Interview With Travel Blogger Ana Montano of Gnome Trotting @gnome_trotting

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This travel blogger interview features Ana Montano of Gnome Trotting. Someone with a very special travel companion.

Ana Montano of Gnome Trotting

Ana Montano of Gnome Trotting

What is your name?

Ana Montano, the girl behind GnomeTrotting.

 

Which country do you come from/call home?

My home will always be Miami in the US. But I currently live in Prague.

 

Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?

I live and work abroad. But I take advantage of my location and try to travel somewhere new in the surrounding area pretty frequently.

 

How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?

I won’t lie, I started off by spending the majority of my savings. Now I work online full time, teaching English and freelance writing.

 

What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?

I wouldn’t call this a trip, but my earliest memory of traveling anywhere was when my family immigrated to the US from Cuba when I was 7. It was my first time on a plane and my first time in another country.

 

Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?

I try to avoid forming any impressions about what a place is going to be like, but I’ve had a few places surprise me in terms of just how hip and vibrant they were. For example, Krakow in Poland and Bordeaux in France.

Krakow, Poland by Ana Montano of Gnome Trotting

Krakow, Poland

Krakow is the only place in the world where you can get 6 shots of flavored vodka for $6.

 

Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?

Fortunately, nothing more than the ordinary: travel delays, cancellations, getting stranded overnight at an airport. Though I was recently reminiscing about an awful experience getting lost driving through Utah and being scared to death to hit a deer after dark.

I also had a scary experience on a train in Germany where some creep started masturbating in the aisle next to me in an empty train car. I tried to pretend I didn’t notice, even though I could see in the reflection that he was definitely staring at me the whole time. Gross!

 

Do you have any funny travel stories?

So many! At the end of last year, I went with a platonic friend to get a massage in Thailand. I guess they assumed we were a couple, because they put us on massage tables next to each other without the curtain drawn. When they left us to get undressed, we closed the curtain between us, thinking they would get the hint.

In the middle of the massage, they sit you up to stretch your arms, and I realized that they had pulled back the curtains once again, and there was my topless friend next to me. I guess they were intent on making it a couple’s massage no matter what.

 

Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?

I get a lot of hate for this, but I think San Francisco is awful. I think it’s an unnecessarily expensive city. It doesn’t have any more to offer than any of the other great cities on the west coast like Seattle or LA. It’s dirty and kind of unsafe. And I think the worst part is that everybody loves it, which just makes me dislike it more. I think it’s wildly overrated.

 

Where is your favourite place in the world?

I have to say, I have never been quite as floored by a place as I was by Iceland. I went to Reykjavik and Akureyri, as well as a lot of the surrounding natural areas. And I loved everything about it! The food was amazing. The people were welcoming and sweet. It’s the safest country in the world. And one of the best experiences I’ve ever had was going into the natural hot springs of Myvatn when it was actually snowing out. It was magical. If it wasn’t so expensive, I would consider moving there.

Hot Bath in Iceland by Ana Montano of Gnome Trotting

Hot Bath in Iceland

 

Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?

Of course! I’m fairly open to traveling wherever the wind takes me, I can find something amazing about almost any place. But I did always have some places that I knew I was downright itching to go to, like Italy and Thailand. For the most part, I think I’ve whittled that list down pretty successfully. I think one of the only really pressing places left on my list is Bali. I’m dying to go there! But of course, I want to see the whole world.

 

Can you imagine life without travel?

I can, but the idea is extremely depressing. I crave freedom, and I’m an extremely curious person. So it would be a shame not to travel and not satisfy my curiosity for exotic places.

 

If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?

Probably what I was doing last year before I bought a one way ticket to Europe: working two jobs, as a teacher or therapist, just to pay for my rent and my car. I definitely prefer to do my teaching online!

 

What is the name of your travel blog and the url?

GnomeTrotting

 

When did you begin your website Gnome Trotting?

January 2016. It started off as a pet project that I could do when I had some free time. Now it takes the majority of my time.

 

Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?

So many reasons. I love writing. I always have. When I’m not blogging, I write novels. But I especially love writing about travel because I feel like it can be useful for people. It can be inspiring. I think reading about someone else’s experience abroad can really open people’s eyes and see that maybe it’s worthwhile to venture out into the world. And I can think of no greater legacy to leave behind.

 

What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?

I think a lot of travel bloggers in particular tend to paint the world in a way that is perfect. But I like to write about the things that suck almost as much as I do about the things that are amazing.

And I think it’s a good mix of straightforward guides and think pieces and personal stories. There’s something for everyone.

 

Do you have any products or services to offer?

As a freelance writer, I can write about anything from the promotional to the academic. I work a lot with companies that are looking to boost their Google rankings by adding SEO-friendly blog posts.

 

What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?

I guess in terms of visitors, my most popular post of all time was this funny little piece I wrote when I was stuck on a long-distance bus: The Thoughts You Have on a 9.5 Hour Bus in Europe

 

What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?

I have two recurring types of posts I write on my blog which tend to be my favorite. The first is the “Could I Live Here?” blog series, where I rate the places I visit on different aspects like the food, transportation, general atmosphere, cost, etc. to determine if I could ever move there.

But maybe even more fun than that is a series of articles I do called “Drunk Interview” where I sit down with other travelers and talk about their experiences or travel plans. For instance, I’ve talked with friends that are parents about what it’s like to travel with kids or with girls on a bachelorette party about what makes that kind of trip successful. It’s always super fun to write!

 

What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)

I guess based on convenience alone, planes. They get you farther faster. But I do also like driving long distances. It’s a nice way to see the parts of a country in between the major city.

 

Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?

Don’t be intimidated! People are so hesitant to go places that are too far from home or where they won’t speak the language. Trust me, you’ll be able to get by. It’s not as difficult as you probably think it is. And it’s not as dangerous as you probably think it is. Some of the most faraway places in the world are also the safest.

 

What has travel taught you?

I think travel has really changed my perception of what life is like. There are so many things that we just take as a given when we live in the same place all our lives. We don’t realize that there is a better way to do things, or at least many different ways to do it. My experience living Prague, especially, has totally changed what I thought life was supposed to be like. I’m more relaxed here.

 

Why do you travel with a gnome?

Gnome in Thailand by Ana Montano of Gnome Trotting

Gnome in Thailand

 

I got the gnome at my friend’s wedding. They thought it would be nice for guests to travel with their gnomes and share their stories and photos with the happy couple. I really ran with that idea. I like that I have unique pictures of him in different places. It’s a challenge to get a good gnome picture. And now, I guess it’s become kind of my brand. Though I do share personal stories on the blog, the gnome helps me separate myself a little bit from my writing.

 

What’s your biggest travel regret?

Knowing what I know now, I wish I had done a semester abroad in college. I didn’t want to “miss out” on the college experience. It was the stupidest thing. Had I done that, my life would have been a lot different, a lot sooner.

 

Will you go somewhere after Prague?

My Czech visa expires at the end of the year and I’m weighing my options. I’ll either stay here, go to Thailand for a few months, or potentially join the Peace Corps. I’m in consideration for a position in Panama.

 

Quick fire questions:-

Favourite airline? Norwegian

Favourite country? Iceland

Favourite city? Chiang Mai, Thailand

Favourite beach? Miami Beach

Favourite food? Sushi

Favourite language? French

 

Please provide the following:-

Website url? http://www.gnometrotting.com/

Twitter handle? @gnome_trotting

Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/gnometrotting/

StumbleUpon? http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/gnometrotting

Pinterest? https://www.pinterest.com/honkythegnome/

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Comments

  1. OMG that guy on the train in Germany?!?! What is wrong with people? I read a story recently about someone who was sitting on a roller coaster, and the guy next to them started doing that o___o

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