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Erin Sullivan ’12

Erin Sullivan ’12 (BALA, visual arts, and environmental studies) is a travel photographer, writer, and adventure guide who has gained a significant social media following of photography enthusiasts, world travelers, and those just searching for a little encouragement.

Sullivan didn’t discover the outdoors until she was 18 and became a summer camp counselor. She then spent a summer in the National Outdoor Leadership School pushing herself way outside her comfort zone.

Not wanting to douse her love of photography by focusing solely on it as a career path, she created her own major here in the BALA program—BA in Liberal Arts—that allowed her to combine Visual Arts and Environmental Studies. “I uncovered the importance of intersectionality in all things. I’ve been obsessed with the combination of art and science ever since,” says Sullivan.

After graduation, she followed her curiosity and yearning to travel to lead teens on adventure trips all over the world.

She’s carved an unconventional path, living her dream—out of backpacks—and she’s now a freelance adventurer. She’s gained a following for inspirational blog posts about her adventures, and her journey. Her Instagram followers currently top 224k (@ErinOutdoors).

She purchased her first Sony camera in 2016, then took it on the road in 2017, when she switched gears, dropped all of her side gigs and focused entirely on blogging and photography. Sony noticed and she was invited to be a member of the SONY Alpha Imaging Collective.

Since then she’s delivered a TED Talk and hosted a mini-series with REI. The pandemic forced a new tack that brought a completely new audience. She created miniature outdoor scenes with items around the house tagged #thegreatindoors that went viral. Her photos of miniatures have appeared in commercials for Toyota, Chevrolet, Sonic, Polartec, and more.

Read more in a PURCHASE magazine feature story.

Here’s a story about how she harnessed her creativity during the pandemic on CBS Sunday Morning.