By Jacqueline Gifford
December 15, 2016

On New Year’s Eve, 2012, Lauren Bath was working as a chef on the Gold Coast, Australia, when she had a particularly rough night at work. Two days later, she decided to quit her job and follow her passion for photography, a skill she had been practicing and perfecting on Instagram over the past year. Today, with 461,000 followers and counting, Bath is one of the most sought after social media influencers in the business, having traveled to countries as varied as Oman, Finland, Canada, and Argentina to work on campaigns for hotels and tourism boards. (You can follow her @laurenepbath.) “Traveling changes you fundamentally,” she says. “It makes you more accepting of other people, it helps you understand other cultures. There’s not even a piece of me that has any prejudice anymore. You can’t learn that sort of thing—you have to experience it.” Here, Bath shares more about her journey to becoming a social media star.

Related: Bath has made a successful career out of traveling the world shooting beautiful landscapes and architecturally-rich cities. Here are some of her stunning images.

Related: Want to perfect your own Instagram and photography skills? Follow these simple dos and don’t to get expert shots of people, architecture, landscapes, and food.

Related: A host of new photo-focused trips place travelers alongside expert and educators in the world’s most appealing classrooms. So if you’re looking to take a dream vacation—and pick up some valuable photography skills while doing so—these scenic adventures may be just the ticket.