting and angles are just right in order to execute my vision. Editing comes after and that helps enhance my content.

A collaboration with other creators can take around 30 minutes to shoot, since you have each other to work with. If I’m by myself with my tripod, it’ll take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to get the shots. Then post-production on a photo is anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

It’s also hard to work by myself as a creator in more public spaces. Setups can vary, but I tend to carry my tripod, two cameras, an additional lens, two phones, memory cards, and batteries. Which is a lot for just my set of hands!

So on this day, I woke up in sunny LA and started it off with a gorgeous breakfast. Which still starts with prep:

And ends with the final posts:

I also stopped for slushies at the Santa Monica Pier…

Fueled up on a lovely rice bowl for lunch…

And couldn’t go wrong with pizza for dinner.

Whenever I get to a location, I try to get all of the content done right away. Then I can put my phone down and enjoy the next couple hours for myself. (Even if my dinner is a bit cold after the shot.)

My best travel tip

Looking back at how far I’ve come as a creator, I’d want you all to know that happiness is wherever you place it. You don’t have to be in a specific place at a specific time in any journey in life to be happy. You can just wake up and say “I’m going to be happy and I’m going to choose that.” You can have so much work on your plate, but also have a million things to be grateful for. If you lead in gratitude and positivity, you’ll just go farther.

So now that you’ve seen my Instagram, I want to share the reality. Check out my vlog below to see the work that went into this day traveling in LA:

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