The Blonde Abroad, KIERSTEN RICH

Please welcome my newest interviewee, Kiersten Rich from The Blonde Abroad! This amazing (& beautiful) travel queen definitely has my attention. My name is Kiersten, I’m from Southern California and I’m the “blonde” behind the travel and lifestyle blog, The Blonde Abroad.

1. One of the biggest reasons I was drawn to your site, The Blonde Abroad, was your willingness to let go & follow your heart by leaving your job to travel the world. How were you able to take such a leap of faith?  While I did leave my job in Finance, I didn’t leave to travel the world. It was a little less romantic than that. I left in a time where I felt really lost in my career and life in Los Angeles. I had worked through college and never really took a break to truly think about what I wanted to do rather than what I thought I wanted to do. It was an easy decision to make once I admitted to myself that I wasn’t happy and wasn’t going to be happy. Even in 10 years once I was “successful.”

2. While traveling, do you ever have hard times? Financially or emotionally?  Definitely. I’ve turned travel blogging into my career so the same stresses come as with any job, just in a less conventional form. I’ve also learned that I’m not a long-term traveler at heart. Despite traveling almost constantly, I prefer slower travel. That way, I get to really immerse myself in the local culture and I can maintain a routine. I can go a little coo-coo living out of a suitcase for 8+ months out of the year! “For anyone considering a career break, my advice is to ‘just do it.’ YOLO.”

3. What advice would you give someone wanting to do the same?  For anyone considering a career break, my advice is to “just do it.” YOLO. Whatever you want to call it. You need to time to “find yourself” and identify what will make you truly happy. It might be a career change. It might be a lifestyle change. Or it might be a year around the world. For anyone interested in turning their blog into a career, it takes time. It’s not an overnight thing for anyone in travel, despite what it might seem on social media. I didn’t pursue turning my blog into an income source until almost a year after I had started blogging. I went to countless blogging conferences around the world and spent every waking minute researching the industry. The struggles I faced learning how to build my blog are what inspired me to start my own Blog Mentorship Program. Now I work with other bloggers to help them with branding, design, content creation, social media and everything in between.

4. Do you often travel alone? How do you prepare yourself & protect yourself while traveling alone?  I definitely prefer to travel alone, but regardless of whether I’m traveling with friends or not, I always end up meeting people along the road.

One of my best pieces of advice for any woman traveling alone is to NEVER tell a stranger that they are actually alone. Less information is better. Be confident, kind and aware of your surroundings. For travel and health safety, I always get travel insurance for my trips. It protects me on everything from lost baggage to personal injuries. I recommend everyone. “With high risk comes high reward. Put your heart into everything you do and take a chance on living the life of your dreams.”

5. Tell us about your 25 at 25. Are they in any order? Do you plan to accomplish all of these at 25? Well, I turned 26 in June, so I didn’t accomplish the list while I was 25. But, I knew I wouldn’t. And that’s why I wrote the article. We all have dreams about things we want to see and do, but there’s some form of personal accountability when you publicly write them down. Since writing that post, I think about the items ALL THE TIME which was my goal. To not forget about the things that matter to me in pursuit of bigger goals. I’m in no rush to complete the items, but I do plan to accomplish each of them.

6. How have you built such a media empire with The Blonde Abroad? What advice would you give to women looking to make their mark on this world & for accomplishing their dreams? I believe the key to social media is authenticity and consistency. (Sounds kinda cheesy like the life advice my college professors would give me) But, it’s true. You have to create a conversation rather than talk at people. When I share my content, I always consider, “Would I talk with my best friend this way?” One of the best things women can do is build a network of other strong women. When I worked in Finance, I was a part of organizations like Step Up Women’s Network. Now, I have my own network of girlfriends that I can turn to for business and life advice whom also come to me for the same. When women compete against themselves, everyone loses. We have so much to gain by supporting one another.

7. Is there any other advice you’d like to give to the readers of Bucket List Bound?  With high risk comes high reward. Put your heart into everything you do and take a chance on living the life of your dreams. Thank you Kiersten!