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 Patti From Luggage & Lipstick blog.
An Interview With Patti From Luggage & Lipstick blog!
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am a travel blogger, freelance travel writer, and founder of Luggage and Lipstick – an award-winning travel blog for baby boomer adventurers. I was named by TripAdvisor as one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials.”
For me, wanderlust is an incurable, ongoing condition. Nothing excites me more than planning and executing a new trip. I’m not a foodie, I’m an adventurer and somewhat of an adrenaline junkie. I prefer exploring exciting, off-the-beaten-path destinations rather than staying at high-end resorts. However, I’m not a backpacker nor do I stay in hostels – I am a boutique traveler, with a preference for value luxury.
My motto has always been “Above all, life should be fun!” I’m always on the lookout for three things:
- Outdoor adventures to try, like skydiving, hang gliding, swimming with whale sharks, snorkeling with wild sea lions, paragliding off cliffs, scuba diving, cave tubing, hiking, kayaking, exploring ruins, dog sledding, and race car driving, to name just a few.
- The prettiest beach in the world. I’ve seen a ton of gorgeous beaches, but there are still many left on my list.
- The world’s best margarita.
I am the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and have over 150 bylines in 40 publications, including The Huffington Post, The Washington Post Sunday Travel Section, International Living Magazine, Travel Girl, Epicure & Culture, Travel Play Live, Ladies Home Journal and others.
What’s your biggest achievement as a Travel Blogger?
I love it that Tourist Boards, CVBs, and DMs invite me (I don’t have to solicit them) to their destinations and initiate partnerships with me. That not only saves me a lot of money, but is also income-producing.
You have an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours. Give me your itinerary.
I would charter a small private plane from Chile along with a personal guide and spend a day in Antarctica, seeing as much as possible in 24 hours.
What is the single most effective strategy that a blogger can use to bring traffic to a blog?
It’s really important to understand SEO and use it to your advantage. It changes constantly so it’s not a one-off scenario; bloggers have to keep up-to-date with changing technology.
What tools do you use to monetize your blog? Which works best for you?
I use a variety of affiliate programs to monetize my blog. Get Your Guide and Booking.com work the best for me. They are both easy to use and track sales.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
I did my first solo trip at age 19. I always loved studying geography and history as a student and couldn’t wait to explore the world. That first solo flight took me out of my comfort zone – I flew cross-country to meet a bunch of friends and we backpacked and camped in Colorado for the summer before returning to university. I grew so much from it.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Albania. It’s not what you think it is. It’s a gorgeous country with medieval castles, turquoise beaches, ancient ruins, mountain landscapes, vineyards and wineries, delicious fresh seafood and grilled meat, and the nicest people anywhere.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
In 2014, I was in a horrific car accident while traveling in South Africa. I incurred many injuries, some of them life-threatening, including a torn diaphragm which caused my stomach and intestines to herniate into my thoracic cavity, a completely severed left femur which had to be repaired with a series of titanium rods, plates and screws and re-position back into my hip joint which was crushed and had to be “cemented” back together, six pelvic fractures, left lung collapsed, right clavicle broken, right wrist broken, and numerous sprains, bruises, bumps and cuts.
I spent 7 weeks in that South African hospital, which was nowhere near the standard of American hospitals. Still, I feel like I was lucky. I could have just as easily died or damaged my spine or sustained a brain injury.
I vowed not to let that accident define me, and after months of physical therapy in which I had to learn to walk again, I started traveling again. It was very difficult at first, but I’m nothing if not tenacious. I was not willing to give up on the life of travel that I loved so much.
I never quite got back to 100%, but at 90-95% I can do almost everything I could do before. I did have to take bungee jumping off my bucket list, though!
Where is your favorite place in the world?
That’s like asking me which one of my kids I love best! If I had to choose, I’d say Bora Bora. Author James Mitchener was right when he dubbed it, “the most beautiful island in the world.” It’s stunning. I stayed in an overwater bungalow with the crystal aqua-colored ocean beneath me and a view across the lagoon to the coconut palm beach volcano behind it. It blew me away. I’d love to go back.
Who, in your opinion, is the most successful travel blogger? Why do you think that is?
I’m not sure about “most successful” because that term is subjective, but my favorite bloggers are actually vloggers: the Vagabrothers (YouTube). In my world, nearly all of the content (blogs and vlogs) is mundane to me – perhaps I’m jaded because I’ve traveled so much of the world (6 continents). But I find their videos very inspirational and I love their humor as well. Also, they are authentic – they actually tell their audience if they have not been to a certain destination but would like to visit.
Do you prefer solo travel or with someone else?
While I have done a lot of solo travel and am not opposed to it, I much prefer to travel with someone else. It just enhances the experience for me when I can share amazing destinations and/or those “aha” moments with someone else.
If you could swim with dolphins or go shark diving, which would you pick and why?
I am opposed to animal tourism so swimming with dolphins in captivity would not be something I’d do. On my bucket list, however, is to go cage diving where Great White sharks are known to swim.
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