Welcome to Travel Blogger Thursday, a series where we interview fellow travel bloggers.
This week, we have interviewed Sofie of the travel blog, Wonderful Wanderings. Sofie quit her stable job for a life of travel. She explores her own country of Belgium, as well as the rest of the world. She believes that if you want something badly enough, it’s well worth taking a risk to achieve it. Let’s learn more about Sofie!
What inspires you to travel and what do you enjoy most about traveling?
The knowledge that there are so many different places, people and lifestyles out there and the urge to find my own place in this world are what inspires me most. I’m constantly wondering if “this is it” and questioning the life I’m living now because of the people I meet and the different cultures I come across when traveling. That’s sometimes unsettling, but often very inspiring as well.
Where is your favourite destination and why?
It’s been Los Angeles for quite a while now. First of all I love the Californian climate, but I also love how you can drive from the beach to the center of the city and the Santa Monica Mountains in just an hour. Besides that, LA also holds a special place in my heart because my first trip there inspired me to look beyond the traditional career path that I was following and that I wasn’t happy with. It’s a place where I met several people who in one way or the other forced me to think outside the box and who made me believe that I could achieve more than I was doing at the moment. I know it sounds very corny but to me LA really felt like the place where anything was possible. It might have helped that I never stayed there long enough to get a reality check 🙂
When did you start to travel, and where did you first visit?
My parents always took me and my little brother abroad on vacation, but they wouldn’t let me travel by myself until I was 18. When I’d reached that blessed age, my first trip was to Barcelona. A friend and I stayed in this hostel room the size of a closet, but we met so many people and had an amazing time. I think that trip also was a bit of an eye-opener to me as my parents had always traveled in a fairly comfortable way and there I was, cooking a meal with whatever pots and pans were available in the hostel kitchen and sleeping in a room that flooded (that really happened!) when it rained too much. The reduced comfort, if that’s what you could call it, didn’t affect how I enjoyed my trip at all.
Why did you start your blog, and what do you enjoy most about blogging?
I always loved writing and I always loved to travel, but it was my family who put the two together and suggested that I started blogging. At least that’s how I remember it. Either way, it was how I could combine two passions in a creative outlet. Although blogging is much more than just writing, it’s that part of it that I still enjoy the most. Trying to organize the things I did, saw and experienced in a post so that other people can benefit from that information and hopefully use if to plan their own trips. The best moments are those when I receive emails or social media messages from readers telling me how much they’ve enjoyed X or Y that I’d recommended them. Those messages are really what keep me going.
What do you like to bring back from the places you’ve visited?
I wish I could say something simple, like “bracelets”, but I’m not much of a souvenir person. When I leave on a trip, I hope I’ll always come back a little richer in experience and knowledge. I always try to bring new ideas or ways of looking at something. Usually those insights come from the people I meet while traveling, much more than from the “attractions” I see.
What advice do you have for fellow travelers who wish to quit their day job and explore the world full time?
Have a plan or at least some savings. I quit my job earlier than I’d initially planned, but I did have it planned and I’d saved up quite a bit of money before taking the step. I’d actually been saving money even before I started blogging. I’m Belgian and it’s in our nature to save for later, but somehow I always thought: “Someday, I’m going to do something big and I’ll need money”. Now those savings are my safety net. They prevent me from constantly stressing about going broke and allow me to experiment with income streams that work from me, contrary to doing whatever I must to make a bit of money.
You write a lot about your home country, Belgium. Why should travelers visit Belgium?
Two things: food and history. We Belgians are real food lovers and you can have marvelous meals practically everywhere. Yes, the food includes beer, fries and chocolate, but there’s so much more than that. And besides the food, Belgium has a very rich history even though the country itself isn’t that old yet. Churches, abbeys and castles dating back to the Middle Ages, tons of WWI and WWII sites and beautiful old architecture. If you’re looking for a sunny beach vacation, Belgium is not the place, but if you’re into cities, history, architecture, food and art, you’ll find plenty to do here.
Thanks so much for the inspiring interview, Sofie! Please visit her blog, Wonderful Wanderings, and you can find Sofie on social media:
On Thursdays, we feature a fellow travel blogger and highlight their journeys around the world. If you’re a travel blogger and would like to be interviewed for this weekly series, please contact us.