What’s In a Name?

The good life: Hammock and lush greenery. Bad side: nature means critters.

Maybe by now it’s sort of obvious how I got the ridiculous nickname “Jungle Princess,” but for my last post about my recent trip to Costa Rica, I thought I’d explain — and show how far I’ve come. As with everything these days (haha) it all started online. My friend Mike had signed me up on Twitter the day before I left my Las Vegas friends for the jungles of Costa Rica. I finally got into it a few months in, but all of the travel folks were confused… Where was my blog? they asked. (My what?!) Since my tweets were all about scorpions, spiders, monkeys, rain and not wearing high heels… Diana of DTravelsRound finally publicly tweeted something along the lines of, “Come on, jungle princess, you’re starting a blog tomorrow.”

So I did.


I didn’t know what I was doing, so I stole the name and threw up my blog. I kind of didn’t realize that two years later I’d still be stuck with that name.

It made sense. My last job had been at a celebrity magazine, so I had quite literally gone from the red carpet to the most laidback lifestyle you can imagine. And I had packed a few pairs of five-inch heels “just in case.” (Those went right into storage my first trip back.)


Miami, Manhattan, Las Vegas, Los Angeles… Coco? It was a strange move, but there it was. I lived in a darling one-room house with one piece of furntiture: bunkbeds. My friend Lisa lived right across the dirt road, which was convenient since I didn’t have a phone. I could easily yell at her while sitting on my bed working. (Common question: “When will you be done with work?”) Otherwise, I had thick trees surrounding my home (hence the critters).

My tiny one-room house. (Yes, the vertical line on the left is the corner, where the house ends.)


The scorpion thing really set me apart from my friends who were more accustomed Β to Costa Rica — I never, ever got used to them. My friend Denise tried to show me many times how to aim with a shoe, but yuck. During my recent trip, I saw the biggest scorpion I had ever seen. Lisa and her husband, Mau, agreed!

The biggest scorpion I have ever seen — YUCK.


The first time I saw a tarantula, I was in someone else’s home, and I was so scared I couldn’t move. The second time, I screamed to high heaven and jumped up on a chair. The third time (during this past trip)? I calmly took out my camera and took this photo.

Small tarantula, something I somehow got used to.


At times, I get so sick of hearing “Jungle Princess”!!! But it does make sense, even if I have moved back to city life. From now on, I will always be either the girl who packed stilettos for her first trip to the tropics, or the fancy editor who moved to Las Vegas from the jungle.

Two sides, one girl.

I’ll take it.

Do you like your nickname? If you have a blog, do you ever wish you could change it?

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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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  1. You are so hardcore now, princess πŸ˜‰ Get your butt back out there!

  2. Well, big thanks to D! You have one of the best blog names I’ve ever heard…

  3. Maybe I will, Mike!!

    Yes, Abi, D made me do it!

  4. I like your blog name. It suits you πŸ™‚

    I came up with it on my own, but I think the idea came from one of my best friends Monica who frequently calls her female friends “chica.”

  5. Scorpions I got used to living in El Paso but the tarantulas… I nearly died in Costa Rica. Girl scream and all.

  6. I’ve always loved your name, Stephanie! My first long-term trip or whatever was studying abroad in Spain, where every greeting was “chica” this or that, way more than I saw in Latin America!

    Erica, you are so funny. Trust me, I deliver that same girl scream!!

  7. Being dynamic is good. Speaking of dynamic, Kent and I would like to see you work those 5″ heels in Costa Rica with that scorpion on a leash – think tico Paris Hilton. πŸ™‚

    We came up with our name so we have to fully own it. But “the NVR guys” does roll off the tongue pretty easy.

  8. I love your blog name–and even more now that you’ve added the “neon”! Works perfectly πŸ™‚ I secretly got sick of my blog name ages ago–especially since everyone seems to pronounce it “sest” not “say”–but what are you going to do? Life goes on! And I think I’d be OK with everything in Costa Rica except those scorpions…eek!

  9. If I ever see a scorpion I will absolutely die of a heart attack. I know they’re here in Vegas, too, but I’ve never run into one. If I ever do, I’m leaving.

  10. Haha Caanan!! I would break an angle — I tried to wear platforms and almost died on my friend’s driveway!

    Christine, I am totally giggling with you!

    Emily, no worries — I have never seen a scorpion, not ONCE, in my years in Vegas!!

  11. I’m with you: When I started my blog five years ago(!), I was working at Conde Nast and bored out of my mind. I kind of just threw a name up having no idea. I go back and forth on whether I’d change it or not–at least, I don’t get confused with any of the other travel bloggers! Heh.

  12. I hate the name of my blog – Emily in Chile’s fine (I figure even if I eventually am not in Chile, that’s where it all started), but Don’t Call Me Gringa? I honestly don’t even remember where that came from. I was going to change it and make everything Emily in Chile, but unfortunately a lot of people google “don’t call me gringa,” so I guess it’s catchy. The Jungle Princess is cute though, and I feel like it sums up the two different sides of your life.

  13. Hahahaaaa. I love that I got called out for this!! I just remember the string of e-mails from you saying you were doing a blog, then saying you weren’t, then doing it. So glad you finally hit “publish,” Jungle Princess. xx

  14. This story makes me smile. I was called “Princess” in Hong Kong because I was the only person working at a beach restaurant there who had family on the island with her. I’ve been a city girl since I was little so I never tire of hearing the name. xoxo

  15. Ummmm…. To all three of you, I can honestly say, we are two of a kind.

    And special thanks, D!!!!

  16. now that you think about it, would you change your blog name?

  17. For months, I thought about changing it… but now I think I’m going to keep it! Although I did tweak it a little by adding “neon”!

  18. I can identify with the identity problem. Because my name is so long it doesn’t fit into a lot of spaces–like the name space on your blog, for instance (The Marie in the middle is really part of my name), I thought up “pen4hire ” as the name for my freelance writing business, and that’s my web site and my twitter name. But when I started the blog about books and movie that inspire travel, I put a lot of thought and research into making it say what it was–thus A Traveler’s Library. I haven’t been tempted to change it, but do wish that I could have used it as a twitter name. It just takes up too many characters.
    I think your addition of “neon” is brilliant. You’ve found the perfect way to tweak your meaning from the wilds to the urban wilds. Congrats.

    Vera Marie Badertscher

  19. Sometimes I wish I could change my blog’s name so I could travel to other places, so instead I decided to start another blog πŸ˜‰ But it’s hard to commit to a name and build a brand when you start to feel like you’d prefer something else. Most bloggers feel this way, I think.

    P.S. There’s NO way my heart would have survived a meeting with a scorpion and a tarentula. Kudos Abby, you’re much more courageous than I am!

  20. Thank you, Vera! Yes, I always kept everything under just my name, and I finally added a Facebook page for my blog recently and can’t believe it took me so long!

    EuroTrip, that makes me feel better that everyone goes through this!

  21. You have a lovely blog name, sometimes I wish I chose a shorter one for mine, but now it’s too late and I’m getting used to it, plus, it symbolizes what I really seek when I travel πŸ™‚

  22. I love your blog name, it’s perfect! I never regretted my blog name – the rebel chick – because no matter what I am doing, it suits me and my attitude. I think yours is much like that – isn’t Vegas a jungle anyway? πŸ™‚

  23. Scorpions and tarantulas are pretty hardcore… but I think I could take them as long as there are no cockroaches. Please tell me you don’t have any photos of cockroaches.

    ps – I like your nickname. It’s better than Big Apple Angie… which I’m kinda stuck with even though I don’t live in NYC anymore =( Maybe someday I’ll go back to that jungle!

  24. You aren’t exactly doing the Costa Rica tourism board any favors with all these pictures of scorpions and tarantulas. Your pictures of the beautiful beaches and sunsets nearly had my wife ready to consider Costa Rica. That’s all out the window now.
    I wish my blog name was short enough to use as my Twitter name, but other than that I’m reasonably happy with it. I’m in trouble in a few years though when the kids start to move out.

  25. It does sometimes gets tiresome having to explain my blog name all the time… but for the most part I’ve been happy with it. It certainly is unique, and it says a lot about me and my nerdy quirks! But sometimes I do wish I had come up with something different in the beginning.

    And as for those creepy crawlies? EEEEK! Yuck.

  26. OHHHH MAN would I ever change my domain name! It’s too long, I had no idea what I was doing when I started.
    Now it’s just hard to change it due to all the factors. I wish… I so very much wish.
    I could think of a zillion better names for my blog.

  27. No cockroaches, Angie, I promise!!

    I’ve gone back and forth about having my Twitter name be my blog name, although that’s not possible right now… I’m glad these are issues for others, too — I’m going to stop being so self-conscious about mine!

  28. I love your blog name. I agree, it is a perfect fit. I didn’t realize Diana gave you the inspiration for it.

    I do get tired of our name at times. I feel like it may pigeon hole us into a specific type of traveler, but then again, ordinary people are free to change their mind and completely redesign their lives, so maybe it really is perfect. πŸ™‚

  29. Oh. And I’m completely with you on the creepiness of scorpions and tarantulas. I would make someone else kill or get rid of them for sure. There is no way I’m getting near that!

  30. The Jungle Princess is a great name — well-chosen! Those are scary spiders — especially that huge scorpion.

  31. I had no idea D was behind the whole thing! Go D! Haha.

    Sometimes I regret my blog name, too. Mostly because I don’t think I’ll want it long-term, and I wish I had thought of that before. But WHATEVS. I’ll deal.

    BUT the scorpion and tarantula pic has officially scared me away from Costa Rica forever.

  32. Funny but I was talking to a friend about Man On the Lam last night — the double-edged sword it’s become (it’s memorable, but a lot of folks have no idea what it means…)

    I think I will stick with it though. Jungle Princess suits you…like you have domain over the wild or some such power… πŸ™‚

  33. I like Travelated and I am fine with my username on almost everything being TravelatedRease. I think jungle princess fits you very well!

  34. The Jungle Princess is one of the coolest blog names out there πŸ™‚

  35. OMG I don’t think I could deal with scorpions and tarantulas!!!!! ugh!
    I think the name suits you πŸ™‚
    I don’t have a nickname and actually no one has ever been able to give me a nickname in life that has stuck! ….. well at least not to my face… πŸ˜‰ haha

  36. I also get sick of my name and worry I can’t have it long-term — will I grow out of it?! But I love all of your blog names!! Otherwise, I wouldn’t be self-conscious about mine haha.

  37. Now, I understand what was behind the name “Jungle Princess”! Your blog name definitely caught my attention when got to it for the first time. “The NEON Jungle Princess” is an attention-grabber. I only recently launched my blog — I’m a baby in the blog world, not even 2 months old. I knew I would mostly be writing about myself (it wasn’t going to be a photoblog or fashion blog), so I just thought – What adjectives describe me? What’s a true representation of me? I knew I needed to compose a narrative for the “About” section of the blog, so the name really had to fit, and likewise, it had to fit and match my Twitter account’s profile. Definitely, without a doubt, I’m the brainypintsizer — an intelligent lass (humorous and sometimes a little saucy) — 5 feet tall — who sings the praises of 5 inch heels, preferably platforms.

  38. P.S. As for the scorpion and all of the creepy crawlers — ugh…eek. Unfortunately, that’s what happens when you’re in the tropics or warm climates. I think when I was younger, they’d kill them and rub the sting or something or other on your forehead. Supposedly, I think it was to help keep others away. (Who knows? When it’s hot, people do crazy things.)

  39. I’m a new reader, and I never would have thought that this is the story behind your name! But this is really an awesome story, funny and inspiring at the same time. It just shows that people are complicated and can come to like things that seemingly don’t characterize them.

  40. To get off topic – that is one very charming home (small or otherwise). Looks safe, too with all those bars. I wouldn’t mind living there at all.

    What I like most about your blog name is that its versatile (aside from being very cute). The Jungle Princess to the “Neon” Jungle Princess – its always adaptable and appropriate; much like you, no?

  41. I agonized and agonized (like, for months) and polled every person I know (and strangers on the street) over my blog name. I still like it, thought Google auto corrects “wanderland” to “wonderland” and I’m sure people make the same mistake in their memory. Oh well! All the great domain names are taken anyway πŸ™‚

  42. You are really doing justice to your name! A really interesting blog, loved it outright!
    Those tarantulas were scary I must say!

  43. What can I say? You pull it off pefectly… Not many people can get away with calling themselves a princess over the haul – BUT YOU DO.

  44. I love the story behind your name! I think it totally works and I like how you ended up rebranding it when you moved to Vegas. Oh man why did you have to post that spider picture?? And it’s on the INSIDE of the screen!!! Shudder.

  45. I loved reading about how others chose their names!!

    Yes, I loved my little house. πŸ™‚

    And not the spiders!!

  46. Ha, great story on how your blog’s name first appeared, I didn’t know it. As for mine… MaiTravelSite is called like that because of two reasons:

    1) If you were to write “my” in spanish ( and I mean write the sounds, not translate), what would you get?

    2) I love Chiang Mai in Thailand, the food, the night market….it is a way of recognizing this.


    PS I had a tarantula as a snack once…could be worse!

  47. Tell me about long names! Ours was given by our friends as well. The name has stuck.

  48. Awww Federico, I always wondered! And I will never eat tarantula haha.

    Mike, I think your guys’ name is hilarious!

  49. I consider myself outdoorsy, but I never got used to the snakes when I lived in Thailand. I was petrifed. I don’t think I would get used to scorpions or tarantulas either. I would love to change my blog’s name, since everyone things I only blog about Germany, which isn’t the case, but don’t have the time to set up a new blog that includes other destinations.

  50. that was the ONE thing that freaked me out about CR…the BUGS…i lost my mind on a daily basis while i was there, but it was still the Best.Trip.Ever.

  51. I rather like being Wandering Justin. It’s not so much of a nickname, though – nobody actually calls me that in real life (the closest to it was walking into a new local brewery after I reviewed it on my site … the manager saw me and was like “Hey, you’re that wandering travel guy!”).

    Nobody has really successfully tagged me with a lasting nickname since I was known as “Havarti” when I was a summer camp counselor!

  52. Haha — I definitely meant nickname as in blog name, on-line. I would be mortified if people called me Princess IRL!

  53. I like your blog name! It sounds very adventurous! I don’t know if we would change ours ever… it suits us…even though its not very SEO friendly

  54. I cannot imagine any other name for you or your blog and I mean that in the best way. It so suits you and the many dynamic things about beautiful you πŸ™‚

  55. I like your name! Also like that you added “neon.” I think it fits your personality πŸ˜‰

    As for our blog name, I like it because it pretty much sums up who we are, time-crunched travelers who have day jobs and travel when we can. We decided to call it The Time-Crunched Traveler because the site is really about the reader — the time-crunched traveler — rather than just about us. Or that’s what we wanted to communicate, anyway.

  56. haha Abby, I think we both wish sometimes our blog names were different πŸ˜€
    I have never seen a scorpion or tarantula in Costa Rica, lucky me πŸ™‚

  57. Not only do I really like your blog name, but the story behind it makes it even better! It’s a lot cooler than saying…. “So, I was at a coffee shop brainstorming with my aunt, and all the sudden she said “Princess Jungle!””

    I’m planning on starting a new travel blog in the next few weeks/months. I’m thinking hard about my name, any other suggestions of dos and don’ts? I’m trying to make it broad, fitting, and flexible.


    Jeremy G.

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