Frequently Asked Questions
The top question I am asked in person, in email, and on Instagram….
Answer: I could never pick a favorite! Each of the 60+ countries I have visited have had memorable experiences.
The second most popular question that I get EVERY DAY!
Click here to see -> What’s in my Camera bag?
I bought my first DSLR in 2014, a Canon Rebel T3i with kit lenses on Amazon (This Canon Rebel T7i is a similar entry level DSLR). This camera lasted me almost 3 years and was a great camera to learn on. After almost 3 years, 100,000+ pictures and finally getting off the automatic functions, it was time to upgrade.
The gear is definitely important, but you also need to develop your photography skills to use all the features on these great product as well as practice shooting to develop your eye & unique style.
My story is a little different. I worked in corporate America for over 15+ year banking away savings. I also created and sold a company which gave me a solid foundation.
After that sale, I decided to take a “40-year gap year” and began my new adventure exploring my personal passion of travel.
My passion for travel & photography along with by background as an entrepreneur and online marketer combined to create this blog and other online businesses to support my travels.
My parents said I took one flight when I was 2, but of course I do not remember it. Vacation for me growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s were roadtrips around Southwest America with my family.
At the age of 18, I went on my first airline trip to Hawaii with my family. After that, my travels were mostly around California where I lived since I was 23 and a few corporate trips to New York and Florida.
My international travel started when I was 28. My boss came by my desk and told me to go get a passport and we were going to London in 2 days. Over the course of the next 12 years, I would expand my work trips both domestically & internationally with extra days either on weekends or vacation days to maximize my time and dollars in locations.
In 2011 while still working, I started traveling with a goal to visit all 50 USA states which I completed in 2013.
Then in 2014, after the sale of my own company, I went on a “40 year gap year” to Europe and added on 29 countries to the previous 12 I had already visited bringing my total to 41 countries. And I never looked back.
My confidence in traveling was really a slow evolution. It is never too late (or too early) to go & explore if travel is your passion. I have always had great travel experiences through well researched travel, exploring but not pushing myself too far, and being prepared.
Yes… My travels started later in life and mostly as part of work travel, so I always have airline, hotel, and major events researched and scheduled.
I am also a planner at heart. I enjoy a trip more when I have a full overview of what is possible, and then carefully lay out my day to experience the most on my trips. Nothing irks me more than finding out I was 5 min from a major place and missed seeing it because I did not know it was there OR a place is closed on a certain day of the week and I can’t visit it because I was not prepared OR walking/driving miles back and forth wasting the most valuable commodity you have especially on vacation, TIME, because you are unprepared.
…and No! I have learned through my travels to leave some time for the magic to happen and allow for a change in plans. Some of my memorable travel experiences were unplanned and usually involved a local offering a unique experience.
So while I always have a plan, I may change it up to go with the flow for those unplanned experiences…. but it’s a conscious choise and I still always know where I am going to sleep.
First… just go! You have to just start making plans and traveling. You will then start to find out what you like and don’t like.
Start in the USA and just get outside your home town or state with day-trips or weekend getaways.
Internationally, I would recommend picking an English speaking country ie UK or Ireland or one of the major tourist routes. Like many, I started out in England, France, and Italy visiting the Tower of London, Eiffel Tower, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. They are amazing and memorable and must see’s. They are also tourist friendly and easy to navigate as an English speaker.
You can then start to explore into other less touristy regions and possibly where English is not as prevalent. You never know what you will like or don’t like until you go.
The world is generally safe and people are abundantly friendly, helpful, and are both curious about your background and proud to share their own.
Build your skills and confidence as a traveler for the best experiences. Be prepared and remember you are a guest in other regions & cultures where the customs may not be yours. I get the most out of my travels and welcome’d by locals by being courteous (in my attire and manners) and having a willingness to learn about & experience their culture.
My 2 cents…
If you use other peoples homes or country as just a backdrop for your Instagram account, you will be used as just a tourist with tourist dollars.
If you go into someone else’s “home” with the intent of experiencing their “home” as they live it, you will be treated as a valued guest.
I started my travel blog back in 2011 as a way to share my experiences with family and friends. It was really a side, side, side project.
In 2014, I took my “40-year gap year” to Europe and documented a lot of my travel on Instagram and my personal Facebook.
I received hundreds of requests from my personal friends and colleagues asking for recommendations for their annual two-week vacations including (1) itineraries for must see places to visit (2) the best hotel & food establishments and (3) the best luxury travel goods that have been tested, tried, & approved by a trusted source.
To avoid writing and re-writing 100’s of emails, I launched BlueSkyTraveler.com. This site is a passion project and reflection of my personal travel experiences. Everything on the site is what I would tell a personal friend over coffee.
No. From 2011-2014, I traveled on my own dime or as add-ons to corporate trips. For example, I would be traveling to a destination for work Monday through Thursday and would extend my trip through the weekend using my own funds and then fly back on Sunday.
Travel was an escape. This blog has grown out of pure passion for travel and photography and I want to insure it stays that way. Starting in 2015, I was approached to work with tourism boards, hotels, and different travel brands. However, I have made financial choices (ie having other online businesses) which allowed me to grow this blog slowly and not be dependent on it for income to live. After several years, this strategy has paid off with long term revenue growth from this blog while maintaining authenticity.
Still to this day, over 80% of my travel is self-funded. This allows me to keep my passion for travel, flexibility to explore, and ability to only work with brands I truly use and believe in. I do enjoy working with travel brands that align with my vision of travel and find it a great way to explore travel opportunities I would not have thought of or experienced on my own, not only for my blog to introduce these places, products and experiences to my audience but also personally.
My goal is to provide an authentic partnership with brands, the people who read and use this blog to travel, and most importantly myself.
Both and each provides its own unique experience.
Many of my early travels and my “40-year gap year” were solo… and I loved it. As a solo female, I have had conversations and have been invited to events that I would not have been if I had been in a group of friends or as a couple. You also get to do whatever you want and pursue your unique passions.
When traveling with friends, family or my significant other, I am able to share the experience with loved ones. I love sharing my meal at the end of the day and laughing over nuanced events of our travels together.
I feel that both are valuable experiences. At the end of the day though, travel will both expose your own strengths and weaknesses and those of your relationships.
There is nothing worse than traveling in bad company (including your own). There is nothing better than an authentic travel experience both by yourself and shared.
If you’d like to use any content or images for any purpose including your website, social media, print, or commercial, please contact me HERE for rates.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links without permission is also prohibited.
I am often asked to repost your Instagram photos on @blueskytraveler which is an IG account of my personal travels and only my pics. I do have two Instagram accounts where I post other people’s photos:
@findthisdoor: I created this account for the community of door lovers, adventurers and curious souls. To be featured on the @findthisdoor please submit your post featuring doors from around the world HERE.
As many of you know, I created an online course, InstaRevealed, in 2015 documenting my methods on how I grew my Instagram accounts. The course was wildly successful and I am very proud to have helped so many entrepreneurs and brands create businesses online. I am an entrepreneur by nature and yearned to create again. In early 2017, I made the decision to sell my part of the business to pursue individual opportunities.
I still receive dozens of requests every week asking for Instagram advise. I intend to keep the BlueSkyTraveler.com website travel focused, but you can sign up here to receive any updates that I provide on growing your Instagram Account.
Instagram has changed quite a bit since I released the course, however there are a few things that remain the same which will help you grow your account. Remember, Instagram is about connecting communities of people, so what do you expect out of a community member?
- Be consistent with your posting. Show up for your audience and they will show up for you.
- Be consistent with your content. Keep on theme and become an authority for your audience that they can trust.
- Focus on quality of both your images and your messaging. Level up your account by both improving your photo skills and writing meaningful content.
I do work with tourism boards, hotels, and travel products & services to help introduce your destination or product/service to my targeted audience through an authentic review and experience.
For all questions pertaining to working with BlueSkyTraveler, please see my Work with Me page.
No – This travel blog started as a passion project to share my personal travel experiences and has become a trusted resource not only for personal friends but also my valued audience.
This ethos has been a driving force behind my website to provide authentic reviews and recommendations to my readers about places I have actually visited and products & services I actually use. Though I now monetize the site through partnerships with travel related products, it is still based only on my personal experiences.
The travel industry DIRTY secret. I have now been in the “travel industry” for several years but was shocked to find out that many travel writers do not travel to the locations they write about. By taking this shortcut, they can mass produce content on their own site. Many travel writers also submit this content as guest posts on other sites to get SEO backlinks to their own site increasing their google ranking. Some are done for free, some through link exchange and some paid (ie $25-$300).
While some guest posts are authentically written, I feel that many guest posts are largely produced for backlinks and SEO rankings and often are only researched content (not real-life experiences) providing little actual value for the reader. Link insertions are even more deplorable as people try to pay you a fee to put their link in an existing article, essentially tricking the reader. These practices are also against Google practices and can get you delisted.
My focus for BlueSkyTraveler is sharing real travel experiences. Therefore, I do not accept guest posts as it does not make sense to me from a business perspective and also from a viewpoint of authenticity to readers as it would take a lot of time to validate if the guest post was authentic.
I can’t tell you how many times I have researched a trip, gone to the location and knew within 5 minutes that the article I read was just researched regurgitation (aka “fluff”) or a lot of wrong information. I find it frustrating to waste my time on that type of content which does not help you travel and therefore will not publish it on BlueSkyTraveler.com.
There are hundreds of travel sites that aggregate travelers opinions that provide GREAT value focused on different niches (ie adventure, female travel, couple travel, family travel) and my favorite site to review LOTS of opinions – TripAdvisor. I have chosen for BlueSkyTraveler to be a personal experience focused blog.
I will and do write reviews or opinion pieces for other publications on topics that are relevant and I have experienced.
My bucket lists & Top 10’s are my personal research on what I would like to visit or experience and I try to indicate what I have actually done. All other content is based on my actual travels to the location or actual use of a product/service in my travels.
Use the search function to look for relevant topics on the blog, feel free to send me an email, or connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
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