I’ve been a travel blogger, for a little over a year now and have been traveling the world for over 2 decades. Through the process, between traveling, meeting random people, getting interviewed for other sites and from my readers, it seems as though there are a few questions I get asked all the time. So I figured I’d write a post with the questions and answers, I get asked the most, to let you guys in on a few of my personal secrets to happiness, traveling and life and maybe inspire some of you to go out there and make your dreams come true.
1. What is your favorite country?
Well, I don’t just have one favorite, anyone who has traveled a lot can never pick just one. But my top 3 favorites are Iceland, Italy and Israel. If I really had to pick just one, I would definitely have to say Iceland! I was there earlier this year and it was just incredible! I got to swim in the Blue Lagoon and see the Northern Lights. It was amazing.
2. What country would you never visit?
Germany. I was born in Israel and have a lot of pride in my Jewish heritage. With that being said, I’ve always taken the Holocaust very dear to my heart and find it difficult to get past the history of the country. I’ve heard great things about Germany and have a few friends that live there, but it is just a promise I made with myself many years back.
3. How can you afford all your travels?
This is probably the question I get asked the most! In the past, I’ve always made sure to have a good paying job that was flexible with my traveling obsession. Currently, I have a part time job when I’m home in Los Angeles, I also make money from my blog and I get sponsored by tourism groups, hotels and attractions.
4. You grew up moving from city to city. How can you inspire someone who hasn’t gone beyond their home state to travel and see the world?
I actually most recently wrote a blog post about ‘How To Be Courageous Enough To Travel Alone‘ because most of my travels are solo. I think the most important thing you need to always remember is that you only live once. You only get ONE life to live. You can’t wait around for other people to make your dreams come true, life is too short for that. The world is filled with amazing places to discover and explore. I think that traveling is really one of the best educational experiences in a persons life. You learn so much about culture, history, food, people and art. It forces you to step out of your comfort zone and do things you normally wouldn’t do in your life. The moment you discover an amazing new place, you normally get addicted to traveling and never want to stop. A day in the life of traveling is like a week in your normal day to day life, it’s incredible.
I personally think that joining a planned tour trip is the best way to go about it. My favorite planned tour company that I have gone on 6 tours with is Contiki. They have a great selection of tours all year long in different regions around the world, their tours are for 18-35-year-old, they normally have anywhere from 30-50 people on a tour, with great accommodation and attractions and they are SO much fun!
5. Are you scared to travel alone?
No, 90% of the time I’m not. Of course, this kind of changes depending on what country I’m going to, but it’s honestly my favorite way to travel.
6. What’s the best advice you can give to a first time traveler?
JUST GO! Explore! Live life to the fullest! Live every second like it was your last. Don’t be shy, don’t be afraid, some of the greatest things out there are the ones we are most scared of. Be adventurous, keep an open mind and enjoy every bit of it. Traveling will boost up your self-esteem and confidence in ways you wouldn’t imagine and change your life forever, especially if you travel solo.
7. What is the most important item on your “Bucket List”?
For years it was the Northern Lights, it’s kind of hard to top that off, but I would definitely have to say going in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey! I’d love to do the Holi festival in India and visit Antarctica as well. (Check out my Bucket List: Click here)
8. Your blog has gained a fair amount of attention and success. What did you enjoy most in the process of establishing your blog to its current status?
I think the thing that I enjoy most is inspiring people to go out there and make their dreams come true and being able to express myself creatively, it’s why I do it.
9. What is your life like in between trips?
haha well, I don’t think my life is very exciting when I’m not traveling since I’ve based my life around traveling. Being a travel blogger my life is kind of opposite than the normal person. When I’m out traveling it’s when I normally work, meeting with hotel managers and tourism groups, making video blogs, taking notes, updating social media and always trying to get the perfect photo. My days normally start at 7am sometimes even earlier and I don’t get to sleep til around 3am. When I’m back home, currently in Los Angeles, it’s when I get to relax more and catch up on my sleep. It’s normally when I write most of my post, edit videos and photos and plan future trips. You can also find me in Malibu beach a lot, I’m a huge fan of the ocean and of course, hanging out with friends, family and my puppy Peanut. But so far this year, I’ve spent more time out of the country than in it. Since January 2015, I’ve been to 16 countries.
10. Do you have days when the inspiration doesn’t come? How do you deal with them?
Of course, just like any normal person, I have those days where I wanna be in bed all day and live life like a princess lol. What inspires me the most is traveling, so opening up my Instagram account (@hofitkimcohen) is a great way to find inspiration, I follow some pretty awesome account of other travelers with great photos that make me jump out of bed and get inspired. I think talking to a close friend or a family member always helps too.
11. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever experience while traveling?
Probably seeing a gypsy in Milan throwing a baby at one of the people that were on the tour with me! On the hopes that she will drop her bags and have someone steal it when she didn’t notice!
12. If you had to choose one place to live forever, where would it be and why?
WOW! That’s a really hard question because I move A LOT and can never pick a place to live. I think it would be Israel where I was born or Miami, which I’ve also lived at not too long ago.
13. When was the first time you traveled solo?
The first time I traveled all by myself was when I was 11 years old. I was living in Los Angeles at the time and went to Israel to visit my grandma! That’s what I wanted as my birthday present!
14. What’s your secret to happiness?
What a question! I think my secret to happiness is forcing myself to live for the moment and always believing in myself. I really value life and the life that I was given and I think it’s important to always count your blessings. Since I was little I always did whatever I wanted, when I wanted to do it. I’ve never waited around for anyone to make my dreams come true, I went and got whatever it was that I wanted. Sometimes it might not be the smartest thing to do at the time, but it’s what makes me happy. I can wake up tomorrow and want to go to Thailand and next thing you know, I’m looking up airfare prices, booking it and 2 days later I’m on a plane, sometimes it’s in less than 24hrs. I’ve always believed that everything is possible and there is nothing out there that isn’t possible and I live my life like that for many many years.
15. What’s next for Vanilla Sky Dreaming?
Vanilla Sky Dreaming goal of 2015 is to visit 25 countries, I’ve already got 16 down, so I’m almost half way there, I almost think I might have to change it to 30. But this summer I’m planning on visiting the Caribbean Islands, in October of 2015 I’m planning on doing Asia again (I was there earlier this year), I want to do Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and maybe a few more in the area and I’m really trying to do Antarctica towards the end of this year! It would be a dream! I did want to visit South Africa this year as well, so I’ll see how that all works out. So look forward to a lot more traveling for me cause this girl isn’t planning on stopping anytime soon.
OVER TO YOU! What questions do you have for me?