Each month we feature an interview with a member of the Superstar Blogging community. These interviews highlight the ups and downs faced on the road to success, illuminating helpful tips and tricks along the way. If you want to get inspired to succeed, then consider these interviews must-read material! This week we are featuring Kristin from Runaway Widow.
Tell us about yourself!
I’m a mom of 2 grown sons, ages 21 and 25. I’m a full time kindergarten teacher and this is my 29th year teaching. I grew up on Long Island about 60 miles from New York City. After attending a state college upstate New York, I moved to California. I stayed there for 8 years and earned a Masters Degree from SDSU.
I love to travel and now that my kids are grown I am doing it a lot more. I also read a lot and enjoy writing my blog. I live by the beach and love all water activities including kayaking and paddleboarding with my 10 pound Yorkie, Harry.
How did you get started traveling?
In high school I went on a 2 week exchange trip to England and Scotland. I definitely got the travel bug then and followed up with a semester in England during college, followed by 2 months of backpacking around Europe with a Eurailpass. Somtimes I traveled alone and met great people. To read more about my trip check out my post about traveling through Europe with my family.
What have been some of your favorite destinations so far? Why?
So many! I love Croatia and how clear and salty the water is to swim in. I loved the islands in Thailand, the color of the water and the landscape. And I was surprised how much I loved Rome! The history and the outdoor cafes and the food, amazing!
What places/activities are still on your bucket list?
I would like to go to Alaska, Australia and a river cruise in Europe. In 2019 I went on 3 international trips and they were wonderful. Due to the pandemic my plans for traveling are on hold, so I renovated my kitchen this year. That was a bit of an adventure too.
Have you had any misadventures on your travels? What lesson did they teach you?
Yes I have! In Norway I was stranded during a snowstorm in May with some travelers on one of the Lofoten islands. We didn’t have money for a hotel so we knocked on the door of a nursing home. The evening nurse let us sleep on couches but said we’d have to get up at 6am and take the first ferry back to the mainland. I learned people can be so kind when you are traveling.
What‘s the most important lesson travel has taught you?
To be flexible. If things don’t go as planned, make a new plan. Also, that traveling by yourself can be quite rewarding.
Where are you traveling to next?
Florida sometime this winter and Africa next year. I have family in Florida so it is always great to visit them when it is cold in New York. I am going to South Africa with 3 women from my book club. We bid on and won a trip for 6 nights at a Game Reserve Safari and lodge which includes 3 meals per day and 2 “game viewing” opportunities each day. So excited!!
Time for the Lightning Round!
1) What has been your favorite hostel/hotel/accommodation?
My favorite hotel was last Spring when I stayed at the Thornbury Castle in the Cotswolds. I was traveling with my boyfriend and we had a room in a tower. It was so romantic and so was the amazing meal we had in the castle that evening. I really felt like a princess!
2) Where was the best meal you’ve had abroad? (country or specific restaurant)
I remember when I was in college having the most amazing and hot Indian food in London. I love Indian food but nothing has ever matched that first experience.
3) Window or aisle?
Always window. I either like to look out the window, or lean my head on the side and take a nap.
Now, Tell us about your blog!
Runawaywidow was started so that I could share photos and stories about my solo trip to Thailand with my family. I went there by myself for the one year anniversary of my husband’s death. The blog continued after my trip as I share adventures, travels and challenges about life after the death of a spouse. I have connected on line with many people including widows and widowers who are struggling to move forward. Writing my blog has helped me along my grief journey as well.
Can you tell us about your blog name and why you decided to choose the name you have?
I was planning my trip to Thailand and the idea that I was running away from such painful first dates (with the one year anniversary of my husband’s death and what would have been our 27th wedding anniversary) the name Runawaywidow seemed to fit. I’ve kept it because it was the way that helped me to heal and get back to living a good life. I don’t think I could have handled being home that year and I was very fortunate that I could afford such a great trip. Now I save my money and so that I am sure to travel and make plans to turn what could be sad times into celebrations of life. Believe me, the sad times hit anyway, but it’s nice to have things to look forward to.
What has been your biggest success so far?
I found that people have been receptive to me sharing stories about my grief journey. Everything from what to do with the wedding ring, to gaining confidence with solo travel and even dating as a widow have been topics with a lot of interest. If my posts help others get through a really tough day, and give them some comfort that they are not alone and some hope for the future, that would be a big success for me.
What is 1 thing you wish you knew before you started blogging?
About Pinterest. There is so much information out there and so many other bloggers to connect with. Also connecting with other bloggers and checking out their websites is such a key to building relationships.
What are your top 3 travel blogs that you read regularly (and tell us why!)
I do follow Nomadic Matt because his topics are always interesting and I can go back and read them anytime for information on so many places.
I follow Adventurous Kate– She is cute and funny and from New York like me. She mentions places that would be fun to visit and I like that.
I follow Travels for Adventurous Women – Peggy Newland. I love her writing style. She is fun and expressive and makes me want to be there with her!
What are your blogging goals for 2020?
I’d like to attend a conference to connect with other bloggers. I’d also like to learn more about affiliate marketing.
Do you think you’ll ever want to transition to full-time blogging?
That would be really great – I have been teaching for 30 years. It would be nice to someday retire and work on my blog. I would love to continue to travel and share my adventures with others and encourage others to go out and try something new.
Do you have any tips for new bloggers/new students of the Superstar course?
- Stick with it.
- Pace yourself.
- Keep learning!
Where can we find you online/on social media?