Each month, we’ll introduce you to a member of our Female Travel Bloggers Facebook community so you can learn about who they are, why they became a blogger and what their favorite travel moments have been so far.

Meet Susanna FTB Admin and Blogger from “Wandering Chocobo”

What inspired you to start blogging?

I don’t know if it was my obsessive love for photography or writing that kicked it off first. I think it was my love for writing. I published my first book at the age of 5 – it was made from construction paper and all about unicorns, so I was born to be a writer. I carried that love for writing into my first big international trip. I liked to slightly fictionalize and dramatize my adventures in a theme I called my life fictionalized. I also come from a small town in Alaska and sharing stories about how the rest of the world lived was really important for me to help emphasize there is more than one way of thinking.

How did you come to name your blog?

I’m a huge gamer and a massive nerd. My first memories of road trips with my family involve me clutching my OG GameBoy in the back seat and my sister making fun of me for being a nerd. I had Whispy to kill! The Chocobo is a mythical bird in one of my favorite video game series, Final Fantasy. These birds are extremely difficult to catch and tame (like me), but if you do catch and tame one it will take you to all the hard to reach places around the world. Over mountains and across lakes. It seemed fitting for a travel blog.

What makes you unique compared to all other bloggers out there?

My niche is quite an interesting one, I think. My tagline is a sustainable and eco-friendly travel blog that hits pause for hipster digs and nerdy city breaks. Not a lot of people blog about nerdy and hipster travel, so I think that alone makes me unique. While more bloggers are starting to blog about sustainable and eco-travel, it still isn’t the dominant market.

Susanna eco-tour in Alaska

A bear sighting on an Eco-Tour in Alaska

What do you love most about being part of the FTB group?

I love the genuine support. The majority of the time our members are willing to applaud each other’s success and to offer genuine advice. It is pretty rare when you see a group of over 5,500 women lifting each other up.

What advice do you have for people wanting to start a blog or those who are struggling to continue with it?

Stick to your voice. When I started trying to turn my for fun blog into something serious I thought I had to write about popular things in order to make it. I grew really unhappy with blogging. Now, I stick to my small quirky niche, but I enjoy my travels and I what I write about, so I never get bored.

I also think you have to be willing to try something new. Don’t keep doing the same thing that isn’t working for you, take risks and take classes to learn how to improve your skills.

What are your blogging goals?

To make a difference and provide people with authentic travel advice. Lately, I’ve been blogging about sustainable and ethical travel with a social sub-focus and if I can make a difference with that writing that would be great. I also want to be a resource for people who want to travel without seeing the top 10 things.

What has been your biggest blogging win?

I just spend a month working with an ethical NGO supporting the mental health of adult refugees. I chronicled my experiences. I got an email from someone who came across my blog recently and they were so moved they decided to pack 6 extra bags on their next trip to Greece to donate items to the refugee camp. Moreover, we started a dialogue about different political and social issues surrounding the migrant crisis. That was one of the most meaningful experiences to me and my biggest blog win.

Susanna Samos, Greece Sunset. Volunteering with NGO

Sunset in Samos where I volunteered with an NGO

Where do you live?

I’m from Eagle River, Alaska, but I now live in Munich, Germany

What do you do for your career?

An aspiring novelist, freelance writer, FTB Admin, etc. For a while, when I first moved to Germany my title was Haus Frau and that made me laugh out loud, as it literally means house woman. It is so degrading, but I finally registered as a freelancer, so it is just little jobs involving content creation and writing.

What is your favorite film?

I have to go with a favorite video game because I have never been a huge movie buff. I love Final Fantasy XII. Harry Potter movies are pretty great though!

What song is your life anthem?

“Beautiful things” by Andain Gabriel and Dresden Mix

“I Could Be the One” by Avicii and Nicky Romero because of the music video.

What quote sums up where you are right now?

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can”

Neil Gaiman

Do you have an embarrassing travel story?

I have some pretty ridiculous ones from my younger years, like the time I woke up in Salt Lake City Airport in a swimsuit, but it is best not to dwell on those days. I would say most recently I got a massive bloody nose on an airplane, which is maybe grosser than it is embarrassing.

What has been your most memorable travel experience so far and what made it so unforgettable?

I would say the first date I went on with my now husband. We drove out to Zion National Park for hiking, but we did just about everything wrong, we got too drunk the night before, we were late getting there and we missed the bus out of the park and had to walk 5 miles in the dark back to the campsite. Despite all that, walking back under the starlit sky in the middle of the Zion Canyon we got talking about everything from our favorite books to video games, our traveling styles to our family. We both knew at that moment we were a perfect match.

Susanna and Husband Ganesh traveling the South West USA

With my husband Ganesh traveling the South West USA

What is your favorite city and country and why?

I’m not really a city girl, but I would say it is a three-way tie between London – for all the hip nerdy things to do there, Munich for the access to the mountains, and Barcelona for being a mix between the two.

My current hometown, Munich in Germany

My current hometown, Munich in Germany

What one destination did not impress you and why?

Santorini. That was one of the worst mistakes in my traveling career. We had a lovely villa, but I don’t like crowds and even in shoulder season it was too crowded and too touristy for me, but I had always dreamed of going.

What has been your favorite meal?

I love stuffed halibut, freshly caught in the ocean near Homer, Alaska.

Where are you traveling to next?

In May I hope to go to Slovakia.

What/who inspired you to travel?

My parents. We had some epic family road trips through Alaska down to the lower-48  and they always inspired active outdoor weekend trips.

Redwoods National Park mom the 70s

My mom in the 70s in Redwoods National Park

What’s your travel style and why do you like it? (Budget, Luxury, slow, sustainable, family, solo etc)

Sustainable. Outdoor adventures, like snowboarding and eco-tourism out to National Parks. Finding local businesses and companies to give my money to- whether that means budget or spending twice as much.

Are you a Female Travel Blogger?
Request to join our supportive Female Travel Bloggers Facebook community to ask questions and network with like-minded women! All you need is an active travel focused website to be accepted.

Susanna Kelly

Susanna Kelly

Admin

Susanna focuses on adventure travel and eco-tourism, while hitting pause for what she’s defining as hipster city travel. Follow Susanna on her blog at Wandering Chocobo

You can also keep in touch with Susanna, and find out about all of her upcoming travel plans on Instagram, FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

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