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Behind The Lens Of A "Beautiful Destinations" Creator

February 16, 2018



If you have Instagram, if you’re a #Wonderluster, or if you’ve ever heard of the millennial buzzword “travel”, then I bet you’ve stumbled onto a Beautiful Destinations photo at least once.


For those 11 people who don’t know what Beautiful Destinations is, it’s “the award-winning creative agency behind the largest travel community on social media.”


In other words, dope ass photos from around the world, brought to you by some of the best creators out there.


So far, the BD brand commands nearly 14 million combined followers across Instagram alone. That’s 135x the number of people who will watch the Patriots choke in the Super Bowl this year #GoPhilly.


We tracked down Sage Stephens, one of only FIVE content creators in BD, and found out what life is like for one of the most sought after photo/video jobs on social media today.


“I’m expected to turn out fresh, unique, and inspiring content,” Sage describes his creative energy. “Sometimes I feel like people are under the impression that we have this unending tap of creativity that flows from us at all times. Well, that’s not true. To combat those creative blocks, I try to put myself in situations where I’ll feel inspired.”


I guess he jumps creative hurdles with Taylor Swift karaoke sessions, too. Maybe not.


Photo by Sage Stephens



“I’ll change up my habits, listen to new music, take a different route to work, travel to a new country with new friends, or anything that will shake up the whole creative process.”


Wait a second; did a lead content creator at BD just admit that the key to flowing creativity is changing routine?


“I don’t really have a set routine,” Sage agrees, “it’s very tough to have a routine when you are traveling non-stop. But to form new routines and break out of routines, I’ve always been appreciative to have friends to hold me accountable. Self-discipline is important, but having people to provide that extra level of encouragement or motivation is nice.”


Yeah, having motivation from friends works great as long as you have friends. I guess it’s easier when you’re pumping out gloriously colored photos of Greece and England in the same week.


All jokes aside, routine is for the birds. Which are typically added into a lot of these BD sunset photos. Looking at you, #TaylorCutBirds


Photo by Sage Stephens



“I like to be spontaneous!” Sage is winning us over with the “s” word, “my whole life seems to be unpredictable. I have a degree in social work, so that fact that I’m a content creator for Beautiful Destinations is pretty unpredictable in itself. Who knows what tomorrow holds for me?”


Gonna take a wild guess here, but probably a shit ton of travel, Sage. And probably a good move passing up social work for world travel. But we gotta know if you’re bouncing from country to country, are the energy levels limited at all?


“I make sure that I make time for myself and my own emotional and physical health,” he says with a focus on happiness. “What is the point of all of this if I’m not healthy? I usually spend an hour every day investing into my own wellbeing. That can be anything from watching Netflix, to working out, or reading a good book. I’ve found that I’m a more energized person if I can take a little bit of time for myself everyday.”


Photo by Sage Stephens


Alright, kids. That hour of Netflix binging you do has just been justified. But for the rest of the time, what should we do if we hope to someday join Sage on an epic adventure?


“Be unique — one of my favorite sayings (I don’t recall its origin): Be yourself, because everyone else is already taken.


Work tirelessly — there are a LOT of people out there that have the same goal as you, and I bet a lot of them have committed their entire lives to achieving it. You’ll need to work to stand out.


Dream BIG! — Do what everyone else thinks is crazy. Set crazy goals. And do something every day to bring yourself closer to achieving that goal. They key here is setting a big goal and many other ‘stepping stone’ goals along the way.”


So maybe work hard, dream big, and be yourself, and you’ll be driving a Ferrari in no time?


“Happiness shouldn’t be rooted in material things,” well, now the Ferrari comment is awkward. “I’ve always known that, but some of the happiest people I’ve met in my travels have really demonstrated that you don’t need to own much to be absolutely filled with joy. It really comes down to community and relationships. I’ve been to many remote villages in Indonesia, Laos, India, and even rural America; and I’m always blown away with how much more joyful those people are in comparison to those who “have it all” in big first world cities (especially America).”


I guess the happiest people aren’t in Beverly Hills, like we originally thought. So if Beverly isn’t the epicenter of euphoric joy, where do we go?


Sage decided that the best place for beauty would be Indonesia. “It has everything — volcanoes, waterfalls, beautiful diving, culture, and many other crazy dramatic landscapes.”


As for meeting people, he says India is the move. “Some of the warmest and kindest people I’ve met were in India. During my 6 weeks there, I was in love with the culture and people.”


And that pretty girl you swiped right on? It’s the sequenced outfits; we understand.


Photo by Sage Stephens


Whether you’re traveling to meet amazing people, snap a photo worth 11K likes, or shooting video for the BD team, there’s one key takeaway Sage left us with:


“I need to challenge myself to think differently and creatively. Being unpredictable is a key element in my own wellbeing.”


Hard RT on that, Sage. We’ll bring you along to our next unpredictable adventure if you bring us to your next beautiful destination?


BTW, choosing our favorite photos for this feature was literally impossible.




You can follow Sage Stephens on:

Instagram (@storyofsage)

Facebook: Sage Stephens



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