This week on The Traveler Series, meet Casey of the visually stunning travel blog, True Colours. Casey and her husband, Nick, bring their adventures to life on True Colours with Casey as the voice and Nick as the eye behind the photography. Born in the Middle East and having lived in Hawaii and now the Pacific Northwest, Casey is a travel blogger with an insatiable appetite for wanderlust and all things French. Here, I interview Casey on what inspired her website, her experience with solo traveling and what’s next for 2014.
What inspires you to travel?
My whole life I’ve never felt like a citizen of just one place but rather a citizen of the world. The belief and view of the world is what inspires me to see other places and travel. The world has so much to offer us if we get a bit out of our comfort zone and open our minds.
For those who don’t yet know you, can you explain your travel style?
My husband and I do a lot of traveling each year, both in the US and abroad. We’re not exactly budget travelers (though we do lots to minimize cost since that means we can travel more) but we’re also not luxury travelers either. We fall somewhere in that middle ground; we like nice hotels and good food but we fly economy and we save money while on the go by taking public transportation and only seeing the sites we want to.
How do you afford your travels?
We work really hard to travel a lot and both myself and my husband work full time, as well as both having side businesses that we keep steady with. We also live pretty economically at home in a small apartment with no kids or pets and budget chunks of our incomes directly to our travel savings account. We also always pay off our trips (airfare, hotels, etc) before we leave on the trip and pay for everything with saved cash while traveling so when we come home, we don’t have any bills to pay off!
Where has been your favorite destination and why?
My all time favorite destination would be Paris. I have a long standing love affair with the city and we try to make a trip there every year. I just love France and feel so at home in Paris, I have since the first time I stepped off the plane there. But Udaipur, India would be a close second. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, both emotionally and geographically.
If you had to settle down in one location forever, where would you choose and why?
We’re pretty settled in Portland and we love it here, so it would be either Portland or Paris. Portland is a pretty amazing city and feels very European in lifestyle and what is offered here. And Paris, well it’s Paris!
What’s the funniest or weirdest cultural idiosyncrasy you’ve either witnessed or experienced?
Oh my gosh, so many weird things around the world that we’ve experienced but perhaps the weirdest would be some of the customs in South Korea. I do a lot of work there and some of the cultural differences when working with locals are very interesting to say the least!
What keepsake do you have to get at all your destinations? (Whether it’s something free like ticket stubs or brochures, or something you have to buy)
We carry on bags for all of our trips so we often don’t have a lot of room to bring things home with us but I try to pick up little souvenirs in each destination we go to. I’ve brought home a silver teapot from Morocco, Eiffel tower keychains from Paris, wooden elephants from India and of course, my husband’s beautiful photographs from each of our destinations.
How about the one thing you cannot travel without?
A scarf, hands down. Between wrapping up on airplanes to using it as a shawl or head scarf, scarves are so versatile when traveling.
Have you ever traveled solo? If yes, what was the experience like?
Yes, I have many times. I used to travel to South Korea all the time alone for work as well as a trip to Europe solo last year. While I much prefer traveling with my husband, solo travel can bring about some amazing life lessons. It really makes you stop and look around at the world when you’re on your own and often, some of my deepest moments of soul searching occurred during solo trips abroad.
What are your go-to travel apps?
I love Flight Track Pro to track flights, Skype to keep in touch and Google Voice to make phone calls home. Instagram and Twitter are great too to keep in touch with my followers while I’m traveling.
What is the best piece of travel advice you’ve picked up over the years?
To keep an open mind. There really is no point in traveling around the world if you want it to be just like your home or aren’t willing to broaden your horizons and open your mind to new and different things. Traveling should awaken things in you, it should make you think and it should challenge you. If you aren’t willing to let it do it that to you, then don’t bother traveling.
Why did you begin your website? How did you come up with your website name?
I wanted to share my experiences traveling with others and show off this amazing world we live in. I called my site True Colours because I named it coming back from Europe after my honeymoon and I was looking around me at all the colorful places in the world, all of which uniquely have their own “true colours.” The “u” in colours is a nod to my love for Europe.
What is your best piece of advice to budding travel writers looking to start a blog or website?
I think the most important thing is to have a true passion for it. Another thing would be to be patient and don’t push too hard. The best blogs are ones that are organic and grow over time. Give yourself time to become the blogger or writer you want to be, it’s not going to happen overnight.
What’s next for you in 2014? (Trips planned, etc.)
We are headed off for a trip through Northern Europe in October (including stops in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Belgium and Paris), then local North West trips through the Winter and we just booked a trip to Spain coming up in March of next year. It should be some amazing adventures ahead!
Follow Casey and her travels here: