Hi, friends! Meet Courtney from Travel Daze Co. Courtney is one of the OG's of Fly Away Friday; gave us an opportunity from week 1 and has joined us ever since! During that first week, I visited her blog and was drawn to the way she writes, her journey and the beautiful photos she snaps of New Zealand.
Fast forward a couple of months, I'm happy to introduce her here on my blog. I asked her 10 specifically curated questions so we can all get to know Courtney! Enjoy!
1. Tell us about yourself!
Hi! I’m Courtney. I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and spent most of my life there. I always dreamed of traveling the world, but I never thought it was really possible for me. I think a lot of people think that way. A few years ago, I decided I needed to completely change my life if I was going be happy. I didn’t really know what to do, but I knew I wanted to leave Missouri and try something new—so I moved to Washington (just outside of Seattle) and started working on an organic vegetable farm.
That’s how I started traveling. I realized I could work seasonal jobs and move around the country without having to save up a bunch of money beforehand. Every few months I would find a new job and go somewhere new, all the while putting money aside in my savings. Then it came time to finally leave the country. Which brought me here to New Zealand.
I am pretty new to international travel, but now that I’ve started, I know it’s possible for me to just keep going.
2. You're from St. Louis but now in New Zealand for a year - how did that happen?
I’m here in New Zealand on a working holiday visa, which means I can live/work/travel in the country for a full year. My friend started telling me about the working holiday thing when I first met her a couple of years ago—she came to New Zealand about 9 months before I did. I decided it would be a good way to travel and see a new country while still working and saving up money (to travel even more). So here I am!
3. Freelance writing in fashion sounds like so much fun. How did you get into that?
In high school I was way into fashion. I wanted to be a designer and took some classes in college but I quickly realized that wasn’t the path for me. I got into the internet world and social media (this was back in 2008!) initially through Myspace. I started writing posts on Myspace about fashion and runway shows. A couple of people contacted me after that and asked me to write for their websites and magazines (all indie). I realized I had a skill that could actually make me money, so I started taking freelance assignments and building up that career option.
4. What made you want to start a Travel Blog instead of a Fashion Blog?
I used to have a fashion blog! After the Myspace thing, I started my own blog about fashion and continued to get writing assignments through there. I wasn’t into the personal style blogging thing, though. I just wrote about fashion news, trends, designers and runway shows. My first fashion blog started in 2008/2009, and I had it until around 2011. Then I realized I was totally over fashion.
5. What's your favorite thing about New Zealand so far?
My favorite thing about New Zealand is all of the beautiful landscapes. Before I came here, that’s what I always heard people raving about when it comes to New Zealand—and it’s all true! I still have a lot of the country left to see, but it really is so gorgeous.
6. Where are 3 destinations on your wish-list?
I think the 3 places in the world I want to visit the most are Ecuador, South Africa, and Indonesia. One of those places is in my plans for next Spring (after I leave New Zealand).
7. What do you miss about the United States?
The thing I miss most about the U.S. is road trips and my car. While road trips are a big thing here in New Zealand, it’s just not the same to me as the feeling you get out on the open road back in the States. There are so many different places and landscapes and national parks and cities through the U.S. that are all so different. Plus it’s a huge country, something I really realized after coming to New Zealand, which is tiny in comparison.
8. What are some cultural differences you've noticed between New Zealand and the United States?
Culturally, New Zealand and the United States aren’t all that different. I don’t feel like I’m in a different country, honestly. There are little things that are different, like driving on the other side of the road, the power outlets, the slang used in everyday conversation…I think of New Zealand as being equivalent to small towns in the U.S., if that explains what type of differences to expect. I think the fact that NZ is fairly isolated, mostly rural, and has a small population has a huge effect on what life is like here.
9. Where's the most memorable place you've been to and why?
I think Seattle is the most memorable place I’ve visited. It was the first place that ever felt like home to me. Growing up in Missouri, I knew I didn’t belong there. It never felt like a place I wanted to be. But when I lived in Seattle for a few months, it was the best time of my life. My heart still resides in that city, and I know I’ll be back for it someday.
10. Anything you'd like to tell the readers?
If you want to travel, there is a way to make it happen! I know every travel blogger ends up saying something like this, but it’s true. And I think that’s part of why travel bloggers do what they do—to show others that seeing the world is totally possible. A lot of bloggers these days are so focused on the digital nomad thing (and that’s something I’ll probably work towards), but you don’t have to be a full-time blogger or freelancer in order to travel. I work odd jobs/seasonal jobs wherever I go, and that’s how I make it happen. Not everyone is going to do things the same way, but there is an option out there for everyone, a way to travel if you really want to.
Thank you Courtney for being on my blog! I loved getting to know you! You're an inspiration to everyone that's afraid of or thinking of taking a huge leap in life, whether it's a career change or like you, moving to a different country. I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts as you venture through New Zealand! I'm definitely reaching out when I visit!
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