I’m always in awe of not only women travelers, but young women travelers. I think it’s amazing to juggle school and all of the other huge changes that young women go through, and on top of all that, they make time to travel the world too! Today, I will be featuring Juliana Wynkoop from Tourist to Local.
I first found Juliana’s blog when she was kind enough to comment on one of my very first blog posts here on Caity in Wanderland. Since then, I’ve followed her blog, along with her adventures, and I truly think that her voice speaks volumes to other young women travelers who aspire to see the world, all while receiving an education and volunteering.
Her blog differs from other travel blogs because not only does she express “9 things to do in Davis, California,” she knows how to get on a deeper level with her audience and talks about real experiences such as getting robbed and hospitalized.
Juliana is 21 years old and is finishing up her senior year of college in the great state of Washington, where she is studying International Business. The first language she learned aside from English was Spanish, and she remained motivated to become fluent in Spanish because of her hometown.
I’m from this little town in California where the majority of people are Spanish speakers. In high school, I was required to take a language, and I always loved practicing with the people in my town at grocery stores and in church. I started traveling more with my parents and met people from all sorts of different cultures.
… And the rest is history. Juliana’s studies of the Spanish language led her to learning a little bit of a bunch of different languages with hopes to impress foreigners and create friendships. “Being able to say a couple of phrases in a different language made me realize how easily I was able to make friends around the world, and I’m happy to say I probably have more international friends than domestic ones,” she said.
Here is the rest of my interview with Juliana:
When did you first start traveling? Tell me about your first big adventure.
Technically my first trip was at 3 months old. My parents have always been big into traveling since they both had careers that took them around the world. My first BIG adventure though was when I was 16 and went to China for a month without my parents. It was so exciting to see a culture so different from my own, and I decided to take a few classes in Mandarin after I returned.
What made you decide to start blogging?
I started blogging as a way to simplify to my friends and family what I was up to. I knew that if I made a blog it would make it way easier for everyone to hear my stories without repeating myself to multiple people. I wrote a few articles and then started to get REALLY into it. I decided to buy a domain and everything and began dreaming of making it an actual career! During my semester in Chile I also decided to start a YouTube channel to incorporate into my blog, and it was a totally different aspect I ended up loving.
What inspires you to travel?
The people I meet. There’s just something about travelers that connects us. We are a breed of people that is so different in our willingness to form close friendships after only a few minutes of meeting. I love traveling because I am not limited by cliques and every day routine.
How are you able to travel so often?
I get this question A LOT, and to be honest I don’t know how I do it. I suppose my priorities are just a lot different than most people’s. I don’t spend money on material things and am always looking for cheaper options. When I travel I travel light and frugally. For me, I know that if I have the desire to do something, I can do it, and everything else money wise will work itself out in the end. In addition, while I am still in school I haven’t found traveling impossible. I planned my courses well enough that I could study abroad multiple times which was really helpful.
How can you afford travel?
Scholarships have been the biggest aid to me. Since I did well in high school I was able to get a lot of scholarships for college, which gave me a little more spending money on travel. I also just generally put a lot of effort into doing things cheaper and more like a local would rather than a tourist. For example, I don’t spend money on tours and fancy restaurants, and rather just eat cheap meals and get involved in free activities.
What do you like most about being in a new place?
I love meeting locals! Most people have been so excited to meet an american, and it’s amazing how kind and welcoming they have been! For example, I have been invited to so many local events I would have never known about had I not met a native to the area!
Where has been your favorite travel destination, and why?
My semester in Chile was so amazing. I absolutely loved the diversity of the country, and I was lucky enough to live with an amazing host family. I met my boyfriend while I was studying there as well, and there’s just so many amazing memories that took place there. While I was there though, I was so frustrated by the complex accent, but looking back I know I never would have learned Spanish as well as I did had I studied elsewhere.
Of everywhere you’ve traveled, where is the one place you could see yourself settling down?
I adore Mexico. The people, the food, and colorful culture … everything just makes me so happy there.
What is your favorite part about traveling?
My favorite part is trying new foods. I am a huge foodie and have loved trying different cuisines!
What do you enjoy writing about the most?
I enjoy writing personal reflections the most. When I was going through a tough time in Chile after being robbed and admitted to the hospital I wrote about it, and many people replied giving me words of encouragement. It’s so amazing how close the travel blogger community can be.
What is the one thing you need to buy on your travels?
I have a Nalgene water bottle that I love collecting stickers for!
What song is always on your travel playlist?
Vienna by Billy Joel. It always reminds me to slow down and be present wherever I am. Sometimes I get so excited about going from place to place I forget to value the little moments.
What is the one thing you cannot travel without?
What’s next for you? What are your future travel plans?
I am currently finishing my last year of school as an International Business major and then I don’t know where life will take me! I want to get a job working in destination marketing or with international students at a university level, but before that I want to try the WWOOF program to volunteer on different farms around the world in exchange for housing.