This week Meet the Travel Bloggers talks to travel Blogger Lauren DiMarco and her traveling alter-ego, Lola.
When, why and how did you start your travel blog?
I started my blog in April 2011. I had been doing a lot of travel in that year and people recommended I start sharing my trips & tips because I was doing fun things people wanted to know about. Also, at that time, I was trying to get a job with an internet travel company and wanted to demonstrate I could write about traveling. Instead, my blog took off!
How did you get that name and what does the name mean to you?
Lola is a nickname given to me by friends many years ago. My personality has always been fun and spunky. People call me a fire cracker. Lola fits this description. Plus, I wanted an alter ego or character to build my blog and brand around.
Lola represents a part of life that we all want: carefree, worry free, out in the world experiencing things with a big smile on her face. She’s a glass half-full gal and wants to share all that’s wonderful and fun AND she enjoys making fun of herself. Life is too serious and we could all use a shot of Lola’s “just let go and do it” attitude. And Lola is ageless…I hate her for that.
What is the thing that keeps you the most jazzed about blogging?
Traveling so I have experiences to write about and share. I love that I have a following of people who look forward to my travels and stories. It is a sure sign of success in what I set out to achieve.
What excites you about travel?
Everything! I love discovering new things. Maybe they are not new things to everyone but new things for me. It makes me feel like I’m learning and growing. It makes me feel alive. I find so much joy in places and in the people that pass through them. Travel inspires me about humankind.
Are you on the road full time?
I’m not on the road full time. I travel about one week out of the month or sometimes more. I’m based in Boston, Massachusetts and currently am working full time on building my blog and travel brand as well as getting into some additional ventures.
What kind of traveler are you?
Oh my. I’m a poshaholic. So, I’d say luxury BUT I do like to do it with a discount. I’m always looking to get my luxe experience for less. I appreciate the lifestyle of luxury travel and when I can get it for a deal, all the better!
Do you travel solo or prefer company on the road?
I am a sometimes solo traveler and do enjoy my alone time. However, I’m also a people magnet and LOVE to make new friends. I enjoy traveling with others as well and have been lucky in picking good traveling partners.
You recently got back from a month in Europe. What was the highlight of the trip?
My trip consisted of places I’d mostly been to before, which, in a way, took the pressure off to do the typical touristy things. I loved this tour because I really got to experience things fully instead of rushing from one landmark to the next. That trip was MAGIC! It is hard to pick one highlight other than 30 days with one of my best friends, laughing and enjoying all that is great in fantastic European cities. Simply unforgettable.
You say that when in Rome, you like to do what the Romans do. What is the most local you’ve ever gone?
I think my Habitat for Humanity build in Cambodia was seriously local. I worked with the people WHO lived in the community where my team was building. They didn’t even speak any English. AND… I. LOVED. IT! I highly recommend doing something like this if you really want to know how people live. This experience changed my life. It moved my borders. I can’t wait to do another build somewhere in the world I’ve never been.
Is being in your comfort zone important to you?
I think comfort zone has to do with control. I do like a sense of control but I’ve gotten better about letting go and when I venture into the unknown, it’s usually these experiences that are far more meaningful to me. The trade-off… giving up control. Trusting it will be fine. It always works out and allowing this trust in the process is what brings the experiences even closer to my heart. Things I’ve done outside my comfort zone. Moving to NYC with a one-way ticket, no place to live & no firm job, traveling around Europe for the first time at 26, by myself, leaving all my belongings in storage in NYC, going to Cambodia alone to build and travel with a group of people I’d never met. By the way, these are my top life experiences to date. I’ve taken many chances and they’ve brought me so much joy, friendship and fantastic experiences that make me who I am today.
What’s your most memorable travel experience or favorite trip ever and why?
I think you can probably guess which is my most memorable. My Cambodia Habitat house build trip. I cannot express how much I loved helping people and working alongside them. There was no prejudice or pretense. It was just people from very different ends of the earth working together for a common cause. I was awe-inspired by the people of Cambodia. For a place with such a ugly past, it is so beautiful and so are the people; generous, kind and happy. Who couldn’t love that?
What’s your favorite place on earth?
St. Barthelemy in the Caribbean. It is perfect. A dream. I’m just relaxed and happy there. It’s beautiful and everything tastes and looks delicious there. I couldn’t imagine living there but it is a very special place. Second favorite that I COULD imagine living in for a long period of time is Paris. Why? It’s Paris.
Where are you off to next?
My next trip is to Costa Brava, Spain and Miami, Florida in mid-March. I’m very excited.
What’s the biggest fantasy on your bucket list and why?
To go every place that’s on my bucket list. HAHA! I don’t even have one written. I would constantly be adding places. My biggest fantasy is to continue to travel, discover and share all the wonderful things out there waiting for those who seek it. AND I’d like to get paid to do this. Now, that’s the dream!
Is there anything we haven’t asked that you feel you’d like to share about your travels or your blog?
I’m chasing my dreams and I hope that when I share my experiences it helps others to dare to dream too. There are so many forced fake rules in life and I’m enjoying breaking down some of those barriers. I feel the world is an oyster and I’m busy diving to find it. Travel is my passion but whatever anyone’s passion – it’s important to be true to yourself and keep your dreams alive.
Lauren DiMarco of Lola’s Travels earned the cheeky nickname, Lola, due to her infectious and spirited ways, and it now serves as her alter ego travel brand. A fun-loving traveler with a flair for finding adventure, Lola spreads humor, charm and her zest for life everywhere she goes. With a light and entertaining way of creating content, Lola is always looking for unique experiences that blend the perfect mix of practicality with fun. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.