Where in the World is Lola? – Interview with World Traveler, Lola DiMarco

World traveler, Lola DiMarco, has been able to fulfill her many dreams and reach her goals as a published travel writer. She has written for various travel websites such as Huffington Post Travel and traveldudes.org and maintains a very active blog at lolastravels.com.

Lola has a knack for planning out her travels and focuses on what she wants to see and do. Many of her creative ideas lie outside the traditional travel box. She doesn’t just plan her trips around the usual tourist spots, but will also visit sites off the beaten path.

In addition to her whimsical, easy-to-read writing, Lola also shares the variety of pictures on her website. It is clear from her writing and photos that she enjoys her travels and has found her passion. Enjoy!

 

1. Share a little bit about yourself. What drew you to write about traveling and actually traveling around the world for a living? Why a travel writer?

i’ve always loved to travel & recently i’ve had the opportunity to do it more than ever. i get so much out of the trip itself, but i also enjoy other parts leading up to the getaway - like research, planning & packing. writing about my adventures helps me to extend the joy & growth of what i got out of the trip. many people have encouraged me to write about my travels because they are interested in where i go, eat, stay & play. i studied journalism in college. it’s been fulfilling to find a voice & share with readers who enjoy my stories. i love being informative in a light-hearted, entertaining kind of way.

2. Is there a specific area of travel that you prefer to engage in over others in your work? For example, does writing about international foods and drinks intrigue you as much as writing about historical sites you see along the way?

i’d say i tend to focus on a broad scope of topics in my writing. i like traveling in a posh way & enjoy writing about what is unique to my getaway. that could be personal connections, outstanding service, memorable activities - anything special. for example, what do cussing, crudite & california have in common? is about meeting Bear Grylls & how he was briefly intrigued by lola. my post, she wore a raspberry beret! is about above & beyond service. catching a wave in Miami, Florida - is about a memorable activity one might not consider doing on a trip to South Beach & how much fun & affordable it was.

3. How do you decide where you are going to visit on your next trip? Do you have a predetermined, prioritized list, or are the decisions more spontaneous?

good question! i’d say it’s a bit of both. i know about a lot of upcoming travel that i’ve been planning & some other potential trips, but i also won’t say no to any spontaneous opportunity that i can make work with my schedule. i guess, overall, i have a rough idea of what i may do in a year & fill in with the last minute trips!

Lola in Athens

4. You mention on your website that when you travel, you are able to get away for only three to four days at a time. With such a short amount of time dedicated to each location, how do you decide which sights to see?

i try to pack in a little of the best of what the place is known for. for example, in Athens, Greece, where i was for 1.5 days, i wanted to stay in nice accommodations & eat at a current top restaurant. i also wanted to see some of the neighborhoods of Athens & the Acropolis. i wanted a general overview of the city & to be able to pick up a special souvenir. this meant (which it usually does on most of my trips) i wouldn’t be spending all day touring museums. i like to get out in the streets of the place i’m visiting and experience a sampling of the top things to do. i stayed at King George Palace & ate at Dionysos. i took a bus tour of Athens for my overview, walked up and around the Acropolis, went to the Acropolis Museum and enjoyed lunch & shopping in the Plaka district where i bought a fab evil eye charm (evil eyes are everywhere in Greece!) for my charm bracelet. of course, i would have loved to have seen & done more, but i am so happy i got to go at all. it was always on my to-do list!

5. You have been sharing your travels with the world for over a year. How did you go about building and maintaining a fan base?

it has been a slow & steady growing process. early adopters were friends & family. getting on Twitter helped tremendously in learning a lot more about the travel space. i grew my exposure first through Twitter and that has transfered over to other social networks & connected back to my blog. also, meeting people while i travel and telling them about me & my writing always gains new fans!

6. What has been your proudest moment as a travel writer so far?

honestly, it means SO much to me when someone tells me that i have inspired them in some kind of way. i just had a comment on my blog from someone that i wasn’t expecting to tell me that i inspired them. it makes me proud of my investment in reaching for my dreams - traveling & writing.

7. You shared your dreams online and have taken time to reflect on your progress in living them out. How did you keep yourself focused on the path? Did you come across any distractions along the way?

i will tell you the truth. i had a mental list of goals but physically outlined them to explain myself to people who were confused about what i’ve been doing and why. i decided to reiterate my point by using examples of how i’m meeting my goals. the irony is, this exercise was really a huge help to me. i would definitely advise doing something similar. it makes you realize just how much you may have accomplished. i’m my own worst critic and never think i’ve done enough. i’m now pretty pleased with where things stand.

distractions - YES! this is my number one battle every day.

8. Of all the dreams you listed on your website, which was the most challenging to accomplish? Which was the most fun?

the most challenging was building a new website. WordPress is so easy but starting over wasn’t! it was like being in a foreign country where no one speaks English.

the most fun are the comfort zone challenges because they all mean i get to travel & meet new people. ultimately, this is my favorite thing in the whole world.

Living Out the Dream

9. Of all the places you have been, which one will you definitely revisit in the future? Why?

there are many places i’ve been that i know i will definitely revisit. i go to Miami at least a couple times a year because it’s my happy place & easy for me to get to. i will go back to St. Barts because it’s too heavenly not to return. i will return to Greece because there is far more exploring to do there. at this point in my travel life, the real problem is where will i NOT return. there are so many places to see and most places i visit i always want to go back to again.

10. Which upcoming trip are you looking forward to most? Why?

i have two trips i am REALLY looking forward to because i feel like they will be life changing for me. first, is a trip to Cambodia in late August-early September. i’m going to be participating in a Habitat for Humanity house build. it will be my first time to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and my first time in Asia. the other trip that i know is going to be incredible is going for a month to Europe with my traveling friend, Leah. she won the ‘Go with Oh’ blogging contest which gives her free accommodations in 4 cities over 4 weeks. she got to invite one person and she asked me!!! these two trips will be the longest i’ve gone away in a long time. i’m really excited about getting to experience places a bit longer!

11. Leah is your travel partner. What are the benefits of having a travel partner?

first of all & most importantly, we have so much fun together! the other benefits are, since Leah & i started blogging and getting into social media roughly at the same time, we can help each other to sort out best practices. it’s nice to have a confidant to share/bounce ideas off. i think we can all say there are times where you may 1) second-guess yourself 2) need to get up the learning curve fast. Leah & i compliment each other well. we think alike in planning & how we want our trips to look & feel. i didn’t start out looking for a travel partner, but think i’m far better off for having found one!

12. When you travel, what are the three things you always make sure you bring with you and why?

i ALWAYS bring my iphone - it does almost everything i need. i also always bring an ID & my smile. you need both of these to get into places! (and lipgloss - you will never find me without that.)

13. When you write for various websites, how do your topics come about? Are they usually dictated to you or do you come up with your own ideas? Which piece was your favorite to write and why?

most of my writing has been creative pieces i’ve come up with from experiences i’ve had. i’ve only had a couple of cases where i was given a topic. i think my favorite so far was my Travel Sex Life post - Packing for Sex on the Road. i thought it was fun to write something a little unexpected and be cheeky with puns/tone - even if it met some disapproval!

14. Do you have any tips for people who want to travel the world and write about their experiences and knowledge like you?

YES! start a blog!! and you can find interesting things to write about travel-wise not far from home. read other peoples blogs & get involved in some travel chats on Twitter. you will learn a lot.

15. Where do you see yourself in five years? Will you remain a travel writer or do you have other dreams?

i definitely believe i’ll still be writing in five years. i think what i’m up to now will morph into something else, but i plan to write from now on for the rest of my life. i truly enjoy it and hope others enjoy what i have to share.

Thank you!

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Lola DiMarco is a blogger and world traveler. Visit her at www.lolastravels.com or follow her on twitter @LolaDiMarco - Perhaps you’ll be bitten by the travel bug and go on a jaunt-away too!

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