WSGT’s next Travel Influencer, Annette White, is the creator of the award-winning blog Bucket List Journey, inspiring readers to make a personal bucket list and follow their dreams.
1.)Where was the first place that you traveled that made you think WOW—travel is amazing (think history book come to life or …..)
I am truly fascinated by every destination I travel to, but the first place that felt totally surreal was Africa. I’m sure one of the reasons is that I had to conquer what seemed like a thousand fears to make it happen: getting vaccinations, flying two dozen hours alone, being immersed in an unknown culture, etc. But the other part was that every aspect of being on safari in Tanzania was like living a fantasy. It was completely dreamlike to be sleeping in a tent deep in the Serengeti, connecting with a Maasai people and being immersed in a land where the wildlife is second to none.
2.)If you had unlimited resources, where would you go and what would you do?
If I had unlimited resources I would travel to the third world countries facilitating the building of schools, medical facilities, animal sanctuaries and orphanages. Traveling the world has given so much to me, that my dream is to give back to it.
3.)What were you afraid to do and how did you find the courage to overcome it?
I have been afraid of flying since well before the first time I ever stepped foot on a plane. Though, many years ago I made myself a promise to not let fear make my decisions for me. That meant that if my dream was to explore the wilderness of the Galapagos Islands, I couldn’t let this fear stop me. In the beginning, this meant stopping by the airport bar for a glass of wine before boarding, but consistent exposure to what I feared was ultimately the best way to overcome it. The more I flew, the easier it got.
4.)What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?
There are a few apps that I utilize on the regular. The first is the standard compass that comes already downloaded on the iPhone. It’s amazing how many times just knowing if I was heading North or South has saved me many hours. Prior to going on any international destination I use XE Currency to find out what the currency exchange rate is and Google Translate to know how to say the basics in the local language. For phone editing I put all my photos through either Snapseed or VSCO. They are both like having Photoshop on my phone!
5.)What place do you wish more people have seen?
So many people have been to Athens and the islands of Greece, but, there is another side to this intriguing country that is equally as picturesque with its crystal clear rivers that flow at the base of snow-capped mountains; equally as romantic with dazzling turquoise lakes that beg for a picnic filled with freshly made dolmades, crumbly feta and plump black olives; equally as authentic with quaint villages where the mountain dwellers accept you bearing homemade Ouzo liquor and sweet baklava. Central Greece is bypassed by many tourists, but it is simply incredible.
6.)Best advice you have been given and by whom?
The best advice I have ever been given can actually relate to all aspects of life, beyond travel. It is to never take advice from someone who has not acquired what you want. I would never take marriage advice from someone who is in a continuously rocky relationship or international travel advice from someone who has never left the US.
7.)When were you surprised by the kindness of strangers on a trip?
I am constantly surprised by peoples’ generosity and kindness when I travel; I have been offered an umbrella when it unexpectedly rained in Vienna, a cup of gelato in Florence after having a short conversation with an elderly couple and on many occasions people have offered directions when they see my standing on a street corner confused. But there is one particular moment that stands out above the rest. While traveling through the Bahamas, my husband and I had rented a road buggy to tour the island of Nassau. Miles away from our hotel and the major center of town, the vehicle broke down just as it started to rain. A nice couple who was walking by saw our dilemma and immediately took action. They called the rental company, led us to shelter while we waited for them to arrive and eventually ended up driving us back into town. I can’t even begin to count how many times I thanked them for their courtesy.
8.)What inspired you to travel for extended periods of time or live in a new country?
Actually, the longest I am away from my home base is one month at a time, typically it’s around two weeks. I really enjoy the stability of having a place to call my own, a location to refresh. With that said, I am away from home about 30-40% of the time and the inspiration behind it is a sincere passion for exploring the world. It makes me feel alive to be experiencing a destination for the first time.
9.)I travel because….
I travel to have an authentic experience that my imagination could have never possibly conceived. I travel to encounter places so beautiful that a sense of peace overcomes me. I travel because of a pure fascination with the world and desire to get to know it better. But, mostly I travel to learn, not only about the places I visit and people I meet, but also about myself.
Annette recommends: The Beginners Guide to SEO by Moz. It is a great 10 chapter guide to Search Engine Optimization for the novice. Another useful resource for me has the the Useletter by Amy Lynn Andrews. This frequent newsletter is filled with handy tips and tools for bloggers, everything from how to get verified on Twitter to advice on writing an editorial schedule.
Annette is the author of the book Bucket List Adventures, plus a freelance travel writer, social media influencer, the owner of a Michelin-recommended restaurant in Northern California, and creator of the award winning blog Bucket List Journey.
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Our next Travel Influencer interview will be up in a week, follow the series here.
and I am in her book!