As you may know by now, we are nuts for travel blogs. For long we have followed the adventures of these digital nomads that call all corners of the world, home sweet home. We have started a series of interviews with this brave bunch, in order to get some answers to our burning travel questions.
Meet Lauren Juliff, the creative mind behind one of the most inspiring travel blogs to date. She is very candid about her good and bad experiences abroad, which will enable you to fully join her in exciting trips around the globe. The girl is a magnet for crazy adventures, and after traveling to over 41 countries, we are more than happy to spend a good while reading all about of it.
Who are you?
My name is Lauren and I’m a full-time traveler. In 2011, I decided to quit my job, sell everything I own and set out on a round the world adventure. I had originally planned to travel for a year but after a few months I decided I didn’t ever want to stop exploring. I now work online as a freelance travel writer and editor, which allows me to work from anywhere.
What triggered the idea of becoming a long-term traveler?
I think I’ve always craved traveling long-term but didn’t really know it was something people did until a few years ago. I spent twenty-odd years looking forward to a two week holiday only to arrive and find myself filled with dread at the thought of having to return home. I accepted that that was how my life would always be… until I discovered backpacking and long-term travel. I spent five years saving, planning and dreaming until I finally took the plunge and bought a one-way ticket out of England.
How did your family and friends react to your decision?
My parents weren’t surprised, given that they’d had to put up with my wanderlust for much of my life! They were quite frightened, however, and didn’t like the thought of me traveling on my own. They’ve calmed down a lot since then.
I think my friends didn’t quite understand my decision. They spent many months putting me down, telling me I was going to die, that I wouldn’t last more than a week. They weren’t particularly supportive!
What city would you recommend to our readers for a memorable visit?
Ljubljana, in Slovenia. It’s beautiful, small, walkable and cheap. It has great food, amazing bars, friendly locals and a fantastic music scene. It’s my favorite city in Europe and I hope to one day spend a few months living there.
Any cities you would never return, even if paid to do so?
None spring to mind. There are certain cities I’d be quite happy to never visit again — Shanghai being one of them, but I’d still return if I was paid! I’m always happy to have my mind changed about a place.
What was the most memorable experience you’ve had in this journey?
It would have to be the night I spent camping in the Sahara Desert in Morocco. I got to visit Berber villages, ride camels over the sand dunes at sunset and sunrise, and camp under the Milky Way for one magical night. I’ll never forget the feeling of laying on a mattress on a sand dune, staring up at the billions of stars and feeling so incredibly small.
What place did you experience the biggest culture shock?
China. It was the first country I ever visited in Asia and it was definitely a tough one to start with. I found it hard to deal with the constant attention from the locals as they raced around, trying to snap a photo of me. I struggled with the food as a very picky eater who had never once tried Chinese food before arriving. I struggled with the locals spitting anywhere and everywhere, and the children peeing in the streets. It was hard to deal with and I actually cut short my time in China because I found it so challenging.
Now that I’ve had a lot more experience traveling in Asia, I’m quite keen to return and give it another chance. I’m sure I’d have a completely different experience second time around.
What does it take to be a long-term traveler?
A lot of patience, a desire to be challenged, and a lot of money.
What is the best food in the world?
Pho, from Vietnam. I could eat it for three meals a day and never get sick of it!
What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned from this experience?
That you can’t prepare for things to go wrong. I used to spend hours worrying about the various different things that could possibly go wrong on the road — and all it achieved was an awful lot of stress. The bad things that happen are always things you don’t expect — being scammed, being in a tsunami, having a woman die on your boat, having your boat start to sink — these all happened to me and they were all unexpected. The things that I wasted time and energy worrying about never happened.
What’s a piece of advice you would give someone that wants to be a long-term traveler?
Don’t make plans, expect things to go wrong, save a lot of money before you leave, and travel with an open mind.
Thanks Lauren for the inspiring interview! We hope to hear a lot more from and about you.