Featured Blogger: Laura from Willful and Wild Hearted

Hey everyone! This week we’re talking to Laura!

Laura Nalin is an American expat who has been living and working in Seoul since 2013. She’s a massive fan of pizza, cat videos, cooking and the band Phish. You can follow along with her travels on her blog, Willful and Wildhearted.

1. First of all, what are your website and social media links?

My blog: http://www.willfulandwildhearted.com/

My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/willfulandwildhearted

My Instagram: https://instagram.com/laursvolta/

My Twitter: https://twitter.com/wildheart_laura

2. How did you come up with your website name?

It’s a quote from a book titled A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce.

“He was alone. He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and wilfull and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the seaharvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight.” ― James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

3. What more can you tell us about your blog? What are your goals or intentions for it?

I started my blog when I moved to Korea in 2013. My main intention was to just keep my family and friends up to date on my travels, but I’ve since expanded it. I want to use it as a platform to encourage people to take risks and follow their dreams.

4. Can you provide us with a Throw Back Thursday picture of one of your favorite travel memories with an explanation?

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Sure! This picture is from Halong Bay, Vietnam. I jumped off a boat into the water, which is one of the most exhilarating experiences I have to date. This trip specifically inspired me to travel as far and wide as I possibly can.

5. Which are your favorite and least favorite cities you’ve traveled to? Why?

My favorite city is Cusco, Peru. I love the energy, colors and history that can be felt when traversing the streets. I hate to call somewhere my “least” favorite, but if I have to choose I’m going to say Beijing. I loved the atmosphere and sights, but I couldn’t get past the smog. It was too much and too dreary when I visited. In Beijing’s defense, I visited during the Chinese New Year and there was so much trash and smog everywhere that it was overwhelming. I’m open to going again, though!

6. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? Where?

When I was a child I frequented the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. Each time I went, I purchased freeze-dried dehydrated food, also known as “space food.” I’ve eaten dehydrated pizza, strawberries and ice cream.

7. Who are your travel idols?

I don’t really have any travel idols per say, but I do enjoy regularly reading certain travel blogger websites. I really like Brenna Holeman from This Battered Suitcase. I read her blog a lot before I came to Korea, and I always felt really inspired by her adventures. I still read her blog quite often!

8. What’s your best travel tip?

My best travel tip would be to just let things slide. I think we all know that while traveling, things will not always go our way. When I find myself in these situations, I just take a deep breath, try to refocus my energy on the positives and work with what’s been given to me. It’s not always easy, but it’s better to take the high road than to let a bad situation consume me. I also like to keep snacks handy as I am definitely a poster child for the “Hanger is Real” campaign.

9. Which is your favorite post you’ve written? Please provide a link.

My most favorite post I’ve written so far is titled “Date a Woman Who Travels (or Don’t).” It’s a reflection piece on that god awful “Don’t Date a Girl Who Travels” post that went viral last year. I think the most important thing in this day and age is to support women no matter what the circumstance is. With more women traveling solo than ever before, we should be sticking up for each other and respecting the fact that we’re all different.

Being in a relationship doesn’t make you weak – you can still be in a relationship and be a free spirit! I think the author missed that mark. Let’s be better to one another and surpass that sort of attitude that paints all women who travel as these lost, careless and messy women who ruin everything we touch.

10. What advice would you give to someone new to travel blogging?

I’m quite new to this world myself. I say just find your voice and use it! It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling within your own country or internationally; just enjoy yourself, speak your mind and have fun while you’re at it.

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