Meet Liz, of Travelogged

When I moved back to the U.S. from Costa Rica, I was so worried that I wouldn’t have a place in the online travel community anymore. I’d found a job (or, it’d actually found me!), and I couldn’t take time off for six long months, the downside to returning to corporate life. One of the online travel pioneers who was a true inspiration to me was an old friend of mine, Liz, of @travelogged. Little known fact: Liz and I met no less than 12 years ago, when we were completing our masters in journalism at Columbia University. The recession eventually led to the loss of both of our jobs but, no surprise to me, Liz retaliated much more swiftly than I did, as you’ll learn from her interview below. After I returned from a month-long trip to Borneo, she asked me to write about it on her blog. Unemployed, slightly depressed, and stuck in the “old journalism” mentality, I had no idea what she was talking about. Fast forward two years, and look at me now!

As I just learned at the TBU travel bloggers conference, Liz and I are both “joggers,” journos who blog. Love us!

I hope you find her as inspiring as I do.

 

Abby: Like me, you’re not a full-time RTW traveler. How does travel fit into your life?

Liz: I didn’t do much traveling in my twenties, which is really too bad – I was too busy hopping around from job to job in the media, like you. I had so few vacation days, and the time off I did have was spent doing vacation-y things like beaches and skiing. But I’ve more than made up for it since then!

When I was turning 30, I said to my husband that we absolutely had to leave the country together (and that going to Canada to attend a wedding a few years back didn’t count). So we took a 10-day trip to Spain, one of the few countries in Europe that neither of us had been to. It was a fantastic trip, so the next summer we did a 10-day trip to Greece, which was also amazing.

A few months later, the economy tanked, and we were both out of a job. After working as an editor at various websites, I decided to launch a travel blog, because I loved thinking, reading and talking about travel. I didn’t even have any trips lined up at the time, but I convinced my husband that we needed to take advantage of our time off together by going to Costa Rica, Northern California, Turkey and Italy. This was a pretty dire time in the economy – especially in NYC  – and a lot of people thought we were crazy for traveling, and well, for spending money. But we’re so glad we did it!

Then my husband returned to work, which meant that my travel companion was otherwise occupied. Luckily, I was invited on some great press trips: Wales, Grenada, Grand Cayman, Nottingham and Alaska.

A few months ago, I had my first child. So that will certainly change the way I travel! The baby has already been on a plane – flew roundtrip to Florida at nine weeks. But that was just to stay with my parents, so I don’t think it really counts as traveling…

I have no idea where or when our first big family trip will be, but I’m excited for it. I feel so inspired by Jen Laceda of Folie a Deux because she manages to take trips despite having two children under the age of three. I’m also inspired by Beth Blair of The Vacation Gals, who has two children and travels both with her family and on her own. Also, I do plan to travel without the baby too.

Abby: What have been some of your favorite Tweet-ups or traveling with people you met on Twitter?

Liz: My greatest Twitter-related traveling experience also happens to be one of my greatest traveling experiences, period. In June, I went on an Alaska Twitter Press Trip #FollowMeAtSea with Princess Cruises – a one-week land tour followed by a one-week cruise. The trip was nothing short of amazing, from taking a helicopter to land on a glacier to going dog sledding. It was awesome to be among these Twitter travel all-stars, who also happen to be super-fun travelers: @theplanetd, @earthxplorer, @rickgriffin, @cruisebuzz, @orlandochris, @bethblair, @catherinebodry, @cruisejess.

Abby: Who are your favorite non-travel Twitter people?

Liz: Wait, there are people on Twitter who or not talking about travel?! Most of the people I follow are related to travel in some way. But because I’m a social media consultant, I also seek out tweeps who are tweeting just about social media. My favorite find is @MarkRaganCEO – Mark Ragan is the publisher of PR Daily and PR Daily Europe. And of course @Sree is one of the top social media tweeters – Sree Sreenivasan is a digital media professor at Columbia University, as you know, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be an adjunct for some of his courses.

Abby: Have you ever backpacked or lived as an expat?

Liz: I backpacked in Europe during the summer following college for a few weeks with three friends. We did the whole hostel and EuRail thing, and it’s still one of my greatest travel memories. There weren’t a lot of online travel communities in 1999, and I remember spending hours at my temp job during the weeks prior to the trip, reading the forums at Eurotrip.com, which I’m pleased to see is still around.

What’s funny is that during that trip, my friends and I raced around from country to country and city to city, and I feel like whenever I travel it’s always at that frantic pace! But I can’t help it – I always want to see everything. And if I actually leave myself enough time to explore a city or town in leisure, I’ll end up trying to squeeze in a day trip somewhere just to see one more thing.

I’ve never lived as an expat, but I hope to one day!

Abby: How has the online community changed in the time you’ve been involved?

Liz: I launched my blog in January 2009, and I got involved with the online community a few months later. I am amazed by how much the online community has grown in the past two years. There are so many more blogs now, most of which seem to be written by people who are engaged in round-the-world travel or are at least traveling for extended periods of time.

The online travel community has also grown more cohesive, with new Twitter chats like  #TTOT, TBEX events and active Facebook groups.

Abby: What’s the biggest misconception of travel?

Liz: I think the biggest misconception of travel is that you need to have a lot of time to do it. And there are so many blogs out there where people are traveling for months or years that it helps perpetuates that belief. But even if you have only a week, you can still travel somewhere exciting and have unforgettable experiences. Of course, the more time you have for your trip, the better.

Abby: What travel themes do you wish you read more about/got more attention?

Liz: Budget/backpack travel rules the web and luxury travel dominates the magazines, so I’d like to see more attention given to middle-of-the-road or “value” travel. There’s no sexy name for it, so maybe that’s why it doesn’t get enough attention! Essentially, there are a lot of great hotels, restaurants and experiences out there for people who don’t mind spending some money but who aren’t going to shell out the big bucks for the Four Seasons.

Abby: Anything else you’d like to talk about?

Liz: Because I have a new baby, I won’t be hitting the road for a little while. But I wanted to reassure my Travelogged.com readers (and future readers!) that I still have so much left to write about my trips over the past year that there will be plenty of content even if I’m temporarily homebound. Also, from the very beginning, part of the mission of my blog has been to write about other people’s trips, so I’ll be doing that as well.

I am dreaming about my next big trip though…

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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Comments

  1. I too would love to see more middle-of-the-road travel information. I don’t really do backpacker style trips – although for me hostels still are sometimes the best deal if there are other things I want to spend my money on – but sadly the budget doesn’t stretch to all luxury, all the time. Let’s think of a better name and then start writing about it!

  2. We should totally come up with a great name for us travel junkies between backpacking and luxury. There are so many of us — we deserve some more attention! I’m like you: I often stay in hostels to meet people and save money. But it ranges so vastly, depending…

  3. Hmm… the job market thing sounds like one main reason why I’m wanting to travel. I graduated high school in 2001… 3 months later we had 9/11 and the job market died. Then I graduated college in 2007 and we have yet to fully recover from that ordeal.

    Love this interview!

  4. My first reinvention was after 9/11, and the resulting hiring freeze, etc. I can’t believe I ended up bouncing back from THIS recession in Nevada — the state with the highest unemployment rate. I’m all about encouraging travel/career breaks!! (Omg Erica — yours is SO soon!!!)

  5. Love love love this interview. I’ve been following Liz for ages but didn’t know a lot about her.

    Please say you are both coming to TBEX, it’s so close!

  6. Thanks, girl! I know — isn’t she great? And I WISH I were going to TBEX!!! My darn best friend went and planned her wedding that weekend. I’m devastated!

  7. really great, in-depth interview. Well done!

  8. Nice interviw with Liz 🙂

  9. Great interview – what a smart woman!

  10. I’ve always thought Liz was so smart. And it still blows my mind that she got into the game so early on. I was so dense I wouldn’t even open my eyes to it when it was right in front of me!

  11. Haha, I had never heard the term “joggers” before (used that way)–maybe I should start going by that? 😉 I loved this interview. Amen to to what she said about the misconception that you have to travel for a long period of time. Short trips can still be amazing!

  12. We had the pleasure of meeting Liz on Princess Cruises and can honestly say she is one of the most giving, sharing and wonderful people in the Travel Blog World. I remember having great conversations with her. Travelogged was one of the first blogs we followed and I remember her accepting one of our posts for a blog carnival, we were so excited and honoured. Today we are honoured to be able to call Liz a friend and excited to follow along at Travelogged, one of our favourite sites! I hope our paths cross again in the future and we cannot wait to follow along now that Travelogged has a new and cute addition to the family.

  13. I think that must make a “codrogger” — a corporate drone who blogs.

    Excellent interview!!

  14. Ummm…throw the word “me” in after make above there and we’ll call it a day…thanks!

  15. @Emily None of us had heard the term, but it was in the presentations as an actual term. That and “micro-site”… Who knew?!

    @PlanetD It doesn’t surprise me how well you guys got along! So interesting that she was also one of the first blogs you followed… She’s a true pioneer!

    @Raymond Haha we could sit around coining terms all day! Thanks so much for reading!!

  16. Travelogged was one of the first blogs I read even before I began my own. In fact this interview has just showed me I have to contact her…Liz, you’ll be getting an email from me with 1 question. 😉

  17. Liz is an amazing woman! Loved this interview.

  18. Great interview. Crazy how you some people you meet eons ago you never lose touch with.

  19. What a fantastic interview and great photos of Liz traveling. Liz is one of the most fun and sweetest travel bloggers/writers I’ve ever met. She makes a great point… just because you become a parent doesn’t mean you have to kiss travel goodbye. You just get creative and involve the family when you can.

  20. Awesome stuff, didn’t even realize Liz had a baby! It’s nice to see more travel bloggers who aren’t RTW travelers, like me.

  21. Candice!! We missed you in Manchester. Yay for finding room for all travelers!

  22. Really great interview and to think these were just little snapshots of some of the trips and experiences. Makes me want to hop on a plane or train right now.

  23. At first I thought I stumbled onto the wrong website, lol. Nice new design!

    Good interview, I definitely see your journalism skills at work here 🙂

    What Facebook groups would you both recommend for an online travel blogger who is new to the community?

    I like her answer about the biggest travel misconception. I would add that you need a lot of money to that misconception too.

  24. Very nice informative interview! Great to she that you have been able to keep in touch for 12yrs. TO have someone doing or going through the same things really helps. I thought travels would stop after a baby but I see I can still occur.

  25. Thanks, boys!

    Glad you like the new design — I was a little late in making the switch, but it had to happen sometime!

  26. It’s cool that you all were friends long before the travel blogosphere 🙂 I’m always really impressed and inspired by people who can balance a career and travel. I have yet to have a job that is flexible enough to do so and hope I found that balance at some point. Congrats on your newest travel companion Liz 😉

  27. Loved reading about Liz. I’ve enjoyed her blog and tweets for quite some time. She was one of the first people I followed on Twitter! Nice to get to know her better and see some photos. Great interview questions, Abby.

  28. Great interview of course, but what’s this new fangled word ‘jogger’ when it’s at home’? Surely you’ve made that up! 😉

  29. Great interview and so nice to see women traveling, even if it’s less once they have children. I find that inspiring.

  30. I love reading Liz’s articles – we seem to enjoy similar things. I agree that the blogshere is quite dominated by the backpacking & RTW travellers, which is no bad thing but like Liz I like to represent the traveller who takes shorter trips and wants to get the most out of them and find some cool things to see and do

  31. I loved this interview not knowing much about how Liz got started and really any other background. I too think that “value” travel is something that more late 20’s- and so on can get behind. I know for Bob and myself, the middle of the road luxury is what we are after. If we can whale watch AND have a nice dinner then we don’t need to stay in a five star resort. Great interview, Abby!

  32. Can so relate to this since I am not an RTWer.

    Could not agree more on this point “Budget/backpack travel rules the web and luxury travel dominates the magazines, so I’d like to see more attention given to middle-of-the-road or “value” travel.”

    GREAT interview Abby love! And thanks for what you shared Liz! Love your site and enjoy following you on twitter.

  33. I love reading interviews with other travelers. Everyone inspires me in some way. I felt like I could relate to Liz in a lot of ways, especially about traveling with the new reality of there being a baby in the family! Thanks to both of you for a great read. 🙂

  34. Really great interview! Always great to see people who manage to have awesome travel lives while also having awesome jobs!

  35. Sometimes I feel left out of the whole RTW travel community because I have a full-time job, and only get to travel during my holidays. Then I remember that I teach in a school abroad (in Hong Kong), can do weekend trips around Southeast Asia and get two months off every summer! Seriously, though, I’d love to dash off for a year and do the RTW thing but I don’t have the means right now, so shorter trips will just have to do. Nice to see someone in the same situation. Great interview!

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