Interview Series: Part II – Nate Hake – Travel Lemming

Travel Bliss Interview Series:

In continuation with my Interview Series, wherein each month I feature two interviews with people from around the world – who may be a home-maker, a traveler, a blogger, or a biker or a painter or a potter or an entrepreneur or a writer or just about anyone who have chosen to follow their bliss against all odds, this time my very special interview is with my all-time favorite travel blogger: Nate Hake of Travel Lemming. Nate’s interview is sure to both inspire and motivate us to continue to strive and explore and try out new things or just excel in whatever we put our minds to do.

Nate Hake has traveled to 65+ countries across six continents around the world and blogs about his travels at TravelLemming.com ; a travel site focused on exploring emerging destinations around the world. He is from Denver, Colorado, recently concluded a six month stint living in Mexico, and is now currently traveling in Thailand.

1.Tell us about yourself.

Well, I’m from Denver, Colorado but I grew up in a military family which in a way means I’ve been traveling – or at least moving a lot – my entire life. I even spent 3 years during middle school living on an Air Force base in Misawa, Japan. I think that time living abroad as a child really helped to inspire my love of travel as an adult.

2. Wow! I have been closely following your Travel Blog: Travel Lemming. I believe you started your blog in mid-2017 and the way you have made your blog grow in leaps and bounds is fantastic! You have been quoted in media ranging from US News to Fodor’s to The New York Times and have more than tens of thousands of followers on your social media. How do you manage to do it?

It has definitely been quite the ride! Starting a travel blog isn’t easy, and I always tell people to realize that even if you do everything right, you should it expect it to be at least a year until your blog gets significant readership and maybe even longer until you are making money.

For me, my growth has mostly just been a matter of focusing on the elements of travel blogging I’m best at: namely search engine optimization and growth through exposure on other platforms (by, among other things, doing lots of interviews like this!).

Blogging takes a lot of work and is a slow process, but it can be done!

3.What are you absolutely passionate about? And what drives you to achieving it?

I really love exploring the world (obviously) and that’s a big driver behind my decision to live this sort of lifestyle.

I also really love helping others to plan their trips. Before I was a full-time traveler, I traveled as much as I could but usually that meant just one two-week trip per year. I remember how much effort I put into planning every detail of those trips, and how it important it was to me to maximize every day.

I love that my job now lets me help thousands of people make the most of their time abroad – to see things they otherwise wouldn’t have found, and to connect with places on a deeper level.

The things that drives me are the messages I get from travelers who used one of my guides to explore a destination and found that it really opened their eyes to a side of the place that they otherwise wouldn’t have found!

Pai Thailand
Pai Thailand

4.Tell us about your decision to quit your corporate job to run a congressional campaign for your friend.

I’ve long been passionate politically, and when I was in college I worked on a number of congressional campaigns.

So in 2016 I left my job as a corporate litigator to run a congressional campaign for a friend of mine in Delaware. It didn’t work out, but I enjoyed the experience a lot and would do it again in a heartbeat.

And once the campaign was over, it gave me the free time to travel I’d always yearned for, eventually leading me to travel full time!

5. How did you come to achieving your Grand World Tour? I believe you visited 43 countries across 6 continents in a single year!! Wow!! Please tell us about it.

Yes, my first year traveling was initially meant to be just a single year. I intended to return to the corporate attorney life, and so I really felt the need to “see the world” in that year. Of course, seeing the whole world isn’t possible in a single year, but I did my best!

And what a crazy year it was: from getting trapped in a desert in Bolivia to driving a camper van around Tasmania to exploring the ruins of Chernobyl, I had so many amazing experiences on so many parts of the planet.

Uxmal Ruins
Uxmal Ruins

These days I travel a bit slower, as I spend a good 40-50 hours a week working and so need to find places I can stay for longer. But I’ve gotten into a rhythm of two months in one place working, followed by a month of travel, rinse and repeat, that I find works really well for me. It keeps me interested and engaged but still lets me focus on growing my blog.

6. Did you face any challenges / difficulties during the course of your journey?

I’ve been burglarized twice: once in Belize and again in Austin, Texas while there for a travel blogging conference.

That wasn’t fun, and is a big reason I tell people to buy travel insurance.

I also recently contracted dengue fever in Thailand, which put me in bed for nearly a week straight and completely destroyed my body (two months later, I’m still trying to regain my strength!). Those experiences were definitely trying, and at points I’ve thought about giving it all up and going home. But ultimately they pass and you realize that bad things happen both on the road and at home.

Rio Secreto Caves
Rio Secreto Caves

7. Any one lesson learnt or travel moment you will not forget?

I think my favorite travel moment was last year when I attended my friend’s wedding in Lagos, Nigeria.

It was a traditional Nigerian wedding, which meant I got dressed up in Yoruba attire. At one point I even participated in the ceremony by prostrating myself on the ground along with my friend to help him ask the bride’s mother for her daughter’s hand in marriage.

It was quite the unique experience!

Nate - Nigeria Wedding
Getting ready for my friend’s traditional Wedding

8. That’s really amazing! Any words of wisdom / advice to all the people out there? There are so many of us who have certain dreams or passions that we want to pursue, but are struggling within ourselves, are not sure or are second guessing and having doubts about it.

The biggest barrier most people face when it comes to travel is money. There is this perception out there that travel must be super expensive. 

But if you’re willing to eat like a local at food stalls and cheaper restaurants, stay in hostels or cheaper Airbnbs, and take public transportation, you might actually find that you spend less money on the road than you do at home!

Penang Malaysia
Penang Malaysia

9.What is your idea of Bliss? Are you following your Bliss?

For me bliss means just experiencing as much of the world as possible.

For a long time I definitely wasn’t following my bliss, but for the last three years I absolutely have been. It’s been a struggle at times, and I still don’t make anywhere near the same amount of money that I did as a lawyer, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

Koh Chang Thailand
Koh Chang Thailand

10. What’s next for you Nate? I mean, I am sure by now, all who have been reading your interview would have been completely zapped and floored by you :-). I mean, you are absolutely incredible and I am so sure, all of us are already inspired by you. So tell us what’s next for you.

Oh, thank you so much for the kind words Maria!

Well, I just wrapped up 7 months exploring Southeast Asia and then spent a couple of weeks in Mexico (where I had the incredible experience of giving an award to the mayor of Valladolid, Mexico).

Valladolid Mexico
Valladolid Mexico

I just came back home to Denver a few days ago. I’ll stay here for a month or so to visit family and get caught up with work.

My next adventure is still a bit up in the air, as I like to plan my travel last minute based on where I can find the cheapest flights.

It’s possible I’ll head down to Medellin, Colombia for a bit, but ultimately, I think I’ll spend this summer in Europe as I’ve not been on that continent in awhile and am eager for a change of pace. Stay tuned!

Bai Tu Long Bay Vietnam
Bai Tu Long Bay Vietnam

Thank you Nate for taking time out and agreeing to do this interview with me and sharing with all our readers about your amazing life journey. I am sure that you will inspire many others out there to follow their dreams! 

I wish you all the very best in everything that you do and sincerely hope that you continue to follow your bliss.

Stay tuned for this space, as I come out with another smashing interview very soon 

Till then, keep traveling and keep sharing your stories of inspiration here.

Your TravelMate

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