Meet the travel bloggers: Browsing the Atlas

This week Meet the Travel Bloggers visits with Juliann Wetz of Browsing the Atlas.

When, why and how did you start your travel blog?
I just started my blog in May, 2012. I’d been writing another blog, not devoted to travel, but enjoyed the travel pieces the most. I always thought that someday I’d retire, travel, and blog about it. Then I started to wonder –why wait? I may not travel now as much as I hope to then, but I am traveling whenever I get a chance and I love blogging about it.

How did you get that name and what does the name mean to you?
I read an interview with a travel writer who said that when she’s not traveling, she likes to browse the atlas. Me, too! I sit and leaf through them in my leisure time. I love maps and globes and discovering new spots that I daydream about going to. For months, her phrase, “browse the atlas” played through my head like a melody. Then a light bulb went off: I had the name for a blog, so why not start writing one?

travel blogger Great Wall of China photo Browsing the Atlas

Walking the Great Wall of China, photo/Browsing the Atlas

What is the thing that keeps you the most jazzed about blogging?
Definitely reader comments. It’s fun to get conversations started and see how my words resonated with readers, or entertained them. I end up learning more about other cultures that way and just love it. For instance, I showed a picture of a cereal box on a blog post and a reader in Australia noted the difference in American marketing approaches as opposed their packaging there. I loved that connection of learning about a different culture through something so every day. I continue to learn from readers’ comments and absolutely love that aspect of blogging.

What excites you about travel?
Everything. Absolutely everything. From planning the trip (one of my favorite hobbies), to sitting in an airport, to climbing stairs in a tower, to eating local cuisine, I love it all. I feel most alive when I’m traveling and experiencing new things.

What kind of traveler are you?
I’m definitely not a luxury traveler, though I find myself in that role when I travel on business and admit that I enjoy it. But given the choice, this isn’t how I’d choose to travel. I don’t want to be insulated by money and comfort if it separates me from what’s going on around me, and I think it often does. I’d choose sampling food from street vendors over a gourmet meal inside a restaurant. I’d rather walk than take a taxi. I’d rather wear jeans and sneakers than dress up fancy. I do like nice hotels, though. That’s about as luxurious as I usually get. But I’m just as apt to stay in a hostel or a tent.

travel blogger photo Browsing the Atlas

Wearing berets to the Louvre, courtesy Browsing the Atlas

On the road, do you seek out some experiences more than others?
I never realized before what a voyeur I am. I love walking at night, peering into the lit windows of people’s homes to see how they live. When I can, I find ways to visit the homes of locals. I did this in Nicaragua, Haiti, Germany, Paris and China. I try to do it whenever/however I can. I feel a little thrill when I get to see what it’s really like to live in a certain place and see all the little details that the people who live there probably take for granted. I call it being interested in different cultures, but I’m probably just nosy.

Is being in your comfort zone important to you?
As long as I’m not hanging off the side of a cliff or in a jungle full of snakes, I’m in my comfort zone. I’m fine with being in areas of extreme poverty, disease, or being in a place where I don’t speak a word of the language. But if I see a snake, it’s all over.

What’s your most memorable travel experience or favorite trip ever and why?
This will sound nuts — because it was. In 2009, we took my mother, an avid scrapbooker, to San Francisco. We’d only been there about two hours when she asked my husband to pretend to roll down the sidewalk of one of those notoriously steep hills so that she could take pictures for a scrapbook page she wanted to create. My husband is a ham, so eagerly obliged. He laid down on the sidewalk and started to roll, and roll, and roll as she snapped pictures. Later he confided that he’d bruised his ribs in the process and felt it every time we had to hike up or down one of those hills. The ridiculousness of the situation set the tone for the whole hilarious trip. Plus, she got the pictures she wanted and made a scrapbook page we’ll never forget.

travel blogger San Francisco photo Browsing the Atlas

Rolling down a hill in San Francisco, photo/Browsing the Atlas

What’s your favorite place on earth?
There’s one place in the world that I’m afraid to go back to, because I don’t think it can possibly live up to the memories I have of being there. That place is Alaska. I lived there briefly when I was in my 20’s and absolutely loved it. I was so happy there. Everything was majestic and wide open and wild. When I close my eyes, I can still see it and I feel peaceful. But I’m afraid to go back. I don’t want anything to take away from what I remember.

travel blogger Alaska photo Browsing the Atlas

Alaskan glacier, photo/Browsing the Atlas

Where are you off to next?
I’m headed to Singapore in November.

What’s the biggest fantasy on your bucket list and why?
To quit working so that I can travel and blog full-time. It’s probably not going to happen, but I can dream, can’t I?

Is there anything we haven’t asked that you feel you’d like to share about your travels or your blog?
I think it’s easy for travel bloggers to get dismayed that there are so many travel blogs crowding the blogosphere. We may feel like there’s not room for all of us, but there is. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 20 or 60, traveling full-time or sporadically, exploring locally or globally – we all love travel and sharing our experiences. There’s room enough in the world for us all.

travel blogger

Touring Cincinnati’s Big Pig Gig, courtesy Browsing the Atlas

Though she wishes otherwise, Juliann Wetz’s travel is a little sporadic. No longer a twenty-something (or even a thirty-something, for that matter), Juliann is a middle-aged woman with a husband, a son in the Air Force, and a daughter in junior high school. She has a full-time job and a mortgage to pay. But whenever the opportunity arises, she is ready to pack a bag and jump in the car, or onto a plane and set out to see whatever part of the world she can. It may be no further than across the state line, or it may be halfway around the world. Any destination will do. She invites you to come with her as she browses the atlas… You can follow her on Twitter and “like” her on Facebook









Tags: , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge