The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
Jennifer Dombrowski is an American travel blogger. In 2009 she started her blog as a hobby to keep friends and family updated after she had moved to Italy on an assignment with her military husband, but she quickly realized friends and family weren’t reading her blog, but people interested in travelling to Europe were. So she started attending travel blogging conferences, taught herself how to build a website and learned SEO.
In 2015, she was earning enough and getting enough requests from brands and tourism boards to come visit their country to quit her job as a communications strategist for a university and focus on her blog full time.
She now lives right in the center of Bordeaux, France and have what many would say, a dream job – traveling on assignment for clients to dive at a private island in the Seychelles and glamp in luxury tree houses on safari in Tanzania.
Women Fitness is #CelebratingWomen this International Women’s Day, with a new story of an inspirational woman going out every day. Lets check out the last one about the stunning travel couple duo, Jennifer Dombrowski & Tim Davis, from the Luxe Adventure Traveler herself.
Introduce us to your journey in becoming a travel blogger.
It was 2009 and I thought that a blog would be a great way for family and friends to keep up with me and my husband after we moved to Italy with the military. I spent two years writing blog posts mostly about all our trips around Europe before I realized that anyone was blogging professionally.
It was actually a bit of dumb luck that changed how and why I was blogging in 2011. I had a very small following when a travel writer friend invited me as her guest on a cruise ship launch. I loved travel and had been traveling to around 15 countries each year since I had moved to Europe. Little did I know that I was talking off travel influencer Johnny Jet’s ear on that cruise about my latest trip to Jordan.
I still don’t know what made John DiScala, aka Johnny Jet, look at my blog. I was ecstatic when I got an email from him with an opportunity to write for his blog. I was sent on assignment to Rovaniemi, Finland for Johnny Jet to cover a story about traveling to Arctic Finland to Santa’s home town.
I didn’t have a clue what I was doing! I was so nervous about not looking like a professional on the trip. I was even more nervous about being able to produce an engaging story for a top online travel blog.
After I sent off my story and photos to the editor at JohnnyJet.com, I was motivated to turn my own blog in to an online travel publication. I loved traveling on assignment, researching the destination and all the feedback that came from readers commenting that I’d inspired them to visit Rovaniemi.
In January 2012, I bought my domain and built our first website. Luxe Adventure Traveler was officially born.
I actually worked as a social media strategist for a university. I continued working in that position full time while I traveled on weekends and during the seven weeks of vacation I got each year, all while building up my blog. In 2015 I was comfortable enough with the income I was earning from Luxe Adventure Traveler and had reached a point where the blog just couldn’t grow further without a bigger time investment.
I quit my job of eight years at the university to become a full time professional travel blogger. It was incredibly scary and exhilarating. Even with focusing my full attention on my new business, it still took another two years to match my former salary from the university.
It’s never been an easy path to take. So many people don’t understand what a professional travel blogger is and many demean it, calling blogging “not a real job”. There’s moments when I can’t believe this is my life. I get to do things or go places so many people only ever dream of doing or going, but every single day is hard work.
How has travelling changed your life?
Traveling changed my entire life.
I was lucky enough to visit Costa Rica with my high school in 1997. I knew from that school trip that I wanted travel to play a big role in my life. I had no idea what that looked like or what career would help me make that dream a reality. But no matter what, I wanted to travel.
It took some time, but now I have a job I love because of travel. If I hadn’t prioritized travel, if I hadn’t used every bit of vacation time I got and saved up for all those trips, my blog wouldn’t exist.
Because of travel, now I get to travel the world for a living.
If you had to pick the top 3 destinations that you have traveled, what would they be?
I get asked about my favorite destinations all the time, and even after traveling to more than 60 countries I don’t hesitate.
1. Iceland is my favorite country. I’ve been visiting since 2011 and it’s a country I can keep going back to. I’ve driven the Ring Road twice – once in winter with my husband and once solo. Next time I return, I want to head to the highlands! It’s the only area I haven’t really explored there.
2. We spent two weeks in Tanzania on safari back in 2014. It’s still one of the best trips we’ve ever been on. There’s just nothing like seeing animals like lions and elephants doing their thing in the wild.
3. It’s a toss up between the Caribbean and Seychelles. I finally did an open water dive certification in 2016 and love diving on coral reefs. That’s my being a Pisces shining through, because I feel right at home under the sea. And the Caribbean and Seychelles are the most beautiful places I’ve dived so far.
I also can’t leave out France. I moved to Bordeaux in 2016 and found the place that just fits. Even though I love traveling, I’m always equally as excited to return home to Bordeaux.
Share with us your top 5 tips for an upcoming travel blogger.
New travel blogs pop up all the time these days. If I only knew then what I know now!
1. Niche is important. Just general travel is too broad a topic these days in an online world saturated with a lot of travel blogs. Find a theme that you love and run with it, because that unique thing will help you stand out from the crowd.
2. If you even think you might want to run your blog as a business one day, treat it like a business from the start. It’s so much harder to switch gears and start treating your blog as a business down the road.
3. Pick a name that can grow with you. Believe me, as you get older your travel style changes. You probably won’t always want to be a budget backpacker and you definitely won’t be a twentysomething forever.
4. You need to stick with blogging for at least a year. So many new travel bloggers don’t realize that you’re not on a constant vacation. You have clients, deadlines and a lot of behind the scenes work that those pretty Instagram photos just doesn’t portray. Realize it is a job and making your blog work as a business with an income that sustains you financially takes a lot of work.
5. Create useful content. Writing a travel diary style blog is easy. But a successful travel blog is a marriage of good storytelling that lures you in and useful information you can actually use to plan your own trip. Your content should anticipate and answer questions readers don’t even know that they have yet. It’s your priceless personal experiences that gets readers to click on your affiliate links and take your advice, and turns them in to long time fans.
This International Women’s Day, what advice would you like to give to the women out there?
The hardest challenge you’ll face in life is being comfortable in your own skin. Most of us aren’t. My advice to women out there, on International Women’s Day and every day, is to be yourself. Find your passion, do what makes you happy and surround yourself with others that always build you up and cheer you on.
For more such real inspiring stories on this Women’s Day, click here.