Ladies We Love is an inspirational interview series with amazing women from across the globe, featured on the SUMMERLOVE SWIMWEAR Blog and cross-posted here. This weeks interview is one of our favorite travel writers, The Blonde Abroad…
FOR YEARS YOU’VE BEEN INSPIRING WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD, BUT FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW YOU YET; WHO ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU FROM? AND WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF YOUR TRAVEL BLOG?
KIERSTEN: My name is Kiersten and I’m a pretty typical So Cal girl. I love bikinis, the beach and an In N Out burger. But, I began traveling the world 3 years ago and started my blog, The Blonde Abroad, to inspire other women to get out and see the world too.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING FOR WORK BEFORE YOU STARTED BLOGGING AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START THE BLONDE ABROAD?
KIERSTEN: I actually working in personally financial planning and corporate finance for four years! Talk about a change of heart.
WHAT WAS THE EXPERIENCE OF GIVING UP EVERYTHING TO TRAVEL LIKE?
KIERSTEN: At first it was liberating. Then, scary. I had been financially independent and living on my own since I was 18, so selling a lot of my things and moving what I wanted to keep back to my parents (at 22 years old) was hard. I half felt defeated, because there’s a certain stigma about “moving home” and half more independent than ever, because I was going to start living life on my own terms.
HOW CAN YOU AFFORD TO TRAVEL SO MUCH?
KIERSTEN: It’s all about balance and budgeting. My first two years of blogging I took up freelance writing gigs and was doing spokes modeling for companies when I returned home. I am very frugal when I’m back home in California too. I cut coupons. I cook for myself and hardly eat out. I also brought down all of my fixed expenses to around $700 a month before I began traveling.
Now that my blog is more established and I have a large readership, I make a full-time income from it so I can come home less and stay on the road longer. Even while traveling though, I keep to a pretty strict budget. I guess I have my background in money management to thank!
WHO DO YOU GO ON YOUR TRAVELS WITH?
KIERSTEN: It’s funny. I began traveling solo because I couldn’t convince a single friend to come with me. Now that I’ve been to around 42 countries and they see that I’m having a blast and it’s safe, I constantly have friends that want to travel with me! I absolutely love going with my friends, but solo travel is my favorite way to go.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 5-10 DESTINATIONS/ADVENTURES YOU WOULD RECOMMEND FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
KIERSTEN: I just published an article on that which you can read here: 10 Safest Destinations for Solo Female Travelers > http://bit.ly/solotravelsafety
I would also mention Jordan and Bolivia because while they’re not as perceivably “safe” as some places I mention, they’re still incredibly female travel friendly and are both amazing destinations.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TRAVEL DESTINATION THUS FAR?
KIERSTEN: That’s such a tough question. I just returned home from Iceland and it blew my mind. It’s currently taken the #1 spot because it’s fresh on my mind and I had such a good experience there.
SUMMER OR WINTER? WHAT TYPE OF TRIPS DO YOU PREFER?
KIERSTEN: I’m super biased because I am a total sun-worshipper. I constantly chase summer around the world. But, I also love to snowboard. Anything that involves cultural travel, good food and a fun adventure is right up my alley.
AS A SELF PROCLAIMED SWIMWEAR CONNOISSEUR DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON HOW TO FEEL MORE CONFIDENT IN A BIKINI?
KIERSTEN: My #1 tip is wearing what actually fits you. Both in swimwear and in clothing. There are a lot of times I fall in love with a bikini in a photo or on the hanger but I know it’s not the right style for my body.
If it’s pinching your hips or squishing your booty, that’s not a good look. Neither is a big old full coverage bottom that sags when it’s wet. I think more girls need to rock a skimpy bottom. When you first start wearing them, it feels like not much coverage, but they make your butt look great. The SUMMERLOVE Butterfly Bottoms look good on everyone. Seriously. They do.
ANY ADVICE FOR WOMEN WHO WANT TO BECOME SUCCESSFUL TRAVEL BLOGGERS?
KIERSTEN: There’s no “How-To” guide on becoming successful at blogging. It’s a long road with a lot of unknowns but, with a lot of hard work, I think most things in life are possible.
I actually started a Blog Mentorship Program because I was getting so many people emailing me for help. I help people with the business side of blogging as well as teaching them how to run a blog on their own.
ONE SILLY/FUN FACT ABOUT YOU?
KIERSTEN: I was a pretty big tomboy growing up and loved sports. I even played Little League baseball with the boys. Not many people know this, but I’m actually a black belt in Taekwondo and studied martial arts for about 5 years.
WHAT DESTINATION IS CURRENTLY AT THE TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST?
KIERSTEN: 2015 is gonna be a big travel year for me. I’ve got a lot on my mind but really hoping to get to South Africa next year. I’m gonna make it happen!
KIERSTEN: “There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask “What if I fall?” Oh but my darling, What if you fly?” ― Erin Hanson