A chance encounter on Miami Beach sparked new love and a life of exploration for Jeremy Austin and Angie Villa. It was 2015, and Villa was practicing acroyoga with friends when Austin decided to jump in and show off his handstand skills. “We just clicked,” recalls Villa. Little did they know they would soon become the ultimate in #couplegoals among travel influencers.
Both Austin and Villa were initially focused on building online followings centered around fitness and working out. Little by little, however, they started traveling. First, they spent Villa’s birthday in the Dominican Republic, which marked Austin’s first trip outside of the United States.
“From there on, we decided that we were going to try and travel as much as we could,” she says. They stopped spending carelessly in Miami and continued doing small-scale trips, like a cruise or a jaunt to the Bahamas. Austin got rid of his car, they downsized, and saved up. “In the beginning, we were funding all of our own trips,” says Austin. They’d shoot content using a GoPro and their camera phones, and began posting their new foray into travel influencing.
Although they had an already established (and devoted) social media following for their fitness content, the couple noticed that their travel adventures were picking up even more likes and follows. Soon, they began grabbing the attention of brands in the luxury lifestyle travel realm. Media invites and collabs followed, paving the way for the duo to become full-blown travel influencers by 2016.
“There was no one within the luxury travel space, so we were really at the forefront. Our eyes were on that only; like, ‘How can we make this a life for us?’” says Austin. “It was kind of just a dream at that time until we started to see that we could make this into a career.”
Today, the couple has amassed more than 1 million followers with their combined Instagram accounts (with more fans to boot on TikTok). They post original content daily from some of the most far-flung locales and dreamy destinations in the world, and their media company produces professional photography, videography, and content campaigns for exclusive resorts.
They’ve traveled everywhere from the Maldives and Namibia to Mykonos and the Galápagos Islands and countless other idyllic spots (including some you’ve probably never even heard of). “The main thing that really separates us is our consistency in the space,” says Austin. “We’re traveling, we’re seeing new locations, we’re bringing new, fresh content from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. It doesn’t stop.”
But it did stop during the COVID-19 pandemic, as lockdowns rippled across the globe in the first half of 2020. Villa and Austin were in the middle of a shoot in the Maldives when they got word about a full ban on interisland travel for tourists and locals. They were forced to move their departure date to almost three weeks later; once the ban was lifted, they arrived safely back in Miami. Still, their work continued, hosting live online chats with travel creators and compiling a comprehensive travel guide to the Maldives, among other pursuits.
Since the couple now receives constant invites to collab, they’ve had to become seriously selective about who they partner with. “I think the main thing for us is content opportunities,” says Austin. “We’re always trying to step up our game and continuously provide new locations that no one has seen, because it has a lot more likelihood to go viral, to catch attention, to grab exposure.”
Although each day brings with it new challenges and inspiration, their mornings typically start with Austin awake at sunrise, usually flying his drone and gathering content. If conditions are in their favor, they’ll set up an early shoot then break to have a quick bite or hit the gym. More shooting ensues throughout the day before it’s time to edit at night. “Sometimes we’re never done because Jeremy wants to shoot everything again and again,” Villa says with a laugh.
Austin and Villa have garnered such a devout following that they’ve created their own line of photo presets and launched a first-of-its-kind luxury travel master class dubbed “The Creator Retreat,” teaching subjects such as content creation and how to pitch to brands. And their participants are not just travel influencers; Austin and Villa say they’ve helped everyone from Google executives to designers reach their goals of becoming better marketers and photographers.
“It’s a unique way for us to bridge the gap with our audience,” says Austin. Adds Villa: “It’s everything we’ve learned in six years, putting it down in five intense nights of knowledge.”
The couple, who got engaged in 2020 during a trip to Bora Bora (Austin surprised Villa during a photo shoot at the Four Seasons), spends most of their time traveling. But in between their nomadic pursuits, they find solace at their home in South Florida.
“We feel very lucky to be living here in Miami,” says Villa. “I feel like we take a lot for granted. That’s why we also tell people—especially [Americans]—to travel because they will come home and appreciate it so much more.”
This summer, the couple is planning a jaunt to Greece to host another creator retreat; then they’re off to Vietnam and Cambodia, which will mark a first for both Austin and Villa.
At the end of the day, the couple always makes time to reflect on what has gotten them to this point: spirituality and gratitude. “Before we were anything we would say, ‘I work with the best resorts in the world. I travel to the top destinations.’ …We would write and journal it down,” Austin says of their manifesting practices. “All of that to just rewire our minds and program ourselves to think beyond ourselves. There’s no secret sauce; we built this ourselves with our belief and our work.”
Instagram and TikTok: @jeremyaustiin
Gear Go-to: “We’re team Sony.”
Camera: Sony A1
Drone: DJI Mavic III Cine
Memorable trip: “One of my favorite trips was last year to Africa. It was absolutely incredible. I’m hooked on Africa—I want to go back every year. We’re going back in October. Being on safari, seeing the animals, the lions, the giraffes…it was such a memorable trip because you’re in a childlike state because you’re seeing all these animals that you only saw in National Geographic, and it’s so fun.”
Instagram and TikTok: @missangievilla
Memorable trip: “I think our first Maldives trip. we were having so much fun and we were so hungry to grow and so hungry to create content that it didn’t even feel like work. I remember it as this beautiful, gorgeous destination, [and] we had never seen anything like [it] before.”
Can’t travel without: “OSEA Undaria Algae Body Oil. I love putting it on to look smooth and glamorous for our shoots.”