This week’s Meet the Travel Bloggers spotlights travel blogger Juno Kim from Runaway Juno. The Korean Native is currently traveling the world as a full time travel blogger.
How did your blog get the name Runaway Juno?
I was going for another name, but it was already taken. While I was sitting at the office working overtime the name “Runaway Juno” just popped into my head. It was free. No one had the name, so I took it.
When, why and how did you start your travel blog?
Officially I launched it on March of 2010. I was working with a big travel community, and I was thinking, “Hey, I can do this too!” So I did. Having my own website was always one of my goals, and I finally found the right subject: travel.
What, if anything, did you want the title to convey to readers?
I’m always a “Runaway” but I’m running away with a purpose. Runaway Juno is mainly my stories about traveling. My stories, my point of view, and my value are the ones that I want to convey to my readers.
Do you blog full time or as a hobby?
It was a side job when I first started. I was working for a big oil and gas engineering company as a mechanical engineer. Nothing, including my life values, was really going well with the company, so I left. After a short transition time, here I am a full time travel blogger. I try to post at least three times a week, including my Runaway Photo post every Friday.
What is the thing that keeps you the most jazzed about blogging?
I really enjoy the interaction with my readers. Working as a blogger is seriously difficult, but then I think about the original starting point. I started it because I genuinely like traveling. That’s the key point: sharing my passion about traveling the world.
What excites you about travel?
Discovering the unknown, and finding similarities and differences between all of us.
What kind of traveler are you?
I like to call myself an independent traveler, or a “comfortable” backpacker. I don’t like to push it too hard. Backpackers don’t have to be super poor, staying at a dingy hostel all the time, and hating luxury travelers. I’m a little bit of everything. I try to find the comfort on the road. When I’m on the road, that’s my home.
What are the most important things to you on a trip?
To feel the vibe of the place is the most important thing to me. Visiting attractions is nice, but I want to get to know the place and the people who are living there. For that, I like to try local food, shop at local markets, visit historic museums and meet people. The harmony with my travel partner, Stephen, is really important for me and for our relationship. Luckily we value similar things in travels and life. I feel blessed in that.
Is being in your comfort zone important to you? What trade-offs would make going out of it worthwhile?
If being in my comfort zone was the most important value in my life, I don’t think I would have started traveling. In fact, I didn’t even know there’s a thing called “comfort zone” before I went on my first backpacking trip. The world I was living in was so conservative and narrow; I didn’t realize I was in a deep hole. I’m glad I found out about this world, and will continue exploring it. Curiosity is that motivates me most of the time.
What’s your most memorable travel experience or favorite trip ever and why?
When I saved turtles on the highway.They all came out after the big rain in Arkansas and Oklahoma. There was even one in Texas. I gently picked them up and moved them in the direction they wanted to go. I couldn’t imagine how hard that would be to these little creatures. Crossing the two lane highway must feel like a lifetime for them.
What’s your favorite place on earth?
I can’t say my favorite place on earth since I haven’t been everywhere. However I can say Lake Tekapo in New Zealand is my absolute favorite place that I have been to. I stopped in this small town on the south island of New Zealand on my way to Dunedin. That’s how most people get there; it’s not a tourist destination. Lake Tekapo has two attractions: the lake, and stargazing. It is probably one of the best places in the world for stargazing as there is almost no light pollution. The night sky I saw at the observatory on top of the mountain was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. I’d love to go back and stay for a month or so as a retreat.
Where are you off to next?
Great question! I just announced my plan: I’m going to Europe for the first time, starting in Iceland. It will be a wonderful time.
What’s the biggest fantasy on your bucket list and why?
An astronomy tour to the North Pole (or Antarctica) for a solar eclipse, northern lights, and the clearest night sky in the world. If you haven’t noticed yet, astronomy is another big passion in my life. Seeing the northern lights has been on my list for a long time and, of course, solar eclipses rarely happen. It would be an amazing experience to see the Milky Way and all the stars and planets in the clearest sky in the world.
Is there anything we haven’t asked that you feel you’d like to share about your travels or your blog?
Officially, I’m a “career breaker” or “career changer”. As I’m not going back, changer is more accurate. It was not an easy thing to do from the society where I come from. It’s still not easy. We all have a right to design our own life. Quite a lot of people asked me how did I do it and when did I do it. I knew it was the time for change when I was the unhappiest, so I took a chance. Don’t ever question whether you deserve happiness, because you do. That’s what Runaway Juno is all about. I’m from Korea and I’m traveling the world. If I did it, you can do it.
Juno Kim is a freelance writer, travel blogger, travel photographer and former mechanical engineer. She left her cube farm to follow her true love: the world. She is a firm believer in serendipity and an astronomy enthusiast. She believes in living by passion and love. She is currently, on a quest to find the place she can call “home.” You can read her blog Runaway Juno, You can follow her on Twitter and “like” her Facebook page.