In our series of interviews with travel blogger and influencers across the globe, we look for travel bloggers and influencers with interesting lives who can share some inspiring stories and useful advice from their experience. This week we have Ashley Monster From The Beautiful Traveler blog.
An Interview With Ashley From The Beautiful Traveler
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi, I am Ashley, a small-town Wisconsin native, who at the age of 31, left a career in corporate Health Care to embark on the trip of my life.
After high school, my five-year plan (laughingly) consisted of a nice house, career, marriage, and kids. Truth be told, that was only my five-year plan because it was everyone’s plan at that age. Sure, it sounds nice but, it really was not my dream life. Knowledge has always my personal drive. Learn more, do more, and be better.
Shortly after college, we all started to grow up and quit the townie bar scene. It became apparent that I was almost always the single one in the group. No kids, no man, you know, living the dream with the cutest dog ever, Porter.
What does living the dream even mean? Well, apparently work, more work, no time to do anything besides work, saving money, A LOT of Netflix, the occasional drink(s) down at The Corner Bar in the hood, and planning trips with friends that we never end up taking.
(PS) You can find Porter on the gram @ThePrincePorter. But, seriously follow him – he is way cooler than that golden retriever from Cali you started following last week.
December of 2015, my dad unexpectedly passed away and, I was left feeling … well, everything. But, mainly lost, as if I were missing something, and desperately needing something more. Feeling confident that I would not find whatever it was in my small-town, it was clear to me that I need to take a trip. Where, with who? Solo, group, or with one friend?
Anyone else a big believe that everything happens for a reason? Sometimes the reason is for you, sometimes it is not, and sometimes you never get to know. Well, that is how my trip worked out.
My trip to Bermuda completely changed me and my life. Yes, I know, so basic. But it is true. Ultimately, I realized what was lost, missing, and what I was desperately needing. Happiness.
For the next three years, I worked multiple jobs, putting in 60-100 hours a week, and saved every penny possible. Finally, November of 2019, I boarded my very first one-way flight to Tahiti!
Since embarking on that plane I’ve spent my time enjoying life and the simplicities it offers, sharing my life and personal journey with strangers on the internet, publishing travel tips on my website, trying my hardest to inspire men and women around the world to chase after their own dreams.
What is your biggest achievement as a Travel Blogger?
Honestly, my biggest achievement as a travel blogger are the heart felt messages I receive from my readers. Knowing that I have inspired someone to pursue their dreams, take their very first solo trip, or signing up to become a certified scuba diver. It genuinely warms my heart and assures me that I am exactly where I need to be doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
You have an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours. Give me your itinerary.
If I had an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours, I would like to wake up in a dreamy over the water bungalow in a beautiful location such as the Maldives or French Polynesia. Then spend my morning scuba diving with the best of the best in the world, sharks. Great white sharks if possible. Them, take a nap on a beautiful beach or in a hammock, and enjoy a delicious dinner, with some French red wine and friends.
Conversation with Ashh Monster | Passionate Traveler – Turning Dreams into Reality
How do you fund your travel?
The number one question I am asked is, ‘How can you afford to travel full-time?’. As I mentioned above, I worked tirelessly for three years, saving every penny I possibly could. Currently, I am solely surviving off my savings and my Patreon page.
If you are not familiar with Patreon, it is a social media platform where people can subscribe for a small dollar amount to help creators like, myself, continue to grow and produce content for all to enjoy. Quite honestly, my Patreon page is not something I promote constantly. It is very strange and uncomfortable to ask people for money, at least for me. That being said, if I inspire you or you simply love what I am doing and wish to be a bigger part of the journey.
What is the single most effective strategy that a blogger can use to bring traffic to a blog?
When it comes to driving traffic to my website, there have been two effective strategies that have worked for me. Number one, is being authentic and transparent when engaging with my followers. Every single day, I dedicate a great deal of reading and responding to every single direct message. Number two, hands down, is the social media platform, Pinterest.
What tools do you use to monetize your blog? Which works best for you?
First and foremost, my focus is centered around creating authentic content for my readers. During this quarantine, I have been trying to make as much lemonade out of the lemons we have all been dealt. One of my favorite projects has been working on a small shop I created. The theme is, ‘Beautiful Traveler’ and it is something that has always been a long-term goal of mine. It is a work in progress, but I am over the moon to be working on this and cannot wait to share with everyone.
With so many avenues available to monetize a blog, I stick with affiliate programs for products I use and fully support. Such as, Amazon, DJI or Stream2Sea.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
Living in the great state of Wisconsin, my first trips as a young child were spent going north to my aunt’s cabin. Our family would spend the day hiking and four-wheeling in the woods or on the boat tubing and skiing. Around the age of 12, I boarded my first commercial flight that was headed straight to Disney World in Florida.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
There have been a lot of places that I have traveled to that turned out to be different than how I imagined or expected them to be. First and foremost, was the trip to Disney World I mentioned previously. When we got to the castle and I found out that it was not a real castle, I was devastated and spent a good hour walking all over, searching for a secret doorway or hidden stairway. I just could not accept that it was a fake building.
We live in a time where social media and picture-perfect content sells. So, when I travel somewhere that ends up being less than what I expect it just makes me laugh. It may be an unpopular opinion but, I prefer to travel to the small/remote islands versus the Eiffel Tower type of locations of the world. It has been a blessing being able to live on small islands and truly immersing myself into the culture. There is an undeniable deep-rooted kindness and happiness for the land, ocean, and each other that I cannot get enough of.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
It is not possible to travel full-time without having bad experiences. However, a bad experience depends on your perspective. For some, a delayed flight might feel like the end of the world but, for me it is an opportunity to finish up a blog post for ashmonster.com, catch up on emails, or my favorite airport hobby, people watch.
Ironically, all the bad experiences from group or family trips that turned into absolute sh!t shows are the ones we laugh about most.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
My favorite place in the world is, hands down, Bermuda. It was my very first solo trip and I continue to return every single year. With that being said, I invite you to check out my Ultimate Guide to Bermuda where I share how much Bermuda means to me and why I will forever continue to return.
Do you have a bucket list? If so, what is on it?
My bucket list is never ending. It includes a lot of small/remote islands around the world and of course the seven world wonders.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
If I were not traveling, I would most likely be stuck in a corporate job, spending my days wishing I were traveling.
What has travel taught you?
Travel has given me the opportunity to learn and grow in so many ways. The life lessons are endless, and I could easily write a thousand words on this topic. As long as I am traveling and having new experiences, I will forever be learning how to navigate in an unfamiliar country, cook a new dish, say hello, goodbye, and cheers in a new language, and learn a different ways of life. Travel provides the opportunity for one to continue learning patience, kindness, respect, and how to be grateful for all aspects of life.
One of my favorite things to learn about is, food!! There are so many different foods around the world. Learning how different foods grow around the world and how to cook them is so rewarding.
A second favorite of mine to learn about is, the history of the land and culture around me. The more I travel and the older I get, the more respect I have for land, history, and humanity.
Most of all, traveling made me realize what was lost, missing, and what I was desperately needing in my life and that is, to be genuinely happy.
Who, in your opinion, is the most successful travel blogger? Why do you think that is?
In my opinion, the most successful travel bloggers out there are those that are genuinely happy and grateful for what they are doing.
Do you prefer solo travel or with someone else?
As a full-time solo traveler, I feel as if I have to say I prefer solo travel. Somehow, I never end up solo. The greatest reward to traveling is meeting people and forming life-long friendships. As much as I prefer being full-time solo traveler, there are also major benefits to traveling with others. For example, it has been such a rewarding experience to be able to return to places I have traveled to previously with friends. Forever grateful to be able to show them around and provide them with beautiful experiences in destinations they might have otherwise never considered traveling to on their own.
If you could swim with dolphins or go shark diving, which would you pick? and why?
That is super easy, if you follow me on Instagram, @ashh.monster you will find several photos of me lounging in the ocean with sharks.
What is your dream travelling experience?
Oh boy, for a full-time traveler this is a difficult question. If money were no object, I would have to say either a three-month tour exploring Africa and all the Safaris, Antarctica, Galapagos, Easter Island, or staying on a liveaboard diving with sharks all day, every day.
Liked this post? Why not pin it!