Interview With a Travel Blogger & Yoga Teacher

Name Lara, https://www.herbackpackbliss.com

What do you do? At the moment I am attending my second in a row 200 hours yoga teacher training in India. During these two one month intensive yoga trainings I have also been working on my travel blog Her Backpack Bliss. The blog is all about solo fit backpacking in Asia on a budget. I started this blog and the matching Instagram account to document my Asian adventure as I like to call it. A couple of months ago I quit my job as a marketing manager in the B2B IT sector to go backpacking through Asia. When my two months in India come to an end, I’ll travel on to Vietnam, Cambodia, The Philippines, Indonesia maybe. Hopefully also teaching some yoga along the way. I’ll see where the road takes me.  

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Getting the blog up and running is a good way for me to learn more about website building, copywriting and social media marketing. It would be nice to be able to monetize the blog to fund my travels, but the mail goal is to gain new skills. It’s also a great way to network and build partnerships.

For how long have you been a travel blogger? The blog is brand new! I launched it in December 2017. Even though my stats aren’t sky high yet, I have been able to close my first partnership with a yoga teacher training school. Which made me come up with another business, where the main goal would be to make it my livelihood, but I’ll tell you guys more about that when  the plans get a bit more specific.

Tell us a bit about yourself & your journey from quitting your job to travel I have always been working towards a big goal. Graduating from high school , getting my masters, getting a second masters degree, getting a marketing job, becoming a marketing manager. At 28 I reached what I thought to be my last goal, becoming a marketing manager. But I soon realised I wasn’t happy, even though I was where I thought wanted to be. In September 2017 during my first solo trip in Indonesia I decided I had to make a change. I came back to work and handed in my resignation, gave the landlord my notice and booked a plane ticket to India.

What made you want to become a travel blogger? As you might have guessed by now, quitting my job and deciding to become a travel blogger was a bit of an impulsive decision. I decided I wanted to travel. Becoming a travel blogger is for me a way to learn new skills and build a portfolio for myself.

And of course I hope I’ll get some financial payoff at some moment in the future. To boost my travel budget, and enable me to travel longer.

How do you find the time to work & sustain yourself when you’re travelling? It has been super challenging to manage the blog while following the intense yoga teacher training. We have a very strict mentally and physically exhausting schedule starting at 5h45 in the morning until 19h45. As a result I have not been spending as much time on the blog as I would have liked.

Also internet isn’t as easy to find here as in other places, combined with regular power outages, makes it difficult to get things done.

So I have decided to focus my efforts on a couple of priorities. The blog itself and doing some collaborations. Pinterest and Youtube for example has been put on the backburner for now.

But even with the crazy schedule and the lack of dependable internet I have been able to get a number of post out and I have done some fun collaborations with other more established travel bloggers. So I’m happy as it is! Although I will be even more happy or more relaxed for sure once my training is over. At which time I plan to do some slow traveling, sticking around certain place for a longer time.

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At what point did you feel financially ready to start travelling? I have been working for a number of years so I had enough savings in the bank to quit my job and go. Although I have to admit I would be happy to get a small amount of money coming in from the blog at a certain moment in time. So that I wouldn’t have to fund my travels 100% with my savings.  

What does a typical day look like for you? For now it’s waking up at 5h00, taking a shower and getting my stuff together for class. At 5h45 we have kriya yoga  (yogic cleansing), 6h00 meditation, 6h30 tea break, 6h45 hatha asana class and breakfast at 8h45. After breakfast we have anatomy and philosophy class. After which we have a long lunch break from 12h30 until 16h00. During which time I try to study a bit and work on the blog andInstagram account. At 16h00 we have hatha asana and alignment class, which is followed by the last class of the day: mantra chanting. 19h15 is dinner time, once I have eaten I once again try to get some work stuff done before going to bed at 22h00.

In three weeks I’ll finish my training and travel on to Vietnam. Where I hope to replace most of the time I now spend having class by exploring new places. Combined with an hour or two a day working on the blog and other work related things.

What’s your favourite thing about travel blogging? Setting up a travel blog is a great way to increase your skill set. You’ll learn tons about hosting, website building, writing texts, designing, promoting your blog, networking with other bloggers and organisations.

For me that’s the biggest advantage, because I just love to learn!

Least favourite? Setting up a travel blog takes up a lot of time and maintaining it even more. Sometimes it seems like you are always doing something wrong, like there is just too much to learn. Which can have a discouraging effect.

Another disencouraging factor is the huge supply of travel blogs. It’s hard to grow your audience, when there are so many great already established alternatives available.

How do you find balance while you’re travelling? I’m still learning how to balance it well. But as with everything, I assume that practice makes perfect. So as I’ll travel more and write more I’ll without a doubt find the balance that’s perfect for me.

What inspires you? I’m inspired by living my life the way I want it to. By not giving in to what is expected from me.

What’s your favourite place you’ve been to & why? My favorite place must be Rishikesh, India. It’s where I discovered my unexpected love for travel in 2016. So for me It was a logical starting point for this new adventure I am on. I planned on staying for one month only. But I added an extra month because I just wasn’t ready to leave this beautifully holy place.

Any advice for others who want to become travel bloggers? Just go for it! ;-)