1) Hi Glo, and congratulations on being featured as a globelle gal in focus! Can you tell us where in the world we'd currently find you?
Hey girl, heyyyy! Haha, thanks so much for the feature! I'm writing this from my comfortable and cozy home near Phoenix, Arizona where I'm taking a personal hiatus to regroup, relax, and refocus for the next crazy adventure I'll be taking off for in a few weeks!
2) What inspired you to first start travelling?
It's interesting, I grew up never even thinking travel was a possibility, to all of a sudden not having any other way I'd rather live.
Studying abroad at Harlaxton College in England, was the first door that opened me up to the world. The liberation that came from my first experience across the Atlantic Ocean showed me that my imagination was too colourful to try and contain it into in a 9-5 cubicle.
Once you catch just the slightest fever from the travel bug, you'll stop at nothing to halt its cure.
3) What's been your favourite place to visit, and why?
I think Vietnam is such a stimulating country. All of your senses are touched and you can't help but feel overwhelmed, excited, anxious, and challenged all at once. The best thing was that I had set zero expectations for the trip before arriving, meaning everything that followed was a pleasant surprise!
From its history with America and the war, it was especially interesting to learn about another perspective and see some exhibits and tunnels firsthand. It was humbling to say the least.
4) What's the worst thing that's happened to you since being on the road? How did you deal with it?
This could be answered in so many ways, but I'll start with this: The climb and struggle towards inching your way up in an industry that's self-made and being your own manager, photographer, graphic designer, web developer, PR, writer, editor, accountant, etc etc is flat out exhausting.
I'm a one-woman show and I almost ran myself to the ground through my trial & error ways of growing my blog. I do my best to show people that there's always a silver lining and lesson to come out of everything, so I turned many of my struggles into chapters of my e-book that I'll talk about later.
But I basically went into a spiral of depression that I hadn't experienced before, and it reminded me that before being a travel blogger and any of that, I'm human first. I sought help for it locally. If you ever go through something similar and feel so far away from the ones you love, there will always be a way to find help through a local clinic.
It's so important to find balance in your life, and if you constantly struggle with that like me, then know my email doors are always open if you need someone to talk to.
5) Obviously life on the road is about fewer possessions and more moments, but what is the one thing you can't travel without?
This goes without saying, but my electronics. Not for hedonistic pleasures of checking social media, but simply because my blog and brand depend on it -- my phone, laptop, and cameras are all the backbone of what keep my business flowing.
Outside of that, my fedora! I dare you to try and find a recent picture of me without a hat on, haha, Mission Impossible! I sleep with it sometimes ;) (HQ: having seen the shots Glo sent us for the feature, we can vouch for this!)
6) You have your own website, theblogabroad.com, where you record your adventures and share your musings. What inspired you to start this?
The funny thing is, I've always been a blogger. I started my first blog when I was barely 11! Haha. I would come home after school and race to the computer to write about boys I liked and teacher I didn't, lol. Though I never shared it with anyone, I meant I became comfortable with expressing myself through words at a very young age.
As I went into high school, I tried my hand at being a celebrity/gossip blogger. I would keep people entertained with the latest happenings of their favourite artists and celebrities, but you can imagine how exhausting it was trying to stay on top of it all, and of course competing with the big-wig companies like TMZ, for whom I did a guest appearance on TV once (#ClaimToFame, ha)!
Finally, I went to Baker University and worked in the marketing department, where I helped start the first student-led blog platform, where I'd blog about my daily life as a college student. From there, I had one more blog with my study abroad University at Harlaxton College in England where I continued to shed light on my study abroad experience.
As soon as I graduated college in the Fall of 2013, I knew I'd be going back abroad so it only made sense to have my own blog where I could store all my thoughts, happenings, photos, and rambles about my life abroad -- hence, the blog, abroad, lol. Two years ago, I would've never imagined it'd grow to where it is now. It's amazing to see the fruits of your labor manifest before your eyes, and incredibly motivating as well!
7) One of the things we love about you Glo is you don't pretend it's always easy: you highlight the need for hustle to achieve your travel dreams. You even wrote an E-book about it! How did that come about?
Thank you! I think it's so important to make sure that when we talk about our pursuits, we're being honest and transparent. Yes, I'm living my dream, but that's not what I want to sell you. This is my reality. The good and the bad. The highs and the lows. The riches and the brokeness.
There's so many amazing people out there on the Internet who only offer an insight into a small window into their lives. Because of this, people often assume that the road to their dreams is well-carved, perfectly-lit, and with few struggles.
It's so important to be proud of how far you've come, but to also show people how much harder you've had to work to get there.
Yes, here's my trophy for climbing this mountain. But also, come look at my bruises, cuts, and wounds I got on the way up. Those are JUST as important in my opinion.
I was getting a lot of the same questions to my inbox, and I wanted to be able to share my complete journey with everyone and have everything in one place. I knew it'd be way too long for a blog, so an e-book only made sense!
The e-book is divided into four parts: The Dream, The Journey, The Adventure, and The Destination, and it basically chronicles every critical moment of my life that's gotten me to where I am today. I leave NOTHING out, and although I feel incredibly vulnerable, it's worth it for the hope and encouragement it can potentially provide others. You can read more about it here!
8) You've also had to address a lot of criticism in response to some of your articles and the topic of 'How You Can Afford to Travel'. What have you learnt from dealing with this? What advice would you have for fellow Globelle Gals out there who might encounter negativity towards their adventuring ways?
Ooooh yeah! That was fun ;) In hindsight, if I knew it would attract even half as much attention and negativity as it did, I'd write it EXACTLY the same. You know why? Because for every ONE negative comment, there were HUNDREDS more positive ones in my email, facebook inbox, twitter mentions, etc.
When you're able to evoke such strong emotion from others, that means you wrote with conviction. There's nothing that motivates change when you're writing with the aim to be politically correct, accounting for all exceptions, and walking on eggshells with your words.
How people (mis)handle conviction isn't my problem.
Nobody likes learning that there IS perhaps, another way to think and live your life other than the one society's instilled in our heads since birth.
The Internet is a magical and scary place, and despite the inevitable negativity some might spew your way (most who will never even read the article to begin with, just the title), just stand strong in your ways, but do be open to constructive criticism.
For instance, one person commented, "If you're tired of answering the question, why don't you just make an FAQ page?". There was some profanity attached to that comment that I've left out, but I'll give it to them, the guy was right! Brilliant idea. So now I have one here. Thanks, Internet! ;)
9) What are your plans for the future, and what do you hope to achieve through all of your hard work?
Ahhh, the future *rubs crystal ball*.
It's so hard to make plans past next month or even the next year. What's worked in my favour in the past is planning just enough to feel secure, but not too much to feel stagnant.
If I know I want to get from A to B this month, and I open two doors that both have routes leading there, then I'm open to testing a couple of paths along the way. I love letting things happen organically, and the best opportunities have come when I least expected it to.
I try not to close myself off to potential work by not overbooking myself.
I've just started a YouTube channel this year, so I'm getting more and more comfortable in front of a camera. So eventually, I'd love to do more video work and video projects, but I think my love of writing, photography, and travel, will always be at the core of what I do.
10) What does travelling mean to you?
It's allowing yourself to empty your mind and open your heart to the people, cultures, and experiences this beautiful world has to offer.
I don't know a single person that's travelled internationally and came back more closed-minded than when they left.
It's almost impossible, because when your brain is stretched to a capacity filled with empathy and understanding, it has no choice but to continue growing. This is what travel does, which then allows for different parts of the world to keep opening themselves up to you.
Travel will always be my first and last love. I can't sufficiently verbalise what it's done for my life and how it has enhanced it.
11) If you could offer one piece of advice to those travelling for the first time, either as part of a group or solo, what would it be?
Whether solo or in a group, allow yourself to separate from everyone else, sit in a secluded corner, and just breathe.
Take in the moment. Observe your surroundings. Appreciate nature.
And most importantly, realise that although we are but a dot on this big planet, we still have the power to inspire change for the better if we take the collective dots we all make, and continue connecting them with others. (HQ: GIRL CRUSHING RIGHT NOW)
Travel to let it change you, but also remember you can make a change by traveling.
12) And finally, how can girls get in touch with you, and involved with The Blog Abroad?
Let's chat on Instagram! That's currently my favourite platform, where I post pictures daily to chronicle and reminisce on some of my greatest adventures.
My goal is to make my blog and brand more interactive, so that when I'm coming to the city of my readers, I can host regular meet-ups with them, see the city through a local's eyes, and continue doing my part in using my platform to showcase the beauty of this world and its inhabitants.