Up next in my ongoing travel series of world travellers is what I would call a “cool chick”. I met up with Laura Coolen last year in the deserts of Jordan and we ate together at the campsite in Wadi Rum. Today I’m delighted to have her on interview here. Laura is Dutch and her website is very inspiring – it’s called “What About Her” – read it to find out about Laura’s incredible journeys.
Who are you?
My name is Laura and I own the (international) travel blog What About Her. I am a 26 year old travel addict who always seeking for the most amazing places on this beautiful world. I am philosophical, romantic, versatile, enthusiastic, spontaneous with a capital S and adventurious: when not abroad I’ll find adventure on the street corner. I am a storyteller. I travel to amazing places and play with words, photography and travel films to write touching travel stories. I share experiences. I am grateful for our fascinating earth and I love to share all that she has to offer. I won’t tell you where you must go, where you can find the cheapest accommodation or how it all can be done better. I simply would like to inspire to do the same: discover. In any way possible. Catch your own dreams. The world is made for dreamers.
Where are you from?
I was born in a small village in the North of the Netherlands. After years of living abroad, I am now based in the South East of the Netherlands and have a house with my better half – a globetrotters home it is. Many people say it has a total hostel vibe.
Where have you been?
I have lived in four places around the world: Greece, England, France and South Africa. I’ve been backpacking through Asia a lot (The Philippines, Laos, Cambodja, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, Bali, Gili Islands, and so on). As well, I explored Jordan (where I met you!) and I have visited many countries in Europe. And shouldn’t forget New York.
Where are you now?
Back home in the Netherlands, from where I run my company and travel blog. But most of the time I am abroad to explore our wonderful planet Earth. I’ve made a lot of press trips lately and decided to stay home for about a month now.
What are the top 3 places you’ve visited?
That is one hell of a difficult question. I have lived in South Africa, and that place changed me. There, I’ve learned to dream. And it simply made me be. It was beautiful and terrible at the same time. I have seen and experienced things you don’t want to experience, ever, but created wonderful moments as well and I cherish those memories. Contradictory, amazingly beautiful Africa is in my heart.Sumatra in Indonesia was so pure, so real, so amazing, that’s number two I guess. And I really loved the journey through Jordan.
What is the best travel experience you’ve had?
Oh no….I really can’t pick one experience. I guess it is just simply being on the road. But what about all those different pretty cultures? And nature that just touched you by heart, the unusual animals, the people? How do I choose? Volunteering in Africa. Teaching beautiful children to enjoy (though I wonder who teaches who…). The wildlife study I did in South Africa. Reach the top of Table Mountain, on slippers. Sleep in the jungle. Sleep in the desert. Monks in Asia. An Orang Utan in the wild, swimming with sea turtles and whale sharks. The evenings spent with locals on the river. World wonders. Sunsets. I won’t choose. Travel is being on the move, traveling is learning and travel is just being. I have more awareness of, and respect for planet Earth and all the small and beautiful things she is offering me.
What is the worst travel experience you’ve had?
I think that was getting really, really sick on an island with no doctor or medical help. I really thought I would die there.
What is the funniest travel experience you’ve had?
I really love the fact that it is true that you always meet twice. I love it when I bump into a traveler again who I’ve seen in a total different country or place. And I always end up laughing if I find myself in a total random and weird situation again.
What is the scariest travel experience you’ve had?
In South Africa I’ve seen terrible things, and ended up in some pretty frightening situations in the townships. As well, we had a car accident in a dangerous area in the middle of nowhere. I almost drowned while surfing. Ended up in a typhoon in the Philippines. Getting sick to bones on a deserted island. And don’t get me started on the scorpions and spiders and snakes and all of those great animals. But hey, I’m still here. Part of the experience.
What is the most random job you have had on your travels?
During my travels I don’t work. Well, I always work as a travel blogger during my travels. And I have lived abroad a few times, at those times I worked as an hotel manager.
How do you fund your travels?
I’ve been working as a hotel manager for ages, but I quitted to follow my dreams and now have my own company, Cloudshaped (communications specialized in tourism, travel) as well as my travel blog – which is my other full time job now. I work hard to travel, but nowadays my travel blog is one of the bigger ones in the Netherlands with about tons of visitors (so grateful!) and I get to do a lot of press trips all over the world – so work funds travels. It is simply amazing, but as you know: hard work. But I am one happy girl.
What 3 tips would you give a new traveller before they set off on their adventure?
Go with an open heart and open mind. Dare to talk to strangers, to locals, let them take you to undiscovered parts or go fin them yourselves, instead of following other travelers. Get off the beaten track. Break your boundaries. Follow your heart.
What are your future travel plans?
A few press trips are arranged and next week I’m off to Barbados, after that I’ll visit Finnish Lapland, Aruba, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The rest of the year is still open, like always. I’ll see where I will end up this year, impulsive as always. I hope to meet more foreign travel bloggers. I translate all articles in both Dutch and English, so my blog is international readable, but I would love to make more international contacts as well. I read many, many foreign travel blogs and hope to get to meet those inspiring travel bloggers in the future.
What about her is the English & Dutch blog of philosophical travel addict Laura (1988). She is continuously wandering around the world in search of hotspots and perfect places on planet Earth, while persuading others to follow their dreams. She is a storyteller and dances with words, photography and film to capture your imagination.
Thanks to Laura for being the latest in my series of World Travellers! If you travel the world and run a travel blog or are a travel writer, please get in touch, you can be featured (there’s a HUGE waiting list at present), either e-mail jonny (at) dontstopliving (dot) net or head to my contacts page and get connected! You can also subscribe to Don’t Stop Living by filling in the form below! Safe travels!