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Welcome to another installment of my travel blogger interview series! Today, I’m happy to introduce you to Lauren from Always Find Adventure!
Lauren Cirkot is a digital entrepreneur currently living in the USA. She owns and operates multiple businesses including a marketing consultant business, ecommerce stores, and a travel blog. Her mission is to help people find more adventure in their life through travel, career and lifestyle choices. She believes the ultimate adventure in life is finding your unique path and having the courage to own and follow it.
Interesting in keeping up with Lauren’s adventures elsewhere? Be sure to follow on Instagram.
How long have you been blogging for? Why’d you decide to start a travel blog?
I’ve been blogging for years across a few industries. I enjoy writing and sharing information, but most of all, I love getting people excited about a topic. Previously I owned a successful blog in the underground rock music world but gave that up for a corporate career.
Once the travel bug bit me in 2014, I had the itch to start writing and blogging again but resisted the urge because I wasn’t ready to commit to it. In 2017, I took my first solo trip to Australia, attended a Travel Blogging Bootcamp, and decided that I needed to start a travel blog. It took me 2 years to actually commit, but I finally launched my blog in August 2019.
I had a backlog of content from several years of writing and traveling at that point; I just needed to create the platform on which to share it. Now that I have it, I’m on my way. I finally feel like I’m on the right track, and I feel more whole now that I’ve started my blog.
Do you have any tips for new travel bloggers/aspiring travel bloggers?
I was one of those people consumed in perfecting my blog layout before launching. I was also overly occupied trying to understand SEO, marketing, Pinterest, and more before launching because I wanted to beat the system and make my way to the top as fast as I could.
Many people told me that I should just start writing and the rest will fall into place. Unfortunately, being immersed in the smaller details delayed my content from being available to interested readers. My advice to new bloggers is to start with a premade template you like and just start getting content out there!
You will be editing and changing the blog posts over the years for SEO anyway, so just get what you have out now and fine-tune it later. One of my most popular blog posts was honestly just slapped together!
One other tip is, if you have the funds, hire an editor to refine your blog posts. I love writing, but I find editing laborious because I’m a perfectionist. I’ll edit a piece a million times before feeling like it’s good enough to release.
Again, this only delays my content from getting to readers. So, I hired a good friend to make edits and changes. After the turnaround, I give the post one final look-through before publishing. This process has saved me enormous amounts of time and energy, and I even write more content now because of it!
If you look closely at these two pieces of advice, you’ll see they’re the results of some classic problem-solving. I looked at what was holding me back and then sought solutions. Ask yourself what is holding you back from moving forward and reaching your goals. Identify the issues and find ways to solve them.
You have a gift to share using your unique voice, so don’t let things like having the perfect website or time-consuming editing prevent you from sharing your amazing content with the world!
What’s one thing you wish you knew before you started traveling?
I wish I started sooner! I didn’t take my first international trip until I was 24 years old. I was scared to take the leap mostly because I thought travelling internationally was both momentous and expensive. I knew people who spent thousands of dollars on their travels, and I just wasn’t in a place where that was even remotely affordable.
The thing is, travelling does not have to be expensive! After about a year of planning my own trips, I found ways to cut costs by finding sweet deals on flights and hotels. Had I known just how easy and affordable travelling could be, I would have been going on adventures much sooner.
Why do you love to travel?
Travel centers me. It opens up my mind and creates an environment for me to grow. I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning any time I visit a new city or country. While I’m in explorer mode, I’m talking to new and interesting people, trying new foods, and learning about different cultures and customs.
My stress melts away simply because I am more present. And if stress does arise, I’m able to handle it better. Travelling has inspired me to incorporate its benefits into my daily life, such as consciously being in the present moment all the time, not just when I’m traveling. This has enabled me to cut down on daily stress, and I’m so much happier for it. Not only do my experiences help me, they help others.
When I come home and people ask about my trip, I share my experiences and they are just in awe. Not everyone has the privilege or the means to travel, but just hearing about my own experiences can open their minds and pique their curiosity, too.
What’s your best and worst travel experience?
Honestly, I can’t say that I’ve had a bad travel experience! But let me tell you about a moment I will never forget, when my breath was TRULY taken away. I was in Austria, on the lake region tour within the Austrian Alps. Just the drive into that region was breathtaking.
The windy roads, the mountain views, and the baby blue and teal lakes left me in complete awe. When I took the ferry across Lake Wolfgangsee and landed in the quaint, picturesque town there, I stopped. The views were just INCREDIBLE, and the area was so peaceful and serene. I almost did not get back on the bus to my hotel! I wanted to stay.
The view of mountains seamlessly cascading into the lake was so beautiful; I wanted to stay forever. I’ve been itching to return and explore that region slowly with my mom. It’s so beautiful that I would move there!
Do you prefer solo travel or traveling with other people? Why?
I have a slight preference for traveling with other people because I like to share my love of travel and exploration with others. I love saying to my friend, “Ah! Remember that time when we did this in (name country)?” Reminiscing is so fun, and it’s great to share such special memories with a friend or family member.
I love encountering moments of awe with people I’m close to because it’s a wonderful sensation knowing that you are experiencing something extraordinary together.
One of the pros of having a traveling companion is that it adds to my sense of safety and security. I like to experience the nightlife whenever I’m in a city, and I personally don’t feel safe as a woman going to clubs and bars alone (depending on the location). When I am solo, I usually stay at the hostel and jump on the bar crawls or game nights to have fun, but it’s just not the same.
What’s your favorite place you’ve ever been to? Why?
I have a handful of favorite places. Austria is one of them, as described by the story above. Paris is another place where I feel at home – perhaps because I feel connected to my ancestors who lived there during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Of course I have to mention Valencia, Spain because I’ve spent the most time here. Currently, I’m back and forth between Valencia and my home in the US, and I plan on doing this for some time. Spain is a beautiful country with so much to offer, and one of the reasons I chose to move here was for the lifestyle: namely, the laid-back attitude and the work-life balance.
People here really live life slowly and take time to enjoy things. I strive to have that mentality and lifestyle, especially coming from the hustle and bustle of the northeastern US. Not to mention, the food here is fantastic too, as well as the beaches.
What’s your biggest travel tip?
Don’t let fear or anxiety hold you back from booking the trip. If you found a good deal, just take it. No one regrets traveling, and you’ll only be glad you took the trip. If you’re looking for a sign, this is it.
Is there one specific thing you like to do, see, or buy in every place that you visit?
I typically like to buy chocolate in every place I visit. I don’t intentionally seek out the best chocolatiers, but somehow I always manage to find a shop and purchase chocolate as a souvenir! I have yet to be disappointed. I would say the best chocolate has been in Belgium.
Is there one particular food that you’ve tried while traveling that you loved? What food was it and why do you love it so much?
In Lima, Peru I tried pulpo (octopus). That one dish opened me up to seafood in general. I ate a lot of pulpo in Spain, and now I’m into crab, tellinas, lobster, and scallops. When pulpo is prepared properly and is super tender and flaky, it’s just so delicious. It’s hard to do though, and so I really appreciate when pulpo is cooked to perfection.
Plane or train? Train
Hotel or hostel? Hostel
City or nature? City
Popular site or off the beaten path? Off the beaten path
Suitcase or backpack? Suitcase
Fast travel or slow travel? Slow travel
Professional camera or iPhone photography? Professional camera
Warm or cold weather? Warm weather
All photos used throughout this post are courtesy of Lauren from Always Find Adventure.