My goal with the HoliDaze is not to brag about myself or my adventures, but rather connect and network with other travel bloggers, vagabonds, and expats from all around the world. I hope to inspire new travelers by highlighting unique and lesser-known destinations, travel facts, and of course, other awesome blog and bloggers that are worthy of following.
That having been said, I now present the first of the HoliDaze Travel Blogger Interviews.
But wait, I have seen other travel blogs and sites that do traveler interviews too… what makes the HoliDaze highlighted bloggers unique?
Rather than interview Travelin’ Joe with a 100k followers and several books, I have been on the hunt since the start of 2012 looking for the newest and least-followed travel bloggers. Mainstream media has finally begun to accept and even embrace the power of bloggers, but the big cats are the ones getting the most attention. I aim to remind people that there are lots of other noteworthy travel bloggers out there that deserve more attention than they have thus far received — and I’m hoping to help shine a little bit more of a light on them as well as their journeys.
So who is the first blogger to be bestowed with this distinction? It is Pandora from Wanderlust Me. Pandora is a 23-year-old traveler about to embark on her first extended multi-country adventure, a 19-country RTW odyssey! As a matter of fact, she is leaving on May 1st!
So, I’ve Got To Ask: Is Pandora Your Birth Name?
Pandora is not my birth name no, but I like having a different name online– it gives me the freedom to write with honesty and also prevents stalking incidents. I don’t like my real identity being put on the Internet!
What Is Your Home Country And Have You Done Much Exploring Around There?
I was born in the United States and I was raised in Colorado. I have been to a number of states, (California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida) and I still have a lot of exploring left to do. I am half-Lebanese, so I travel there often. I speak fluent Arabic and I consider Lebanon my second home.
Are There Any Countries On Your Dream List That Are Not Already In Your 2012-13 Plans?
I have SO many dream destinations. Two that are not on my current itinerary are Brazil and Australia! I can not wait to visit those two places.
What Do You Travel For? The Sights, Culture, Nightlife, Food, Historical Aspects, or The People?
It is hard for me to pinpoint an exact reason for travel, because it is the total cultural and sensory experience that captivates me. I like to overload my senses with the way a place looks, smells, tastes and feels and then I like to learn about the customs and history. I am not big into nightlife, I tend to get bored easily in loud drunken settings, but I do like to experience the small pubs and local dives.
Is There A Travel Philosophy You Live By?
I believe life is about feeding your wildest desires and creating inner happiness, after you reach that level of wholeness it is important to share what you have learned with others. I want to travel to find out more about making my life the best it can be, but I also want to be able to balance the pursuit of pleasure with compassion and philanthropy. I think eventually I will move away from tourism into philanthropic work. Right now I am hoping to experience our world, after that I would like to devote my life to sustaining that beauty.
Tell us more about this RTW trek…
What Are The Basics?
After having an epiphany about my life and the career I wanted to pursue I booked a one-way flight to London, which is where I will start my around the world trip. When I bought my ticket I had no clue how to plan this trip or in what direction to take it. Since then I have been working overtime as a server and bartender to scrape together the needed funds. I depart on May 1 and I plan on freelancing, blogging and podcasting my way around Europe and later Asia. My exact itinerary is a big secret, because I want my readers to experience my journey with me and be just as excited and surprised as I am. As of now, I will be gone for 13 months.
How Did You Decide On Those Dozen And A Half Countries?
When planning my itinerary I was looking for the countries that I most wanted to see as well as an easy way to travel between them for relatively cheap. I picked my top destinations and planned around bordering countries, weather conditions and events of note. I started in England because I found the cheapest flight to London and it is a great city to begin a journey like this in. I am taking a one month sabbatical in December to visit my family in Lebanon– which is the perfect stopping place before I begin Southeast Asia.
I have purchased my train passes, but I want to leave room for some deviation. Anything can happen along the way and I want to be able to follow my creative impulses. All of my destinations after Lebanon are not planned or purchased yet, it all depends on the success of my endeavors leading up until then.
Which Location Are You Looking Forward To Most? Why?
I am most looking forward to France, Ireland, Italy and Greece. If I had to pick one, it would be France. I have grown up around the French language (it is spoken in Lebanon) and I am in love with the cuisine and rich culture. To me France is a classy and romantic country.
Any Worries Or Apprehensions Leading Up To The Trip?
For the most part no, there are some nights where I get a little bit anxious about jumping head first into the unknown. Mostly I am trying to tie up loose ends and keep working to save as much money as possible. I have faith in my abilities as a writer and entrepreneur, as well as my strength as a woman.
Others try to discourage me from traveling alone, but I am the type of person who will destroy anything or anyone that gets in my way. Traveling smart and traveling safe is possible for everybody.
How Much Of The Trip Is Already Planned/Booked, And How Much Are You Making Up As You Go?
My flights and rail passes are all booked. Now it is a matter of booking lodging, which can’t be done too far in advance. I am hosteling and couch surfing throughout my trip. My destinations are planned, everything else is left open.
Are You Planning On Pursuing A Career In Travel Blogging, Or Just In It For Fun?
Travel writing is my passion. I am pursuing a career in blogging, writing and hopefully I will eventually write a book. As for my blog, It is a career move, but I do not plan on making millions off of it. A lot of people go into blogging thinking they can make a living off of it right away, but just like any other investment– it takes time. I write because I love it. It probably won’t be paying the bills for a long time.I plan on generating revenue through investments. People are clueless about money and how to make smart financial decisions, I am trying to make that my revenue stream– for now at least.
Make sure to follow Pandora’s eighteen-month adventure on her blog, Wanderlust Me!
Over the next few months I will be highlighting other noteworthy travel bloggers on a weekly basis… until I embark on my next adventure and will no longer have the spare time. Stay tuned for more fresh bloggers or, if you fit into this category, consider signing up for an interview.