Everyone Said I Was Doing It Wrong


Lauren in Guanajuato

I don’t think I’ve ever written a post about travel blogging before, but today, on the night of my big book launch, feels like the right time.

Because for the past few years, there have been many, many times when I’ve felt like an enormous failure. I allowed people to convince me I’d been making one mistake after another. Time and time again, everyone told me I was doing everything wrong.

Lauren in Guanajuato

I started a travel blog with lofty dreams of becoming The Biggest and Best Blogger in the World. I was going to crush it. I was going to post every single day, have a site packed with helpful resources and advice, and be known worldwide as a travel expert. I wanted to write travel guides and author guidebooks and build my audience to five hundred million loyal readers.

Yeah.

Let’s face it: one look at my incidents page tells you I’m not the type of person you should be taking travel advice from. I’ve been scammed half a dozen times over the past four years; I’ve been robbed multiple times, too. I’ve fallen into rice paddies and been attacked by monkeys and been abandoned at borders and thrown up over market stalls and been caught up in tsunamis and sat next to a dead woman and eaten a cockroach and…

I’ve been incident-ridden from the day I was born, so I don’t know why I thought travel would be any different.

Lauren in Dubrovnik
This was taken during the first week of my trip: already I had almost missed my first flight, become the laughing stock of my hostel, suffered a panic attack, was sunburnt, and had food poisoning.

The best decision I ever made was to stop pretending to be something I wasn’t.

Every time I dished out travel advice on Never Ending Footsteps, I felt like a fraud. I’d offer tips on how to make friends while travelling when in reality, I’d struggled to connect with anyone on the road.

I decided to stop faking it and I started writing from the heart. I wrote honestly and authentically about the ups and downs of life on the road. I rebranded myself as a walking disaster rather than a solo female long-term budget traveller on a round-the-world trip. And you guys responded so much more to me after I made the change — I started receiving daily emails rather than monthly; you asked me for tips on dealing with anxiety; you told me you could relate to my stories; and you told me you thought my honesty was refreshing. I finally felt like I was standing out in the increasingly-crowded world of travel blogging.

In the back of my mind, I was terrified I was making a mistake. Every time I’d read a post from an successful travel blogger listing everything that had got them to where they were, I’d begin to berate myself. Because I was doing nothing they recommended.

Privately, travel blogging friends confessed they thought I was doing it wrong. The problem with placing yourself as the anti-travel expert, they told me, is that nobody will ever trust your advice and recommendations — so how can you make money? If you recommend a backpack using an affiliate link, will anyone ever purchase it through your link? Or will they think you don’t know what you’re talking about because you’re, as you say, a walking disaster?

I was told I was screwing myself over by doing something different and I would struggle to make money as a result.

burma farmer

The decision to stop taking press trips and sponsored activities/accommodation was tough. After all, one of the biggest perks of travel blogging is getting to travel the world for free.

As soon as I reached a monthly audience of something like 5,000 visitors, I began pitching my way across every country I visited. I took a cooking class in Seoul; tried surfing in Bali; flew in a hot air balloon over Lake Bled; and even had a full two month’s worth of accommodation in New Zealand covered. I was living the life I’d always dreamed of.

Until I wasn’t.

After six months of trudging down the sponsored travel trail, I stopped. I had never really felt fully comfortable doing it and had always struggled to remain objective. I hated being obligated to write about places where nothing interesting had happened. I felt awkward sharing my travel expenses in monthly summaries and disclosing I hadn’t paid for half of the things I was mentioning, like I was no longer able to show how affordable travel could be.

korean cooking

I decided to take a strict no sponsored travel stance and I’ve been travelling on my own dime for three years and counting. I would rather pay to do whatever I want so I can live my life on my terms.

It hasn’t been easy. I’ve turned down offers for nights in insane resorts in the Maldives and anything up to a twelve-week-long luxury safari through Africa that was worth several tens of thousands of dollars. The version of me from several years ago would have screamed at me to take them, but I wanted to stand out from the crowd.

Travel bloggers I spoke to about it thought I was overthinking it. Because, as most of them told me, my readers don’t actually care that much if I take some sponsored stuff here and there — they’ll understand that I have to make a living somehow. And you guys probably would. But some of you might have not. And some of you might have despised reading about an activity I didn’t pay for.

I’m a contrarian, so just like I decided to start writing about how not to travel the world, I opted to pay for everything myself.

It was hard not to be concerned. Because if I wasn’t someone who people would look to for advice, minimising a potential income stream, and if I wasn’t saving money by taking comps, how was I going to fund my travels and find success?

Indonesian rupiah

There are thousands of travel blogging articles floating around online, all of them sharing the same recipes for success. Post frequently and regularly. Write big, helpful resource guides. Start pitching companies as soon as you have a decent sized audience. Join Travel Blog Success. Focus on SEO. Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag.

I used to devour those posts and spend months worrying about how I wasn’t doing anything listed. I averaged one post a week, my posts were about my latest screw ups, I wasn’t taking advantage of the free trips I was being offered, I thought Travel Blog Success was too expensive, I had no idea what SEO was, and hashtags make me sad. Was I the worst travel blogger in the world? Could I ever find success through taking a different path?

And then I was contacted by an editor at a major publishing house. Then I was contacted by a second. I hadn’t even been looking for a book deal.

Suddenly, I realised I’d been setting myself up for success all along.

DCIM100GOPRO

I had created a brand that revolved around being a travelling disaster — something nobody else was doing. My site had a strong message: travel can transform your life, even if you have no idea what you’re doing, have never eaten rice, and suffer from extreme anxiety. It was an interesting story, and it was one that hadn’t been published before.

Not only that, but the longer I worked on blogging differently to everyone else, the more my audience grew. It’s the reader emails thanking me for sharing the bad times as well as the good, and for giving an honest look at the reality of living a life like this. It’s the people who tell me they love that I pay for everything myself and show how affordable travel can be. It’s that I now get hundreds of emails a week since deciding to make a change. When I was fighting to fit in, it was more like one.

It’s scary to look at what everyone in an industry is doing and decide to do the opposite, having no idea whether it will pay off. I’m proof that it can. You don’t have to follow the crowd, especially when the crowd consists of hundreds of thousands of blogs. Find a way to do things differently, and when you’re wondering if you’re making a big mistake, you may just receive an email that changes your life.

Today, How Not to Travel the World goes live.

I’m a published author.

And everyone told me I was doing it wrong.

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120 Comments

  1. Mark - The Time To Go Is Now
    August 12, 2015
    Reply

    I really needed this. I too get anxious about the things I should be doing. You can’t stand out by doing the same thing as everyone else.

    The key, in my opinion, is honesty. Not just for travel blogging but writing and art in general. The best stuff comes from the heart when you turn off all of the filters. There is a vulnerability that comes with being that honest and it can be intimidating to be that open. Not just with strangers around the world but also all the people you know personally who read your blog.

    I’m still trying to figure out what that “thing” is for me. In the meantime, I’ll continue cranking out the standards until I hit upon it.

    Again, congratulations and safe travels.

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      Glad my post was helpful, Mark! It took a long time for me to fully open up on here, but nothing but wonderful things have come from it. Knowing that I’m relatable and helping people to overcome their anxiety and see the world means the world to me!

  2. Francesca
    August 12, 2015
    Reply

    I think sometimes you just have to follow your gut, and write what comes naturally. That’s when the beat sort of creativity occurs! So excited to finally read your book tomorrow. Blog posts just aren’t long enough ? well done.

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      Really hope you enjoy the read, Francesca! :-)

  3. Clare
    August 12, 2015
    Reply

    You trusted yourself and that’s why your readers trust you I think. It’s a great example to set and you deserve every success with your book. Keep doing what you do!

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Clare! It makes me so happy to read that :-D

  4. Hannah @ Traveling Banana
    August 12, 2015
    Reply

    This is so awesome. Congrats!

    • Lauren
      August 12, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Hannah! :-D

  5. Sonja
    August 12, 2015
    Reply

    I really love this. I’m starting out in blogging and I just want to write, and not be bogged down by all the social media and rules that people are touting has to go with it. You should be so proud of yourself!

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      Social media is so exhausting to me that keeping up with it and scheduling posts was making me unwell. It was such a relief to take a step back and start focusing on the things I enjoy instead.

  6. Dan
    August 12, 2015
    Reply

    Hey Lauren,

    I follow a lot of travel blogs on social media and you are one of my faves just for the reasons you say. Rather than being boastful of all the places you travel and always promoting yourself, you’re honest and authentic. That’s an awesome trait to have whether as a travel blogger or in any aspect of life. I’d imagine most of the people following you feel like we know you and would be someone we’d love to be friends with (and hence why we enjoy your stories). Keep it up and congrats on all your success!

    Dan

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Dan! That’s so kind of you to say :-)

  7. Christopher
    August 12, 2015
    Reply

    Congrats on sticking to your beliefs and proving you’re not a flop!

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      Ha! Thanks, Christopher! :-)

  8. Jayne
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    I can’t believe people told you you were doing it wrong?! So glad you stuck to your guns and proved there isn’t 1 right way – especially when everyone’s idea of success is so different. Congrats on your success story – you’ve earned it :)

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Jayne! :-)

  9. Katie
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    Love this. I used to think I was doing it wrong too because I only post once a week and prefer story telling to resource guides but I don’t care anymore and just do things my way. I may not have loads of readers but I am proud of what I put out and when I get encouraging comments from readers it makes me feel good. Selling out wouldn’t be worth it to me

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      That’s definitely the right way to go. If you force yourself to do something that doesn’t feel right or you’re not passionate about, it’s so much more exhausting to do, and I think you end up giving up after a while.

  10. Danielle
    August 12, 2015
    Reply

    Great article! Hard work pays off :) Congrats on the book!! <3

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Danielle! :-)

  11. Ola
    August 12, 2015
    Reply

    It’s great that you are following your own way! I think it’s very good that you also share your misadventures, I mean there won’t be anyone not having a “what the f*ck is going on now” moment.
    Congrats to being a published author! :)

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Ola! When I first started travelling, I’d beat myself up over my misadventures because nobody else was writing about them and it made me feel like a huge failure. I started sharing them to show that travel isn’t always the best thing in the world :-)

  12. Melissa Giroux
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    Wow! Congrats! What a post. I started my blog because I couldnt identify myself in most of the travel blogs and it is now that I find you?! I am dealing with anxiety and I also travel! This is also funny because I started to write about my non sparkling pinky adventures on the road (my travel nightmares) in the last couple of weeks. Well, I am glad to see that it is possible! There are so many bloggers doint it in a “normal way”. I travel because I am bored in the normality zone. I don’t want to blog about the “normal” traveling type. Thank you. This is inspiring! You gave me a good shot of hope!

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2015
      Reply

      Oh, that’s amazing! I’ll have to check out your site :-) Travelling with anxiety can be incredibly difficult, but in the long-term it can definitely help. I spent several years hiding my anxiety from my site because I was afraid of being judged, but after speaking out about it, I’ve come to realise just how many people are also suffering. It’s good to speak out about it to show others they’re not alone and anxiety doesn’t have to prevent you from seeing the world.

  13. Katie
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    This post must have felt so good to write. I can just feel it! It actually shocks me that so many people told you you were doing it wrong…especially as carving out your own niche is easily one of the top pieces of advice I come across. I love your take on travel and can’t wait to check out the book. Congrats :)

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2015
      Reply

      I think carving out a niche is definitely important; it was more the “my niche is being a travelling disaster” that a lot of people thought was a bad idea. Aaaaand I probably would have made more money if I’d focused my energies on being a travel expert, but when I look back at my old posts where I tried to do that, they were dull and uninspiring, and I felt like I was hiding a lot from my readers.

  14. Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    Congratulations on your book! That’s awesome and, I’d argue, a much more impressive achievement than a free twelve week luxury safari etc. For me, blogs that incessantly write about free stuff seem disingenuous so I don’t always enjoy reading them as much (or take their recommendations). I will always enjoy reading blogs that are honest and write from a personal standpoint, because whilst destination guide posts are helpful, they don’t generally let you connect with the blogger. That’s the most important thing for me as both a reader and a blogger.
    I look forward to reading your book!

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Rachel! I’d agree with you, too — I’d much rather work hard to build up my saving and pay for a trip than receive it for free — it means I can write about it on my own terms, if I write about it at all, and it feels more meaningful, too. I make sure I enjoy every goddamn second of that trip if I’ve paid many thousands for it — I’d be less inclined to do so if I wasn’t out of pocket.

      Hope you enjoy my book! :-)

  15. Clare
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    I love this – it’s so easy to get caught up in what you ‘should’ be doing that you forget what it was you actually wanted to do in the first place. Yours has always been one of the few travel blogs that I actually READ rather than just follow, and that’s exactly because you tell actual stories that are funny and interesting and reassuring, rather than just posting half-arsed lists of ’11 things everybody already knows about because everyone blogs the same stuff’. Huge congratulations, and I can’t wait to read your book!

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks for the huge compliment, Clare! You’ve made my day :-D

  16. chewy
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    Congrats on your book coming out soon! I commend you for bucking the trend in travel blogging, and hope that I may also someday experience success for trying to do that too. Travel isn’t all unicorns and sunshine, so it is great to have more honesty coming through! Looking forward to more stories from you!

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Chewy! Travel can be terrible at times, but the good far outweighs the bad! It’s fun to write about the bad, though :-)

  17. Aisling
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    Congrats again on the book!

    I think the way your blog is is fantastic! I read a few other travel blogs who’s entire trip seems to be sponsored by free activities and accommodation in turn for some publicity. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why these bloggers do it – I probably would too! But as a result of this, the whole blog doesn’t seem as raw and genuine as what yours is. In my opinion, with your blog, the non-traveling readers get a true sense of what its REALLY like living on the road.

    The incidents are just the icing on the cake! :)

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2015
      Reply

      Aw, thanks so much, Aisling! That’s exactly what I was aiming for :-). Although I hope most people won’t have as many incidents as I have had!

  18. tammyonthemove
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    Lauren, you have done the right thing not listening to other bloggers. I started blogging the same time as you roughly and I followed many blogs during that time. After a year or so I noticed that everybody writes about the same kind of stuff and it really started boring me. Your blog is one of the few that I still read, because you have such an unusual twist to your blog. Congrats on your book. I currently live in Ghana, so can’t buy it, but next time I’m in the UK I will definitely buy it.

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      That makes me so happy to hear, Tammy! Thank you so much :-D

  19. Richelle
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    To be honest, a lot of the overly perfect travel blogs are just boring to me! I think I read too many blogs that now everyone is starting to sound the same. The reason I like your blog is because of your storytelling and the fact that you’re truthful. I’ve just begun getting into the sponsored stuff and I’ve already realized it’s not worth it unless it’s a larger collaboration. I’m really good about not accepting anything too fancy, or outside of what I’d normally do, but the stress of delivering is too much for me. I never want to let anyone down, so I’m constantly freaking out if my sponsored posts don’t have enough engagement etc.

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      Oh, I’m so happy to hear I don’t blend in with the crowd! I definitely was stressed out when I accepted sponsored stuff as well — even just the pressure to write about something you’ve done stressed me out, especially if the activity ended up being really boring and I had no idea how to write an exciting post about it.

  20. Rachel
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    I loved that story of yours sitting next to a dead woman.. I mean, that was a really terrible experience (for you haha!), but it was a really nice story. I couldn’t even stand next to my grandmother in her funeral, I was always a few meters away because I was scared of seeing her face, but this experience of yours is way beyond terrifying.. and you’re a great story-teller. I wish the best for your book. I’ll definitely grab one. Congratulations! :)

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Rachel! Sitting next to the woman on the boat was definitely one of the more traumatising experiences I’ve had. It was more the grieving husband that affected me, rather than the woman herself though! It was horrible to have to hear someone grieve in public like that.

  21. Brittany
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    Lauren, I appreciate your candor! I like knowing what DIDN’T work for someone, then I can decide whether or not it’s worth the risk to try it out myself. It’s better than thinking an experience is going to be rainbows and unicorns, and have it turn out mediocre (or horrible!), because after all, everyone has a unique set of lenses. Thank you for sharing yours!

    Also, your book was officially delivered to my Kindle this morning. I can’t wait to read it =)

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      Hope you enjoy the read! And I agree with you — I try to arrive in a place with zero expectations these days, as it can be so depressing to build it up in your mind and discover it’s not as great as you expected.

  22. Taylor
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    I stumbled across your blog and decided to keep reading because I read that you had plenty disasters on the road. I thought about how much I could learn from you and how many funny stories you could have! Congratulations on the book release, and thank you for writing this. I’m a new blogger and sometimes it’s nice to read that not doing what everyone else doing is okay!

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Taylor! I’m happy you found this post useful :-)

  23. Claudia
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    You are a walking… example! Even if you had not published a book – which I am going to buy – you’d still be an example of how to successfully be yourself. That isn’t little. I love the fact that you do write what really happens to you. I have written posts on Cuba where I give a honest account of the many scams I have fallen into. I have been told off and the suggestion was that I did not like Cuba at all. Do I have to give a sugarcoated version of my travels just to prove that I like a place? I can go beyond that. I think that it shows a lot of maturity and intelligence to be able to enjoy a place (and life) despite the many accidents that we incur to!

    Keep doing what you are doing!

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      That’s so sweet of you to say, Claudia :-) I’ve definitely received similar feedback to negative posts I’ve written — people telling me I’m too negative and I’m not enjoying travel as much as I should. That’s just the reality of travel, though.

  24. Maria Alexandra @LatinAbroad
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    incredible piece of artwork with 50,000 Indonesian rupiah notes. I never thought that money could look so pretty XD

    Anyway! I’m proud of you. I just bought the paperback version of your book. It’s always good to be unique, no matter w=what, as this life is full of sheep. Let’s be the leaders!

    -Maria Alexandra

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      Awww, thanks so much, lovely! :-D

  25. Ali
    August 13, 2015
    Reply

    I’m glad you didn’t listen to the people who told you you were doing it wrong. If you’re not comfortable doing things a certain way or writing about certain topics, you can’t sustain a blog and enjoy it. And standing out is almost always the way to go. I can’t handle doing a lot of things I “should” be doing with my blogs, but I haven’t quite figured out how to really stand out either. It’s harder than it looks, and I think you’re doing an amazing job.

    I just started reading your book, and I’m really excited to sink into it! Congrats, and keep being you!

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      It can be tough to find a way to stand out — if I didn’t have my bad luck, I know I would have struggled to find something else.

  26. Jessica Hill
    August 14, 2015
    Reply

    Good for you for sticking to your guns! You’re an inspiration to so many people who are afraid to travel because they’re afraid something awful will happen. I love that you’re opening saying, “Hey, travel isn’t glamorous,” because it’s not. Not if you’re doing it right. And it sounds like you are. Big kudos to you, Lauren. I can’t wait to read your book.

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Jessica! I want to show that travel isn’t always the best thing ever, and it’s okay if things go wrong — it doesn’t mean that you’re doing it wrong!

  27. Jessica @Triple T Travels
    August 14, 2015
    Reply

    I love your blog! Thank you for sharing this story. And congratulations on your book, what an accomplishment :)

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Jessica! Happy you enjoyed the post :-)

  28. Amy (Two Drifters)
    August 14, 2015
    Reply

    This is SO inspiring!! We’re just getting the ball rolling with travel blogging (two anxious folks here also) and my boyfriend can attest that I have weekly freakouts about “not doing enough” or not doing it “right.” I even look at our blog design and obsess over whether it’s good enough. I think you’re spot on that the point is just to write and be honest, and authentic, and unique. Thanks so much for this fresh perspective.

    Cheers ! x Amy

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      No worries, Amy! Don’t let yourself get too stressed over it — yep, be honest, authentic, and unique, and people will respond when they find you.

  29. Ellie
    August 14, 2015
    Reply

    Yet another excellent post that really felt like it came from YOU, thank you! I agree with all the other comments, so can’t add much more you haven’t already heard.

    When friends come back from travelling and tell you how amazing somewhere was, that it was just SO worth visiting, that’s really not that memorable or interesting to others, especially when they might not be able to travel themselves. It’s the tales of when everything went wrong that people enjoy listening to, and the bonus is that they won’t feel like they were missing out!

    I’ve never had anything terrible happen compared to you, but it’s reassuring after following your blog that if some disaster did happen, it’s probably not gonna be the end of the world! (I’m just sorry you did have to go through them all!)

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      That’s been the biggest lesson for me: whenever something goes wrong, it’s usually never as bad as you think it’ll be. It really helped cure me of my worrying.

  30. Randi
    August 14, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Lauren – I probably don’t fit the average blog reader, as I’m 60 years old and can’t imagine traveling by myself in countries where I don’t speak their language. However I love reading your blog and just downloaded your book to my kindle. I plan to retire in two years, and hope that my husband and I will be able to visit many of the places that you’ve written about. I was so excited when we went to Turkey and was able to see Pamukkale, after reading about it on your blog. I am going with a friend to Thailand next March, so will review your webpage to see if you have any recommendations for me. Please keep writing as I look forward to your blogs – they are delightful! I only follow one other blog, and it’s Dave’s. Blessings to you both! Randi

    • Lauren
      November 26, 2015
      Reply

      That’s amazing, thank you so much for buying a copy, Randi! Feel free to drop me an email whenever if you need any travel advice! :-) I also have a ton of stuff on the site about Thailand!

  31. Shan B
    August 14, 2015
    Reply

    Hello from Florida! I’ve never commented before, but I’ve been reading your blog for a couple years now. I was having a rough time a year ago and your blog inspired me to take a 6 week backpacking trip. I bought your book this morning, partly to say thank you and partly to share it with my friends who think world traveling is just for people with more money and experience.

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2015
      Reply

      Yay! Thanks so much for the comment, Shan! And thank you for the kind words! And for buying my book! Thanks all round :-) My book definitely proves that travel is in no way just for people with experience!

  32. Michelle Schroeder
    August 14, 2015
    Reply

    Love this! You are obviously doing well. Congrats on the book!

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Michelle! Not doing as well as you, looking at your recent income report! :-)

  33. Deepti @ Endless Postcards
    August 14, 2015
    Reply

    You’re such an inspiration. I admire your honesty and the way that you’ve always been original, and I’m so proud of you (even though I don’t really know you) for publishing your book. I’m so excited to read it! Congratulations on everything — you deserve it.

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Deepti, and I hope you’ll enjoy the read! I’m definitely someone who sees everyone is doing one thing and immediately does the opposite haha.

  34. Amanda
    August 15, 2015
    Reply

    Well, clearly all those people who told you you were doing it wrong… were wrong!

    I’m almost halfway through your book and loving it! Congrats, lady – so proud of you!

    • Lauren
      August 15, 2015
      Reply

      Ahhh, thanks so much, Amanda! So happy you’re enjoying it! :-D

  35. Emma
    August 14, 2015
    Reply

    Congrats on the book! I think it’s so helpful to remember to share the bad times, the mistakes, the struggles etc and write what comes naturally.

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Emma! I agree — I struggled with all of my bad luck when I first started travelling because nobody else was writing about it. I felt like I was the only weirdo who was having bad days and mishaps on the road.

  36. Angie
    August 15, 2015
    Reply

    I really appreciate your honest and ethics!

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Angie! I appreciate that :-D

  37. Hannah Marfil
    August 18, 2015
    Reply

    a nice change reading your article, really out of the norm and congrats on your book…

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Hannah! I like to do things differently :-)

  38. Monica @Piglet & Bear
    August 18, 2015
    Reply

    You go girl!!! I think I speak for many loyal readers when I say we love your authenticity, you’re bravery and honesty. It takes courage to share the pitfalls of travelling, even more to share the pitfalls of life. I’m still mid way through chapter 3 on your book and LOVED it so far! Can’t wait to finish it! :) BTW you may think you have been doing travelling wrong, but in the big picture, you’ve been doing life right :)

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2015
      Reply

      Thank you SO much, Monica! Your comment made my day and I can’t stop smiling :-D. So happy to hear you’re enjoying my book!

  39. Alex B
    August 18, 2015
    Reply

    Lauren. You are awesome. I just finished your book in two days and I can’t stop thinking about how much I loved it. Keep blogging and doing what you do and having ridiculous mishaps around the world. We <3 you!

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2015
      Reply

      Ah, thank you so much, Alex! That’s amazing for you to say. Thanks for making my day! :-D

  40. Alan @suitcasemonster
    August 19, 2015
    Reply

    I just discovered your site and I must say I find the honesty makes you authentic.
    There’s a million ways to do anything, so do it the way that pleases you, and try to implement new ideas when the ideas hit you

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Alan! Completely agree with you — do what makes you happy rather than worrying about what everyone else is doing :-)

  41. Martin
    August 19, 2015
    Reply

    You have a lot of experience! And your articles are great! Your book will be very successufull. Good luck!

    • Lauren
      August 21, 2015
      Reply

      I hope so! Thanks, Martin :-)

  42. Camille
    August 21, 2015
    Reply

    Honestly?! I’m gobsmacked people said you were doing it wrong, because I’ve always thought you were doing it *so* right! You have a niche and a voice, and what is great about you is that you may not be the most natural or luckiest at travel, but you’re still on the road continuing to explore when other, more polished travel bloggers are not really anymore :)

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      That’s so kind — thank you so much, Camille!

  43. Jee Ann
    August 22, 2015
    Reply

    Yup, weird and scary things have happened to you, but you’re not afraid to share them to us – and that’s why I LOVE your blog! Your travel stories are funny, unique, reflective, and always inspiring.

    • Lauren
      August 27, 2015
      Reply

      Thank you, Jee! Really appreciate that :-)

  44. Claudine
    August 22, 2015
    Reply

    I love your story. Many of us can relate. Your story is a great example of being true to yourself. I think that you’ve embraced your imperfections, and that act has paid off for you.

    • Lauren
      August 27, 2015
      Reply

      Ah, thanks so much, Claudine! It took a long time for me to learn how to do it :-)

  45. Jenny
    August 25, 2015
    Reply

    Congratulations on being published! And it’s brilliant that you’ve gained success by forging your own path rather than listening to others. When I see those ‘how to be a blogger’ articles I always think they should be titled: “how to be the same blogger as everyone else” because it’s just so cookie-cutter.
    Just downloaded your book on Kindle – can’t wait to read it :-)

    • Lauren
      August 27, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Jenny! Yep, those articles are all say pretty much the same thing and used to really depress me.

  46. Becka
    September 3, 2015
    Reply

    I couldn’t have stumbled across this post at a better time. I’ve recently started my own travel blog and spend hours reading other peoples and stressing about how I can improve mine (I couldn’t even figure out how to change my domain so am still using the .BlogSpot.com one. Is no one going to read it because I’m clearly an amateur?!) Ultimately, I’m writing it because I enjoy writing and in the future I’ll be able to look back on my adventures and remember things I’ll probably have forgotten but it’s also nice to know that people are interested in what you have to say. This post has filled me with confidence to just do it the way I want to, not the way I ‘should’ be doing it. Thank you x

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      No problem! I’m happy to hear my post could offer some comfort. If you follow what everyone’s telling you to do, how will you stand out? Keep doing what you want and writing about what you want and see how that goes :-)

  47. Yok
    September 8, 2015
    Reply

    Cool post. You diplomatically respond to past criticisms and market the book that was a product of disregarding those criticisms. Seems super savvy not totally wrong. :)

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Yok! :-)

  48. Shelley
    September 9, 2015
    Reply

    Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for blogging because you love it and not because you want to make money from it. Money is great and necessary, but when it becomes the motivation, something gets lost. People aren’t dumb. We can tell the difference. What is so appealing about you is that you DO write from your heart. It’s authentic. We believe you. We need more voices like yours :-)

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Shelley! I’ve recently discovered that I’m just not that motivated by money. If I can cover my expenses and add to my savings each month, I’m happy. I’d rather be healthy and happy and doing the work I want, than throwing myself into every opportunity, making a ton of money, and feeling unhappy.

      Thanks so much for your kind words! :-)

  49. Marg
    September 9, 2015
    Reply

    Lauren, have just received your book !!!Cant wait to read it, forget tge people that want to put you down, you will find them everywhere !! Hold your head high and keep traveling, and hopefully write another book ?? A lot of those people are a little jealous I think..I would love to be doing what you are doing, so keep going and enjoy your travels…Cheers…

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      Hope you enjoy the read, Marg! Thanks so much for the support :-)

  50. Anja
    September 12, 2015
    Reply

    What a fantastic decisions you made and even more fantastic how they turned out to be great choices, Lauren!

    Very cool and it confirms my belief that many people appreciate ‘real’ people, not only succes stories.

    I’m so happy for you and hope you will keep being yourself!

    • Lauren
      November 14, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Anja! Yep, the moral of the story is to be yourself and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, or what they think you should be doing :-)

  51. Aadarsh Dash
    September 15, 2015
    Reply

    Hi Lauren
    The Never ending footsteps story of yours is like an inspiration which is ready to take the world by storm I feel. Your blog is like a bible for all die-hard travelers who wish to live life on their own terms. Truly inspiring I loved it.

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      Amazing! Thank you so much for the lovely comment, Aadarsh :-) So happy I can provide some inspiration!

  52. Andreas
    September 18, 2015
    Reply

    Dear Lauren,
    I really enjoy reading your posts. I usually don’t read any travel blogs, but since I discovered yours, I pop in once a month to check what you have been up to. I don’t travel as much and I am not looking to travel full time, but I try to do one or two trips a year ( I love my job to much and most my trips have been somewhat work related). Keep up the good work. I am also wondering – you haven’t been in Japan yet, but it was one of my first big travels and I really enjoyed it there. Are there any plans of you going there? Best regards from Germany,

    Andreas

    • Lauren
      November 22, 2015
      Reply

      Thank you! From now on, I should have a lot more posts for you to read :-) I really want to go to Japan! It’s high on my list, but I haven’t had a chance to get there. Hopefully next year!

  53. Brock
    September 22, 2015
    Reply

    Yesss! This article hits very close to home – on my other blog.

    So important to simply ‘be ourselves’ and now be who others think we should be.

    Well done.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    • Lauren
      November 13, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks, Brock! Glad the article resonated :-)

  54. Lucille
    September 24, 2015
    Reply

    Just found your blog! You’ve managed to stand out, to find your voice, and to be relatable…and look what’s come of it! Don’t ever doubt yourself again, because anyone can see from your blog that you’re totally awesome. Keep it real xx

    • Lauren
      September 24, 2015
      Reply

      Awww, thank you so much, Lucille! :-D

  55. Emma
    October 19, 2015
    Reply

    Congrats! It’s great to hear that travel bloggers can find success being themselves and not falling into the same old patterns that turn their sites into cookie cutters. I don’t know if I’d be able to turn down the luxury resorts in the Maldives though…

    • Lauren
      October 20, 2015
      Reply

      Haha, it was tough, but I found it so rewarding to work my ass off and pay for a luxury resort with my own money for Dave’s birthday later on :-)

  56. Nadia
    January 23, 2016
    Reply

    Lauren! I’m so glad you decided to be honest. Reading your posts is giving me the courage to take a leap of faith and make that jump. The humour within your posts is also wonderful and I find myself smiling and laughing!

    Keep up the good work :)

    • Lauren
      January 29, 2016
      Reply

      That means the world to me! Thank you so much, Nadia :-)

  57. Nancy Wanderlust
    January 27, 2016
    Reply

    Congratulations Lauren! I can’t wait to read your book. With love from the Maldives :-*

    • Lauren
      January 29, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks, Nancy! It’s been out for six months, so you can read it now :-)

  58. Rohini
    August 4, 2016
    Reply

    It is very bold of you to stand up by your principles rather than following the crowd . Good luck with everything ☺
    Yours is one of the few travelblogs which i check almost everyday for the new blogs ?

    • Lauren
      August 5, 2016
      Reply

      Thanks so much, Rohini! :-)

  59. Matt
    September 29, 2017
    Reply

    Hashtags STILL make me sad. Ugh.

    • Lauren
      October 9, 2017
      Reply

      Right?!

  60. Jas
    January 27, 2020
    Reply

    I guess that’s why you don’t have an Instagram is it?
    As it’s exhausting and you don’t like hashtags?

    Also should bloggrs use their real names you think or is a pen name ok to use?
    Happy travels Jason

    • Lauren
      March 15, 2020
      Reply

      Yeah, I just don’t care for Instagram — it all feels so superficial and doesn’t do great things for my mental health. I think you can use a pen name and be totally fine — Wandering Earl uses a pen name and has done well :-)

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