Once you start traveling, you start to realize that we are all very connected, and at the end of the day we are all humans. Traveling has made me more empathetic, more understanding, and more compassionate. It has given me confidence, helped me overcome my shyness (although its still there), and has made me extremely adventurous. In a nutshell, I wouldn't be who I am without travel. And if you know me personally, you know it's what I live and breathe.
I've been lucky enough to have had experiences that have connected me with people from all over the world. Not only face to face, but digitally as well. I tend to gravitate towards people who have the same outlook on travel that I do. I've had a travel blog for awhile (guys I'm really trying to update it more frequently, because I have so much to share with you all), and I've been blessed to cross paths with travelers all over the world, in a digital space.
I know many have questions about the "travel blogging world", and I connected recently with Lauryn, from @LEtravelgram, so I can give you all insight into what it takes to be apart of this very unique world. Lauryn and her husband Eric live in Atlanta, and are super passionate about travel. Their instagram feed is beautiful, warm, and full of personality, and their blog give their readers inside tips on how to spend their days in foreign cities, and what to expect. Lauryn recently took some time out to connect, and I was able to snag some of their secrets to how they are following their passion effortlessly.
Can you tell me a little more about yourself?
In my day-to-day life, I am an Executive Assistant for an HR outsourcing company in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA. My husband, Eric, and I travel when we can get away from work. I am a planner in my personal and professional life, so travel planning is fun and exhilarating for me. I love figuring out how much I can fit in to our limited time away. It's amazing what you can fit in to a 3 day weekend ;)
How did you fall in love with travel?
When I was little, my family would mostly travel to beach destinations. We went on a few cruises to the Caribbean which was so fun, but my love for travel didn't really start until I went to Europe for the first time in 2006. I was 16 years old and it was like a whole new part of me awakened. I was hooked! I went back to Europe in 2008 and then didn't go back again until last year, 2017. It was like going home. Now I'm ready to see even more of the world!
Why did you decide to start a travel blog?
I have always loved to write. However, in school, it was very hard for me write about things I wasn't interested in. I sort of fell out of love with writing in college because being a Psychology major, I was mostly writing research papers. I fell back in love with writing when we traveled to the Grand Canyon in 2016. I wanted a way to keep track of everything we were doing and add in pictures. As I wrote the travel diary for that trip, I realized how much I really enjoyed doing it and I received wonderful feedback from family and friends who read along. A travel blog was the perfect outlet for me and so LE Travels was born!
What are some of the positives from having a travel blog?
I get to look back and remember all the little details about our trips that most people forget. I love reading back through my posts and getting those same butterflies in my stomach that I got when we were actually in the moment. Also, I've made SO many friends through Instagram and blogging. The amount of people I know around the world is astounding. I'm actually going to meet a few of them when I travel to Asia in September.
What would you say are some of the “not so fun” parts of having a travel blog?
Trying to keep active and relevant. Sometimes I really want to write about something but it might not be considered a "popular" topic. Or I might go through periods of time when I'm just not in the mood to write. In order to keep traffic going on your blog, you have to keep writing. I told myself if I ever start to feel like the blog is becoming a chore, I need to step back and give myself a break. I might lose traffic, but at the end of the day, this is something I enjoy and I want to continue to enjoy it.
What is your most favorite place or memory that you have had on this journey?
Wow this is so hard!! There are so many. The first thing that comes to mind is traveling to Switzerland. We traveled by train from Paris, France all the way to this tiny village high in the Swiss Alps called Murren. It was an incredibly long journey with so many trains, but I can't even describe the feeling I had when we arrived. This little village was straight out of a fairy tale. It is nestled high up in the Swiss Alps and has the most incredible views I've ever seen. No cars, just lots of cows and sheep. It was VERY hard to leave!
Are you constantly remote, or do you have a home base?
I wish I could be constantly on the go, but I do have a home base in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA. With the work Eric does, it's nearly impossible for him to be 100% remote. Technically, I could be remote, but since I'm an assistant, I have to be available when my people are working. So I would run in to time zone issues. However, I have traveled with my husband on work trips around the US and worked from there. I've done this in Las Vegas and New York so far. I do it whenever I can just to squeeze in as many destinations as possible throughout the year!
On average, how many cities and countries do you frequent weekly/monthly?
Every year is different for us and most of our travel happens in the last 6 months of the year. Eric is a CPA so he can't leave between January and May. Summer for us is usually spent at my in-law's lake house in north Georgia. Our primary travel time is August/September. This year, we're headed to Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia in September, Costa Rica in November, and New Orleans in December. I've been to New Orleans twice already this year. My mom lives nearby so I try to go as often as I can. I was lucky enough to be there for Mardi Gras this year which was SO fun!
What helps you determine your next location?
There are many things that help determine this. Sometimes it's just life. For instance, Eric will get invited to conferences and sometimes they are in really cool locations. I tag along with him and we make a short trip out of it. Our big trips like Europe and Asia are really just identifying what we want to make sure we get to do before we slow down and decide to start a family. We decided on Asia this year because we aren't sure if that's a destination we would want to try to navigate with kids. Asia scares me a bit because I am much less familiar with it than Europe. I'm excited to experience it, but I wouldn't want my first time in Asia to be with small children!
Do you use any apps or programs that have helped you gain traction on social or your blog?
Yes!! I can't recommend these apps enough:
Do you work for a company that enables you to work remotely, or do you solely profit from your blog?
I work for a wonderful company that allows me to work remote on occasion. Like I said above, I'm able to work remote in places with similar time zones. I could go anywhere, but I would be working through the night in some places just depending on the time difference. There are times when I absolutely have to be in the office, but I've never been denied the opportunity to work remotely if a trip randomly comes up throughout the year!
What advice to you have for anyone who wants to start their own travel blog, or wants to have a social media presence?
Never lose sight of why you initially start your blog or social media profiles. I would hope that if you start something like this, it's because you have a passion surrounding whatever it is you're writing and posting about. It should never stress you out and should never be something you're just doing for money. Stay true to yourself and enjoy the journey! I would also say building up your network is key to being a successful blogger/influencer. I'm in a Whatsapp group with some other bloggers and we are always talking about different things. It's awesome because the girls are from all over the world. Some travel constantly and some don't. We lift each other up and support each other in everything we do. I love having a group of like-minded people to bounce ideas off of and get advice.
Is there anything else you would like to include?
For anyone with an itch to travel but not the support or the finances to do it, there are ways to see the world on a budget. One thing I've learned on this blogging journey of mine is how many opportunities there are out there for people to see the world on a budget. One girl I know house-sits for people as a means of income and a free place to stay wherever she goes. You can become an au pair in Europe and explore different countries on the weekends. You can teach English in China and explore Asia that way. If you want to see the world, make it happen for yourself. I think the world would be a better place if more people made travel a priority!
Lauryn and I have a similar story. We didn't travel until our teens, and from there we fell in love with the world. I would also like to reiterate her point on seeing the world regardless of your budget. If it's a passion of yours, you will always figure out a way to make it happen. I hustled to get my Master's abroad, as getting that degree in Europe was on my lifelong bucketlist.
Travel is not for the elite or for the wealthy. I've experienced many trips where I stayed in hostels, and bought 1 euro bottles of wine.
If you invest one dime into yourself, invest it in travel. Because at the end of the road,
you can't take it with you.
Thank you Lauryn for letting me into your world for a short time. Please got check her out on Instagram @LEtravelgram and follow her travels! :)
Also, what are some of your favorite travel bloggers? Comment below, I'm dying to see!
Bellisima = "Extremely Beautiful" in Italian, and how i would describe the world, and how I view it through travel.