Get to know one of our Travel Insurance Master Affiliates, Kara of Roaming Near and Far. Based in The Treasure State - Montana, Kara inspires travelers with her love of travel, expert knowledge, and guides from her home and beyond! Her blog also touches on many important topics, like traveling with anxiety, showing just how much Kara wants to help others and be a source of good.
I finally took a leap of faith and started my blog in 2019—so I’ve had my blog just a tad over 2 years now!
Walk me through how or why you started?
I wanted to start a travel blog for a while but stayed on the fence for way too long and agonized over finding the perfect username. I wanted everything to be perfect, i.e., I wanted to know a through z how to start a blog and maintain it. However, that sort of perfection isn’t realistic and is paralyzing. At some point I finally figured it was better to take a leap of faith and at least try instead of waiting for that perfect day which I knew would never come. I’ve noticed I sometimes learn better on the fly and also I had been helping with a Wordpress-based website at my past job for a while, so I just jumped in and went for it!
Ultimately, I wanted to share the places I love and inspire others to travel, as well as talk about meaningful things like mental health, and if I’m honest, I also hoped that one day I could make it big enough to get comped travel opportunities like all the influencers I was jealous of. I don’t know if I’ll ever get a fancy paid vacation, but I still hold out the hope of one day my dream coming true if I don’t give up. My ultimate dream would be one day to be a full-time travel blogger.
Do you feature a specific type of travel or area?
A lot of advice I’ve been given centers around finding a niche and then branching out. So thus far I’ve been mostly concentrating on Montana-based travel. But I have and will continue to sprinkle in other travels. The pandemic has also forced me to stick to mostly Montana travel, but I’m hoping one day that will change. I also have written some tips articles, like my Wanderlust Gift Guide (https://www.roamingnearandfar.com/ultimate-wanderlust-gift-guide/) and a mini-series I dubbed “Moving with Courage: Overcoming Mental Challenges During a Big Move.”
What is your favorite part about being a blogger?
I think my favorite part of being a blogger has been and will be the people I help. Occasionally, amongst the fluctuating follower numbers and other discouragements, I’ll get a message or comment that brightens my day. For example, recently on Instagram someone messaged me that I inspired them that the Western life was for them and they were moving to Wyoming! Or sometimes someone will tell me that a post about anxiety really helped them. I also really value some of the friends I’ve made on social media that I probably wouldn’t have met without the magic of technology.
That isn’t to say being a blogger is easy or that there aren’t days I get discouraged, but when I feel like giving up I try to remember these small ways I made a shred of difference or someone that I really value the friendship of.
What is your favorite or dream destination?
Oh gosh, everywhere! But I will also say that one of my top favorite destinations of all time is Japan. I have been there 3 times! Japan just has so much to see and do. It is the only country I’ve felt safe as a solo female, it has amazing sushi, the people are so considerate, the scenery is gorgeous, transportation is efficient, and the onsen are to die for! I just have so many happy memories of Japan and wish I could afford to see all of Japan or like live there for a year.
Another top favorite location of mine was Zermatt, Switzerland, which was utterly magical to me and also what I wrote my first post about!
Really I pretty much love everywhere I’ve been to so far, whether it be New Mexico or Turkey.
What is your favorite travel tip?
This isn’t the most eco-friendly tip, but a big tip of mine is to pack a few plastic bags and Ziploc bags. If your toiletries explode, or if your clothes get wet, or if you get sick and need something to throw up in, a good plastic bag can be a lifesaver! And this is actually based on personal experience—my husband got food poisoning for 24 hours on our honeymoon and unfortunately it was on a long-haul travel day, so my poor husband had to toss his cookies in a plastic bag on the bus since staying behind wasn’t an option on a group tour!
What other suggestions do you have for travelers?
If you’re going abroad, pack a few of the medicines you might need if you have the room for them. During one of my trips in Japan, I got a cold and had trouble tracking down / asking for cough drops, since whatever I was trying to translate they acted like I was asking for a strong medicine. I eventually had to get a friend fluent in English and Japanese to help me solve that problem. Usually if you speak English and you’re going somewhere like England, it can be easy to find what you need since the language is the same; but when I’ve gone to foreign countries, it can be really tricky to track down cold medicine, yeast infection medicine, and so on if there is a huge language barrier. So to save embarrassment or poring over Google translator for a long time, just bring a couple of medicines for ailments you are prone to!
What suggestions do you have for bloggers or what has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome with your blog?
As I referenced earlier, I think the biggest issue is just having the courage to get started. Starting a blog is intimidating. The fear of creating your blog wrong and not being able to roll it over is intimidating. But you have to get started at some point. Carpe Diem.
Probably the hardest part is having funds to secure your blog hosting and domain at a time when your blog isn’t bringing in cash—I’d know, I’m doing it to this day. I also had to hire someone recently to fix an upgrading problem my blog was having.
So I’d recommend the courage to get started, a plan to find funds to maintain your blog and secure your blog name, and either the perseverance to work through problems, or the funds to hire someone to fix the occasional problem that you can’t solve. There is no harm in trying, and if you hate blogging, you can always shut down your blog, but what you can’t do is regain time lost (like I did for over a year) sitting around worrying about how hard it will be to start.
Also do a little research and back up your blog. Some apps can save your work on a weekly basis. That seriously saved my bacon when I had some problems recently!
How can our readers follow your travels?
My blog https://www.roamingnearandfar.com/ or especially Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/roamingnearandfar/, which I am most active on. However, I do have a Pinterest, Youtube, TikTok, and Facebook Page, most of which are linked on my homepage. On all the existing platforms I’m on, as well as new platforms I sometimes try out, I try really hard to stick to the username “Roaming Near and Far” or some variation of it.
Anything else you would like to share?
Of course the whole reason I am even being interviewed is since I’m a Travel Insurance Master affiliate (https://travelinsurancemaster.com/a?f176a917-89ab-4911-8c8c-5fd318c6d41e )! I really stand by the importance of travel insurance (https://www.roamingnearandfar.com/travel-insurance-master/) . I also have some other cool collaborations that might be of interest for you, found here https://www.roamingnearandfar.com/products-and-discounts/ . Overall, I hope you consider following me while I am Roaming Near and Far. Thank you for reading and I look forward to meeting you!
Be sure to follow Kara at roamingnearandfar.com and instagram.com/roamingnearandfar!