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 Paroma from “Year Of The Monkey.”

What inspired you to start blogging?

The short, honest answer is “I was bored”. I was tired of writing scientific papers and wanted a creative outlet. Plus, I saw this really weird, provocative ad by GoDaddy in a hotel in Puerto Rico where a woman dressed in a tight snow leopard suit was prancing on the screen, purring something that sounded like a “domain name”, that got me totally hooked (I am gullible like that). So the first thing that I did when I got back was to purchase a domain name, get on a free blogging platform and got started on my first blog post.

How did you come to name your blog?

This seems like a great place to clarify my blog’s name since people often think of it being my Chinese year of birth. It actually is a spin-off from an old blog of mine, named “Bay monkey” which was an homage to my gluttony, i.e. me eating all over the San Francisco Bay area and reviewing restaurants. I quickly abandoned that blog but the monkeying around stuck. Hence the present blog moniker.

My itinerary fits around food

My itinerary fits around food!

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

Besides being absolutely clueless about the whole blogging business, you mean? Haha, totally kidding (OK may be not:-)). I think what sets me a wee bit apart is my obsession with San Francisco and animals/pets. I am one of the few bloggers who actually lives in the city and writes in great detail about its ginormous dining scene (seriously, you will not find a better food guide than me when it comes to San Francisco) and knows nooks and crannies of neighborhoods that one can only know if they live here and walk around like a crazy person (which I do). In other words, I am your perfect San Francisco guide. I also write a lot about traveling with pets since we have a dog and this is another niche resource. You will be surprised to know that there are many pet parents but not a whole lot of pet travel guides out there.

Dog friendly travel in Carmel

Dog friendly travel in Carmel

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

Can I say everything? No, honestly, I mean EVERYTHING! From the social threads to FTB collaboration posts to blog post Saturday to blogging tips posted from time to time either as posts or in an inquiry thread, there is so much to help build engagement and support for one’s blog. I feel that this platform of incredibly supportive women bloggers has been the best thing that has happened to my blogging experience, period. This group is the reason my nearly defunct blog sprang back to life and is a place where I continue to learn and grow as a bloggerevery dayy. So a HUGE THANK YOU for accepting me and making a better blogger out of me.

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

Be clear about why you want to start a blog. Is it for monetary gains or to follow a passion of story-telling and sharing your experiences with the world? Either way, stay true to your intentions, stay focused and good things will happen. For those struggling to stay motivated (much like me on certain days), remember why you started in the first place. Let social media numbers and the success of others not bog you down. The goal is to have fun and enjoy what you are doing. Nothing else matters as long as you are having a good time.

What are your blogging goals?

I have been blogging for 4 years now and honestly the blog never kind of took off, thanks to all the stupid mistakes that I made. That was until I migrated my blog 2 months ago in May 2017 (this was right after I stumbled upon FTB) and have since then seen progress in huge leaps and bounds in terms of traffic. At this point, all I want is a decent DA and blog traffic so that I can feel validated for those years of burning the midnight oil over the blog.

What has been your biggest blogging win?

Honestly, I think it’s yet to come. But I once got a shout out from the Santa Cruz tourism board for one of my blog posts on dog-friendly restaurants in Santa Cruz. That was pretty neat! I remember walking around with my chest puffed out like a mating gerbil all day:-).

Where do you live?

The very beautiful city of San Francisco

San Francisco skyline

San Francisco skyline

What do you do for your career?

I am a scientist (PhD in Material Science) at a Biotech company in the Bay Area.

What is your favorite film?

Kill Bill or anything by Quentin Tarantino.

What song is your life anthem?

“I want to break free”-Queen

What quote sums up where you are right now?

“We’ve only just begun”- ABBA

Do you have an embarrassing travel story?

I was on a business trip with my colleague and we were staying at the same hotel. For the morning breakfast buffet which we had together, we found that we were charged $10 less on the bill. Turns out that I was charged for the kid’s breakfast which explains the discounted bill. That colleague of mine is now my boss and we still chuckle over it. And yes, I am tiny and yes, it is annoying sometimes to be mistaken as a kid or as someone’s daughter when that someone is my husband! (this too has happened by the way on many of our travels).

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

I have to hand it over to Istanbul, Turkey. Till date, that has been my most memorable travel destination and experience. It was my first international vacation with my husband and we tripped through it like bumbling fools and made tons of mistakes. But we loved every second of it, specially spending the evenings on the banks of the Bosporus at the ferry with our toes dipping in the waters that divide Asia and Europe. Istanbul has such a great mix of modern life meets ancient past. It is hard to ignore the crazy energy of that place.

Ferry at Bosporus, Istanbul

Ferry at Bosporus, Istanbul

What is your favorite city and country and why?

City: San Francisco. Coolest city ever with an European feel meets California laid back. Plus there is a mind boggling array of food, diversity and a great mix of nature and urban life. It is a city like no other in USA. I feel incredibly lucky to be living here.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransisco

Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransisco

Country: Of all the countries that I have visited, I think Portugal stole a part of my heart. It is filled with friendly people, great food and a capital city that is not too touristy.

What one destination did not impress you and why?

Las Vegas. That over the top hedonism is not my cup of tea.

What has been your favorite meal?

A seven course vegan dinner at Sutra, Seattle. I am an omnivore, by the way.

Where are you traveling to next?

Fingers crossed for South of France!

What/who inspired you to travel?

My budding love for photography. My husband gifted me a DSLR in 2012 and my life kind of changed after that. I discovered a love for seeing new places for want of capturing beautiful images and making memories.

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

My travel style is simple- find the best food spots and the sightseeing will fall in place, haha! Honestly, I aim for reasonably economical lodging and mostly focus on restaurants along with a mix of off-kilter and touristy attractions. I am a very restless person by nature, so an itinerary filled with things to do is something that I like the most. I enjoy being on the move while in a new city and really cannot ever take things slow (my bad, I know). I have traveled solo for business many times but solo travel is not my thing unless I am in a big city. Traveling with my husband has its perks-he gets to be the responsible adult while I monkey around and take photos!

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.

Paroma Chakravarty

Paroma Chakravarty

FTB Member

Paroma is a scientist living in San Francisco with her husband and four legged son. When not sulking in the lab, she can be found dreaming of new travel destinations to visit, new restaurants and photography gear to try out.  Follow her on her site Year Of The Monkey to learn about her travels. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest here.