Most of us can only imagine of a traveling lifestyle where one gets to travel frequently and have the financial resources to do so. In the brief period I’ve been writing and connecting with other bloggers, it became apparent to me that there is a huge community of nomads, expats, lifelong travelers of every kind. In the Freedompreneur series, my hope is to debunk the myth that it is close to impossible to live a life filled with travels. With creativity, passion and perseverance, many aspiring nomads do achieve their dream of a traveling lifestyle. This achievement is exemplified by our feature Freedompreneur, Cory Varga, from You Could Travel, a website that provides travel inspiration and advise.
Brown Gal Trekker Meets Cory
When diving into the world of travel blogging, one can easily lose his or her way. I don’t blame you. It’s a rough blogging world, after all. By luck, I met Cory via one of the blogger groups when I posted my search for features for the Freedompreneurs series. Unbeknownst to Cory, I did know of her even before then due to an article she wrote that caught my attention. The article, aside from being well-written, somehow left an impression on me. Her article spoke of the hurdles that bloggers face, and despite of it, deciding to to take the higher ground, nonetheless. As a new blogger, I have yet to get a full understanding of how collaborations work with fellow bloggers. Cory provided an opening for me to get somewhat of a view of how that world works. Since reading that article, I have always kept Cory’s advise nearby as a resource for future mishaps in the world of blogging.
Cory Varga of You Could Travel
Cory Varga is a Romanian born British citizen from Bristol, UK. She grew up in Bucharest, Romania. She was an only child which enabled her “to keep all treats for herself and not having to share them with siblings (haha!).” According to Cory, she had a very happy childhood as her mother dedicated 7 years to stay home with her, raise her and teach her about the world. As a child, they used to travel to the seaside and mountains a lot, which she believes made her the traveler that she is today.
Cory loves writing and photography. She always had some sort of inclination towards arts, but her parents told her on many occasions that without mathematics and sciences, she can’t make a decent income. For many years, during school, she dedicated her time to learning mathematics and computer science, whilst using her spare time to visit art galleries, museums and read A LOT. When she turned 18, she pursued her passion to learn languages whilst pursuing a degree in law with criminology. Years later, she settled for what she truly loves: design, photography and writing.
Hence, it isn’t a surprise that You Could Travel came into existence. Cory is a UX designer for her own digital studio in the UK, as well as, a travel blogger and photographer for You Could Travel, which she deems as her epic soft adventure website. Let’s learn more from Cory about her enterprise and traveling life.
Are you still working a 9 to 5 job?
The answer is not quite as a black and white. Together with my husband, I own a digital studio in the UK, whereby I am the creative force in the office. This is my main source of income and I absolutely love designing. As a hobby, I started writing on my travel blog about my travels, whilst sharing my photography with friends and family. A few months later, my blog took off and became my second source of income. I am now sharing my time between both businesses so in a way, I work from 8am till 11pm.
What are your current plans?
I want to continue to grow both 42droids (my digital studio) and my travel website, You Could Travel. I also want to focus more on monetizing my photography skills.
I’m curious to know more about You Could Travel. What led you to start your travel website?
It all started at the end of March 2016 when I decided to write down everything about my trip to Japan. Before visiting the country, I found little information about what a foreigner should actually be aware of. Beyond the tourists attractions and a few Japanese words, there is a lot I wish I knew prior to my arrival. I wanted to share this with the world. My website has only honest information, and I only write about personal experiences. I make mistakes so others don’t have to.
What is the mission of You Could Travel?
To encourage others to travel safely, learn new ways to enjoy various destinations and avoid making the mistakes I made during my trips. I want to educate through my blog.
What type of content do you have on your website?
I mainly write about my travels to Japan as this is my main niche. I am obsessed with this country and one day I hope to live there. I obtain my content based on personal experiences and I usually spend at least a week figuring out a proper travel itinerary. I read other blogs, books and ask around what’s best, then tailor this to my own requirements.
What hurdles have you faced thus far with this project?
The competition is fierce and sometimes I feel that blogs are about who shouts the loudest as opposed to ethical and quality writing. In the end, great content and a solid business plans wins the race.
How did you overcome these hurdles?
I created a solid business plan, dedicated a lot of time A/B testing to ensure I know what works and what doesn’t. Also, I followed my gut and continued to create good content as opposed to short targeted articles.
Who or what helped you along the way to make your website a success?
I am grateful to several blogging communities from which I learned a lot about the business aspects of having a website. I spent a lot testing on my website to understand what works and I was not afraid to try new things. I kept an open mind and embraced useful advice.
Tell us more about your traveling life. How often do you travel?
I am keen on slow travel so I prefer to travel one month out of three, as opposed to travelling somewhere just for a weekend. As it stands, on average, I travel every month for at least a week.
Cory shares with us some amazing travel moments:
Mount Hiei when my husband proposed to me.
Tokyo arrival when we realized how amazing the city was.
Driving in Madeira because their roads are crazy narrow and sometimes close to 90 degrees upright.
How do you define success for You Could Travel?
The more visitors read my content, spend time interacting with my website and email me for further advice, the more successful I deem the website to me. Of course, I need to make a living so kind readers using my affiliate links make a difference, but I strongly believe that when people press that share button, it means my content left an impression. That is what my website was created for.
What have you discovered about yourself as part of this process?
I discovered that I love a good challenge and I am relentless until something works the way I want it to. I also learned to be more patient, because let me tell you, I usually want things to happen yesterday!
How do you manage to afford traveling?
As I mentioned before, I make a living from my digital studio. Together with my husband, we offer a lot of fantastic digital services which clients love. This leads to more recommendations, which translate to more clients and ultimately more revenue. Since we own the studio, we can work from anywhere and are location independent. We also get clients though You Could Travel which helps us a lot.
Do you have other future projects in mind? Tell us about it.
We are redesigning 42droids Ltd and we can’t wait to put the new website live very soon! I also want to launch my own ecommerce brand. Next year I will have a space on You Could Travel dedicated to photojournalism, through which I want to sell my photography. Now that is what I’m mega excited about! Want even more? I have almost completed my first book and going to Japan for a month to research for my second one!
What advise do you have to those who are thinking of pursuing their passion?
Stop dwelling, stop finding excuses and just take the first step. Don’t be abrupt and change your life all of a sudden, but it is important that you take the first step towards following your dream. One step will lead to another, and then another, and ultimately, this is how we all start pursuing our passion.
Did quitting the 9 to 5 kind of career and working for yourself turn out the way you envisioned it to be?
It really did. I was working a 9 to 5 job when I met my husband, already a freelancer who enjoyed a free lifestyle. Together we put together our digital studio and the moment we had our first client, I quit and never looked back since. There are a few downsides and you have to be cut for this lifestyle. Whoever tells you it’s all pink and flowers will lie to you. If you do it with you partner, you have to know you can work and live together almost 24/7. You have to be relentless and perseverant and know how to do your research. You have to be good with budgeting because you can have a huge contract today and nothing for 6 months down the line. It works for me and my husband and I would not do it any other way.
Are you living a life with more freedom now than before?
Of course I am and it’s epic. I can take holidays whenever I want, budget the way I think is fit and have the flexibility to shop on a Thursday and work on a Sunday. Well, I do tend to work most of the time but that’s not a bad thing. The important part is that I can tailor my schedule to fit my needs and avoid busy times at the market, busy weekends in the mall or peak times on vacation. I can travel during the cheapest dates and work from anywhere in the world as long as I have internet.
Finally, any unique travel advise you can give everyone?
Don’t start travelling because you seek to discover who you are. Travel because you want to get to know the world, because I promise you one thing: by discovering the world, you will inevitably discover yourself.
To wrap it up, I asked Cory just a few more QUICK travel-related questions:
How many countries have you been to?
You know, I never kept count of this. Over 30 but the more you focus on quantity, you start forgetting about the quality.
What other countries are on your list?
Canada, Nepal and Mongolia.
Name one thing you miss the most when on the road?
Which do you prefer? Mountains or city life?
I’m an outdoors lover. I would take a hike up the mountains over shopping in a city any day.
Name 3 qualities that you think are the most important in accomplishing one’s dreams?
Patience, perseverance, relentlessness.
As you can see, choosing to live a traveling lifestyle is not as easy as one would think. It’s possible as long as you are aware and open to the challenges that it brings. Thanks Cory for the insight and encouragement! I’m definitely looking forward to what the future holds for your project and mission. Undoubtedly, you’re well on your way to your dreams, as we speak.
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