Saturday Session

Saturday Session 07: Traveling Bitz

Today, we have on Melissa Bitz from Traveling Bitz, and Melissa is just about to embark on a long-term trip, so she’s been preparing for that, and I’m SO excited to have a conversation with her today!

Melissa and I met at last years’ TravelCon which was a conference put on by Nomadic Matt. It was so much fun to meet Melissa there in person after following her for awhile on social media!

She has been doing some major preparations for this trip and we’re covering pretty much everything you’ll need to know about taking an extended holiday.

Melissa Bitz from Traveling Bitz

Melissa: I’ve been blogging for about 4 years now, but I actually started off with a different name. When I went through ACL surgery, I decided I would write about my recovery. A year after that I realized, ‘okay, I need to write about something I’m really into — something I could write about forever, so I chose traveling. That’s when Traveling Bitz was born.

Ever since then, I’ve been working full-time and traveling as much as possible, usually by myself because I don’t have a lot of other friends who travel, so I just have to go do it on my own! And I’ve grown to love it!

In my blog, I write a lot about budget travel tips, solo travel tips, how to maximize your vacation or holiday time when you have a full-time job, and I also really enjoy writing personal excerpts from traveling and personal stories. I think it’s really important to connect with your readers.

Listen to the full episode above for more about how Melissa likes to share ALL aspects of travel - from the mediocre stays in hostels to the stunning sights.

We talked about traveling tong-term a little bit, and Melissa has been sharing the whole process of preparing to take a trip of this scale on her IG. I know this process can be intimidating for many people, and there are SO many things you need to consider and take care of before you leave, which is part of why I wanted to have her on as a guest -- to share some of those preparation tips with you all!


Q: Let’s first talk about your motivation behind wanting to do long-term travel. Just the logistics alone are enough to induce some anxiety in people, so I think, obviously, you really have to want to do this pretty badly. Why this trip, why now and have you always wanted to do something like this?

Melissa: Honestly, I have always wanted to travel the world. Since I was a kid, I always said I wanted to be a famous author, which hasn’t happened yet…and also that I would travel the world.

Part of why that was my dream was because I thought dreams were kinda unattainable, which is a little bit sad! I thought it was impossible to become a famous author…and that no one can visit the world, it’s too big and it’s too expensive to do that.

I also grew up in a poorer family, we didn’t really travel at all, we couldn’t go on vacations. Which was fine, I had a great childhood, but I didn’t realize the amazingness of travel until my first international trip when I was about 27.

Listen for more on how Melissa changed careers and starting making more money, but had less time to do the things she wanted to do and about traveling now so she doesn’t have regrets later in life.

In between figuring out where you want to go, how to get around and all the other things you have probably researched, you also have to figure out the basic things, like….how to use your phone abroad, travel insurance, forwarding your mail, taking care of bills that may come up while you’re away and a hundred other little things.

Q: Of all the prep you have been doing, what has been the most challenging?

Melissa: …all of the logistics I have had to plan out have honestly, been pretty easy. I started early with the planning and I stayed pretty organized, so that part was not that difficult.

I ended up researching a lot of blogs about people who had done long-term travel and shared how they did it. I also joined Facebook groups and asked a lot of questions…Female Travel Bloggers (Facebook Group) is a great resource…[i would] just type in a question about a place, or a logistic question and I would have a bunch of people come back and share their answer or experiences, which was so helpful.

Another resource would be finding backpacking groups for a specific destination. [For example] Backpacking in Thailand, or Backpacking in South America or wherever you plan to go, there’s probably a group for it and they can answer your questions.

So, you asked what the hardest part was. I would say making the decision in the first place was the hardest part.


Listen to the full episode to find out what Melissa was initially not wanting to give up in order to take this trip of a lifetime.

You spoke in some detail on your Instagram Stories about how you were initially feeling pressure that this trip was putting on you… to become a Digital Nomad, or to make this a part of your career in some capacity.

Q: How did you work through this? And how do you feel about it now?

Melissa: I’ve always felt a pressure to do the successful thing — whatever the most successful thing in a particular field was. So whether that was…reaching a certain role in the company, or as a writer, you know, being published. That means that you are successful.

When I was working on my blog, and I really wanted to focus on it and have it take off, I was really feeling like I couldn’t write what I wanted because all the ‘successful people’ were writing destination guides and posting really pretty pictures of themselves like they were models, and that is something I’m not willing to do and it’s not something I really, neccessarily, enjoy doing. So I constantly felt like I wouldn’t be successful at this, because I’m not doing the same thing they are.

But, when I decided to go on this trip, I started to feel, again, like if I do this travel thing, I need to put all of my effort into the blog, and becoming a Digital Nomad and making money on the road. And if I come back six months later and I don’t have money and I need to get my old job back, then that is going to be a failure and I don’t know if I can handle that.

I really had to stop thinking that way and stop comparing myself to what’s ‘successful’ and what I ‘had to do’ in order to be happy.

Listen for more of Melissa’s tips on how she worked to eliminate this pressure.


You’re taking this time to explore South America, Eastern Europe, and SE Asia. Obviously you could spend an entire lifetime exploring this region.

Q: Why these areas, and do you have an idea of where you’ll be going?

Melissa: The main reason I choose those areas is because they are budget locations. I was really excited about South America because I went to Peru a couple of years ago and loved it so much, I thought I would probably like the rest of the continent.

And Eastern Europe is cheaper [than Western Europe]…and I was planning on going to some less tourist-heavy places like Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia, or Romania. I don’t know a lot about them, so I would really enjoy exploring all of those places.

And Southeast Asia is probably the cheapest place in the world you can travel. To be honest, for whatever reason, I’ve never had an interest in visiting Asia, but I think this will be a great opportunity for me to learn about it, and I’m sure I will actually love it, I just haven’t looked into it enough.

But I am excited just to try all these different places!

Q: Are you planning everything out, or are you opting to figure things out when you get there?

Melissa: I definitely have a general outline, so I know I’m going to South America and then to Europe and then to Southeast Asia. But, I want to do all the major, you know, deciding all the cities [I want to visit] on the way.

I have a friend who did a big backpacking trip a 7-8 years ago, and we’ve talked a lot his experience. He said that him and his buddy spent about $1000 in re-booking fees for their flights because they kept deciding that they loved the place they were at and they wanted to stay longer. He would always tell me, ‘don’t buy your flights ahead of time’ because you never know when you’re going to fall in love with a place or want to leave a place early, or if you meet some friends who are going to [another city] and say, ‘do you want to join?!’ and…you can’t because you have a flight.

So, I am going to take that advice and give myself the flexibility.

Be sure to listen to the full episode to hear more about Melissa’s travel plans!

We talked a bit about the logistics and preparations you’re doing before you take off. And I know you’ve spent a lot of time researching and finding the right solutions to your circumstances and you’ve come across some really helpful tips.

Q: In regards to phone use, vaccinations, etc, would you mind sharing some of those tips?

Melissa:

Organization:

Use Microsoft OneNote. I have a section for my timeline, packing list, to do list, and copies of any flights or tickets I buy. I then have sub-sections for each country with visa requirements, places to see, and links to best modes of transportation. This way, all my resources for each country are in one place.

Storage:

I let friend’s borrow big items, like my TV and large kitchen appliances. And I found a 5x6 storage unit for 60/month, with first two months at a discount. If you plan on using a storage facility, always ask for a discount if you can pay months in advance because you know you’ll be gone.

Visas:

I took my own photo and I will use makephotopassport.com to always have visa-sized photos for visa-on-arrival.

I may also use ivisa.com to work on obtaining e-visa in advance. This website is a great resource to find out which countries require a visa, but always double check with the embassy website.

Phone:

Switched to Google-Fi, which is $20/month for unlimited talk and text. For data, you’ll pay $10/GB and free after 6GB.

Prices stay exactly the same when you travel abroad and you get to keep your current phone number.

Money:

I opened Charles Schwab high yield investor checking account. You can use your ATM card at any ATM and Charles Schwab reimburses any and all fees.

They will do a hard credit check and it takes couple weeks to get your ATM card.

Vaccinations:

I got my Hep A and TB booster from my doctor and used GoodRX.com coupon for my oral Typhoid vaccination (called Vivotif). The oral vaccination is good for 5ish years, while the shot is good for 3 years. And since I am traveling to some countries which require Yellow Fever, I will get my Yellow Fever vaccine for free in Ecuador or Peru — if I were to get it at home in the US, it costs close to $300!

Medications:

For the two medication I take, I got a 6 month supply with GoodRX.com.

And it is also apparently possible to get refills in many countries by just showing your Prescription bottle.

Mail:

I will be using my parents, but there is also a virtual mail option where they’ll scan your mail and send it to you. If you receive packages, they can forward them to where ever you’ll be in certain amount of days.

Budget:

I read other blogs that broke down daily budget and made sure I had that much money saved based on what I wanted to do and how frugal I planned to be.

Q: How much are you planning to pack and what are some important items you’re bringing?

Melissa:

Osprey far point 55

Medium - large backpack, with detachable day pack. This way you can take off the day pack and store it under your seat and put the main part of the backpack in the overhead storage when flying.

Duct tape

A friend of mine who travels recommended this, because it is a fix-all and you never know when you’re going to need it.

Steripen Ultra

Water purifier which uses UV light to purify water. This way, I don’t have to keep buying bottled water everywhere I go.

Scrubba Wash Bag

Portable clothes washer. Essentially just a small bag with a ribbed inside that you put your clothes into with soap and scrub clean.

Mirrorless camera

Lighter than a DSLR camera

MacBook

To do some writing and photo editing on the road

External hard drive

For photo storage and to make sure all my stuff is backed up, just in case

Handheld luggage scale

As I’ll be traveling on some smaller airlines, I can weigh my own luggage to make sure I am hitting the weight requirements. This way, I can get rid of some stuff so I don’t have to pay for my bag if it’s over that airlines weight requirement.

You are just days away from taking off on this adventure...you’ve prepared, researched, and probably have all, or most, of your affairs in order for while you’re away.

Q: Are you excited for anything in particular, or nervous?

Catch the full episode above to hear about what Melissa is most nervous for and how she is doing just days away from taking off on this adventure!

DO you have any other tips or tricks you’ve used to prepare for long-term travel?

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Saturday Session 06: Time Zone Travelers

Hey there and welcome to another Saturday Session episode! These are our episodes where we have guests on to chat about travel and entrepreneurship. Today, we have on Jaems and Bryan from Time Zone Travelers, and I’m SO excited to have a conversation with them today!

Jaems and I met at last years’ TravelCon which was a conference put on by Nomadic Matt.

It’s essentially a place for people in every aspect of the travel industry to get together and learn from speakers who have made it in their field. It was also an amazing opportunity to meet other travel bloggers and make real life connections with people you follow online!

If you want some more information about TravelCon, we have an episode all about that and you can read the full blog post on it HERE.

listen below!

Time Zone Travelers Episode

I’m going to let Jaems and Bryan jump in here and introduce themselves and what they do and give some background on what Time Zone Travelers is all about!

Jaems + Bryan:

J: We picked that name (Time Zone Travelers) because Bryan works for Delta Airlines and we have been known to go to Paris for a weekend and hop on a flight and hit different time zones, literally within a couple of days travel. So it fits our family very well!

B. Yeah, since we travel standby, we don’t always know if we’re going to get on. We…specialized in family travel, last minute planning and making the most out of the time you do have. Not everyone can take off two or three weeks at a time to see places. We try to see as much as we can in a 2-4 day time frame and share that experience with our followers!

We talked about TravelCon and a little bit about what this new kind of...travel space is like. I think anyone who has delved into this newer industry, whether it’s as a blogger, influencer, vloggers, travel writer, or travel podcasting can understand that as a newer industry, there are a lot of things we are all kind of figuring out together.


Q. We’ve all struggled with difficulties figuring out what we want to do and say, and how to best approach that as Travel Bloggers, etc. What have you struggled with the most?

Jaems + Bryan:

B: For me, when it comes to our blog….you know, I was an engineer in college and did some programming, but I never took HTML or CSS or SEO classes…so it can be very overwhelming. We jumped into it…[like] let’s just kinda go for it and I wish we had done some more research as far as building the website. So the SEO, design and trying to do AD’s, and how Google finds your page can be difficult…I think before people say, ‘let’s make a blog,’ do a little bit of research because there’s techniques out there. It’s definitely worth paying for a class — there’s a bunch of bloggers out there who have classes that are $300 - $600, 10 week class where you can watch at your own pace. But, that’s cheaper than paying someone [to design the website] and then you can learn and you don’t have to rely on someone else. It’s intimidating.

J. My role, is trying to build an audience and trying to build it in the most authentic way possible. And that is so hard to do because it’s a competitive world out there! On Instagram and other social media platforms, trying to build your following with doing the follow/unfollow [strategy] or paying for people, or just throwing money at it, it’s very, very important to me and our family that we build our audience as authentic and real as possible. And by doing that, it’s a much slower pace and it [can be] very discouraging….I’m definitely having to work on patience!


You guys specialize in family travel and your family seems hilarious -- every time you guys are on a trip, I follow along on your stories wondering how I can become an honorary member of the fam! And obviously, you two are supportive of each other and your family is included in your posts, stories, and writing. However, I think a lot of people struggle with this! Because I don’t think being a Travel Blogger or Influencer or Podcaster for crying out loud, is something people take seriously at the moment. And I honestly cringe a little bit when people ask me what I do and why, because I am dreading the looks on their faces and what they are going to say and think when I tell them!

Q. Do you find that outside of your family, people don’t really understand what you’re doing with Timezone Travelers, and why you do it?

Jaems + Bryan:

B: So far…we haven’t seen that just yet! And I think one reason is that our Time Zone Traveler page is separate from our personal page, so we try to keep them separate. When we talk with friends, unless they bring it up, we usually don’t…talk with friends about it. We try to keep the business and personal life separate, but so far, we haven’t had an issue with anybody saying that — but maybe when we get bigger and start having more followers, maybe that will come down the road.

J. I feel like most people we chat with…whether it be family or friends who know we have this account are actually very supportive. I think they realize, we couldn’t have this lifestyle if Bryan didn’t work for the airlines, and they realize we are trying to make the best of it, while we can and while the kids are young enough to be at home and travel with us. So we’ve just really had a lot of support. We haven’t run into…haters! So it’s been rather pleasant actually!

Listen to more in the full episode above!

Q. What do you hope to accomplish with Timezone Travelers?

Jaems + Bryan:

B: Our top three priorities are, we want to share our experience and stories to help inspire to want to take a trip…or do an activity they saw us do. The second [priority] is to make it easier — we’ve gone through and shared on Instagram and our blog if we found a good deal, and [how we] planned, and hopefully that can make it simpler, so they can spend less time worrying about what they’re going to do and they can just follow us along.

J: We’re big about trying to provide helpful hints. Don’t get us wrong, we like pretty pictures, but we feel like, if it doesn’t have a lot of substance behind it, we’re not doing what our intentions are. [For example], we like to say, if you’re going to the Colosseum in Rome, you might want to show up at 8AM so you can avoid the crowds and get those awesome pictures all by yourself in front of the Colosseum — we like to have helpful hints!

B: And also [in regards to] public transportation, the first time we went to Europe, it can be very overwhelming when you walk into the Paris airport. There are people who speak English, but there’s thousands of people running around, and it can be very confusing and overwhelming. And [another goal] is just to make sure people feel safe and that no one is going to take advantage of you. Our third goal [with Time Zone Travelers] is to be self-sustaining. So not neccessarily that we’re trying to make millions from this, but if we can sustain our trips to the point that it’s kind of quid pro quo, where it works to keep our travels going, then that is an added bonus, but the first two [goals] are the main ones.

You all do family trips fairly often as well as trips with just the two of you, and have more experience traveling as a family than the average people, I would say! This is something I don’t have much experience in besides a few memories of camping trips as a kid and some other trips as an adolescent. And I’ve been on a handful of trips with friends and their families and it seems like there is always a bit of friction because not everyone wants to do the same things, or go to certain sightseeing, and it’s the same thing traveling in any sort of group.

Q. I know people who flat out refuse to go on a vacation with their families -- even though they love them and get along just fine -- there is just something about being on a trip with family that doesn’t work out well for some people! How do you all navigate this?

Jaems + Bryan:

J: Definitely! Kelsye is not a big outdoorsie person, not a hiker, so if we did a trip like Southern Utah or went to Zion, that is not on her list. She would rather just stay home. But, what we try to do with each trip is include the kids in the planning process. [For example], if we’re set on Northern Italy, we approach each kid….and ask what their must do things are, what do you want to see, what do you want to eat. And the same thing goes for me and Bryan. We try to include in each trip something that everyone wants to do. That way they are represented — they still have to do what other people want to do, but it’s just the way we’ve approached it, to make everyone feel like they’ve been included in the planning.

B: I think if people go into it knowing there is no perfect trip, as far as everything going according to plan. If you go into it, [thinking] it’s going to be an adventure, if something goes wrong, just roll with it. I think people get too caught up and stressed out if something bad happens, or someone got sick…roll with it..,if your plans change, then just enjoy being around your family and realize that could be a funny story down the road, or a good experience that the kids will remember forever. And…the other thing…is how we were raised and how the kids were raised. Part of being a family is that you don’t always get what you want. Sometimes you just do things the family wants to do, and you’re part of the family, so you go along. With that mentality, and the kids being raised that way…they don’t sweat the stuff they don’t want to do.

Listen to more in the full episode above!

Q. What are the common misconceptions you two hear from people about traveling as a family? Too expensive? Can’t agree on a place/activities?

Jaems + Bryan:

B: I think the top two things are money and time. You know, my job is very flexible and I’m able to move things around…and not every job is that way. I think what it comes down to overall, with time and money, is making it a priority. If you really want to travel, then you can travel. We save up money to travel…we could probably have newer cars, brand new clothes, and go out to eat more often if we wanted to, but we prioritize travel. We save money and make time to make that happen — it has to be deliberate thought process.

J: I think it’s real easy coming from us because our airline [tickets] are covered. I think what Bryan said, when you’re making a budget, you make an effort to put that money toward a travel fund, and that starts out small. You’ve heard the, ‘give up a coffee and day’ or ‘ go out to east less often’ but I know folks who would love to travel, but they like to keep up with fashion and they’re buying new wardrobes every season, or they have to have the newest shoes, or the newest car, and we’re just not like that. We try to put every dime we have, for the most part, towards travel because that’s where we want it to go right now.

Listen for more on making travel more realistic and attainable — and not trying to keep up with the Jones’ when it comes to taking trips!

Let’s talk about the ‘influencer’ culture. There’s research which says the ad budgets from companies, brands, and hotels for working with influencers is going to be a ridiculous amount as companies move away from other forms of advertising in the coming years. And, of course, there are people who navigate this exceptionally well, and those who are simply in it for the $. We are just at the verrrrry beginning of reaching out to brands and hotels and have to have a set of standards and ethics that you’re not selling your soul for money when you work with brands!

Q. What are some of your qualms with this up and coming influencer industry and how will you handle this yourself as you grow and work with hotels and brands?!

Jaems + Bryan:

B: Probably the biggest qualm I have is, are you getting an honest review or honest opinion from that person. Especially if they are getting sponsored — is what they’re saying true or are they just saying it because someone gave them a free night or a free product.

J: For instance, my mom and I stayed in a nice little hotel in Paris and I have two friends already book there. I don’t know what I would do if I said…’hey, you should book at this place,’ knowing good and well that it wasn’t going to be a good experience for them. I just couldn’t do that to myself.

Check out the full episode above to hear us talk about maintaining your integrity and ethics as you work with brands and companies.

 
 

Saturday Session 05: Nomadic Matt

Saturday Session 05: Nomadic Matt

If you’ve traveled in the past...10 years or so, and have set out to do some research on your destination, or find new places you want to travel to, you’ve probably come across Nomadic Matt’s travel website and used it as a planning resource. 

In fact, Matt is kinda a pioneer of travel blogging and travel websites being used as a legitimate source for people planning trips all over the world. So, needless to say, I’m pretty excited to have Matt from Nomadic Matt on the podcast! 

Saturday Session 04: Hiking the World with Nathaniel Perlow

Today, we’re here with Nate of Nate Meets World. He does a TON of hiking all over the world and has done some amazing ones in the past year. I’m excited to have Nate here, so I’ll let him hop in here!

Listen Below!

And I’d love to hear about your time in Russia for the World Cup a couple months ago -- that must have been pretty incredible.

Nate: The World Cup was one of my bucket list things… and it was pretty incredible. [I’m] a big soccer fan and a big Arsenal fan, so it was something I just really wanted to do and check it off the bucket list. My plan was to go into Georgia anyway and do some hiking, so it just worked out really well. And Russia was really hospitable, I got a lot of interesting stories.

You’ve done some steady travel to Central America, Ireland, Mexico and some other wonderful destinations. And you mentioned to me you’re taking a little break to save up some money. What are your future plans and what are you hoping to accomplish with Nate Meets World?

Nate: It was kind of inevitable that I would take a break from travel at some point, just because you do get travel burnout. And when you’re going for pretty much 18 months straight…I figured I would have to take a break somewhere…so I decided to go down to Mexico.

In my future plans, I would like to have a hiking podcast. I would also like to start organizing hiking tours in Mexico and Central America as I have traveled there pretty extensively and done quite a bit of hiking there. I’d like to do tours and take people back to my favorite places and try to help out the locals and do as much business with them as I can.

Mexico Door

So, let’s talk travel conferences. We are fresh off of coming back from TravelCon where we listened to people who are carving out this new arena in the travel industry, whether they’re travel writing, selling their travel photography, travel blogging and vlogging, and have found success. And I know you have attended a couple of travel conferences as well which I was interested in going to. What is your experience at the other big travel conferences like TBEX? And what is your primary goal when attending these? Networking? Speakers?

Nate: Networking and speakers is obviously pretty important, because you want to go there to learn…and of course, it’s always great to meet new friends…and that’s probably one of the reasons that I’ll keep coming back. And maybe in a few years, I’ll be a speaker! Obviously there’s a long way to go towards that. But, it’s definitely a great way to learn and you meet so many like-minded people, and I think that’s the greatest thing, too. You feel like you’re a part of a community and it’s different than talking about it with friends and family; you’re talking to people who understand you more…and are maybe more supportive when you say you’re moving to Mexico for awhile!

I know some people are total planners if they are traveling for a couple months at a time, and others just check out flight prices as they go and then decide where to next. Do you have a specific itinerary when you travel for a few months at a time, or do you just hopping around at your whim?

Nate: It depends on the situation, because I know for some like, like travel conferences…or the World Cup, I would have to be somewhere on a certain date. I guess the most important thing is to look out for sales and keep an eye out on the budget airlines for when they’re having sales as that leads to a bit more spontaneity. When I was in the Czech Republic, I was kinda debating whether I should go to the Balkans….but I didn’t know how much time I would have. I ended up finding these cheap flights to Italy…so I decided to go to Italy for a few weeks!

I like hiking, I don’t love it. I’ll go for a hike, but mostly because it means I can go to places which can only be seen by walking my ass way out somewhere. But I do love having that unique experience in a place which hiking provides, that not every single tourist has done. What do you recommend for people who are beginners, but want to do some exploring and hiking?

Nate: My recommendation would be to find local groups and start there. There are a lot of great groups online, whether it’s on Facebook or Meetup.com where you can find other people and groups of people who are going on hikes. And it’s a great way to dip your feet in, and get comfortable just being out in nature…and to meet other like-minded people in your area.

I used to read different hiking forums [online] and I would see stories of people who were going through a rough time; maybe they just lost their best friend or they went through…a divorce. And then they decided to start going outside on their own more, and hiking a little bit more, and it was kind of their therapy...it was a way for them to relax, enjoy life, and enjoying nature.

Hiking

I noticed you’ve spent the last few months making travel videos along your hikes, and I think these are always a great way to give a taste of what a place is like when they are done well. And I think you do a good job with these. Tell me about the hiking videos you’re making and why you’ve made this effort (I know it’s a pain to edit videos!) and what your goal with these are?

Nate: I know some people prefer to read blogs, and some people prefer to watch videos — so I like to give them a taste of both. Going to journalism school and being familiar with the basics of [video editing] definitely helped a little bit. Between when I started and now, I’ve learned a lot and I’ve talked to different YouTubers and how they structure their videos. I think it’s a good way to give people a taste, and the main goal of my blog [and travel videos] is to be informative, so when people visit, it’s kind of a one stop shop.

Just from following along on your social medias, you seem to stay primarily in hostels or some sort of local accommodation. We, of course, like to do pretty much the same. Do you feel like this gives you a sense of engagement with the culture and people whose country you’re in, or is it mainly for budget reason?

Nate: For the most part, yes, it is for budget reasons. But at the same time, in most cases, you are supporting the local community. And in some cases there are lodges or huts out in the middle of nowhere, in really small towns that are there to support the hikers and that’s one of the great parts of hiking.

It’s also a great way to meet like-minded people and interesting people you can swap stories about to day [of hiking].

You recently spent a couple weeks in the country of Georgia and you’re photos from there are insane! I have been wanting to some more research about Georgia and have a hard time finding people to talk to that have been there! So, tell me all about it! The hikes, the food, the people...and what you would recommend?!

Nate: It’s a really beautiful country and as a hiker, it’s a great base, and there are a multitude of options. There’s lots of different day hikes…overnight hikes…you can go to the beach…or you can relax by the lake for the weekend.

What I did notice…in Georgia…is that you see people from all over the world, but especially those Eastern European countries like the Czech Republic, and Russia, and I didn’t see as many Western Europeans or Americans or Canadians as you would in The Dolomites in Italy. And that’s one of the things that makes it a little bit of a hidden gem, I guess But, people are starting to notice it a little bit more, and it does feel a little more authentic.

The hospitable people really helped. Sometimes I would just be walking along the side of the road to the next trailhead and people would stop and ask if I needed a ride. I just felt really welcomed by the people there and met so many friendly people of all ages.

Georgia

I can imagine my mother and family freaking out if I told them I was going to Georgia, simply because of it’s approximation to the Middle East AND because you don’t hear much about it, so it has that “unknown” factor to people. Not that that is a deterrent for me, but I think there so many misconceptions about any country that is basically not in Europe, and especially if it’s close to the Middle East. I know how hard/impossible it is to try to talk someone into visiting a place they have a certain image or idea about. What are your thoughts on this and do you try to encourage people to explore this part of the world?

Nate: I think on of the main things when you travel, no matter where you travel — whether it’s El Salvador, or Ireland — as long as you have common sense you’re going to stay out of trouble pretty much everywhere you go. I was in El Salvador early the years for a couple of weeks and I didn’t have any issues whatsoever…no people trying to scam me. Of course you see stuff in the paper of bad things happening…but in most cases they are happening in areas that no tourist is ever going to be.

I’ve been traveling for a year and a half and the worst thing that ever happened to me was I was bit by a dog in Mexico City!

Do you have one holy grail hike that you HAVE to do, but haven’t yet?

Nate: It would be nice to do Nepal, it would be nice to do the Annapurna Circuit Trail or Everest Base Camp Trek at some point. That would be at the top of my list…and then of course, I’d like to go to Patagonia as well.

Nepal

I love hearing other people’s travel stories. Whether it’s a time where everything was going horribly wrong, or a time when a stranger showed you kindness, a favorite meal somewhere! Anything, really!

Nate: My first 12 hours in Russia, I had just arrived…and I was waiting for my car down to Moscow. My battery was running low and it was a few more hours until my ride was going to come…so I go into the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg. I go to the entrance with my backpack and all my gear…I don’t think they really understand what I was doing there, but all I needed was a place to sit and plug in so they pointed me towards a room around the side.

So, I go in there and I didn’t see any plugs, and I found a staircase that was open, so I went up the stairs and found a place in the library and started plugging in my stuff. About 30 minutes after I sat down, this alarm started going off in the entire library…

Listen to the episode above for the rest of Nate’s travel story in Russia!


Thanks so much for coming on today, it’s always wonderful talking to people who explore the world in a different way than most people do, and differently than we do, also!

Let people know where they can find you online, Nate!

Nate: You can find me anywhere online at Nate Meets World. I’m probably to most active on Instagram, but you can check out my YouTube channel and my blog at NateMeetsWorld.com.

And we’re doing something new on our IG. If you have specific travel questions, like: what to pack for Ireland, and which trail you should do to Machu Picchu! We answer all these for you on our IG every Wednesday. So I get on there Wednesday morning and ask for all your questions, and then I go through and answer ALL of them Wednesday night.

Nate Meets World

Nathaniel Perlow

Nate Meets World

Website:

http://www.natemeetsworld.com

Instagram | YouTube







Saturday Session 03: Lane From Paris Off Script

Today’s guest is Lane Rosenthal from Paris Off Script. Lane runs her own small-group tours several times a year in Paris, with the intent of showing her guests a unique side of the city not everyone has the chance to experience.

I’m SO excited to chat with Lane today about one of my favorite (if not all time favorite!) cities in the world. I have had a bit of an obsession with France in general for quite some time and have had the opportunity to visit Paris and some of the countryside on my two visits there.

Paris is unique in that you think about it loooong after you’ve left. And I feel it’s either a place you can’t stop thinking about, or a place you don’t understand what all the fuss is about.

So, let’s get in here with Lane and have her talk a little bit about why she began Paris Off Script and give an introduction!

Listen Below!

Paris Off Script

I’d love to hear about your first experience in Paris. I don’t think it’s possible to land in the city and not feel...something. And I love to hear people’s gut reaction to Paris. Did you arrive and just immediately know this was a place you HAD to get to know inside and out?

Lane: It was what I call…love at first sight. It was incredible, I will never forget the first time I saw Paris.

It was almost a shock, I didn’t know what hit me, what chord it struck inside me.

It took me a long time in my life to get there, I did not go during college, I was a poor graduate student, and after that I was married and I had a career, I had a family and life marched on. So, it was a big birthday that got me there for the first time.

There are SO many ways to experience the city, and in fact, I think you could go back endless times and have a completely different experience each time. What you are hoping each of your guests can experience on your tours? And are there certain spots, neighborhoods, patisseries, and cafes you take each of your groups to?  

Lane: It’s a matter of perspective. To me, Paris is like an onion with a ton of different layers and it’s a city we can never quite get our arms around. It’s whatever we need it to be; if we are in love, it’s the most romantic city in the world, if we are looking for inspiration, there is creativity everywhere.

And if we need to be alone, it provides solitude without isolation.

I know you do something different on each of your tours, and they seem to be based on what’s going on in the city during that season. How do you make each of these tours special and give a good taste of the city during each season?

Lane: I always arrive well in advance of a trip. I belong to organizations…the library, the museums…but the other thing that makes my trips special is that I have developed relationships with local people.

People get a dose of authenticity, or reality, and it makes it special.

There are, of course, the cookie cutter tours of Paris. There will always be the must-sees in the city like The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. But, why is it important to you to show a different side of Paris?

Lane: I see travel as cultural engagement rather than tourism. Particularly where there are opportunities for that engagement. I have an insatiable curiosity and I think travel is an opportunity to broaden your perspective, and to break stereotypes.

It’s important for me to offer people this service, this opportunity, this experience.

There are lots of trips as travel for tourism, there are fewer for cultural engagement.

You do each of your tours in the off-season, presumably so your guests can experience Paris without the masses of visitors. Do you have an absolutely favorite time of the year in the city, or a favorite event that you feel really embodies Parisian life and history?

Lane: One of the most fascinating things about Paris, is that it was not bombed during World War 2. It is intact, and it’s an old city. It’s over 2,000 years old. The sense of walking in the footsteps of our forebears, and standing on the shoulders of those forebears.

There is a story on every corner.

In April, if you time it just right, you get to see the Japanese cherry blossoms, and the wisteria is achingly beautiful. And actually, it was last February that sticks in my mind. I was there for the month. When it snowed at the beginning of the month, it felt like we were all in our own little snow globe, it was wonderful.

There are certainly elements of every trip that make it unique and special. Whether it’s exploring the local markets, or a specific dish that will change your life, there are always those things during a trip which you’ll remember. What do you think are the essential pieces of a great experience in Paris?

Lane: It’s an open mind.

Go with an open mind, adopt the habits of the country.

And also, remember that you are a guest in someone’s country, just like you’re a guest in someone’s house. The French are actually unfailingly polite. And I think if you remember your manners, and go with an open mind and sense of humor, you’ll have a great time.

I am always on the lookout for the best bakeries in Paris. I know it’s hard to choose just one! Do you have an absolute favorite patisserie, or a few you make a point to stop into?

Lane: Au Petit Versailles du Marais, in the 4th arrondissement. It’s my absolute delight to stop there for a little something…after yoga. They have been designated a Meilleur Ouvrier de France, a very prestigious award, given every 4 years and for life. It’s an indication of an extremely high level of craftsmanship.

It’s such an incredible experience to have the opportunity to speak with someone who genuinely loves a city and has resolved to show other people that specific corner of the world.

Thanks so much for listening to our Saturday Session with Lane from Paris Off Script and we will see ya on the next one!

“I revel in a different rhythm when I’m in Paris”

Lane From Paris Off Script

Lane Rosenthal

Paris Off Script

Website: https://www.parisoffscript.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/parisoffscript/

 

Saturday Session 02: Finding Your Passion with Natalia Barbosa

Saturday Session 02: Podcast Breakdown + Extras

Today we’re here with Natalia from Nachi Body Candy today! Natalia and I worked together at Nike wayyyy back when we both went to college in San Diego.

Natalia makes some pretty incredible handmade natural body products like soap and face masks and she’s also been churning out some cool hand knitted and crocheted items like beanies and tops.

I remember her experimenting with body scrubs when we worked together and I still recall the first thing she ever brought to work to share with everyone. She had made this amazing coffee and coconut body scrub and it was packaged in like a little plastic tupperware and she was just getting started on this journey. So it’s been wonderful seeing the progression of Natalia’s passion...from experimenting and making samples to a full blown business with professional labels and packaging and it’s just very cool.

Listen Below!

NaChi Body Candy

I know you work a 9-5 job, in addition to running your own business in whatever spare time you may have. How do you stay motivated?

NB: I definitely feel like somedays I'm having to remind myself why I'm doing this. But I find that if I just set a daily goal or intention -- even if it's a simple or small thing -- and I hold myself accountable for that, it helps me.

It is SO hard to stick to your goals for every day, week and month, especially when it feels like there's a million things to do, all the time. What are your daily struggles?

NB: There's a daily struggle, there just never feels like there's enough time. And I really fantasize about the day when I don't have to work my real-person job and I can do everything! I can make 10 loaves of soap a day! And the other part of that is just staying motivated. So when I get off of work and I stick to my plan and work whatever hours I need to; sometimes that's until 1 or 2 in the morning, where I'm putting labels on products and making new products. And it's really hard, but I really try to not be too hard on myself and know that I took a step that day in the direction I want.

One of the things I know I struggle with is staying creative, and coming up with new ideas all the time that are unique and fit our brand. With so much influence from social media and other people in your industry, how to you stay creative?

NB: Not forcing it. It can be intimidating and overwhelming seeing everyone else's creations via social media and sometimes you feel pressure to create more but that often impedes my creativity but when I just let it be the vibes just flow.

Keeping the big picture in mind each day has helped us stay on track and motivated. What are some of your short-term and long-term goals?

NB: Short-term & long-term goals are so, so important! My short-term goal is creating a presence here in the Bay Area, which includes getting into more shops, and doing more events to where people recognize my products. Long-term is to open a wellness center focused on natural healing, and I strive to be the plant lady who can drop little pieces of knowledge about herbology. 

There are plenty of amazing things about being your own boss and making your own way. What do you love about this job?

NB: I love that I am able do what I am passionate about EVERYDAY. I'm happy that I've found that thing I want to do, and it's my skill that I have to offer the world and make it a better place. And I really do feel so grateful for that; the ability to use my own skill and make my own way. 

Most of the entrepreneurs I talk to have an early memory of their first entrepreneurial experience or endeavor. Do you have one of these?

NB: I remember setting up a lemonade stand outside my house in La Mesa in San Diego. I wanted to save money to buy something I really wanted. And I made about $50 that day! And the next experience was my mom's garage sale and I remember just being so excited, because it is a good feeling knowing I could make money for myself.

For us, our underlying goal is to get more people out into the world exploring and living their best lives. We think a more well-traveled population leads to more cultural understanding and a fundamental knowledge of history and how other people live. What is your "why" behind NaChi?

NB: I do this because I want to give people a better quality of life. I believe in harnessing the power of nature. In our society we are so quick to run to the doctor that we forget what we have some powerful healing in our own backyard. we should be mindful of what we put on and in our bodies, because our skin is our biggest organ.

How can people find you online and get involved in your community?

NB: Follow me on Instagram @nachibodycandy and participate in the giveaway! I love to hear what people say. The ideas you guys have are great, so talk to me!

Enter Our giveaway!

 And we are doing a giveaway we both would love you to participate in! Read through the details below and put yourself in to win.

How to enter

1. Visit our IG profiles @theramblinggals or @nachibodycandy

2. Tag a friend in the comment on any of the giveaway photos

3. Follow @NaChiBodyCandy

4. Follow @TheRamblingGals

DOUBLE ENTRY: Review the podcast! Listen to Natalia on The Rambling Gals podcast and leave a review! This will get you a SECOND entry into the giveaway - easy as that. Link to the podcast in both bios, available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Leave a review here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-rambling-gals/id1398391998

What’s in it

Cucumber mint bar soap, TSA-approved size

Peppermint liquid soap

Lavender body lotion

Shimmer body oil *New Product!*

Winner chosen on: 

Wednesday, August 29th

More info can be found at: 

The Rambling Gals Instagram

The Rambling Gals Podcast

NaChi Body Candy Instagram


We had such a good time having Natalia on this episode! If you're looking for some amazing handcrafted beauty product and goodies, or want to place a custom order, Natalia is your gal! You can find her Etsy Shop and social medias below!

NaChi Body Candy

 

NaChi Body Candy

 

Connect with Natalia online!

Etsy Shop: https://etsy.me/2Lmv1K1

IG: https://www.instagram.com/nachibodycandy/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/NaChiBodyCandy/

 

Saturday Session 01: An Unconventional Life with MK Andersen

Podcast Extras + Breakdown

We're SO excited to speak with MK from Your Day By MK on today's episode. MK started her own wedding planning business and has chosen an unconventional career of an entrepreneur, fresh out of college. 

On the episode, we're talking about some of the toughest and best parts of being your own boss, and how MK approaches her work in the wedding industry as well as how she copes with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship by playing competitive ultimate frisbee. 

So come on now, let's go chat with MK!

Listen below!

Mk Andersen.png

We know you lived in Israel for a while and did a European adventure as well, what pushed you to start traveling?

MK: My parents had encouraged me to do a gap year after high school. I was really hesitant and frustrated at first because I just wanted to go to college like all of my friends, but soon realized how great of an opportunity this would be. So, this was my first real solo grand trip. I’ve been blessed in that my family really prioritized traveling over lots of other parts of life.

Q: How did you decide on Israel and did you plan to stay for the whole year?

MK: Woof, this one is kind of a doozy, but my family has been involved with this program called Hands of Peace since its inception in 2003. It’s an Israeli-Palestinian conflict peace/leadership program where teenagers from 3 delegations in the region and US teenagers do a 18 day dialogue and leadership based summer program. So we had hosted teenagers every year, I did the program and the second year program and had so many connections there. So when my parents were trying to persuade me to take a year off...naturally they appealed to my weakness which was my interest in the region.

You're right though, sometimes I would just catch myself thinking “holy crap I’m just on a casual bus ride to Jerusalem today!”

So, we do travel planning and major organizing of things and you do the same thing in the wedding industry. When you started your wedding planning business, did you feel like you hit the nail on the head career-wise?

MK: LOL wanna switch jobs? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. I started this because of the same thoughts, I love organizing and delegating and it was easier for me to conceptualize a plan to become successful. But the hardest thing for me when I was deciding to pursue this endeavor is that I was roughly committing to being in Chicago for ya know a good chunk of time...but as of recently, I just decided to waive my travel fees to MPLS, ATL and DC if people wanted to hire me for their Month-of Coordination!

Okay, let’s talk about what it’s like working for yourself. There are days where you stop and think, “who the hell gave me this huge responsibility and why on earth do I think I can do this?" How do you deal with these polar opposites and remain sane?

MK: I cry, lol jk but not actually. I mean wow, yeah I have imposter syndrome all the time. But I think what keeps me sane is when I do have days of oh lord oh no, I think back on some of the stuff I have accomplished.

There are a lot of amazing things about being your own boss, the most obvious is being able to more-or-less make your own schedule, but besides that...What are the things about your business that help keep you motivated every day?

MK: When random people say it’s so cool I just decided to start this, I don’t want to let them down. Also having the flexible time that I do have to do stuff.

We know how important it is to showcase and support women and bring some attention to women basically just being badasses in daily life. Why is this such a key component of your business?

MK: There are so many women in the wedding industry and I think people are so quick to judge the wedding industry as frilly. Running a business is hard, and there are so many women who own their own business and no one takes them seriously for being a business owner in the wedding industry. So it's been so awesome to highlight other women in this industry and using my public platform I've been able to showcase other women doing some amazing things!


It's SO great to talk to other entrepreneurs who are doing their own thing and have taken the unconventional route in their lives. If you are looking for someone to help facilitate your wedding, work with you during your wedding month to make things run smoothly, or anything else wedding related, MK is your gal! You can find her online below!

MK-79.jpg

Chicago Wedding

& Elopement Planner

 

Connect with MK online!

Website: https://yourdaybymk.com

IG: www.instagram.com/yourdaybymk/