Seth Freedman: Today we have Anna D. You can check her out on Instagram @adventureofaunicorn. Anna, thanks for coming on the show today. Can you tell us a little bit about what got you interested in travel and how you got started?
Anna: I was working as a fashion editor for the German InStyle magazine. I loved it, but I quit my job and started my own online magazine that’s called Spylista. I still did fashion for that but then someone invited me on a press trip to Austria and boom! From there I knew I wanted to write travel stories.
Wow. So you’re from Germany?
I was born in Ukraine and moved to Germany at the age of 6.
Can you tell us a little bit about your first trip and how you were feeling when you went?
My first trip ever was to Paris. It was pretty exciting. It was my first time on a plane and I was like, “Oh my god, is this really happening?” I was alone on the trip visiting friends and it was really exciting. I just wanted to keep that excitement forever.
Yeah, traveling is very exciting. I can understand why you want to keep that going. If you had to explain to us what type of traveler you are, what type of traveler would you be?
I’m a full-time traveler. I always buy a one-way ticket because I’m the kind of person who flies somewhere for a week and extends it for a year. This happened to me when I came to Bali for the first time. I came for four days and just loved the place. I fell so in love that I didn’t want to leave. So I just extended the trip for a year. That’s how I want to travel now because I don’t like short trips where you just rush through things. I prefer to stay and breathe and enjoy the moment, then slowly discover what else is around. So I’m more of a mover than a tourist.
We love the type of travelers that go for long periods of time. You guys have a lot more to say about the specific places you go. Other guests have said that exploring the city as a local has been their preference. They have good experiences but the American media is very quick to point out all the horror stories overseas and all the bad things that are happening. What has been your experience?
The worst experience for a traveler is when you are in the middle of somewhere and it’s Sunday and your credit card strikes and then you try to call them but no one picks up the phone. You have to wait until Monday. Sometimes I never have cash with me because I’m nervous that I’ll lose it or get robbed or something. It happens to me when I’m in the middle of nowhere and I just can’t buy food. Well, that’s more of what I’m scared about. But then you find the way. I had another bad moment. I was in a motorcycle accident in the middle of nowhere in Bali. You drive along and take shortcuts and the streets are so small that there are no ambulance cars in the village where I lived and the next hospital was two hours away. So I was laying there for 15 minutes on this empty shortcut. I was bleeding and then I couldn’t move because the motorcycle fell on my leg and I was trapped. But then someone came and found me took me to their house. My surf instructor, who I just met, came with us to the hospital and held my hand for hours while they stitched and treated me. The whole thing happened without Anesthesia. It was really awful but everyone was helping me and that was nice. I had just arrived there a week or so before so I barely knew people but the friends who I just met took care of me until I could drive myself. They brought me food and that was really nice. After a while, I realized how lucky I was because there were many people who were willing to help.
Wow, what a story. That’s pretty amazing. I’m sure you won’t get on a motorcycle again.
I would, but I’m scared. You have to keep moving, of course. After that, I switched to a scooter.
Obviously, with the bad experiences, there are always good ones. Are there any amazing stories that stand out that you’ll remember forever?
I have so many good stories. I don’t even know where to start.
Then let’s go with amazing. Not even good, let’s just go with amazing stories.
Amazing stories. Let me think. I had slight fears before and it was really hard for me to go on a plane. I’m a travel journalist so that’s part of my job. There was one year where I skipped 20 flights because I couldn’t imagine flying anymore. That was pretty hard for me. After that, it took me a year to get back on a plane. But I was always really scared. I was crying and really full of drama. Then once I flew to Bangkok to surprise my friend. From there, I went to Singapore, and from there, I went to Bali. It was just amazing. I felt so alive that I just overcame all my stupid fears and bullshit. I thought, This is how my life could be. You know, you always think, In my next life, I will do this. I used to also have a shark phobia. Before I learned to surf, I thought, In my next life, I will go surfing. I will fly somewhere. I will go to Asia and I will do all this amazing stuff. Then I came to Bali and it all happened. I just realized that I could do all the things on my bucket list. I will do it in this life. Not the next life. There’s just one life and I want to do it all.
When you’re traveling, obviously money is a big thing. You spend money and you have to save money. You get paid for some of the trips that you do. What do you do to save money to help you to afford everything?
I think actually traveling for me is cheaper than to live somewhere and to have a regular place, to be honest. I grew up in Munich, Germany. It’s one of the most expensive towns there. For me, even with flight tickets, traveling is way cheaper because I’m renting places from Airbnb. That’s really much cheaper than local places. I’m not saving money because, you know, people who save money don’t live somehow. I know people who are working a lot and staying in one place. They save money and then they travel. I don’t save. I just make money on the road while I’m living and working. This is my regular thing. I don’t have to make savings for that. My whole lifestyle is based on travel. I’m basically doing what you’re doing while you’re in your hometown. You’re working and then you’re going for dinner and meeting friends. This is what I’m doing.
So you get paid to write and travel?
Well, I’m running an online magazine and I’m writing the travel stories for it. It runs on advertising that’s how I get paid. I’m also running a social media agency. I’m regularly working but I’m traveling while I’m working.
I love it. That’s great. Speaking of traveling, there’s always romance. Do you have somebody right now?
No, I don’t have anyone right now. Sometimes I meet people who are travelers. It’s amazing because they’re really much more open-minded. If you decide to go somewhere together, it’s not a big thing. For example, when you meet someone and you are in your regular place where you live and you say, “Hey, you know what? How ‘bout we fly next week to Paris?” And this person would look at me like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, lady! We’re not on a honeymoon here.” If you meet someone while traveling and you want to meet the next week in Paris, it might be on the way. Travelers say, “Yes, that sounds cool.” It’s not a big deal. I like that people are more open-minded. You can have a short-term romance and see from there. It can be more intense and more heartbreaking sometimes.
Are you meeting a lot of these people where you live or on the road or both?
Well, I don’t live anywhere. I just move places for a few months.
You’re in each place for a couple months or a year, so you must establish yourself somewhat.
Yeah, but I’m still traveling. I might have a home base for a year but I’m not living there. I’m still traveling. I usually stay somewhere for a couple of months and then I have the feeling that I have to move on. I’m a gypsy.
Yeah, totally. If you had to give people travel advice on how to make money or just to be able to save and travel, what’s some advice that you would give?
I would say don’t take advice from someone you wouldn’t trade places with. If you really want to travel, just make it happen. I know many people who just have so many boundaries which they make for themselves. They say they can’t do it or it’s not gonna happen. They say they have somebody at home or their job doesn’t allow it. I would tell them to just jump. Just go for it and see what happens. I don’t think twice about things I want to do. I see something I want to do and I do it. That’s it.
Just do it. I love it. Do you use a lot of Internet resources along the way? I would imagine you’re on social media since you’re running a company. What are some other Internet sources that you use?
I think the most important part for me is to stay focused and motivated. I’m a storyteller and I like to keep in touch with life coaches who can tell me what my obstacles are. I like to speak about my goals. I like to go on Mastermind Studs (?). It’s a motivational page with some coaches. You can test which type of traveler or which type of person you are. You can learn a lot about yourself and your life and find the right way to do things. It’s not just about traveling. It’s about reaching your life goals.
When you’re traveling, is there something that you always have to have with you? Is there something you don’t leave home without?
Yeah, my camera and my speakerbox. Those are the most important things.
So you can listen to music and you can take pictures?
Of course, pictures. If I don’t have my camera, it will never happen.
That’s great. This is a bit of a morbid question but I like to ask it. If you woke up tomorrow and knew you only had two months to live, after spending time with people you care about, what would you do? Where would you go?
I would go everywhere and I would do all the things that really scare me, like surfing in Australia or jumping out of a helicopter….bungee jumping. I would do all the adrenalin stuff like motocross.
So we’re just going to wrap this up now. I want you to tell the audience something about you that they might not know from your social media. Tell us something about you, something about Anna.
I’m super introverted and I don’t like to tell people who I am. I also don’t like to be very public on the Internet which, of course, is weird when you publish lots of pictures of yourself. I think people just think I have this amazing life and travel, but I get really scared sometimes. Even if I overcame my fears, I still cancel flights sometimes. Then again, at the same time when I cancel my flights, I’m looking for another opportunity. I’m a little bit like a monkey. I’m jumping around and thinking Oh, okay. Let’s go somewhere else. I can’t stay in one place.
Thank you so much for coming on the show today. You were a wonderful guest with great stories. You just live a gypsy travel lifestyle. I appreciate you coming on and telling your stories today. You can check Anna out an on Instagram @adventureofaunicorn.