Glo is the hilarious voice behind the popular travel blog and site, TheBlogAbroad.com, where she shares everything from practical tips to hilarious stories to both inspire and entertain anybody who loves to travel. A rising author of the travel memoir “From Excuses to Excursions: How I Started Traveling the World”, she aims to show people that there’s a world of knowledge out there that can’t be taught in a classroom.
As a marketing and design major, she has always dabbled with photography and blogging. She started her first blog at 11 years old, talking about guys she liked and teachers she didn’t. But even at that age, she fell in love with the liberation that came with bearing your soul to the public and publishing your thoughts to the world. Though she’s worked odd jobs on the road since 2014 from social media managing at hostels to semi-pro basketball in Barcelona, she’s always kept her blog as her passion, way before it made her any money. While she regularly gets recognised on the road thanks to her signature style and black fedora hat on Instagram, she loves being seen as an everyday gal with a colourful [and expensive] imagination. Most importantly, it’s through her transparency, rather than perfection, that she hopes to continue inspiring the masses. Let’s find out more about Gloria and see where her love for travel will be taking her this year.
How did you start The Blog Abroad?
So I’ve had a blog in some capacity since I was 11 years old! I started blogging about the #ThUgLyF3 (clearly) in elementary school first. Seriously that blog is horrendous, and I wRoTe My W3rDz L!kE dYs, God bless it. After a couple years of that, I moved onto gossip blogging and that helped me develop my witty/sarcastic tone as I was tackling pop culture, music, and reality TV, something that everyone had an opinion on.
Then I went to college and started the university’s first student-run blog. Soon after, I studied abroad and was accepted as a university blogger in England. So blogging has always been a part of my life, for almost two decades, so it’s safe to say, it’s something I’d be doing still if I never made a dime from it. I knew I loved words and expressing myself, I just never knew that one day, it’d be paying my bills too! After booking a one-way ticket to England in 2013 a few days after I graduated from college at Baker University, I knew it was only right that I start a travel blog that documented my adventures as I had no idea how long I’d be travelling.
What was your background before starting your blog?
I detail this more in my book, but basically I knew I’d be working for myself since I was 11 years old. That was the day my teacher told me to look up “entrepreneurship” when I refused to pick out one of the 15 or so flashcards with career options because none of them seemed like they fit me. Everyone in my class was so quick to rush to the nurse, teacher, and firefighter professions, and I just remember thinking, like, how do you even know what you want to do 10 years from now? We will change, grow, and learn so much before then. So I was always a bit of a rebel and risk-taker. Also a bit of an @$%hole, but aren’t we all to an extent? Ha!
I was regularly suspended and given detentions in elementary and high school for back-talking (and sometimes fights) so I did struggle a bit with self-esteem, my purpose, and ultimately, fitting in. As a teenager, you want nothing more than to just be accepted by your peers. But I found I was always an outcast in the way I thought, dressed, and operated. When you’re so different from others, you learn to isolate yourself and even today, I find myself not really having any ONE person that I can tell everything to, because I’ve always been my own best friend in a way. You have to be I think.
What made you follow the path of travel, and thus travel blogging?
I first left the U.S. in 2012 to study abroad at Harlaxton, a gorgeous manor in the east midlands of the UK. Travel was never something I thought about. It’s one of those things you just attribute as a rich kid hobby. But someone told me to consider studying abroad, and that truly opened the doors and changed my perception of what I can and can’t do.
I went on my first solo trip a couple weeks after arriving in England and it was to Scotland. That trip birthed a new sense of adventure in me, and I knew since then, that I’d find a way to be doing this for as long as I could!
I see you have just launched a book ‘From Excuses to Excursions’, a massive well done! Talk me through the book and why someone should grab a copy?
Thank you! Definitely expected my urine to turn to glitter when I added ‘author’ to my resume, but so far, no such luck, but still a pretty cool accomplishment. So the book is divided into 4 parts – The Dream, The Journey, The Adventure, and The Destination. It basically chronicles every major and monumental moment in my life that’s gotten me where I am today.
It’s made up of childhood stories, my travel screw-ups, and things that people can learn from if they’re wanting to chase any kind of dream (whether travel-related or not). It has something for everyone — humour, entertainment, education, and perspective. Some people have finished it in a couple days because it’s that addicting. I try to maintain a conversational approach throughout the book so that it seems like I’m sitting right next to you and sharing these stories in person. I think it’s worth checking out 😉
If someone reading this interview wanted to book a flight but doesn’t have the confidence, what advice would you give them?
Confidence is such a fleeting and deceptive feeling, because many of us who “look” super confident about our lives, are actually doubting every second of it in reality. You have to get to a point where you just can’t fear the failure anymore. Everything you do in life is a risk, but if the reward outweighs the consequence, then it’s a risk worth taking. Purchasing a plane ticket will bring you such adrenaline and anxiety for what’s to come. Embrace those emotions, because it’s all a part of the journey.
Life is about taking risks! But a lot of people are too afraid, what is your main moto in life?
“F*CK IT!” JK. But honestly, you have to get to a point in life where you can be happy and fulfilled by the purpose-driven journey you’re on.
We have so many outside influences (family, friends, church, society) trying to dictate what we do with our lives, but we have to learn to tune all that out and follow our own heart, even if it comes at the cost of someone else’s approval. As a daughter to traditional Nigerian parents, what I do is technically considered a “disgrace”. But if I let my parents’ disappointment for my profession sit at the back of my mind every day, I’d never get anything done. So basically, do something that pays the bills, and then something that makes you happy. Then repeat that cycle until the latter does both and you’ll have figured out the key to life.
You are always on the go! Where will your trip next trip be taking you?
I’m in Kenya now and I literally don’t plan past the next 3-4 days. This type of travel is both liberating and stressful though!
I have friends and followers reaching out pulling in me in different directions based on where they are, and I try to accommodate where I can. I love visiting my blog readers while I travel. They’re the reason I’m able to do what I do, so it’s all part of brand-building. Every now and then they invite me on a random adventure, and if you don’t have anything booked ahead of time, you can easily say YES!
So I couldn’t even tell you what’s up next. Nigeria, where my parents are from, is definitely on the horizon. But an extra country always slips itself in randomly, so let’s see!
Where is your favourite place to ignite adventure?
The Balkans for sure. It’s an underrated region of Europe and it’s home to one of my favourite countries — Montenegro. That whole area is a beach and mountain paradise. The views are stunning and whether you’re hiking, sailing, or dancing the night away at a club, I love the “adventurous” spirit that comes out whenever I return.
What is your favourite gadget when you are on your travels?
I literally have an entire carry-on mini suitcase that houses nothing but gadgets, tripods, cameras, hard drives, wires, plugs, adaptors, etc. Whenever a worker goes through that suitcase at the airport, they look at me crazy, because it’s pretty hectic in there.
I have a power bank I got in Israel that has been a LIFESAVER because I’m always on my phone for emails, social media, editing, etc, so it gives me up to 3 full charges after it dies. So that’s probably my favourite gadget.
Are you a coffee or a tea kind of girl?
COFFEE 100%. The liquid fuel of champions, girl!
What are your five top travel experiences to date?
– Climbing Machu Picchu, Peru
– Camping in Petra, Jordan
– Tomorrowland Festival in Boom, Belgium
– Desert Safari in Sossuvlei, Namibia
– Being swept of my feet by a hunk in Ljubljana, Slovenia
I’m sure I’m forgetting something major, but these were the first to come to mind. The crazy thing about full-time travel is you keep having amazing experiences that top the last one. It’s hard to keep that much stimulation in the front of your mind at all times, so it’d take a glass of wine or two to recollect all the top memories
What’s next for The Blog Abroad and Gloria?!
Ha! Lord knows. So much on the horizon, I guess you’ll have to stay tuned!
And finally, who is your ultimate travel partner?
A hunky and exotic foreign piece of @%$. JK.
Traveling solo will always take the cake for me, but I definitely have made some amazing friends on my adventures, one being a guy named Greg from Canada, which we’ve now traveled in 5 countries together, and the other, a girl named Samantha, also from Canada (LOL), and we’re about to reunite in our 6th country I believe!
Greg and I met in London in 2014 at an Instagram meetup and we’ve been planning adventures at least twice a year since. Samantha and I met in France last year, and we most recently celebrated Carnaval in Rio this past March and she’s just been a blast to be around and have girl talk with. I’m learning that you need to travel with people who complement your style of travel. I’m a very g(lo) with the flow kinda gal, and if I travel with someone who needs to plan out every detail of the day, we will butt heads like no other. I like people who can live in the moment, have a sense of adventure, and can help me take photos and stunt #ForTheGram because, priorities.
Thank you Gloria! You are such an inspiring lady, and I envy your life, passions and adventures. Who would you like to see me interview next? Let me know in the comments. To see other INSPIRED interviews – click here!