interview with travel blogger Lauren Juliff

As many of you may know, my dream career is to become some form of travel writer - be it blogger, journalist or columnist - and so I'm constantly trying to find out more about this fairytale lifestyle. I spend a lot of time reading National Geographic Traveller and checking out cheap flights to Japan and Brazil, and, of course, stalking amazing blogs like Neverending Footsteps. So when I contacted Lauren Juliff and practically begged for an interview, and she agreed, I was overjoyed. Finally, those little niggling questions about travel blogging could be answered - and shared on this here blog.

Again, thank you to Lauren for letting me conduct this interview in the first place, it's so, so awesome that you agreed.

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Have you always wanted to travel? -

- I think so. I often tell the story of heading off on holiday with my family at around age five and having the most miserable week of my life. We were staying in a caravan on the British coast and it rained continuously, and all we did was argue. The night before we were due to head home, I burst into tears because I didn’t want to leave. I’d had one of the most miserable experiences of my life, but I still wanted to be away from home. 

That pretty much continued throughout my life. I’d spend all year counting down the days until I could go away, and then spend my holiday profoundly depressed that I’d have to head home in two weeks. I should have realised then that long-term travel was something I probably wouldn’t be able to avoid. 

<br/><a href="http://oi49.tinypic.com/o0vskg.jpg" target="_blank">View Raw Image</a>

How did you originally afford your travels? How do you continuously fund them now? -


- I decided I wanted to travel at around the time I went to college. I saved for those four or five years that I studied, cramming in odd jobs around my studies and severely restricting my spending. When my boyfriend and I broke up, I used that as an excuse to move back in with my parents so that I could save even more money! In the six months before I left the UK, I tried to sell as much as what I owned as possible. So, short answer: sold everything I owned; worked as much as possible; didn’t buy myself many treats. 

Now my travels are funded through a combination of advertising and affiliate sales on Never Ending Footsteps and freelance travel writing and editing. I’m also going to be releasing my first book in the summer: a travel memoir titled How Not to Travel the World.

How important were grades and qualifications in finding work abroad and being able to fund your travels? -

- They had zero importance. I have a masters degree in physics, and it does absolutely nothing to help my career as a travel blogger. 

How do you budget your funds whilst travelling? - 

- I’m a terrible budgeter! At the end of each month, I’ll tally up my expenses to include in my monthly travel statistics posts, and take a look at my bank balance to see if I made a profit or loss. If it’s a loss, I’ll be more careful with my spending for the next month — less extravagant meals and alcohol — until I start pulling a profit again. I’m pretty laid back about it all.

How do you cope with your anxiety on the road? Have you ever had any problems? Have you got any advice for potential travellers who may relate to what you have coped with? -

- I’m fortunate in that travel has significantly helped with my anxiety — I now know that my anxiety disorder stems from feeling like I have a lack of control in my life, and through travel I have so much control over my life. I can choose to go wherever I want whenever I want, which keeps my anxiety in track. Additionally, travel forces your out of your comfort zone whether you like it or not, which is great for overcoming anxiety. I found that I soon stopped worrying about possible outcomes after several dozen times spent leaving my comfort zone and not dying. 

There have been a few times where I’ve found myself having a panic attack in a foreign country, and I always take steps to place myself firmly in my comfort zone until it passes. I’ll book a private room in a hostel instead of a dorm, I’ll buy junk food from a supermarket to eat, and I’ll lie in bed and watch crappy TV until I feel better. I mostly just wallow in self-pity for a few days. 

If you’re concerned about dealing with anxiety on the road, there are a few things I advise. Create a backup plan. Mine is similar to what I mentioned above: if anything goes wrong, take a few days out to focus on myself for a while. Remind yourself that home is only a plane ride away — even if you’re travelling somewhere far away, like in New Zealand, there’s nothing stopping you from going to the airport and flying home. You’ll rarely be more than 24 hours away. Make sure to force yourself out of your comfort zone every now and then: it’s so important for helping you see that anxiety doesn’t rule your life, and it can be exhilarating to overcome a fear.

With your anxiety, how difficult was it for you to interact and converse with other travellers? -

- I don’t really have any problems with interacting and hanging out with other travellers, aside from being introverted and needing alone time every now and then. My anxiety isn’t something that massively affects the social side of things.

Do your travels rotate around some kind of plan? -

- Yes and no. I usually decide on a region I want to spend the year in and then I’ll make it up as I go along. I rarely book more than a month in advance and I always change my mind. This year, I’m planning on spending the whole year in Europe. Aside from leaving Spain in May, I have no further plans. I’m keen to get to France, the Netherlands, and Slovenia, but I won’t book flights or accommodation until a few days in advance. 

Last year, I planned on spending the whole year in Latin America, but after three months, I booked a flight to Southeast Asia because I was missing it so much. So, I make plans because I find it enjoyable, but I don’t often stick to them!

Would you say that you have forfeited the ‘American dream’? Do you think that you will ever stop travelling and ‘settle down’? -

- I’m not American, so no :-) 

I don’t have any plans at the moment to stop travelling and settle down. I’m currently living in Spain for four months as a bit of an experiment with my boyfriend to see if we’re ready to stop moving and buy a house. It’s been about two months and we already have itchy feet! I could see us travelling much slower in the future, visiting cities for a month at a time instead of a few days, but no plans to stop travelling at the moment!

You have mentioned on Never Ending Footsteps that you will be publishing your own novel in the Summer of 2015. Could you tell us a little more about that? -

- Yes! My book is a travel memoir called How Not to Travel the World. I’m one of the unluckiest travellers in the world — I’ve been attacked, robbed, and scammed, been caught up in a tsunami, had a boat sink with me on board, accidentally ate a cockroach, the list goes on… — and my book is about how I managed to conquer debilitating anxiety through having these terrible things happen to me. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone, finding the humour in messed up situations, and I even find love along the way! 

How do you manage to travel 95% of the time with your boyfriend? What does he do to fund his travels? -

- I met Dave through our travel blogs, and he funds his travels in a similar way to mine. He runs the travel technology resource site Too Many Adapters, and does quite a bit of freelance writing, too. 

What was the first country that you wanted to travel to and why? (If you’ve travelled there, did it live up to your expectations?) -

- When I was a child, I decided I wanted to travel to Hawaii because I liked the name. I managed to travel there when I was 20 and I loved it. It more than lived up to expectations, especially because I didn’t have any :-)

In your opinion, what’s the perfect age for someone to start life-long travel? Is there such thing as being “too young”? -

- An age at which you can understand the world around you and process your experiences. 

How vital is common sense whilst travelling? -

- Well, I don’t have common sense and I seem to doing just fine. I definitely would have had a more successful trip had I had common sense, but it’s never stopped me from doing anything. 

How do you maintain your blog? Have you got any advice for others hoping to start up their own? -

- At the moment, poorly :-). I’ve been swamped with book writing over the past year and I’ve rarely posted more than once a month. The funny thing is that my traffic is higher than ever!

My advice would be to start a travel blog without the aim of making money. It’s incredibly tough to make money from one, and if you don’t love writing, you’ll struggle to keep up the momentum. Try and find a unique angle to set you apart from the thousands of travel blogs that are out there. I’m one of the few people to write about how not to travel. Write for your readers rather than Google — nobody wants to read a post about things to do in London but they will want to hear about your experiences, if you make them sound interesting! Inject personality into your posts and don’t try and sound like an emotionless writer — people want to connect with you as a person.

Lauren at the Grand Canyon

How long did you originally plan to travel for? What made you change those plans? -

- I thought I’d probably travel for six months to a year, head to Australia and New Zealand on working holiday visas, and then travel some more… I didn’t really plan for a fixed amount of time. 

After six months of travel, I was having so much fun in Southeast Asia, that the thought of going to Australia was utterly depressing. I cancelled my visa, and started visiting wherever I wanted.

Is there a certain thing that you always do on your travels? -

- I sleep through every transportation day. I suffer from motion sickness and drug myself up whenever I need to take any form of transport. 

What sort of person do you think you were before you began to travel? What sort of person are you now? -

- I was selfish, self-absorbed, and lived a sheltered life. I’d like to think I’m the complete opposite now!

How different do you think your life would have been if you hadn’t taken up travel as a career - e.g. if you spent most of your days working from within an office cubicle? -

- I would have probably gone on to do a PhD in physics, so I’d likely be spending my days sat in front of my computer for hours on end. Not so dissimilar to what I do now, if I’m being honest. I don’t necessarily think my life would have been awful if I hadn’t left to travel. I’m an optimistic person and was incredibly happy working in a supermarket and studying physics. 

Have you had any experience with couch surfing, house sitting and teaching English abroad? -

- Nope, I haven’t tried any of them. 

What’s the worst experience you’ve had whilst travelling? What’s the best? -

- Worst experience was thinking I was going to be killed by a tsunami. I was in Phuket Airport when there was an announcement that a tsunami was heading our way and we needed to evacuate. I was terrified. Fortunately, it came to nothing, but it’s probably the most convinced I’ve ever been that I was going to die. 

Best experience would be the night I spent camping in the Sahara Desert. It was incredible riding camels over sand dunes, watching the sunset and sunrise, and sleeping beneath the Milky Way.

How difficult would you say jobs are to come by whilst travelling? -

- I have no experience with finding a job while travelling. Some of my backpacker friends haven’t seemed to have too much trouble finding work at hostels or in bars, though. 

What was your worst fear about travelling before you left? Has that changed? -

- I didn’t really have one specific fear — I was frightened of everything. I was scared of rice and eggs, I was scared of buses, I was scared I’d be raped, I was scared I’d be murdered, I was scared I’d miss my flight, I was scared I wouldn’t make friends, I was scared I wouldn’t be strong enough to carry my backpack, I was scared I’d have a panic attack abroad, I was scared I’d hate travelling, I was scared I’d be lonely. 

I don’t really think I’m scared of much now. Nothing comes to mind, anyway. 

What’s your best travel advice? -

- Push yourself to do something new that you’d never normally do at home. Getting out of your comfort zone feels incredible! 

Lauren at Rotorua in New Zealand

~*~

This interview was super fun to conduct, and I'm so glad that Lauren gave me the chance to do it in the first place. I think that it's incredibly important to find out more about our role models and understand their take on things - especially when it comes to experiences, advice and ideas. I enjoyed learning more about travel blogging as a whole, and I hope you guys enjoyed too. Let me know in the comments below, and, as always, have a good day y'all!

82 comments:

  1. Very cool post and cool girl!
    I'd love to travel around the around and I'd like to start here in Latin America.
    But first I need to turn 18 ...so I got to wait one more year hahaha.
    iBesos!
    Izabel

    vintageiz.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much Iza! Latin America is one of the places I reallyyy want to travel to, so lucky you to already be one step ahead aha c:

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  2. That's wonderful that Lauren has the opportunity to travel around the world, and that she has managed to cope with anxiety :) Really enjoyed reading about her adventures.

    & Amy, I hope you're able to reach your dream career and become a travel writer, that would be amazing! :)

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    Replies
    1. It really was so awesome for her to let me interview her c: Thank you dude, it would be aha.

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  3. What a lovely interview! It is super inspiring ♥
    Amy xx

    Perfect Imperfections

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  4. Really nice and cool Idea! What a great interview!

    xoxo Colli von TOBEYOUTIFUL

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  5. Lovely post!
    I'd love it if you could maybe check my blog! <3
    Kisses,
    frompeonies.blogspot.com

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  6. Super post, I love posts like this. :) What if we follow each other? Let me know, sweetie!

    Simona | liveinfoxworld.blogspot.com

    ....

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  7. Love this! ♥
    You are making me jealous, pretty!

    adoorablee.blogspot.com

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  8. love it :-) looking for the blog of Lauren right now!

    http://latravelera.blogspot.com

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  9. Great idea!
    Really interesting interview!
    xx

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  10. beautiful idea my darling
    I wish you an happy day
    <<< fashion blogger Pamela Soluri >>>
    kiss

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  11. that's so awesome!! i would love to be a paid travel blogger one day!!! :D

    Animated Confessions

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's just the ultimate dream job, right?!

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  12. this interview is very interesting. Last photo is stunning and travelling is definitely a great part of life
    xxx
    mari
    www.ilovegreeninspiration.com

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    1. I totally agree with you there Mari, no better way to learn about the world than to experience it c:

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  13. Looks nice :)

    Xx

    http://www.featherdressy.blogspot.com

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  14. Replies
    1. Thank you, and travelling is one of the best things aha.

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  15. Really wonderful interview Amy-Anne. As someone who also suffers from anxiety, I really admire her ability to overcome her fears and continually push her comfort zone.

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    1. Thank you. I wasn't aware of that, thanks for sharing - I totally agree.

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  16. Wow, I'm so jealous of her lifestyle! I love my home comfort though so it would be hard, but what an amazing way to live!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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    1. Aha I know right! Totally agree with you there ^^

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  17. This post is amazing! I've always loved to travel and this is so inspiring. And those pictures! Great post for sure Amy!!

    Xoxo. Alexis
    Lexi Swoons

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Lexi! Inspiring is one thing it definitely is, I was so happy to interview her!

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  18. Oh wow!! Wish I was that adventurous. I'm such an introvert and getting out of my comfort zone gets me anxiety attacks.

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    1. I'm also an introvert, but I find my wanderlust takes over when I go travelling aha.

      Amy;
      Little Moon Elephant

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  19. Wow, this is very interesting! ♥

    http://nastyadeutsch.blogspot.ru/

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  20. What an interesting interview to read through! I love that her degree didn't necessarily lead directly to her current career of travel blogging as it shows that anything in life can happen and what could be more exciting and refreshing than that?! I will be sure to visit her blog :)

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice

    x

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    Replies
    1. I know right, definitely a fact I'm glad to know of aha. It really does, I found it crazy inspiring! ^^ And awesome!

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  21. such a great post to share with all of us
    I'm sure there are more stories to tell if we have the chance to meet her in person

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    1. Of course, I believe that travel would give someone endless stories to tell ^^

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  22. Aw nice interview! I love this girl, amazing pictures! Great post!
    xx
    cvetybaby.com

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  23. Really good and inspiring post! You did a great job interviewing Lauren, and now I really want to travel, haha!

    There’s a giveaway on my blog right now, make sure you check it out!
    Hugs from Denmark x
    Mathilde | MATHILDE JULIE

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much dude! And awh yay, I'm glad about that aha c:

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  24. Oh this is so amazing !!!! I can't believe :O
    Travelling is my biggest passion, I adore it more than anything and have the same problems - crying when I have to go home :(
    You're such a lucky person cuz you have so much opportunities to travel <3

    New post with Zorannah !
    Visit if you like, I'd be thankful :) xoxo

    http://neellzzstyle.blogspot.com/

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    1. Aha, it totally is ^^ Same right here girl, the wanderlust is baaad aha. And one day ><

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  25. Heeey sweetheart!
    I love your blog and am following.
    I am Brazilian and I invite you to meet my space!
    XOXO :*

    Instagram: tamiya343 and Twitter: @ cat_343

    http://www.makedamotociclista.blogspot.com.br

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  26. Heeey sweetheart!
    I love your blog and am following.
    I am Brazilian and I invite you to meet my space!
    XOXO :*

    Instagram: tamiya343 and Twitter: @ cat_343

    http://www.makedamotociclista.blogspot.com.br

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  27. Such a wonderful Interview!!! Ive always wanted to run away from Malaysia and start travelling alone to random city.... But Im still afraid of everything... especially the staying alone in the Hotel room part... Maybe one day... maybe....

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    1. Thank you so much. I'd love to just run away to a random city aha, one day! To be honest with you I'd probably fear the part where I'd have to stay alone in a hotel room, too many horror movies I guess ><

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  28. Nice post, I really love your photos!
    xx

    http://losaway.blogspot.com

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  29. Really lovely post, was really interesting to read so thank you for sharing!

    I have a new outfit post up on the blog, would love to know your thoughts:

    * Electric Sunrise - Fashion and Lifestyle Blog *

    x

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    Replies
    1. It was super interesting to actually conduct this interview! And sure ^^

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  30. great :) love your blog :) have a nice day :)

    http://www.itsmetijana.blogspot.com/

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  31. great post my dear! I enjoyed a lot reading it, and the pictures look amazing :D xoxo

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  32. This interview is amazing, I have a great time reading through it! Travelling blogger does seems so cool (: x

    www.birdieliau.com

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    1. Awh yay, thank you ^^ Travel blogger is the ultimate dream aha!

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  33. what an interesting interview! travel writing would be something so fun to do, i used to want to do something like that, and i suppose it's still something that i wouldn't mind doing, haha:-) x

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    1. Thank you so much Laura! That's interesting, thank you for sharing c:

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  34. love your post!!!
    check out my blog?
    http://www.xokxt.blogspot.com/

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  35. Great post

    Love Vikee
    www.slavetofashion9771.blogspot.com

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  36. I would love to be some sort of travel writer too--combining both of my passions :)
    Such an inspiring and cool interview! Loved reading it. :)

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    Replies
    1. It looks like the ultimate dream job, right! And thank you!

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  37. Very nice and informative post. Thanks for sharing.miami office cubicles

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