From Scholarships to Soaring Skies: Introducing Gabby Beckford, Travel Content Creator, Gen Z Marketing consultant, TEDx speaker, Opportunity Expert, and Founder of Packs Light. Navigating the dynamic world of travel as an Lifestyle Influencer and Solo Digital Nomad, Gabby seamlessly merges her prowess in Gen Z marketing with her passion for unearthing and seizing opportunities. From winning an astounding $20,000 in scholarship, allowing her to immerse herself in the culture of Dubai, to now gracing the stages as a TEDx speaker, Gabby’s journey is nothing short of inspirational. By the age when most people are just beginning to explore the world, Gabby has already set foot in her 31st country and is sharing her insights through Packs Light.
With features in illustrious publications such as The New York Times, Good Morning America, CNN, and Travel+Leisure, Gabby stands as a beacon of hope for young women, eager to explore the world. Her mission is to empower women to seek risk, seize opportunity, and see the world.
It’s a pleasure to know more about you! Thank you once again for your interest in sharing your story.
1. Can you share your journey of transitioning from being a Quality Engineer to becoming an Entrepreneur? What motivated this shift?
In 2016, I was a Mathematics major and had just been awarded a $20,000 scholarship to study abroad and learn a foreign language—I chose Dubai! The trip absolutely changed my life. I encountered digital nomads, young entrepreneurs, and an international community, and knew this was the lifestyle I wanted! I set a goal for myself: I would work to grow my following and, by February 2020, quit my engineering job to travel the world.
For two years, I commuted more than three hours daily and used voice-to-text to draft blog posts during my lunch breaks. My hustle began to pay off as I gained traction as an influencer. Once I began earning $1,000 – $2,000 per month, I knew it was time to quit my job and pursue entrepreneurship.
Even though the pandemic hit just days after I left my engineering role, I spent the subsequent months pitching, pivoting, and investing more into my blog and business than ever before. Within just eight months, I surpassed my annual salary from that job.
Ultimately, the shift was motivated by my abundance mindset and the confidence that I could secure a job that was both lucrative and fulfilling.
2. What inspired you to fully embrace the remote work lifestyle, and how has it impacted your work and personal life?
Having a mother who was a travel agent for 23 years and a father in active military duty for 25 years meant that I was no stranger to airports and new countries. From an early age, I understood travel as a means to learn about the world, build confidence, and also understand oneself better. In many ways, I’m not surprised I ventured into a travel-centric career, but the manner in which it manifested was beyond my predictions. After studying abroad in Dubai, my engineering job felt limiting. I yearned to see more places and experience new things. This led me to seek more work-related travel opportunities. As my blog gained momentum, I was able to leave my 9-5 job and travel full-time.
The freedom that comes with being a digital nomad is unparalleled. I dictate where I go, how long I stay, and my daily schedule. Having such control over my work and personal life, especially as a young Black woman, is a privilege I cherish.
3. As a Gen Z digital nomad, how do you balance work responsibilities with the desire to explore different locations and cultures?
Balancing work and exploration can be challenging. I recently visited Spain for a friend’s birthday and managed to completely disconnect, which is rare. My cellphone screen time decreased by 65%!
However, disconnecting from social media and from work as a travel influencer is a double-edged sword: there’s guilt for living in the moment and not recording/documenting everything for your audience to experience too. Personally, I get overwhelmed at the thought of combing through, curating, and posting contents. And there’s anxiety about missing opportunities that hit your email inbox when you are OOO.
Despite the challenges, I adore my job, life and blessings and I wouldn’t change them for the world. To maintain balance, I’ve built a competent team to handle work commitments when I’m traveling. I’ve also established passive income streams for added financial stability. Sometimes, it does mean missing out on a fun activity to meet work deadlines.
4. Congratulations on being recognized as a LinkedIn Top Voice! How has your content and engagement on LinkedIn contributed to your personal brand and professional growth?
Being named a LinkedIn Top Voice has opened up many opportunities and significantly bolstered my personal brand and professional growth. The exposure from the LinkedIn Creator Program has brought my content to a wider audience.
5. What are some valuable lessons you’ve learned from your experiences as a full-time remote worker, entrepreneur, and digital nomad that are crucial for personal and professional development?
As an entrepreneur, I’ve assumed roles I never knew existed. Whether it’s copywriting, graphic designing, or legal work—I’ve done it all. Understanding every facet of your business is crucial before delegating tasks. When your business starts scaling, building a team is vital for sustainability. Not everyone will support your journey. It’s essential to stay rooted in your “why.” Monetary gains shouldn’t be the primary motivation; focusing on your passion will lead to financial success over time.
6. What trends or changes do you anticipate in the remote work landscape, especially for Gen Z professionals and digital nomads?
It’s disheartening to see companies pushing employees back to the office despite the proven benefits of remote work. For Gen Z, I foresee a continued challenge to the status quo, with a preference for passion over paycheck. As for digital nomads, taxations and local regulations will likely evolve, creating a more standardized and ethical framework for this lifestyle.
7. Lastly, are there specific projects, collaborations, or initiatives you’re currently working on that you’d like to share with our audience?
I’m presently collaborating with Intrepid Travel as their year-long ambassador. Additionally, I’ll be awarding the second Packs Light Travel Grant this fall. For those interested in an exceptional travel opportunity, I invite them to sign up for my Sunday Paid Travel Opportunities (PTO) newsletter. Sign up here: