Meet world traveler Danielle, the adventurous travel blogger behind the popular travel blog A Little Bit Adrift. After 7 years of blogging and being a little bit adrift Danielle has actually gone pretty damn far; 6 continents and over 25 countries and counting. Danielle has a passion for volunteering following her time teaching in South America and she just created a very handy travel accessory called Pack This Journal (more about this later).
Writer, Adventurer, Volunteer, Inventor… but Danielle insists she’s just an ordinary gal like the rest of us! She shares her highs and lows, the good, the bad and the ugly on her blog where she does in fact excel at simply keeping it real, and I must say, it’s refreshing.
Hi Danielle, tell us about your travel blog and how you became a travel blogger?
I have had my blog, A Little Bit Adrift, since 2011, waaay back in the Blogspot days. I traveled out of the country for the very first time (solo no less!) when I was in college, and got completely hooked. While on my trip, I started writing a blog, which soon turned into ALBA. I wanted a place to share my musings, but also a place to document my trips. Travel blogs have changed a LOT since then, but I still have kept mine the same. I want to help and encourage people in any way I can to travel, while also sharing my own adventures.
What do you love most about travel blogging?
What I love most about travel blogging is being able to connect with other people about the places I love. Whether it is a trip I am going on and am researching for, or I am sharing what I learned from my last adventure, I love being part of this community and helping fellow travelers out.
I loved your post about what you consider a travel blog to be and how you intend to keep your blog ‘real’. I’m kinda tired and left thoroughly uninspired by all the ‘travel bloggers’ posting pretty pictures of themselves in $500 a night hotels. What are your thoughts on this…
Ugh, right? I feel like my post was inspired by so many “perfect” photos, and feeling intimidated on my own adventures to post. And then I thought, what am I worried about? I’ve been so candid in showing my life, and if you go back to the beginning of my blog you will see that. I really strive to keep it real and not just have perfectly curated photos.
Because that is not real life travel! Real life travel is the good, the bad, the ugly. The bugs, the dirt, the crappy hotels, the bad hair. I have it all and I’ve experienced it all. Sure the photos are curated (I don’t post that much!), but they are real and I think that is what matters!
You’re an advocate for volunteering, share any lessons you learned from your time teaching in South America
Volunteering abroad is a huge passion of mine, and something I love to share. I learned SO much from doing this – from how to truly live in a country, to how to be more selfless while you travel.
When did you first get the travel bug and how long have you been traveling for?
I studied abroad my junior year of college in Australia, and that was the first time I had ever been out of the country. And ever since then, I was hooked! I now have been traveling for about 11 years and have gone to over 35 countries.
How do you afford to travel to so many amazing places so often?
I love this question! It takes time, dedication, and passion to want to do it. But I am not rich or privileged. I am not sponsored or gifted any of my travel. I just make it a huge priority in my life. I try to take one big trip a year, and get as much done in those few weeks as I can. I look for flight deals or ways that I can go and experience the culture without having to pay as much (hello volunteering!) and I just make it something very important in my life. Some people have nice cars or clothes… I love to travel. It is my thing!
Tell us about your latest labor of love, Pack This Journal… I want one lol.
You can have one! 🙂 I am so so excited about this, since it has been something I have been really passionate about for a long time. In 2008 after I graduated from college, I traveled around Europe and brought a glue stick with me so I could glue in every detail of my trip: coasters, receipts, ticket stubs, and more. Fast forward 10 years later, I had the idea to create my own journal and include all the things you need to create this. So included in the Pack This Journal are glue dots and a pen.
It’s that simple, but it is amazing when you have these tools what kind of journal you can create. It’s something you actually want to look back on, because its so full of the memories from your trip. I save receipts, grab business cards, buy postcards. My journals are so full, but I love them! I love writing what I did each day and then gluing in the items around it. I really want to create a world around more meaningful travel. Less social media posts and more about your TRUE experience, living in the moment and taking in all that this world has to offer!
P.S, Pack This Journal is now available to purchase on Etsy.
Based on your travels so far, where have you visited that you would love to go back to and why?
I would love to go back to the UK since I have only done a quick stint in London. I love the culture there! So much to do and see.
What’s the one thing you’d never travel without?
I know it sounds obvious, but I have not traveled without a journal in the last 10 years and it is one of the best things I have done. To be able to look back on all my travels and see what I did, where I’ve been, the meals I ate, the places I’ve been. Nothing beats it! Social media has nothing on these journals! Everything else can be purchased if you forget it, but a journal, filled to the brim with your memories, is priceless.
Name your 3 carry on essentials that you bring with you on every flight
I always bring an eye mask (I am not a good plane sleeper) a good book (because ahem, I never sleep) and snacks! Not the healthy kind everyone will tell you to bring. I am a candy gal through and through, and I need something to look forward to when I am on a plane for 9 hours so I ration it accordingly 🙂
What do you love most about coming home after a long trip?
I just returned home from Portugal and Spain for my honeymoon, and honestly it just felt so good to be in our bed. And back to a routine of sorts. I love traveling but sometimes its nice to just get back to your “real life” and feeling just like yourself again.
What’s on your future travel bucket list?
Right now my top 3 places are Ireland, Thailand (I’ve done Vietnam/Cambodia but didn’t make it to Thailand!) and Argentina.
What advice would you give an apprehensive best friend about traveling solo?
I’ve noticed it’s much easier to talk people into traveling the world if they have a companion to do it with. I get it! But then someone goes on their first solo trip, and it just CHANGES them. It’s like unlike anything you have ever experienced. You are in your own head a lot, but you also have total control of that head. What you do, what you see, where you go and why. I would tell my best friend to try it in short spurts. Take a night away, then a weekend, then try for a week. You will be amazed at how content you feel being alone, how not scary it truly is. And just lots of encouragement! Because it is scary, but it is SO worth it.