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This week I’m happy to share that I’m featuring Erica from Travels With Erica!
Erica is an avid solo traveler who has been to over 40 countries. She loves spending long periods of time in each country to get a sense of the country and culture. Erica’s favourite travel activities include attending local theatre and dance performances, wandering through museums, eating way too much food, and riding every rollercoaster she comes across.
How long have you been blogging for? Why’d you decide to start a travel blog?
I started my travel blog on December 26, 2018. It was a fluke, really.
I was scrolling through the internet bored and found an article that said that I would get a free WordPress tutorial if I signed up for hosting through their link. I signed up to take the course because I thought learning WordPress would be a good skill to have for my day job.
I loved the course and decided to start a travel blog. I published my first post on January 1, 2019, and fell in love with blogging! Stumbling on that blog post changed my life in a way I never imagined, and I’m so thankful for it.
Do you have any tips for new travel bloggers/aspiring travel bloggers?
Don’t expect immediate success. You’ll read a lot of articles on the internet about people who earned $25,000 in their first year of blogging, but that is an outlier rather than the norm.
Also, focus on SEO. I didn’t focus on it soon enough, and my traffic blew up once I started paying attention to SEO, and my posts started ranking on Google.
What’s one thing you wish you knew before you started traveling?
That it is a skill you have to learn. I think people view long-term travel as an extended holiday, but it can be quite stressful and tiring to try to figure out where to go, how to get from place to place, and budget properly.
My first big travel experience was a three-month backpacking trip through Europe, and I cringe, thinking back to how new I was at traveling and how many mistakes I made. Now six years later, I’ve developed the skills I need to be a pro traveler.
Why do you love to travel?
I love exploring places that are new to me and learning about different cultures and histories. Travel helps shape your worldview, and I love learning and soaking up information while I’m on the road.
What’s your best and worst travel experience?
Wow. This is a hard one.
My best travel experience was probably attending the 2017 IIHF World Championship in Paris and Cologne. It’s a hockey tournament that is held in Europe every May, and a lot of NHL players who aren’t in the playoffs come over to play in it.
I had been in Europe for a few months at that point, and my dad flew over from Canada to attend the tournament with me. I’ll treasure the memories we made on that trip.
As for my worst travel experience, during my first backpacking trip in 2014, I had a three-week stretch where something went wrong every day.
Most of the time, it was something small (so small I can’t even remember at this point), but there were also a couple of bigger things that went wrong.
I was robbed and had my phone, and a bunch of cash stolen, got bed bugs twice, fell into a hole, and tore a tendon in my foot- it still causes me pain to this day.
But even after all the less-than-desirable things, I’ve had a lot more positive experiences while traveling than negative ones. A few negative experiences just spice up your trip and create good stories.
Do you prefer solo travel or traveling with other people? Why?
I travel alone the majority of the time. I’m an introvert and love spending time on my own. There are a few people that I travel with from time to time.
My best friend lives in Dublin, so we try to meet up for a trip to Europe every year. And I love traveling with my parents. Even at 28, I make sure I go on a trip or two with my parents every year. I love making memories with them and showing them the cities I love.
What’s your favorite place you’ve ever been to? Why?
There are a lot of places I love, but there are only a couple that I know I’ll keep going back to and never get tired of. London and Seoul are at the top of the list for me. I love the vibes of the cities, the people, and the hustle and bustle of big cities.
What’s your biggest travel tip?
My biggest travel tip is to not over-schedule. Give yourself time to see the city and not have to rush from place to place to place. You’ll have a much better experience that way.
Also, try to walk as much as you can. It is the best way to stumble on neighborhoods and sights that don’t show up in your guidebooks!
Is there one specific thing you like to do, see, or buy in every place that you visit?
I always purchase a postcard from every city I visit. I store them in a book in chronological order, and it is one of my most prized possessions. I love flipping through the book and recalling all my memories.
I also try to visit at least one museum in every country I visit. It helps me learn more about the country, its people, and its traditions. Even if it isn’t a history museum, a museum helps me better understand the place I’m visiting.
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?
I’m vegan, so I love when I find a place where I can try a vegan version of traditional food. In Insadong (a neighborhood in Seoul), there is an amazing vegan restaurant that serves bibimbap. It is absolutely delicious, and I’m so happy I got to try a traditional dish that I wouldn’t usually get to eat.
Plane or train? Train. I love looking out the window and seeing the scenery.
Hotel or hostel? Hotel or Airbnb. I stayed in hostels in the past, and they’re just not for me. I’m a very anxious sleeper and would only sleep for a few hours every night in hostels. But they’re a great way to save money!
City or nature? City. I love nature, but if I were forced to only spend time in nature or a city for the rest of my life, it wouldn’t be a difficult choice for me. City all the way!
Popular site or off the beaten path? A mixture of both. I think popular sights are popular for a reason, but you always find the most incredible places off the beaten path.
Suitcase or backpack? Suitcase. Backpacks are great, and I used them extensively in the past, but I like to use a suitcase now to protect my skincare liquids.
Fast travel or slow travel? Slow. One of my favorite things to do while traveling is sit in a cafe for hours reading.
Professional camera or iPhone photography? Professional camera.
Warm or cold weather? This is a bit of a tricky question and is all relative. I would say that I prefer warm weather but not hot and humid weather. But, as a Canadian who is used to freezing for eight months out of the year, what I define as warm weather most people say is cold weather.
I was in Albania a few years back, and it was about 16C, and I showed up at the hostel sweating and said oh boy, it is hot out there today! The lady checking me in thought I was crazy and said it was actually cold out to her.
All photos used throughout this post were taken by Erica of Travels With Erica.