GLOBAL GIRL LIFE Interview with Travel Blogger, Lauren Wood from Travel is the Cure
Lauren is a California-based blogger, and the face behind Travel is the Cure.
She is passionate about traveling, photography, and writing for her blog.
Lauren loves to embrace new experiences, wander, taste new food, and write about her experiences. She enjoys highlighting favorite destinations and giving advice about where to stay, where to eat, and what to do.
Here Lauren shares with Global Girl Life all about her travel adventures, how she got started traveling, and some of her favorite aspects of travel.
How did you get started on your travel journey?
I caught the travel bug at a young age. Thinking back, I think I’ve actually been traveling for as long as I can remember.
Growing up in a small town in Northern California, travel for me at first included short trips to places like San Francisco and Los Angeles. The city lights and constant hustle and bustle were so foreign to me, and I was instantly drawn to the never-ending excitement that a big city has to offer. I don’t have a specific recollection of the first time I visited one of these places, but I am thankful that throughout my childhood, I was never relegated to just my small hometown.
My mom took me out exploring all over California and our neighboring states, and the experiences with her is probably what prompted me to choose spending my sophomore year of high school in Italy as an exchange student. Thrown in head first with absolutely no Italian language under my belt, I instantly had all things Italy crammed down my throat. And I loved it! Every minute of it.
And I have had the desire to travel all over the world ever since.
What steps did you take to start your travel journey?
As a travel blogger, I’ve often been asked how I got started on my travel journey. Speaking candidly, I’m not sure this question is entirely applicable to me because I definitely don’t have a distinct start or end to my travel journey.
Growing up with a travel bug that got increasingly stronger the more places my life took me, you could say my travel journey started as a teenager when I studied abroad in Italy at the age of 15.
Travel after that was largely put on hold due to completing my bachelors degree and later my law degree, coupled with the fact that as a student I just couldn’t afford it. With a stable professional job and being in my 30s came more freedom to travel more, and I’d be remiss to leave out the fact that traveling when you have money is just plain easier.
After I made partner at my law firm, that opened up new doors to have a more flexible schedule, and be able to afford more lavish trips. So perhaps my answer isn’t going to be comparable to the person who quit their job to explore the world, but I have found the unique situation where working hard on the front end has paid off and allowed me greater flexibility to travel on the back end-- and thankfully not at retirement age.
How long have you been traveling?
By day, I am an attorney. I help injured victims and their families in civil cases against insurance companies and major corporations.
With my line of work, since I thankfully don’t bill hours and my success is not based on how much time I spend in the office, ensuring I am able to get away is incumbent upon me just putting my trips on the calendar and making sure my time is blocked out to go away.
With advancement in technology and WIFI devices like Skyroam, I am able to also work while I am away-- if I choose to that is. So the steps I took to start my travel journey involved finding a career in law that provided me with the flexibility to be able to travel, and making the conscious decision that travel in my free time is what’s most important to me.
Exploring Rice Fields in Bali, Indonesia
What does adventure travel mean to you?
I think the term adventure travel often means something different for everyone. For some, adventure travel includes thrill-seeking activities like outdoor backpacking, extreme sports, and doing activities a large majority of the population wouldn’t generally do.
For me, adventure travel means getting off the beaten path, and not necessarily doing adventure-based activities-- but fully immersing yourself in a local culture that is so distinctly different from your own.
How do you decide where you want to adventure?
If other factors aren’t involved in the decision-making process, and I’m able to choose wherever I want to go-- oftentimes the location will depend on the time of year, the amount of time I can take off from my day job, and of course my budget.
My next travel adventure isn’t often decided simply by where I want to go most in the world, but instead by what personal commitments or work travel I have on my calendar. I have multiple work-related conferences throughout the year that have me traveling to various destinations, so when I travel for fun (I mean, it’s all for fun, but I mean when I take time off from work to travel internationally), it’s usually avoiding places I’ve been recently.
Where are your favorite places you’ve traveled so far?
Though there are some destinations that are favorites and I keep going back to, I try my best to always go someplace new. However, it’s often out of my hands, because it might be dictated by a trip a friend has invited me on or a destination wedding.
For example, depending on the travel bans being lifted-- I’m hoping to head to Italy in September (a country I’ve been to many many times), and fingers-crossed looking forward to going to Australia in November (a new country for me). Both occasions are for destination weddings.
What has been your favorite experience traveling?
Being asked to identify my favorite experience traveling is probably the hardest question to answer. There are so many!
So far though, my favorite experience traveling has to be the trip my husband and I took to the Maldives a couple years ago. I’m a sucker for crystal clear blue waters and hanging around on island time, so it’s not hard for me to fall in love with a tropical destination. Put me on a beach with a beer-- preferably somewhere there’s a reef nearby that I can free dive-- and I’m in heaven.
Though Maldivian resorts generally occupy their own island and give you the feeling of isolation (which can be both good and bad), there’s no arguing it puts a damper on experiencing the culture of a new place. I often like to choose destinations that are uniquely their own, and as far from westernized cultures as possible.
Experiencing the local lifestyle is often my favorite part of travel, so to say our trip to the Maldives was a favorite place I’ve traveled is almost like breaking my own rule, but no matter how much I’ve loved learning the customs and traditions of a new place (and several others come to mind), I can’t seem to stop thinking about how incredible my Maldive’s experience was.
What is your favorite aspect of traveling?
My favorite aspect of traveling is meeting new people and experiencing a new culture.
For me, travel is all about venturing out and doing things that are new, exciting, and completely different. I love eating local dishes-- especially street food, and always thrilled to attend last minute concerts or festivals that I discover just by asking locals what’s going on for a particular weekend.
I love trying to do things that the locals do everyday, but perhaps aren’t something we westerners are used to doing. Once in Fiji I was invited to dinner by our local driver, who killed a rooster that day in preparation for our meal and cooked bush chicken. We met the whole family and dined in an outdoor covered patio at his home.
Another similar experience was when my friend Michelle and I were invited into the home of our driver in Bali for the festival of Galungan, where we went out and found traditional Balinese dress so we could join in the parade through their small village.
My all-time favorite travel moments always seem to involve times when I’ve been lucky enough to truly experience the local culture.
These types of experiences are really why I travel. The memories don’t always have to be momentous, but any time I get to experience something unique in a country, it just stokes the fire and keeps my travel bug alive.
What is your best advice for women wanting to incorporate more adventure into their lives?
My best piece of advice for women wanting to incorporate more adventure into their lives is: JUST DO IT.
Keep the Nike slogan in mind and stop making excuses.
“The first step to incorporating travel or adventure into your life is simply making the decision to go somewhere in the first place.
Take time off, quit your job, or do whatever you need to do to start your travel journey, but put it on the calendar, book flights, and let the rest fall into place.
Don’t back out when the unexpected life occurrences pop up and don’t let self-doubt creep in.”
~Lauren, Travel is the Cure
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