Vanilla Sky Dreaming turns 3 today! Happy Birthday to my little VSD baby! and WOW has it been a crazy year and an even crazier last 3 years. Let’s have a party!
This year I can happily say that I really made things happen! and a huge part of my success goes out to you, my Vanilla Sky Dreamers, my friends around the world and the people that push me to make each day count. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for commenting, liking, watching my videos, reading my blog posts, writing me and always following me around the world! You are my true inspiring behind this.
I literally couldn’t have done it without you guys so THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. <3
Looking Back – Where I Started – 2014
I recently got asked by a reader on Facebook, “how did you get started travel blogging?”. I realized that it’s too long of a story to write on Facebook messages, so I’ll write a blog post about it because I’m sure so many people want to know. This won’t be that post, but I will explain a little bit.
When I first started Vanilla Sky Dreaming, I literally had no idea what it REALLY meant to be a travel blogger. In fact, if I look back at the girl who woke up one day and said, “I’m gonna be a travel blogger!”, I look back at her with a funny smile almost bursting into laughter. She was naive and literally had no idea what she was doing! I still don’t fully think I know what I’m doing half the time lol. Every year I realize how much when I thought I knew what I was doing, I had no idea. It’s actually a pretty funny and fascinating process. Yet, I currently sit in the very same spot of where I decided that this is what I want to do in my life as a career. This was never meant to be a hobby, although my dad still doesn’t understand what I’m doing with my life and keeps begging me to get a “real” job.
I guess like most people, I thought that travel blogging is going to be so much fun (and it is) but no one ever warned me of how HARD it is. I thought to myself, I’m just gonna be traveling the world, writing about it, taking photos and making all my dreams come true around the world and somehow, someone will pay me for it….ya…about that random someone. That “someone” would turn out being many different people and that took some SERIOUS time. I worked my ass off for free for probably 2 years until I saw some real money. I worked my ass off, EVERY SINGLE DAY, most days 13-20hrs a day and still do to make this dream possible. That’s an endless amount of sleepless nights. I don’t even know what the concept of sleep is all about anymore. I normally sleep about 3-6hrs a night (6 is pushing it) because I always have so much work to do.
I don’t have an assistant (I’ve been asked), I do everything by myself, including web designing, creating banners, SEO, video editing, photo editing, marketing, pitching, writing and about a million other jobs. But to be honest, I truly LOVE what I do. I love the creativity part of the job and without it, I couldn’t do what I do. The traveling part is probably only…15-20% of what I actually do to make this whole Vanilla Sky dream a dream.
NOW: What I’ve Accomplished – 2017
In the past 3 years, I’ve visited 40 countries, some of which, a few times. I got to make SO MANY of my dreams come true, things that I only could have imagined in my wildest dreams. I met incredible people who have moved me and changed my life. I made friends in the strangest places. I got to do things I never thought I had the guts to do like swimming with sharks or holding a stingray. I slept in the nicest and weirdest places. I’ve had amazing travel days and I’ve had terrible travel days, where I sometimes even bursted into tears in the middle of the street…alone. I was even recently dropped off my a shuttle taxi in Mexico on the freeway (if you saw it on Snapchat it was pretty random and epic – follow my Snapchat: theonlykimcohen)! There has also been moments where I walked into places and asked myself “WTF are you doing here alone?!”. Somehow, I’m still alive though. lol so it’s all good! 😉
I’ve dedicated 1100 days of my life to my dream. Brainstorming and researching on how to make this hobby into a real life job. Through working my ass off endlessly, I got to land some pretty awesome gigs! I’ve been hosted by amazing hotels all over the world, I’ve been invited by countries on Press Trips (all paid for), I’ve received some pretty awesome products to review and now even clothing lines are interested in working with me. I also got my work on some of the leading websites like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. My work now has been published in magazines in the U.S., which was so exciting to see my work on print. I was even contacted by NBC News and The Weather Channel to sell them some awesome video footage from my travels.
On a media and press level, I was so blessed this year to have a full 4 page spread written about me in the Israeli Newspaper and was featured on the cover. I have also been in a few newspapers in different countries. I was interviewed by different websites and podcast that were interested in hearing my stories from around the world.
Most recently and honestly MOST exciting was 2 weeks ago, when I woke up to the shocking news that Ashton Kutcher has watched one of my travel videos and was so inspired and moved by it that he decided to share it with his 17,600,000 followers on Facebook! That to me was my biggest moment of success. How little old me, somehow managed to inspire one of Hollywood’s most respected and leading actors. I was on a high that entire day and still looking back at it, can’t believe it even happened. Like whaaaat?! HOW!? #blessed
Dreams – Making IT Happen
“dreams don’t work unless you do”
For anyone with a dream, to be a travel blogger or anything in the world.
Dreams are only possible if you are willing to work your ass off and have an insane amount of drive. That’s the key to making any dream you have possible. You also need to push yourself, even when it’s hard, even when everyone is telling you to give up. I’ve had some pretty shocking hateful moments from random people and I still get them sometimes. I was recently told that I’m too fat by one of my followers and that I should stop eating and change my hair color to black. I was also told that going to the Owl Cafe in Tokyo was disgusting and animal cruelty. But, hey, I’m here making my dreams come true and that’s my biggest focus. You clearly can’t please everyone and have everyone agree with all the crazy things you do. All you can do is keep dreaming, be a good person and hopefully, that will be enough to make the people that care stick around.
I’ve sacrificed so much of my life to make it to this point, many times left with no money at all, but looking back at it, it was always worth it at the end. It always is to me because I get to make my biggest dreams come true and how many people can’t say that?
I recently understood something that I never really realized before talking to my friend Mike, who’s also a travel blogger. We spoke about success as a travel blogger and how some travel bloggers fake their success. We also discussed me being a competitive young lady and always wanting to be #1 at everything that I do. Mike pointed out that I’m not in a competition with anyone, but myself. It took a moment for my competitive ego to think about that, but I realized he was right. We all set off to do different things, we have all different dreams and goals and we also have our own path of getting there. It’s true that some people work harder than others for their success, some are just honestly lucky and others have to work their ass off, to make things happen. Mike said, “just do what you do, forget everyone else. All you can do is keep doing what you do. My only advice is – don’t follow everyone else”. I love this guy! lol
Mike is right, on the road to success you gotta follow your heart, dream big, hustle and eventually, WHEN the timing is right and the universe and/or G*d decides, all of your dreams will slowly come true. You just gotta do you, be a good person, hustler, be driven and always be true to yourself to make your dreams possible, whatever they are.
I have no idea what’s to come in the future and what this year will reveal, but I honestly can’t wait! I have so many more dreams to make come true, both in my travel life and my blog’s life and I can’t wait to share them with you!
If you’re wondering where I’ll travel to next, I honestly don’t ever know. It’s always SO last minute! I’m a spontaneous soul. The only way to find out is on my social media platforms.
Please follow me everywhere if you haven’t already! YouTube has become my new favorite thing, but I’ve always been an Instagram girl! I still don’t get the point of Twitter. I love Facebook and becoming such a Pinterest fan lately.
I love you guys! THANK YOU!