Featured Blogger: Sofie from Wonderful Wanderings

This week we look at one of my favorite bloggers, Sofie from Wonderful Wanderings!
1. First of all, what are your website and social media links?
Linkedin: http://be.linkedin.com/in/sofiecouwenbergh

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

When I started blogging I did it purely to combine my passions for travel and writing. I didn’t think about my “niche” or talking about specific topics, so I wanted something broad. As I’ve always loved alliterations, Wonderful Wanderings became it.

3. What more can you tell us about your blog? What are your goals or intentions for it?
Like I said, I started blogging more as a creative outlet than anything else. However, I quickly spent several hours per day on Wonderful Wanderings, got drawn into the travel blogger community and learned about all the possibilities. I realized that this is where my passions lies and that this is something I want to do long term. I still combine traveling and freelancing with a full time job at the moment, but in the future, who knows…

4. Can you provide us with a Throw Back Thursday picture of one of your favorite travel memories with an explanation? 
This photo was taken at Mont-Sainte-Anne in Québec last March. Even though I’m all tucked in you can just tell I’m enjoying myself. I was my first trip to the snow, my first real winter getaway and I had been really nervous about it. I dislike the cold, I had never skied before and I’m afraid of heights. Still, this was an amazing trip. Part of that has to do with the fact that Siemen, my boyfriend, is really into the snow, mountains and snowboarding and it was so good for us that we could finally share that passion of his.
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5. Which are your favorite and least favorite cities you’ve traveled to? Why?
My favorite city by far is Los Angeles because, however cliché, I truly felt anything was possible there. During that trip I grew more open and confident than ever before. I’ve been there twice and I was afraid that going a second time would break the spell, but it didn’t.
A lot of people look at me funny when I say I love LA, but I just had so many positive experiences there. A total stranger guided us through his town for a day, another stranger paid for our hotel room, people constantly wanted to help us or just started a friendly chat.
Plus, the weather there is amazing.
My least favorite city is Lisbon. I know this will surprise a lot of people as well. Siemen (my boyfriend) and I did a road trip there last year and I had such high expectations for Lisbon. So many people had told me what a wonderful city it was, yet when I got there, it did nothing for me. I know we must have missed out on a lot of cool places that only locals know, but that’s something that happens in almost every city you visit for just a couple of days. Porto had swept me of my feet, but Lisbon couldn’t. There was nothing that attracted me there, you know? There were a lot of dirty spots, a lot of really touristy spots and spots were the police allowed people to sell drugs on the streets.
Before you start sending hate mail: I know there’s more to Lisbon than that, but I don’t think I’ll be going back soon, unless it’s with a local who can show me the hidden gems.

6. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? Where?
That’s a tough one because I haven’t been to many non-Western countries yet. I think it must have been chili ice cream at the DOP Restaurant in Porto. It was served with carpaccio and was delicious.
7. Who are your travel idols?
Dave and Deb from The Planet D. They’re focused, provide great content and I love how they’re such a power couple.

8. What’s your best travel tip?
Just book that ticket already! I’m someone who has enormous trouble making decisions. I’ll wait for days before I book a plane ticket. That’s all just wasted stress, really. Just book the ticket and then there’s no way back. You’ll have to go and you’ll darn right enjoy it too.

9. Which is your favorite post you’ve written? Please provide a link.
It’s titled “You don’t need to sell everything to travel the world”. It’s my favorite post because I’d already figured out for myself that I needed to find my own way to travel and with that post I wanted to inspire other people to do the same.
It’s okay if you don’t want to do the same kind of trips as your best friend or your travel idol. Just do the kind of trips that you want to do.

10. What advice would you give to someone new to travel blogging?
Don’t do it for free stuff, don’t do it for press trips, do it because you really, really, REALLY want to do it.
If you just want to keep an online journal for friends and family then this doesn’t apply to you. In that case you can do whatever you like with it. But if you want to seriously get into travel blogging, you should know that it takes a lot of work, a lot of missed social meetings and parties, a lot of late nights and a lot of ups and downs. 

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