Get to know one of our Travel Insurance Master Affiliates, Ashawna Lane of IntheTravelLane.com. As a solo traveler and entrepreneur based out of Atlanta, GA, Ashawna promotes an active, adventurous lifestyle. By sharing her travel adventures, she inspires others to take that leap into discovering the world and themselves.
Ashawna, walk me through how or why you started your blog?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and currently reside in Atlanta, GA. I started my blog in 2016 shortly after I returned from a trip to Cairo, Egypt.
It was never my intent to start a travel blog, but while in Egypt as I posted pictures and videos to my Facebook page, my friends and family became interested in learning more about my experience. They wanted to hear about everything I did, the things I saw, the foods I ate, what the people were like, etc- I knew that it would take me a lifetime to call each of them individually and explain the details of my trip. So instead I created my blog to be able to share as much as I could with those who were interested. It's been an absolute blast sharing my journey and collecting new subscribers/followers from around the world. Each time I travel, I meet new people and become attached to them as well. So my blog is pretty diverse with people from all around the world.
Do you feature a specific type of travel and area?
I mainly feature articles, safety tips, recommendations and "how to" guides for women interested in traveling solo or in groups.
What is your favorite part about being a blogger?
My favorite thing about being a blogger is that I get to tell a story to people who may never get the opportunity to experience what I have. I get to take them with me, essentially. Through story telling I'm able to help people see things from a different perspective that they wouldn't necessarily get to see. Things like how the different cultures live and what the different countries are like outside of what we see on TV. Blogging allows me to become a teacher in a way. I teach others not only about the importance of traveling, but the impact it can have on our lives as human beings. Getting to immerse yourself in other cultures is one of the best ways to learn about people and what their customs are.
What is your favorite or dream destination?
So far my favorite destination has been Phuket, Thailand. I enjoyed the country, the food, the adventures and the people so much. My dream destination would be to visit the surrounding islands of the Philippines. I've always been interested in the culture and would love to learn more about it.
What is your favorite travel tip?
My favorite travel tip is how to stay safe as a solo female traveler. One of the things I learned is how to blend in with your surroundings. When traveling alone, the last thing you want to do is call unnecessary attention to yourself. Never make yourself a target, you're already a tourist. One of the things I recommend is instead of carrying a purse or backpack around, grab a nice bag from a local grocery store or neighborhood shop and put your valuables in it. This helps you look more like a local who just went out shopping instead of a tourist wandering aimlessly in a new surrounding. People know tourist when they see them so that already makes you stand out. But if you look like you know where you're going and what you're doing, this helps you stay a bit safer in unknown places.
What other suggestions do you have for travelers?
Some other suggestions I have are to never carry a paper map around with you. Maps scream LOST! It invites people (sometimes good people and bad people) to give you directions and if you aren't careful, someone can take advantage of a situation like that. Always download maps and navigation on your phone ahead of time. Also, take pictures of nearby statues, street signs, parks or whatever else may help you remember the location of your hotel. It helps!! Another suggestion is to always make friends with your hotel staff. They're going to be the ones looking out for you. They'll tell you where to go, what to see, what to avoid, what times are good for certain activities and much more. You should also try to get the number of a staff member you trust. They'll lookout for you and if on the off chance you don't return to your hotel after a while, they'll be on alert or you can call them for assistance, directions, suggestions, etc. You can never be too safe when traveling alone or with a group.
What suggestions do you have for bloggers or what has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome with your blog?
One of the biggest obstacles I've had to overcome with my blog is establishing myself as someone knowledgeable in my field. With blogging, especially travel blogging being so popular- I had to find a way to get people to want to visit my site and read my stories. I had to show that I wasn't just another person with pictures from around the world asking people to subscribe to a website. After all, that's what Facebook is for... so I had to be good enough with writing, story telling, content creating and "asking for the sale" (which in the case of blogging is asking for the subscription) That's been the most difficult task-- convincing people that out of the thousands of travel blogs out there, why they should subscribe to mine and what makes mine different and worthy of a subscription. Although it hasn't been easy, I have my ways and I'm still learning. Different people are interested in different things. Some like the "how to" articles and others like the "travel hacks" so I have to stay consistent and make sure I'm offering a little something for everyone to enjoy.
In closing, I just want to share that while the world may be intimidating, people are more social and friendly than a lot of us tend to believe. I've made friends from all around the world, from all different walks of life, socio-economic backgrounds, ages, nationalities, genders, etc. I encourage people to at least give it a shot. Even if you don't want to travel alone, find a group, find a buddy, find a sibling or family member and just go! Book that train or plane ticket and just go. Life is shorter than we realize and before you know it, time will have passed you by without ever giving you the opportunity to go back and live again. Even if it's a small trip to the next state or town over, even if you're afraid to fly, find a way to experience things outside of your normal lifestyle. One bite of the travel bug and it'll change your life!