The Clumsy Traveler
We were lucky enough to chat with world traveler, Sebrin Elms, creator of the lifestyle and travel blog The Clumsy Traveler. Check out our interview with her below to learn more about her website and travels.
What do you think it is about studying abroad in a foreign country that makes so many young people begin to be passionate about travel? Was there anything in particular about your study abroad experience in Sweden that really opened you up to new places and new cultures?
For many individuals, studying abroad is the first time you feel really independent. Some college kids might have moved to the other side of the country for school, but you could still call your parents in case of an emergency. Once you're abroad, you're all on your own! You need to learn how to get around, how to handle issues without immediate assistance from your family and sometimes you need to do all of this without knowing the language (lucky for me, most Swedes have amazing English-speaking skills)! Before my experience studying abroad, I had no sense of the world around me. But living amongst international students and Swedes opened my mind to different types of politics, cultures, societal values, education and more. Being able to discover and learn about others and doing so independently really ignited my love of travel and cultures apart from my own.
Your website covers a wide variety of topics besides travel, including fashion, health, and food. Why is it so important to you to write posts about these categories and pair them into your travel experiences?
When I first started my blog, it was strictly travel guides and locations. And despite all of those blogger guides telling you to stick to a niche, I found it extremely stifling. If I could only talk about one subject all of the time, I'd probably give up blogging. A year after I started my blog, I relaunched my site and decided to add a lifestyle component where I could discuss all of these categories. There's just so much more to me than travel! Besides, travel isn't such a "black and white" category. Some of my readers may want to know what types of clothes to bring on trips, what beauty products work best when traveling and how you can stay healthy on the road. I think all of these categories blend into one another quite often and I really enjoy writing about all of them.
What is one of the most underrated places you've traveled to that you would recommend to other travelers? What about this destination made it so spectacular? Did it surprise you in ways that you didn't expect?
Honestly, I would have to say Sweden. It was my second choice when applying abroad and I didn't get into my first pick (England). Now I'm so glad that I didn't! Before my trip, I thought Sweden was cold, far from the rest of Europe and culturally stagnant, but that's couldn't be further from the truth! Sweden is incredibly beautiful with more nature surrounding you than you could ever imagine. The people are very friendly and I really admire/support the country's stance on gender equality. Now that Norwegian Airlines has made it a lot more affordable to travel there, I think a lot of people will finally see what I mean.
Your travel blog is amazing and you have a great number of followers on social media. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting a travel blog? What are some of the things that worked well for you when you started to chronicle your adventures, and how were you able to connect with so many people?
Thank you very much! It's been quite a journey and I'm very proud of it. When I first started, I was incredibly overwhelmed. I wasn't sure if I should put more energy into social media rather than blogging, I didn't know how to set up a site and I wasn't very confident in my writing. But my biggest advice is to just start! You'll continue to have questions in this ever-changing profession, so just start and have fun with it before you dive into the "hustle." You'll not only start to get a handle on your writing style, but you'll start creating consistency and integrity which is ultimately why people start to follow you. What worked best for me was to pretend like I had a huge audience even when I didn't have anyone reading my content. It pushed me to think like a business person and kept me motivated. Eventually, the readers started to come.
Finally, can you tell us about some of your upcoming traveling plans? Where are you going next? What destination is on the horizon this year that you are most excited about? And is there anywhere you've already gone that you're dying to return to soon?
I'm not gonna lie, my travel schedule is as much of a surprise to me as it is to my readers! I had a collaboration in the works with Mint for a long time and didn't figure out where I was going to go until 2 months before the departure date! I'm incredibly spontaneous (one of my husband's favorite—and least favorite—qualities about me). As of now, I'm traveling to Peru and Colombia in June/July for my birthday which happens to fall on Inti Raymi, the Winter Solstice and one of Peru's biggest festivals! After this I'm trying to head to Europe, Mexico and do some domestic travel to Hawaii, Illinois, maybe even Texas and Oregon. I'm really excited for Peru since this will be my 6th continent that I've traveled to, but I really want to get my butt over to Myanmar before it becomes overrun with travelers!
Sebrin Elms is a travel-obsessed flower child, always stumbling (sometimes literally) onto her next adventure. When she's not traveling the world with her husband, she's probably binge watching Netflix with her cats or working on her blog, The Clumsy Traveler.