November is here to bring us new fresh interviews. Today we will introduce you to Lauren Juliff. Never Ending Footsteps is Lauren's website, where you can read many interesting stories; stories from which you can even learn a lot. For example, you can find out how Lauren was Scammed by a Guesthouse Owner in the Maldives and try to avoid that.
Apart from having successful web site, in October Lauren published a book How Not to Travel the World, available at Amazon (UK). The book is a story about the transformative power of travel and features plenty of misadventures, never shared anywhere else. If you are about to start the journey of your life you should definitely get a copy.
Now, let’s get to know Lauren better.
Q: Lauren, where are you now, at home or abroad?
A: Hello from Siem Reap in Cambodia!
Q: How long have you been travelling and how did you start?
A: I’ve now been travelling for four and a half years, which is unbelievable to me – I only thought I’d go for one!
How I started is pretty simple: I decided I wanted to travel, I bought a one-way ticket, and I left. Of course, there was lots of anxiety and stress involved as my departure date loomed, but the essentials were just that.
Q: Did someone have an influence on you to change your life and start travelling?
A: No. I didn’t know anybody who had travelled before I left.
Q: What country was the first one you visited and why did you choose it?
A: My first one ever was the United States when I was eight years old. My first country on this trip was actually Croatia! I bought a one-way ticket to Dubrovnik.
Q: Did you travel a lot when you were a child?
A: I went on a two-week-long holiday every year, but it was never to very exotic places. Mostly Disneyworld or a beach villa in Spain.
Q: Do you always travel alone? Or do you sometimes take travel pals with you (other than your boyfriend)?
A: I travel with my boyfriend for around ten months of the year, and rock the solo travels the rest of the time. I’ve never travelled with friends from home, but have made travel friends along the way and joined them for a few days/weeks on the road.
Q: What do you prefer; hotels, hostels or private accommodation and why?
A: Private accommodation because it gives me home comforts in a life that rarely has any. It’s nice to have a kitchen to cook meals, a living area for lounging around and watching TV, a location in a more residential part of the city, and a dedicated Wi-Fi network that isn’t shared between 50 backpackers for when I need to work.
Q: How do you fund your trips?
A: A few ways: advertising and affiliate sales on Never Ending Footsteps (my guide to starting a travel blog has been most successful for the latter), freelance travel writing and editing, and royalties from my travel memoir.
Q: How many countries have you visited so far?
A: 59 countries across five continents.
Q: Where are you going next and what will your activities be there?
A: I fly to Vietnam tomorrow! I’ll actually be showing my boyfriend’s parents around the country with him, which should be fun as they’ve never been to Southeast Asia before! I’ll be hitting up Hanoi for the first time, exploring the beautiful Old Town in Hoi An, and stuffing my face with soup in Saigon.
Q: If you can choose one country and one city (doesn’t have to be in the same country) which you would recommend visiting and why?
A: The country would have to be Taiwan. It’s somewhere few tourists chose to visit, but a place that is beautiful. There’s the stunning scenery (Taiwan has mountains, hot springs, gorges, rainforests, beaches…), the delicious food, the incredibly friendly people, how easy it is to travel around, and it’s affordability. It’s my favourite country in the world.
For the city, I’ll have to go with Portland, in Oregon. You should go for one reason only: the food. I never eat as well as I do in Portland!
Q: Are there any places you don’t want to visit and why?
A: I can’t think of any! I try not to form a judgement on a place before I arrive.
Q: What’s your favourite gadget you take with you on every journey?
A: My Macbook Pro, probably. If I don’t have that, I can’t work, and if I can’t work, I can’t travel!
Q: What is your favourite travel app for your smartphone or tablet?
A: I love Here Maps. I often don’t bother to pick up a local SIM card when I travel, and Here allows me to download a map of the country I’m visiting in advance. That way, I can get much anywhere I want to go.
Q: What camera and lens do you use?
A: I’ve just upgraded! I travel with a Sony A7 II and its kit lens.
Q: What did you learn on your travels, and how has travelling changed you?
A: I wrote 90,000 words about this in my book. But I’ll keep it brief here: travel helped me conquer my anxiety, an eating disorder, and gave me confidence. Quite simply, I can now function in the world in a way that I couldn’t before I travelled. It changed my life.
Q: Do you have plans to write another book?
A: I haven’t decided yet! I found writing my first one to be an exhausting and traumatising experience, so I’m not too excited right now about the idea of writing another one! I did leave How Not to Travel the World open for a sequel, though, so we’ll see what happens!
Now a few questions about your visit to Croatia.
Q: What attracted you to visit Croatia?
A: I knew I wanted to go somewhere in Europe for the first stop on my round-the-world trip, and I wanted it to be somewhere new for me. Western Europe was off the cards due to the prices, so I started to look more at Central and Eastern Europe. One by one, I crossed countries off my extensive list until I was left with only one. I picked Croatia because of its beautiful islands and because I desperately wanted to visit Plitvice Lakes.
Q: How long were you in Croatia?
A: I was there for a month. I returned a year later and stayed for a week.
Q: What places did you visit?
A: Dubrovnik, Split, Brac, Zadar, Pag, Zagreb, Crikvenica, and Plitvice.
Q: What was your favourite moment?
A: The moment I first saw Dubrovnik’s Old Town. Because it was the first stop on my travels, I must have spent hours gazing at photos of it before I left, so getting to see it for myself was a special, magical moment.
Q: Would you like to come back, and if so what would you like to see and do?
A: Absolutely! I’d love to spend a few weeks island hopping my way across the country.
Q: Any funny/interesting stories from your Croatia visit?
A: I did visit the archaeology museum in Zagreb and managed to fall asleep while watching a film in a room full of cushions!
Q: Did anything bad happen to you while you were here?
A: I got sunburnt in Dubrovnik after spending many hours wandering along the city walls. I ended up dehydrated, dizzy, and feeling very sorry for myself. Lesson learned!
Q: What did you not like in Croatia?
A: I struggled with the crowds and expensive prices in Dubrovnik! I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so busy.
Q: What do you think about Croatian people?
A: They’re lovely! Always friendly and happy to help me out if I’m looking lost.
Q: And what about the sea and the beach? Would you recommend it?
A: For me, I preferred the countryside in Croatia. The beaches were a bit too rocky for my tastes.
Q: How was the food?
Q: Do you have any tips for travellers thinking of visiting Croatia?
A: Make sure to see a little of everything: cool Zagreb, beautiful Pltivice, a couple of islands and a few coastal cities, too. Croatia is such a diverse country.
Q: Do you wish to add anything else that’s not covered by my questions but it’s worth mentioning?
Q: Where can we find you online?