The SunglassWarehouse.com crew is pumped to introduce our latest series, where we highlight men and women committed to seizing the day and going Out & About. Check back each month as we interview individuals who have played, explored, lived, and gone the distance in the great outdoors.
Today’s Out & About post is all about Nellie — a professional travel writer and blogger who records all of her worldly adventures on her websites, WildJunket.com and WildJunketMagazine.com. She loves connecting with readers to share her travel stories on a personal level and (lucky for us!) is an open book when it comes to sharing helpful travel tips and advice. Read on for our inspiring interview with this daring world traveler!
Could you give a brief introduction for our readers about yourself, your family, and your interests and hobbies?
Nellie: I’m a full-time travel writer and blogger specializing in adventure travel. Since leaving my home country, Singapore, more than 10 years ago, I’ve lived in Miami, London, and Madrid. Together with my Spanish husband, we’ve traveled to 83 countries across all seven continents. Besides writing for several travel magazines and guidebooks, I’m also the author of The Adventure Traveler’s Handbook, a book that provides a mixture of practical travel tips, as well as inspirational stories for both first-time and experienced travelers.
You and your husband were bit by the travel bug early on. How were you able to make traveling your lifestyle?
Nellie: In 2008, we returned home after spending a few months volunteering in East Africa. The experience undoubtedly changed our lives and urged us to create a lifestyle that revolved around travel. I started the blog (www.wildjunket.com) then to relive my memories in Africa, and somehow I stumbled upon many other travel blogs and eventually connected with many other bloggers online. Inspired by them, I decided to plunge into the world of travel writing, so I read and learned as much I could online to make it possible.
A few months later, I took a guidebook writing course in Guatemala and landed a writing gig with the guidebook company. From there, I started pitching to several magazines in Singapore, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and eventually I transitioned into a full-time writer and blogger. I’m extremely thankful to be able to have this dream job. It’s taken me across continents, to places I’d never dreamt of visiting.
What has been your favorite and least favorite place to visit?
Nellie: One of my favorite places to visit is Antarctica. It’s just out of this world — really rugged, wild, and remote. Another place is Madagascar, where we went for our honeymoon. Lemurs are everywhere and the baobab-studded landscape is stunning. A few other favorite places include Bhutan, Iceland, and the Galapagos Islands. I like to look for wildlife and nature when I travel!
I don’t have a least favorite place, but there are places that have disappointed me, such as Venice and Dubrovnik, mainly because of the large summer crowds and over-commercialized beaches.
What (or where) is next for you and your husband?
Nellie: In two weeks time, I’m off to walk the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route in the northern part of Spain. I’ll be walking around 200+ km with some close friends, and I’m really excited about the challenge. After that, I’m heading to Mongolia for two weeks, and from there, to Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Kazakstan, Uzbekistan, and Iran. It’s an action-packed summer!
What advice would you give to couples who want to start traveling together or even those about to relocate abroad?
Nellie: I think it’s important to get to know each other’s preferences and travel styles before you start traveling together. Alberto and I met when we were studying abroad in the U.S. and we were traveling together almost right after we met. Luckily for us, our travel styles are similar, and we have a common interest in adventure and the outdoors. Travel naturally bonds two persons together, and it’s the best way to connect with your loved one.
How has travel changed your life?
Nellie: I’ll need a few pages to write this, but to summarize, travel has completely turned my life 360 degrees around. I used to be a shy, timid girl, spoiled by creature comforts in Singapore. But after studying abroad in Miami, my mind opened to a whole new world. I knew I didn’t want a 9-to-5 job or a conventional lifestyle. After graduation, I headed off to London on a work holiday-maker visa and spent two years working and living there with Alberto.
We made use of every weekend and vacation day we had to explore Europe — from a road trip around Greece to an adventure jaunt in Morocco. Soon after, these short trips evolved into longer adventures — a six-month journey in South America, a volunteering stint in East Africa, and a backpacking trip through Asia. Now that I’ve made travel my way of life, I look back at the old me and I’m amazed by how far I’ve come. I’m no longer that shy and timid girl. Travel has made me into a confident and independent woman whose passion lies in exploring and adventuring.
We are a sunglasses store, so we have to ask: Which pair of Sunglass Warehouse shades would make for your perfect travel companion?
Nellie: The polarized style #1177 is perfect for the type of adventures I love!
Thank you to Nellie for chatting with us! We’re feeling the wanderlust!