I have never been to New York. There I said it! It's always a bit shocking to hear someone from America that is a self proclaimed travel blogger has not been to one USAs finest cities. The fun part about blogging is we are continually learning about our community, and about ourselves. We are always changing and if you've been around the blogging block for as long as I have (6 years) you might be thinking you know everything. But social media and blogs allow us to share only a portion of ourselves and this allows us to reveal more as we go along. Today, I thought I'd answer some of the more frequently asked questions I get, plus some personal stuff you might not know.
How did you and Michael meet? Michael and I have been dating for almost 13 years and married for 6. We met our senior year in high school at a party. I actually have a series on my blog where I detail out our love story.
Can you share a wedding picture? Yes! And here's a whole post on our wedding.
Is your ring a ruby? I do wear a ruby ring but that's not my engagement ring. I actually chose not to bring it to Europe because it's a family heirloom that has been passed down for generations. You can read the story on my ring here (I think it's pretty awesome!) and how Michael proposed.
Are you going to have kids? As of right now, no. My mind could change, but right now I'm leaning towards no. You might like to read: I Don't Want Kids, Am I Bad?
If you weren't a blogger, what would you be doing? I would definitely be writing in some way. My goal is to publish a fiction novel one day. Before I was blogging full time I worked in social media and marketing and also had a focus on digital marketing. Oh, or I'd be a hip hop dancer (in another life, maybe).
Is your life how you pictured it? Not at all, and I'm so thankful for that. I don't think even 5 years ago I would have thought I'd be living abroad. I believe that life has a funny way of telling you what path you should take. I've had to get used to not following a “typical” path and it's definitely been challenging at times. We think society tells us to go one way and we chose a vastly different one and you know what, that's okay.
How do you stay positive? I'm an introverted person, despite the fact that I don't present myself that way. I crave alone time and time to just relax.
What do you do for fun? If I'm not working or traveling I love reading (I have some posts on my favorite books here), I love to dance, and write.
Blogging/ Social Media:
I want to start a blog, but I'm scared! Everyone is scared when they start blogging. It's natural. There's a lot of doubt and not a clear picture of where to start or what's important. My best advice, is to JUST DO IT. Put yourself out there, learn as you go, make mistakes, enjoy it. If you want to start a blog or need some guidance, I have a post that will walk you step-by-step. But for the most part, just remember it's okay to not have it all together, you will figure it out. That's the thing about blogging, it's a learning process and one that you'll continue to learn along the way.
I don't have a niche for my blog, help! So often I get questions about blogging and the direction for a blog. The thing is, I do not believe in niches. I believe in writing with passion and purpose. I believe in honing in on your blogging voice and developing that more than anything else. Think about what draws you to other blogs and build on your interests, what your audience craves, and combining those to create your blog.
How can I start a blog that makes money but still has “ME” in it? I remember when I first started blogging it started from a place of pure fun. I actually STARTED my blog after I fell 20 feet rock climbing and I couldn't work. So I sat on my couch and began writing. I found this wonderful community and a deep desire to keep the story going. Along the way, I made some mistakes. I took sponsored posts that were silly or that didn't really match my message. Now, I only focus on things I truly love or have personally used. I believe there are really 4 ways to make money blogging, and one of my favorites is to create and sell products. I teach how to do that (and actually take you behind the scenes) inside of my membership site, Blog Boss Babe. When you're creating something from your passions it will always include YOU in it.
How did you make the switch to full time blogging? I am a fairly meticulous planner. I created a business plan and mapped out what I would do in order to ensure I could secure a paycheck in some form each month. I was making money blogging and knew that I could continue and increase my profits. But at some point, I just had to trust in myself. A big part of that was Michael trusting and supporting me. I think financial stability is key. I am a big believer in taking smart risks. So we were not (or ever) in debt and I made sure I could cover all my expenses along the way. You might like to read: Thoughts on Full Time Blogging.
What is the first thing I should do if I want to take my Instagram to the next level? First, only show off your BEST work. Do not just post to post. I believe in consistently providing quality over quantity. Next, be active on the platform. Interact and engage with as many people as you can, in an authentic way. Here are all my Instagram tips. And if you haven't yet, you can find me @heleneinbetween.
When do you find the time to write? As a self-employed blogger who also travels, I spend a lot of time working whenever I can. That means getting up early or staying up late to finish tasks. Luckily I love what I do, so I enjoy spending time on it. I'm currently writing this post at 1pm on a perfectly gorgeous Sunday. While I would love to be outside, I prioritize my time around my blog.
How can I work with brands or get sponsored? I've written a few detailed posts about how to work with brands, how to land sponsored posts, and how to make money blogging, but my best advice is to just ASK FOR IT! You never know until your try, and the worst they can say is “no.”
How did you move abroad? A few years ago Michael and I decided we just couldn't stand our short trips to Europe and we needed to move. Our first mission was saving money. We actually saved $45,000 to make sure that we had enough to live on (and then some) in case of an emergency. I am a full time blogger, but we knew that living abroad meant traveling and spending more money, so we saved up. We researched where to live, planned it out, packed two suit cases each and loaded ourselves and our dogs onto a plane with no place to live and no visas. You can read the whole (crazy) story of moving abroad here.
What do you think of Germany? Before moving abroad, we researched and researched about where to move. Germany was always on the top of our list. I really like living in Heidelberg, but it's definitely very different from Texas and America in general. I've written about What I've Learned About Germans Since Moving to Germany (round 2 here) and this country continues to surprise me.
What do you dislike about Germany? Convenience. America is all about convenience and customer service and that is really missing here. Sometimes it gets on my nerves (I hate going to the grocery store) but now I'm getting used to it. I also miss Tex-Mex! You can read: What It's Like to be an Expat
Do you prefer Airbnbs or hotels while traveling? I prefer the cheapest thing. I am not above staying in hostels (I actually really like them in Europe and think you can get great deals). If I want to treat myself I love a good hotel with a nice bath/shower, a nice view, and fast internet. When your full time job is blogging, you need wifi. I work 7 days a week, so that means I like quick internet. I love Hotel Wifi Test and will forever use it to make sure the hotel doesn't have crappy internet.
How long do you plan to live abroad? The plan is to live abroad 2-3 years. When we move back, we will move back to Texas then want to travel around America. Then, who knows!
Favorite travel destination? I am one of those people that LOVES everything. Michael and I were just talking about how we really haven't had a bad trip since moving abroad. But my favorite place on earth is probably Greece. I think it is just one of the prettiest places I've ever been. as for adventures close to our home, I love Austria! Here's my full Europe bucket list.
How did you move the dogs overseas? I have a whole post dedicated to moving and traveling with pets and it was no question that our dogs would come along. Hugo and Millie are part of our family.
How do I move abroad? I've told you my story, but it's going to differ for everyone. You can get a job, work as an au pair, study, or get a freelance visa (like I did!). DO YOUR RESEARCH. Then do some more. No it's not easy, but it is worth it.
How do you plan for a trip when heading to a new place? Honestly, Michael makes most of our travel plans. Since we work together, I do the blogging and he does the itinerary. He is quite good at it. He spends his time looking online, reading tourism websites, browsing through Pinterest, and getting recommendations from friends. He puts together a detailed list of what to do, we map it out day-by-day and tend to get most of what we plan done. We like to see as much as possible when traveling, so we pack it in. Here's our itinerary through Rome, Florence, and Venice.
Do you feel like a foreigner? Yes. I (still) don't speak German. I know a lot of you might be thinking, WOW, you've lived there a year and still don't speak it?! But I travel so often that it's often hard to fit it in. I do feel like Heidelberg is my home, and I always enjoy coming back “home.” When I return back to Dallas in March it will be over a year and half since I've been home.
Was it hard to get Michael to agree to move abroad? This decision was 100% ours. We decided it together after a whirlwind 10-day trip through Europe and just felt like it wasn't enough time. We mutually decided to move abroad, thankfully!
What camera do you use? I have used the same camera for the past 4 years and it's very basic, but I love it. I swear by this camera and this lens. I think the magic is in being patient for getting the shot and in the editing process.
How do you edit photos? I edit everything in Lightroom. Specifically, I have THIS bundle from Creative Cloud which is the cheapest option ($9.99 a month) which includes Photoshop and Lightroom. I occasionally use VSCOcam to edit photos on my phone, but about 91% of my photos are edited in Lightroom. (Stay tuned for some exciting news on that, coming soon!).
Here's a before and after of how I edit:
Who takes your photos? Michael takes all photos of me, I take them otherwise. If he's not around I use my tripod. If I want one of us I usually ask a friend or a stranger! Here's what I pack for photography gear.
What's coming next? I'm traveling to Ibiza, Copenhagen, Austria, and Munich for Oktoberfest. That's just for the month of September so there will be lots more to come! Personally, I will be releasing my first book (eek!) and some more exciting stuff that follows. If you haven't yet, subscribe with the form below.
Did I miss something you have a question about? Let me know below!
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