Toronto-based travel blogger and actress Kristen Sarah started her blog, Hopscotch the Globe, two years ago, after she already had quite a bit of global travel under her belt. She’s added more than a dozen countries to her list since then, has logged more than a year of combined travel time and spent 10 months travelling the world non-stop in 2011.
Her videos may be what most differentiates Kristen’s blog from other travel diaries. As an actress, she’s a natural performer and posts comedic, informational travel videos every week. In her So You Want to Travel the World video series she shares tips on round-the-world travel, like how to budget for a round-the-world trip (while still eating five meals a day) and what to pack—in which she amazingly fits everything into a single carry-on.
Though she’s home in Toronto now, Kristen doesn’t intend to slow down in 2013: she’s planning to visit India in February and to RV her way across Canada and the U.S. later in the year.
Where are you now and what are you up to?
I am currently in Toronto. I am enjoying the Toronto summer, which is always a lot of fun. I’ve been to a lot of different cities around the world, and Toronto is a hard city to beat when it comes to fun and diverse things to do. I love it here!
How much time did you spend on your round-the-world trip and how many countries did you visit?
I’ve been quite a few long trips, but last year I travelled for 10 months, which was the longest I did at once without coming home. Last year I travelled through Iceland, England, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Morocco, Turkey and Greece.
Was it hard to find the time, money and courage to go? Do you have any insight for people struggling to plan an extended trip?
I strongly believe that you can have and do whatever your heart desires. I told myself that after college I would work for a year, put $1,000 away every month, then quit my job and travel for 10 months. That’s exactly what I did, and I didn’t find it difficult at all because it was something I really wanted. I would say that the best advice I could give to someone planning an extended trip is to not plan that much. Leave room to make last-minute decisions or change your travel plans. You never know what’s going to happen when you’re travelling, which is why it’s so exciting.
You and your fiancé have travelled together quite a bit. What are some of your best tips for travelling well as a couple?
If you can travel well with your significant other, then he/she is a keeper! I think that when you are travelling with your partner, to make sure you both keep an open mind to exploring the type of activities the other one wants. I also think that if you are travelling for an extended period of time with your partner, you should take some time to travel solo and then meet up again.
Why did you start your blog and how has it evolved?
I started my blog about five or so months before I left for my first round-the-world trip. I wanted to share my stories, photos and videos with my friends and family. Then I started getting e-mails from strangers telling me that I had inspired them to fulfill their travel dreams. It made me feel so good that I could reach out to people all around the world who have a desire to travel like myself. Two years later I receive countless e-mails a day from people all around the world who I have inspired to travel or who need travel advice. I love what I do, and I want to keep reaching out to as many people as possible.
What have been some of the most rewarding or unexpected experiences from blogging about your travels?
I love when I receive e-mails from people about their travel planning progress. These are usually people who have been following my blog from the beginning. It starts out with them telling me how happy they are they discovered my blog, followed by specific travel related questions then it gets more personal. They share that they have always wanted to travel the world but feel trapped in their lifestyle. Eventually I get that e-mail that they have quit their job, sold their stuff and are leaving in a couple of weeks to travel the world and they want to thank me for inspiring and helping them get to that point. This is why I love what I do.
What are your goals for your blog?
I would love for Hopscotch the Globe to become a globally recognized brand for adventure travel and travel inspiration. I am doing less writing and more filming because that’s where my true passion is. I want to really build my YouTube channel and blog together and connect with as many travel addicts out there as possible.
You’ve travelled the world, but how much travel have you done in Canada? Are there any Canadian destinations on your wish list?
To be quite honest, I haven’t seen much of Canada, but that is my next big trip! I’m planning on renting or buying an RV/hippie van and driving across Canada and the U.S. I would love to explore and get to know the place I call home.
Where will you go on your next trip?
I’m going to Vegas in a month, India early next year and across Canada very shortly. Once again, plans always change, so I could be in Madagascar next month. I really never know.
The next time you travel for months (or years?) at a time, what will you do differently?
Hmmm…maybe I’ll stay in a certain spot a little longer and learn a new language? Oh, and pack even less than I do now. Less is always more.