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 Lauren Gabel from Out Of Office Gal blog.
An Interview With Lauren From Out of Office Gal
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m Lauren – a digital nomad and influencer marketing specialist. I caught the wander bug early and travel has always been a big passion of mine. For years I struggled with the desire to travel and limited vacation days, but a year ago – the company I was working for went under and I was able to take my main client and start my own mini company. It was a little bit scary and I didn’t feel ready, but I’m so happy I took a chance on myself. I’m now fully remote and have never been happier!
I started Out of Office Gal almost a year ago to document my adventures & help women travel more (even with a job, no one to go with, and limited budget). What started at as a little side project has grown into something very dear to my heart. I hadn’t had a creative outlet since I was in school and I had forgotten how important that was to someone like me. Sharing my passion for travel and reawakening my creativity has been such an amazing journey!
I split my time between my home in LA (with my boyfriend and dog) and traveling the world! I am a big advocate for solo female travel and remote work. Fitness is also a big part of my life and I try to stay active as much as I can when traveling. I’m a Gemini, love chocolate chip cookies, glitter, festivals, and elephants 🙂
What’s your biggest achievement as a Travel Blogger?
I’d say my biggest achievement as a travel blogger has been getting to work with brands. I’ve been lucky to get to work with some really great brands that were a fantastic fit for my blog – and develop some really nice relationships in the process. I work in influencer marketing on the brand side so it’s been very cool to experience the creator side. Having both perspectives has made me a better marketer and savvier creator. I’m proud that I’ve also said no to partnerships that weren’t a good fit for my brand. At the end of the day, it doesn’t do you or the brand any good to work together if it’s not a fit all around. I’ve stayed true to myself and the blog and I think that’s really important.
You have an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours. Give me your itinerary.
Ok so I would definitely start off by flying in Qatar/Emirates/Etihad (one of the big middle eastern airlines) first class suite. Then would go on a super luxury African safari during the Great Migration (one of the world’s more awe-inspiring spectacles)….we’d do a flying safari from the sky as well as a hot air balloon over Ngorongoro Crater. We’d have the world’s best trackers with us so we could see as many animals as possible.
How do you fund your travel?
I have always been good about trying to travel cheaply. I rarely stay in hotels and usually opt for airbnbs or private rooms in hostels or coliving type accommodations. That said, I will gladly spend money for convenience when it comes to things like flying over a long bus ride. I work hard and am ok splurging a little on certain things. Over the years, I’ve gotten better about things like shopping and eating out – opting to put that money towards travel.
What is the single most effective strategy that a blogger can use to bring traffic to a blog?
Participating in Facebook groups has really been a game changer for my blog! There are a ton of groups out there that cater towards niches of all types (you can just search for “travel bloggers”, “female travel bloggers”, etc). You’ll be expected to reciprocate any actions that are taken on your blog, so it takes effort….but it’s worth it. Plus you get to connect with really cool, like-minded women in the process!
What tools do you use to monetize your blog? Which works best for you?
I can’t bring myself to put ads on my blog. I hate the experience when I go to someone’s blog and it’s hard to even read it because ads keep popping up. I’d rather have to have another job forever than clutter my page with ads. So the ways I’ve monetized my blog & following are to write ebooks – I have two ebooks for sale, one on How to Grow Your Instagram Account from 0 to 10K in Less Than 6 Months and another on How to Work With Brands. I use affiliate links for sites like Amazon, Hostelworld, and Booking.com – these are all very easy to set up. I can’t say these have brought me much yet though! Brand deals has definitely been the most lucrative way I’ve monetized my blog.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
My first international trip was to Australia and New Zealand when I was 13. It was an amazing experience. I remember being blown away by the beauty of the Sydney Opera House. I haven’t been back since then but am dying to!
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
The company I worked for threw a big experiential event in Japan and I was point, so I spent a few weeks there. It had never been super high up on my list but I ended up LOVING Japan. It was so clean and organized, and every single person (no matter their position) did their job with so much care and precision. I loved the juxtaposition of old and new….from the traditional temples in Kyoto to the mega modern Tokyo. There were endless things to look at. Not to mention the food was outstanding!!!
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Honestly, I haven’t had any bad travel experiences. I think it’s because I’m a pretty positive person….I’ve been on tons of trips where it rained constantly but somehow it’s never the part I remember. I remember the adventure of having to pivot and go to a different town to avoid the rain or how hard we laughed when we got drenched. You can cry about rain or you can roll with it. I’ve had my phone stolen in Ecuador, my camera broken in Thailand, gotten food poisoning in Cambodia….but it’s never these things that I remember. I’ve always felt SO grateful to be traveling that it’s easy to accept the challenging moments as a part of the course.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Southeast Asia is my favorite place in the world! I am a big fan of Thailand and the Philippines the most I think. But that whole region really gets me. It’s just gorgeous and so cheap – you can live like a king! I’m also a huge fan of South Africa. There’s SO much to do there and the sunsets are unreal.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Yes so much lol. Temple hopping in Myanmar, seeing the Himalayas, Northern Lights, hot air balloon ride in Cappadoccia, relaxing in the Maldives, partying in Ibiza, etc, etc.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
Definitely working out. Fitness is a big part of my life!
What has travel taught you?
Travel has taught me to slow down and appreciate the journey. When I was younger, I was obsessed with perfectionism and getting ahead in life. I worked constantly, and was always incredibly stressed. When I travelled, I was able to experience a side of myself that I didn’t know was there…a side of myself that was a little chiller and less up tight. I realized that life is short and I didn’t want to spend it stressed out. I didn’t want to wake up one day with regrets that I had wasted the best years of my life. As I’ve gotten older, I think I’ve merged my personality when traveling with my everyday outlook….and that is the best takeaway I could have hoped for!
Who, in your opinion, is the most successful travel blogger? Why do you think that is?
I’m a big fan of Nomadic Matt. I think his site has so much good information and it’s displayed in a really easy to read and digest way. His site is one of the first places I go to when I pick a destination. He found a niche and he really stuck to it (budget travel)….even as he’s grown up and maybe outgrown the category, he still maintains allegiance to his core mission.
Do you prefer solo travel or with someone else?
I love a mix of both! I really love and appreciate solo travel….I think you experience a place different when you are traveling alone….you soak in more of the place because there isn’t anyone else there to pull your attention. You also open yourself up to a lot more possibilities – as you’re likely to be looking for friends in the form of fellow travelers, locals, etc. But I also enjoy a trip with my boyfriend or a friend as well. It’s special to share a place with someone you love.
If you could swim with dolphins or go shark diving, which would you pick? and why?
Swim with dolphins! I’m super scared of sharks haha. We actually tried to go cage diving in South Africa but all the sharks have left! So sad.
What is your dream travelling experience?
The next place that is super high up on my list is Namibia. It looks like another planet and is a photographer’s dream!
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