Travel Bliss Interview Series: The Ninja Gypsy
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 the very versatile Chelsey Schultz. Chelsey is a travel blogger and runs a travel safety blog called The Ninja Gypsy.
Her blog is based on mixing travel and self-defense to inform people on how to be safe as they explore the world.
Chelsey just achieved her 3rd-degree black belt this past June! Currently, she is traveling the world by means of pet sitting and doing copy-writing.
Her interview is sure to inspire us 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.
1.Tell us about yourself.
Hey there Travel Bliss readers! I am so honored to be on this lovely blog and to share my story with you. You got the main gist above, but I can provide a few more details! I am a 20 something-year-old with a serious addiction to chocolate. I love experiencing the great outdoors, and most of my travels revolve on how to get out there, whether it is kayaking, zip lining, or white-water rafting! I am addicted to travel and pretty much plan my life on how I am going to get to my next destination.
2.I absolutely love your website: The Ninja Gypsy. How did you come up with this name? Tell us more about your idea behind creating this blogging website.
Excellent question! Well, as you know, I am a 3rd-degree black belt, so I wanted a way to represent my love of martial arts, hence “ninja”. “Gypsy” has many meanings and can be interpreted in many ways, but for me it means a nomadic or free-spirited person. Put them together, and you have a pretty good label for me!
I created The Ninja Gypsy not only to share my travel journey and love of martial arts but also to address a certain issue I came across during my travels abroad. I witnessed many travelers place themselves into easily preventable possibly dangerous situations. It wasn’t because they were careless but simply unaware of what was going on around them. When I say “dangerous”, I mean a situation where no one wishes to be placed, such as getting pick-pocketed or roofied. I realized that my knowledge of self-defense could be a way to inform travelers on how to practice safety while abroad.
3.What are you absolutely passionate about? Moreover, what drives you to achieve it?
I am absolutely passionate about martial arts. I love learning new and different styles to improve myself. I have practiced Uechi-Ryu Karate for over a decade, and I have tried Taekwondo, Sunmundo, and Muay Thai during my travels. What is even better than learning is teaching it. I cannot explain how fulfilling it is to teach martial arts, to watch people grow into a stronger and more confident version of themselves, and it is what drives me not only to learn more but to continue my blog as well.
4.Tell us about your decision to travel the world. When and how did the ‘travel bug’ bite you?
The travel bug started quite young with me; I was always curious about far off lands. Sadly, I didn’t have the ability to travel until I graduated from university. I took a backpacking trip through Europe, and after that I couldn’t stop!
5.In your introduction, you mentioned that you are currently traveling the world by pet sitting and copy-writing. Wow! That is truly incredible! How do you manage juggling between traveling, pet sitting, blogging, upgrading yourself in self-defense?
Hahaha! It takes a lot of planning, I can tell you that much! Essentially it works like this: I get a pet sitting job somewhere around the world. Currently, I am doing one in Argentina for two months. I use that as a way to see the local area through the eyes of the community instead of the usual tourist traps. While I am there, I work online as a copywriter (I used to teach English) and I work on my blog. I practice self-defense either at home or by finding a local studio. I love learning the martial arts of the area. I have learned Taekwondo in South Korea, Muay Thai in Thailand, and I can’t wait to learn more! After the pet sitting job is complete, I use it as a hopping point for backpacking. After being here in Argentina, I am going to spend a few weeks in Chile! Then just rinse and repeat!
6.Hahaha! I like that: “Rinse and Repeat!” Please tell us about your journey so far. Did you face any challenges/difficulties during the course of your journey?
Where to begin? After I backpacked through Europe, I ended up moving to South Korea for a year to teach English as a Second Language. I loved my time there! After my contract was complete, I spent a couple of months backpacking through Southeast Asia. When I came back to the USA, I realized that I wanted to keep going. That was over a year ago, and I have been on the move ever since; being here in Argentina is going to be the longest I’ve been (2 months) in one place since I returned to the states.
There are always going to be challenges that get in your way. I have faced visa troubles, cultural faux pas, getting injured, naysayers in family and friends, and simply the will to get started and keep going. I think that is one of the hardest difficulties to try and achieve your goals is getting started and sticking to it. It is so easy to give up, but there is proof in the saying that “anything worth having is worth fighting for.” When I want something, I go for it. It may be difficult, I may face challenges, and it may lead down a path that I wasn’t expecting, but that is what makes the results so grand.
7.Any one lesson learnt or travel moment you will not forget?
One thing that I have learned in my travels is about the kindness of others. When I first began traveling, I was worried about asking for help because I didn’t know what the locals would think of a white, blonde-haired, American tourist is their neighborhood. That worry was silly because nearly every person I have met while traveling has been kind, generous, helpful, and curious.
8.You are also a writer! Tell us about the book that you got published on solo female travel called Inspired.
I am a writer; it is hard to believe sometimes! I published Inspired: The Stories of Nine Solo Female Travelers last December and it has been doing well! Over a year ago, I was in Cambodia at this tiny hostel in the middle of nowhere. There I met another solo female traveler whose life story just astounded me. She was only in her mid-twenties, she has already been to 6 continents, and had just finished working in Antarctica! Say what?
After talking to her, I realized that these kinds of stories need to be told. I met so many women in my travels who were frightened by the concept of solo female travel, and they have never heard of anyone who had done it but the more that I traveled, the more amazing solo female travelers I met. I was inspired by them and wanted to share their stories with the world.
I got together nine other women with different nationalities, ethnicities, religions, life goals, and more. We came together and created this compilation book to inspire other women who are curious about solo travel to go for it!
Also, I am planning on coming out with another book sometime next year on my blog series the ABC’s of Self-Defense! Keep a look out for it!
9. Wow! Sure will! 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.
I will go with what I said earlier, “anything worth having is worth fighting for.” Your passions and dreams are not going to be handed to you; you have to go out and work for them. It is okay to have doubt or be nervous but don’t let that stop you from pursuing what you love. Start small, find out what works, build further, and keep pushing until you make it happen. I believe in you, and I know that you can do it! Be bold, be brave, and be wise!
10.What is your idea of Bliss? Are you following your Bliss?
My idea of bliss is to travel the world while continuing my love of martial arts, teaching self-defense, expanding my blog, and writing more books. I am proud to say that I am making that happen. I am following my bliss!
Thank you so much for talking with me, and I hope that all of your readers are following their bliss as well! Cheers and safe travels!
Thank you Chelsey for doing this interview with me! Your journey and all that you are doing is truly an inspiration for me and all those reading this blog.
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.