I’ve always had a big heart for animals. That heart has only grown fuller as I’ve traveled more and seen the amount of animals that need help around the world.
From the many stray dogs I saw roaming around Greece, to the homeless kittens in Thailand, and yes, even dogs who were rotting from the inside out in Myanmar, there is plenty of help that is needed around the world and right here at home.
I’ll be the first to say that before this year I had never volunteered at an animal shelter. And to be honest, I initially did it for selfish reasons. I was going through a difficult time in my life in Thailand, and I just wanted to feel that unconditional love that animals are so good at giving.
Last week, to my excitement, I was nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award by Amy ofGlobetrotter Guru!
How it works
The Sisterhood is a way to show appreciation of other female travel bloggers, and to connect and discover some awesome new voices in the travel blogosphere. If you’re nominated, after thanking your fellow blogger, you answer the questions they present to you. You then have the chance to nominate up to 10 other blogs and ask 10 of your own questions. Pretty cool, right?
My Questions from Amy:
1. What do you love most about Travel Blogging?
I love the freedom. Now that I’m freelancing full time, I can take off for a weekend of galavanting around the Pacific Northwest if I want. I also love sharing anecdotes and keeping friends, family, and readers up to date in the form of a story. I love to write, be free, and travel so it has turned out to be the perfect career for me so far.
2. What drawbacks are there to travel blogging that many people don’t realise?
There’s the cliche idea that travel bloggers don’t really work, they just get to go on vacation all the time, write a few articles, and take some pretty pictures. The truth is, I’ve never worked harder in my life for a job. The pay is pretty horrible and after my 20+ hours of freelancing I use most of my free time promoting my blog on social media, planning press trips, or constructing content – all of which I don’t get paid for.
Surprisingly enough, I really enjoy being a travel blogger. It’s a career that would be hard to give up, and one that requires a lot of passion to keep at it.
3. Tell me about a place have you visited with the most diverse Wildlife?
Australia is up there in terms of the diverse range of animals that can kill you, but I think my favorite animal diversity has to come from Costa Rica. Every time I would go on a hike in the forest I would come across some exotic species I had never seen up close before. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with sloths.
4. What was the most amazing Religious Site that you have ever visited?
Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and the Bayon Temple were all remarkable in Cambodia. Dragging myself out of bed in the dark morning to take a tuk-tuk to watch the sunrise over the temples was something I’m not soon to forget. Even with the hoards of tourists, there was something special and breathtaking about such ancient sites. My favorite would have to be the Bayon Temple with all of its many faces.
5. What is the best local drink you have ever had and where?
I’m going to have to keep it close to home, and say the first time I ever tried Sculpin IPA by Ballast Point when I was at college in San Diego, my craft beer world was changed.
6. What was the most amazing train journey you have ever been on and why?
To be honest I haven’t explored that much via train travel, because it tends to be more expensive than the bus in most place I’ve been. With that said, it’s hard to beat the train ride along the Southern California coast from San Diego through San Clemente and finishing in Los Angeles.
7. Tell me about the worst ‘travel scam’ or situation while travelling that you have experienced?
I’ve been fairly lucky (knock on wood) with avoiding travel scams, but there was one time in Thailand where the majority of my cash was stolen on an overnight bus while I was sleeping. Apparently, it happens all the time, especially on the buses to and from the Full Moon Party, so make sure to watch your belongings and sleep with your valuables.
8. What is your motivation behind your travel blog?
My love of travel, simple as that. I love sharing stories and perspectives with others, of course, but that’s only possible through the passion I’ve always had for discovering new cultures.
9. Where is the next place that you will visit and why?
Well, I’m touring the Pacific Northwest at the moment with my base set in Portland. I have a trip back home to California next week (and another road trip!), a trip to Montana, Idaho, and Washington in September, and I’m flying to Florida for the TBEX Conference at the end of October.
Outside of the States, my next country will most likely be Canada.
10. How can travel bloggers earn on money on the road to sustain their nomadic lifestyle?
I just started monetizing my travel blogging lifestyle so I’m still pretty new at this, but I lucked out with right away finding two stable freelance jobs that are providing me with a fairly decent part-time income at the moment.
I’m hoping in the near future to make money in more passive ways through my blog – selling photos, writing a mini-book or E-book, perhaps a few advertisements on my blog – so that I can spend more time actually writing and traveling and less time working.
In the past, I’ve always taken on a myriad of jobs to keep my travels funded, so there’s always bartending too!
I turn a quarter of a century old tomorrow. I’m in the Oregon countryside with my family and I’m just as happy as I was when I turned 21 in San Diego, 22 in Las Vegas, 23 in Melbourne, Australia, and 24 in Wellington, New Zealand.
Funny enough, this house in the country is actually where I first started this blog. I feel like I’m exactly where I’m meant to be, my immediate future is staring at me from around the corner. That future that determines so much of how my life will go.
25 sounded so old to my teenage and younger self. To my 24 year old self I still feel young, I’m at the cusp of many an exciting endeavor, I’m also in the dark of what the next year will entail.
I decided to not go straight into an intellectually stimulating (or probably more accurate, a mind numbingly) entry level job from my college graduation.
I’ve always been a worrier, someone who doubted and second guessed things. Then I took a chance and did something I always wanted to do: I moved abroad. I did it without an idea of what job I would find to keep me afloat, with which friends I would find a new perspective, with what inspiration I would find throughout the course of my two years away from home.
And in the end, it worked out just as it was meant to. As I’ve traveled up the coast of California and Oregon for the past two months, I’ve found how much I still appreciate and love my friends I knew from college, from past travels, and the new friends I’ve met through them.
How it feels like no time has passed at all. This initial veer off the idealized path has created a domino effect in my life. My passions come back to me, knock the breath out of me, I’m in love with so many things. But that’s always how I wanted to spend my life.
To me, it shows how genuinely happy I am going into this milestone birthday, how content and even excited I am with how my life is going even though I may not know exactly what I’m doing with it, or even what I’m doing tomorrow or the next day.
All I know is that music and writing have popped up time and time again through the years, and I don’t believe in coincidence.
I want to finish a master’s degree, I want to record an album and play at open mics or on the street just for the fun of it. I want to start a stellar record collection and become even broader with my music tastes. I want to write a book, to write full time for this blog. I want to become fluent in Spanish and travel to South America, go to Argentina and learn how to properly tango.
I want to take a cross country road trip with my boyfriend in our beat up van through the States and Canada. I want to settle down in Portland for awhile. I want to teach English in Japan, and live in London just to write for a summer. I want to go to concerts constantly, and festivals as much as my bank account allows.
I want to continually learn, to grow and find out how many ways I can enjoy life in the process.
In my (almost) 25 years I’ve earned my open water scuba certification, took culinary classes in Italy, traveled to 20 countries, completely started over in 4 different cities, received my bachelor’s degree in psychology, skydived over the middle of New Zealand, traveled on my own, volunteered at music festivals in Australia, fell in love with guitar, and lived.
I’ve dealt with loss, sadness, loneliness and self doubt. I’ve gone through the spectrum of emotions and come out on the other side with a sunnier disposition and an attitude that I can face anything I put my mind to.
I don’t see why I can’t do the rest of it as well, because all of those plans I mentioned before, I truly hope to one day do.
I’m finally figuring myself out: my confidence, what I love and what I don’t, what I want and what I’m willing to do to make sure my ambitions become reality.
25 is a year to not only get things done, but to enjoy it and embrace any fears or reluctances I may have. I can only imagine it’ll just get better as I get into my late 20s. So, here’s to a quarter of a century of living, and a quarter of a century to figure out where I really want to go is where I am in the present.
As Ben Howard once wrote, “Climb out. Out enough to see the curl of the world.” I’ve taken that to heart ever since.
Snapshot memories is a new weekly series, giving a visual glimpse into different destinations and unique ways to view them. It’s also a way for me to look back on travels that occurred before and after I started this blog, and to give each place I’ve traveled the attention it deserves.
This week my memories go back to Costa Rica.
The trip that in a way started it all. My wanderlust, my insatiable need to have new travel plans and a destination in the near future at any given time. Although I wouldn’t travel again until a few years later in college, Costa Rica was the starting point of my love with the world.
I was a fairly innocent 18 year-old when I set out for my 2 week trip, traveling the country from the Caribbean coast to the Pacific coast with two of my best friends from school.
My dad had the idea that Costa Rica was too dangerous a place for his daughter of 18 to go gallivanting on her own with only two young women of the same age for company.
He was dead set again it, I wouldn’t take no for an answer. I worked countless shifts at the local movie theater in my hometown, knowing that I would be the one funding my own trip.
Even with my dad in a worrisome state of mind, I managed to still make the trip happen, showing up to the airport in the wee hours of the morning with my two other friends.
Although I knew there would be trials and tribulations, it was a much harder trip than I thought it would be. I should’ve assumed that would be the case, I had no idea what I was doing, and it was my first time jumping into the deep end of traveling with no parental guidance.
Our first morning in Costa Rica, while on a bus to Tortuguero, the first thing that popped into my mind was how incredibly GREEN Costa Rica is. Everywhere I looked was lush rainforest, life at every end of the eco system spectrum, and beautiful shades of green, green, green.
I saw baby turtles hatching in the middle of the night on the island of Tortuguero, I slept under mosquito nets, took malaria pills, and washed most of my clothing by hand.
I hitchhiked, partied in the discotecas of Puerto Viejo, and got buzzed for the first time off Smirnoff Ice. I learned what it means to be a foreign woman in Latin America, and how scary unwanted advances can be. I burst into tears at the slowest internet I’ve experienced in my life, specifically when I lost an email I had been writing for the better part of the afternoon to my boyfriend at home.
I also realized how petty and privileged some aspects of my life really were.
I spent an exhausting and terrifying night in the capital, San Jose, where it sounded like someone was being murdered outside the window, and my travel companion had to sleep on a urine-scented couch. I saw some of the best sunsets I’ve experienced in my life, shared a lot of laughs, and realized sometimes you can’t travel well with everyone.
I held baby frogs, looked up at boa constrictors above me, found myself in a boat that was a foot away from a crocodile, and dealt with mischievous misbehaving monkeys.
I went skinny dipping, swam under waterfalls, picnicked on the beach, indulged in my love of smoothies, and realized how much I needed to still work on my Spanish.
The trip was everything I needed to find my spirit of independence before moving out of the house I grew up in to go to college.
Besides being a life changing trip for me, what I took away most from my time in Costa Rica was how colorful of a place I found it to be, as it seems a lot of Latin America is.
That trip was 6 years ago and the colors are still what I remember most about the country. It seems only fitting that my snapshot memories of the week are separated by the colors of Costa Rica.