Content creator Hamish Boyt living his best life during a trip to Santorini, in Greece, last year.
Sunset dinners in Santorini, dog-sledding in Queenstown, exploring the Saraha desert in Morocco and hot air ballooning in Turkey – there’s no doubt Northlander Hamish Boyt is living the dream.
As a travel content creator,
Boyt gets to travel to the most beautiful spots around the globe, staying in lavish hotels, wearing the best brands of clothes, driving the flashiest cars and indulging in the finest food and wine – and he’s even paid for it or, at the very least, it’s free.
All the 33-year-old has to do is promote various brands and products and post photographs and videos of his experiences on social media platforms.
Sounds easy, right? But there’s a lot more to it than that, the Whangārei resident reckons.
“You’ve got to hustle to make sure you’re relevant, and keep up with the trends.
“It’s exhausting; like anything you’re always planning your next thing, you’re always on the go.
“It’s pretty tiring travelling all the time. Travelling is exhausting if you’re shooting content.
“It’s an awesome lifestyle, being able to get around and do what you like.
“But it’s like anything, you’ve got to put in the hours.”
Boyt prefers to use the job title “travel content creator” over “influencer”, which has taken off with the rise of social media, particularly Instagram, which people use to connect, share photos and market brands and, most importantly, themselves.
Under the name travelphotoskiwi, Boyt has clocked up tens of thousands of followers on social media channels, posting photos and video promoting brands, hotels and tour companies.
He and fiancée Ayeesha Taylor – known as Aysh – and friend Daniel MacKinnon – known as D. Mack – who are both from Auckland, travel with him to far-flung places as well as around Aotearoa.
Boyt says that, while some jobs are paid, others are an “exchange” for free items and experiences.
Like the 90-day trip to Africa, where he shot content for a tour company in various places from Nairobi to Cape Town, without having to open his wallet.
Boyt’s Instagram page is filled with stunning photos and videos. He also uses TikTok and, to a lesser extent, YouTube.
There are shots of giraffes, gorillas, a Masai elder and lions from that free tour to Africa, of Boyt dog-sledding in New Zealand and photos of him and Taylor having limitless fun in the Philippines, Bali, Europe, Australia, Peru and Egypt.
“It’s crazy, it’s fun, and it’s busy; I never know what’s going to happen,” he says.
“I’ve been doing it so long my friends are used to it. They just ask where are you off to next?
“I always love getting away.”
Boyt began his dream lifestyle in 2015, after working as a personal trainer and deckhand on superyachts in Sardinia.
He left home at 18 and found himself a constant traveller, first going to Australia, where he did “odd jobs” and started taking photos.
His move into content-creating was an obvious step.
“When Instagram came out, I started posting a few travel photos. Then I had people reach out, travel tour groups asking if I was a travel photographer.
“I was like oh yeah, and they sent me off to photograph their content.
“Egypt and Jordan was my first trip, then Contiki reached out and I did an Aussie one, and it went from there.”
Since then, Boyt has been working with all sorts of brands, including Hallensteins men’s clothing and Oppo technology, along with hotels, rental cars and tourism operators.
He has travelled to about 70 countries and now works with an agent, coming up with creative ideas for campaigns and enjoying “a lot of creative freedom”.
His highlights are pretty much everything about his job: creating video, getting to go on hikes, enjoying sunsets and sunrises and witnessing a live volcano in Iceland with his father.
“I love travelling in the first place, that’s my passion.
“For 10 years after I left home I didn’t live in the same place longer than three months.
“I love photography and I learned about video. It’s all just hobbies and passions I like doing anyway.”
Boyt – who became a familiar sight on New Zealand TV screens during the series Bachelorette in 2021 – has also teamed up with Taylor to take photographs and video at weddings.
Through their website Ash & Hamish Weddings, the media-savvy duo offer packages to couples around Northland and throughout New Zealand.
Whether it’s content creation or weddings, they travel with a lot of gear: four cameras, eight lenses, four drones and sound equipment for weddings, and a camera, drone and phone for content.
The couple recently returned from Turkey, where they promoted Oppo at the European Champions League football final.
During the same trip, they visited Spain, Morocco, Portugal and London. They also spent time in Italy, where they checked out a castle in Tuscany that they plan to use as their wedding venue, pegged for next June, after a romantic proposal from Boyt, also in Italy.
But it’s not all fun and games, he says.
There is also the mental toll and, as with any travel, there is always an element of risk.
“When I travel a long time, I get anxiety from being on the go a lot. I notice it when I get home – when I’m not so busy I don’t have it.”
Then there was the time the couple were robbed of $40,000 worth of gear in Pisa, Italy.
They had picked up a rental car and were on their way to their accommodation. “It was night-time and we were hungry, so we pulled over to get something to eat, grabbed a kebab and walked back … the car was cleaned out in that short space of time.”
When he eventually tires of travelling, Boyt wants to build Airbnb accommodation in New Zealand, drawing on his experiences of staying in inspiring places around the world.
He is currently saving to build the first of many.
Until then, he plans to keep packing his bags and camera gear to seek out the most pristine beaches and climb craggy mountain peaks to view the best sunsets.
His advice for anyone wanting to be a content creator or influencer is to “find something you’re passionate about and keep at it”.
“If you’re authentically into something and show it online, trial a few things, show your personality and see what’s working and go for it.
“Don’t expect to make heaps of money straight away. I’ve been doing it for quite a few years now, and still have my other job [weddings].”
Sharing the love
Influencers, or content creators, use their strong social media presence to promote and endorse brands and products.
They are paid by companies to share their lives with their followers, using various social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and TikTok.
They influence potential buyers into purchasing these products, services or experiences.
Jenny Ling is a news reporter and features writer for the Northern Advocate. She has a special interest in roading, health, business and animal welfare issues.