Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all had a fabulous week, and are looking forward to an amazing weekend. Today on our Feature Friday series, we have the pleasure of having Danielle as our guest. Danielle is a fellow travel blogger who loves sharing her passion for travel, and today she’s doing just that. Continue reading to learn more about Danielle and her travel personality!
1. Thank you for deciding to be a part of Feature Friday. Could you tell us a little about yourself and your blog?
Hi! My name is Danielle and I’m from Syracuse, New York (no, that’s not New York City). I grew up here, but knew that I needed to get out and experience a different life. So for graduate school I went to Melbourne Australia and lived there for a year and a half. During that time I traveled the country extensively and really got the “travel bug”. Since I’ve returned to the states I am constantly traveling and exploring what the world has to offer. My blog showcases how to travel without spending a fortune. It includes general travel advice and itineraries and recommendations for a variety of places.
2. Why did you decide to become a travel blogger?
I’ve always loved taking photos and sharing the stories of my travels. For years my friends and family told me I should start a travel business/be a travel planner. I finally decided to start toward that dream in March of this year. It has been a joy and a passion project of mine that I hope continues to grow!
3. What do you love so much about travelling?
So much! I love the whole experience – meeting new people, seeing new places, trying new foods, and learning new cultures. I find it so interesting to see how people think and act around the world, yet how we are all the same deep down. I love being able to experience things that I would not be able to do at home. Traveling is constant learning, growing, and figuring out more about yourself.
4. Have you ever regretted doing something while travelling?
The only things I’ve regretted while traveling are not speaking up for myself and doing what I want to do the most. I’ve had several experiences visiting friends and family around the world, and I’ve occasionally been stuck doing what they want to do, and not getting to experience what I wanted to see in that particular city. I have since learned to speak up and let my travel companions know that I am going to make sure I do X, Y, and Z while I am visiting, even if they don’t want to. If not then, when?
5. What’s the scariest thing you’ve done while travelling?
One of the scariest things I remember was being convinced to do the sling shot bungee in Queensland, Australia. I did NOT want to do it, but somehow my friend convinced me and I was in line without even realizing it. I was terrified. But I have to admit that I was so happy I did it. The experience was an adrenaline rush and I got to see the beautiful lights of the Gold Coast – upside down! Lesson learned; sometimes the scariest experiences are the most worthwhile.
6. What is your most embarrassing travel story?
Almost getting stuck in the Sydney airport on my way home from Australia. I had purchased two round-trip tickets from New York to Melbourne and back because I got a GREAT deal and I had a friend coming out to visit before flying home with me. I assumed I could just use the return half of the ticket with no problems. Big mistake. When I checked in at the Melbourne airport, the scanner made a strange beep when scanning my ticket, but the flight attendant let me go ahead and told me not to worry. I made it to Sydney and was not allowed to board my flight to LAX. They said my ticket was no longer valid. I did not have the money to purchase a same-day ticket to fly home from Australia (it was around $1,500), so I was almost stranded. I was lucky enough that my friend could purchase the ticket on her credit card so I could get home. She helped me sort it out with the airport later and I will NEVER make that mistake again!
7. Have you ever travelled solo? Would you do it again? If you haven’t, would you ever do it?
Yes! Several times. When I moved to Australia, I went alone. I was lucky enough to have a host family waiting for me when I got there, but I still did a lot of travels around the city and country by myself. Solo travel is a great experience. Your itinerary is your own. You can spend as much or as little time doing whatever you want. You can be unabashedly you. I highly recommend traveling alone.
8. Out of all the cities & countries you’ve visited, which did you like the least? Why?
I was not a big fan of Omaha, Nebraska. The city just seemed rundown and a bit… odd. For example, we went to this FANTASTIC restaurant/brewery, but it was located in this completely random part of town with abandoned buildings nearby. It was just strange. (Sidenote: The Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha is most definitely worth the visit! Make it a stop on a road trip.)
9. Out of all the cities & countries you’ve visited, which did you like the most? Why?
In the US: Chicago. I love the feeling I get in Chicago. It has everything you need – culture, food, museums, shopping, beaches… Plus, the zoo is FREE! I also love the amount of greenspace in the city; there are parks everywhere and they are all unique. Click here for some tips for your next visit to Chicago.
Outside the US: Melbourne, Australia. I lived there for a year and a half and it was the best place I could have lived. I think I love Chicago because it reminds me so much of Melbourne. Melbs is a hugely international city, so the authentic food options and coffee culture are incredible. It also has plenty of parks, museums, and culture. Public transportation is also fantastic. Go there!
10. If you had to choose one place to live for the rest of your life, where would it be, and why?
I’d probably live in Melbourne, for reasons already mentioned. While the cost of living is pretty darn high, there was SO MUCH to do and experience. Plus, flights across Australia are relatively inexpensive and you’re also close to New Zealand, Indonesia, Fiji, and other South Pacific countries!
11. Are there any social norms or practices you’ve encountered on your travels that you wish were normal in your native culture?
Not only on my travels, but also in my full-time job working with international students, I love the warm greetings they give each other. Common in Australia and with my Latin American students is the greeting with an air-kiss on each cheek. I love that. It shows more emotion and connection than typical American greetings.
12. Is there anywhere you would not visit? Where, and why?
I won’t mention specifics, but I do not want to go to the dangerous or war-torn places – just because of safety. Some of these places I wouldn’t even be able to get travel documents for, so it’s not much of a problem.
13. What is one thing that is too large or impractical to travel with that you wish you could bring with you when you travel?
My dog! She is my everything; but I need to put a disclaimer. I DO take her traveling whenever I can if it’s a road trip or camping trip. Unfortunately I can’t take her if I’m flying, especially it it’s out of the country. I even wrote a post about tips for traveling with your dog. Check it out here!
14. Do you think there’s a difference between people who deem themselves tourists vs. travellers? What do you consider yourself, and why?
Yes. I think people who consider themselves tourists don’t experience things as a “traveler” would. They are generally less experienced, so may struggle with public transportation and cultural sensitivity. I think “tourists” are the type of people who can give Americans a bad reputation when we travel to other countries, whereas a traveler is there to experience the city/country like a local. Tourists expect things to be the way they want them to be and they are always blocking my photos! (Haha) I consider myself a traveler.
15. What does home mean to you?
Home is comfort. It is your friends, family and old habits; a place you can let your guard down and relax. It is also the place to showcase all of your photos, maps, and keepsakes from your travels!
16. What advice would you give an aspiring travel blogger?
Don’t give up. It’s a slow climb – one that I am currently doing myself. But if you have the passion for it, and you can find the great support systems like I have been able to, you can do whatever you set your mind to! Don’t get discouraged by comparing yourself to blogs that have been around for years – they’ve had all that time to build! (I’ve been guilty of this myself.) If you know what you want, and you enjoy the time that you invest into it, that is all that matters.
Thank you Danielle for sharing your experiences and thoughts with us! I definitely agree with your advice for a travel blogger – and it also applies to bloggers of other niches as well. Blogging is hard work, and time consuming, but the process can be very rewarding! I can also relate to having regret from not speaking up. Now I’m more vocal about doing what I want to do, because who knows when I’ll be back to that destination! Thanks again Danielle for being a part of Feature Friday, and safe travels on your next trip!
Did you enjoy what you read? Get to know more about Danielle!
Danielle currently lives in Central New York. She grew up in a family that didn’t have the means to travel much or far from home. When she became an adult and was on her own, she knew she wanted to see the world. Danielle decided to go abroad to study in Australia for a year and a half, and she hasn’t been able to stop travelling since. Danielle is currently an international student advisor and adjunct instructor at her local university, so she gets to learn so much about the world with her 9-5 job as well. Her travel blog is a side project that has been a long time coming and is truly her passion project. Connect with her at the following: