Sometimes writers just stand out from the crowd. I was so inspired by today’s guest, how she overcame various battles and wanted to travel no matter what the obstacle that I had to ask to feature her. Her character and style is remarkable. Please meet Lauren Juliff of Never Ending Footsteps.
What is your name?
Which country do you come from/call home?
The United Kingdom
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I’m a long-term traveller, I work online as I travel, and I’m a budget traveller.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
A few different things: I fund my travels through advertising and affiliate sales on Never Ending Footsteps, through freelance travel writing and editing, and I’m also writing a book!
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
Probably a miserable family holiday to the British coast. It rained every day, we were stuck arguing in a caravan, and didn’t get to go outside. I was five years old. Clearly that was all I needed to kick-start an obsession with travel – I actually cried when it came time to leave!
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
The Maldives. I actually just finished writing a post about how to visit the Maldives on a budget. Most people believe that the Maldives is all fancy resorts at $1000 a night, but it’s actually very easy to travel there independently and on a budget. You can stay on local islands in guesthouses, see all the wonderful beaches that the Maldives is famous for, but only spend $70 a day to do so!
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Too many to count! I’ve been scammed, attacked and robbed. I was caught up in a tsunami. I had a boat start to sink with me on board. I was attacked by jellyfish, and then by monkeys. I fell in a leech-infested rice paddy. I was violated during a massage. I was abandoned at a border town by my minivan. The list goes on…
Do you have any funny travel stories?
Most of the stories I mentioned above are pretty funny!
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
I had a pretty miserable time in China! I was scammed, I got food poisoning, the locals were rude to me, and I really didn’t enjoy much of it at all. I’d love to return in the future to see if I like it better second time around, but my first visit was kind of awful!
Where is your favourite place in the world?
New Zealand: such a beautiful country, and I’m hoping to build a tiny house there in 2016. I love it!
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
I don’t have an official bucket list, no. I’d quite like to visit all seven continents and road trip the length of Africa, though!
Can you imagine life without travel?
I can, and I don’t think I’d be very happy with it!
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
I’d be working as a theoretical physicist. I had just graduated with my Masters in Physics when I set out to travel – if I hadn’t gone down this route, I’d probably be working at CERN.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Never Ending Footsteps (http://www.neverendingfootsteps.com)
When did you begin your website?
In December 2010.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
I write to show people the reality of long-term travel. I write about the bad as well as the good, I show how travel can be transformative, and that you don’t have to be an expert traveller to have a successful trip. Most of the time, I still have no idea what I’m doing but travel is still the best thing I’ve ever done.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
I’m the only travel blogger to focus solely on how not to travel. I don’t give advice and pretend to know what I’m doing – instead I write about how I fell into rice paddies, and was attacked by monkeys.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Not yet – but my book, How Not to Travel the World is due to be published in summer 2015.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
Two girls in Shanghai scammed me out of quite a bit of money. They pretended to be my friends in order to take advantage of me. They then tried to rob me, and I caught one of them with their hand on my purse, pulling it out of my bag. I lost my temper and punched her square in the jaw.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
Probably my post, I Thought I Was Going to Die, which is an account of the time a tsunami was heading for Thailand, where I was currently staying. It was terrifying at the time, but it ended up being some of my best writing.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Don’t make too many plans – you’ll always change them. Expect things to go wrong because they often do – but don’t let them ruin your trip. Expect them, learn from them, and enjoy sharing your horror stories with friends when you get back.
What has travel taught you?
That forcing yourself out of your comfort zone is the best thing you can ever do for yourself. Before I left to travel, I had never eaten rice. I had never been on a bus before. I had severe anxiety and an eating disorder. I had no common sense, and no life experience. I was a mess. But travel turned my life around; it was forcing myself out of my comfort zone that gave me the confidence to experience new things. Through this, I realised that the world wasn’t so scary after all.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Virgin
Favourite country? New Zealand
Favourite city? Portland, OR
Favourite beach? Lonely Beach, Koh Chang, in Thailand
Favourite food? Vietnamese pho.
Favourite language? Spanish.
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://www.neverendingfootsteps.com
Twitter handle? http://twitter.com/NEFootsteps
Facebook page? http://facebook.com/NeverEndingFootsteps