If you’re looking for travel inspiration or advice, look no further. Christy Woodrow and her partner Scott Calafiore have been touring, surfing and photographing the world since 2006. Their blog Ordinary Traveler chronicles their journeys from the Lot Valley in rural France to the remote villages in Nepal. In this Q&A, Christy talks about balancing life and leisure, how they use Pinterest for business and where they’re dying to go next.
Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to travel the world.
Scott and I are in our mid-thirties and live in coastal San Diego. My passion for travel began at an early age. Ever since I can remember, I dreamt about getting lost in faraway lands and learning about other cultures. I realized I wanted to be a professional travel photographer when I was a teenager, but it seemed like an unattainable dream. Now I’m constantly in awe of my life. I feel so lucky to do what I love every day—travel, take photos and write about it.
Scott’s a traveler at heart. He works full-time for a software company, but joins me on several trips throughout the year. We make a good team. He grounds me and I bring a little adventure to his life.
What inspired the title of your blog Ordinary Traveler?
When we started our blog in 2009, many of the popular travel blogs were written by permanent, or soon-to-be permanent, nomads. They got a lot of press, which gave the impression that this was the preferred way to travel.
Not everyone wants to quit their job and sell all their possessions to travel. People who want a family, home and adventurous life are the “ordinary” people we wanted to connect with and inspire. That’s the idea behind the name Ordinary Traveler.
How do you balance career, life and leisure?
We’ve found a good balance over the years. I’ll turn down long trips and limit my travel to once a month. Sometimes my schedule can be a little crazy though. This month, I’m only home nine days because of work trips to Bologna, Bonaire and Mauritius. I’m learning to juggle travel while nurturing friendships and enjoying where we live.
How do you use place boards to share your adventures?
I use various apps to check in at locations, but they don’t incorporate photography as well as Pinterest does. With Pinterest, I can pin the exact destination, see my photo and view all the photos on one map. This makes it easy for our readers to get a sense of the destination and plan a trip based on our recommendations.
How do you use Pinterest for your blog and business?
Pinterest drives more traffic to our blog than Google search and helps sell my photography. I easily pin photos from my fine art photography portfolio and those Pins send targeted traffic to my photos. If a person clicks through, they’re more likely to purchase than someone who found it somewhere else. Plus, the group boards are a great way to team up with a brand or fellow blogger.
Where do you want to go next?
Scott and I really want to go to New Zealand for a few weeks, and spend some time exploring the remote areas of Canada—the natural beauty is astounding! I just returned from a scuba diving trip in Bonaire, part of the ABC islands in the Caribbean, so would love to explore Grand Cayman and St. Martin next.
What is a common travel misconception?
That the world is a scary place. Yes, there are some dangerous places in the world, but you can find danger anywhere. Never leaving the country doesn’t eliminate risk in your life. If you do your research and find people who’ve been there before, you’ll be better equipped and can avoid risky situations.
Any advice for the timid traveler?
I always get anxious before a solo trip to a new country. For years, I was dying to visit Nepal, but on the drive to the airport, I felt scared. I didn’t know what to expect and was nervous about not speaking the language. The fear of the unknown keeps many people from traveling, but trust me, once you’re there, you’ll be thankful you pushed past that fear. And honestly, I feel more safe in the busy streets of Kathmandu, Nepal than I do in some parts of Los Angeles.
So just book a ticket and go. If you think about it too long, you’ll talk yourself out of it. Travel can be a life-changing experience if you open yourself up to the world and put your trust in strangers.