Erika Wiggins came to photog- raphy by way of a real estate li- cense. As a single mom running her own commercial real estate business in Orlando, Florida,
in the 2000s, she realized that in order to
sell properties, she needed great imagery. It
seemed a shame to hire someone else to take
photographs to promote her properties when
she could just do it herself. Around the same
time, to escape the stress of her day job, she
began The Active Explorer, a travel adventure
blog. For that, too, she needed great imagery.
So she picked up a camera, and never looked
back. “I completely fell in love with the art and
craft of photography,” she says.
She found that photographs were able to
convey the wonder of the places where she
traveled; they filled the gaps where words
failed. She filled her blog with tales of treks
around the world, from the canyons in the
kingdom of Jordan to the peaks of Zion
National Park in Utah, and always illustrated
them with photographs. She gained loyal
readers not only by writing about herself, but
also by offering tips to aspiring adventure
travelers and reviewing cameras and gear.
Before long, her writing began getting
picked up by publications such as Forbes and
The Huffington Post. Editors at these publica-
tions wanted photographs as well. “No pub-
lisher wants to source separate imagery,” she
says. To improve her craft, she enrolled in a
photography program in the Crealdé School
of Art in 2011.
In January 2013, she traveled to Brighton
Resort in Utah to write a post on learning how
to ski after 40 for her blog. “I loved it,” she says
of both skiing and the region. “I went back to
Florida and packed my bags.” Newly located
in Salt Lake City, she was approached by Ski
Utah, a tourism board, which had come upon
her blog by word of mouth. Although she
was only a novice skier, they liked her work
so much that they hired her as a permanent
blogger under the moniker “Snow Travelista.”
The content she produces for them is diverse,
and includes reviews of resorts, female-cen-tric hiking advice and round ups of the best
things to do while on a ski vacation in Utah.
Working for Ski Utah for the past four years
has allowed Wiggins to grow as a photographer. “Ski Utah told me, ‘ You know your stuff
isn’t cutting it,’” she laughs of her early work.
Rather than discouraging her, the criticism
compelled her to improve her skills further.
Now, she frequently adds videos to her stories. She also has improved her action photography.
Although her online presence would suggest otherwise, blogging is merely something
Wiggins does in her spare time. She continues to manage real estate businesses in both
Orlando and Salt Lake City, where she’s primarily based.
The best part about living in Salt Lake City,
she says, is that she no longer has to travel to
seek out adventure. “I found out really quickly
that I enjoy being at home, and only traveling
some,” she says. “In Florida, I was traveling to
the adventure rather than coming home to
the adventure. In Salt Lake City, it’s right in
ERIKA WIGGINS TAKES ON THE WORLD IN HER SPARE TIME.
A H The Part-Time Adventurer
By BRIENNE WALSH
THIS PAGE: A cliffside view at Rummana Camp, Jordan (left) and
a sunset ride in Jordanian desert (above); snow play in Park
City, Utah (below).