I haven’t met Janiel of Culture Trekking in person, but I feel like I know her well. My BlogHouse friend Jennifer Coleman started a small Facebook group with BlogHouse alum Cat of For Two, Please and Jennifer invited both Janiel and me to be a part of the group. It’s where I can go to get weekly blog therapy. Trust me, after almost 11 years of blogging, I need it! I love Janiel’s fun and vibrant personality and I thoroughly enjoy her YouTube videos. When I was heading to the Oregon Coast last December, I watched all her videos on crabbing (here and here). She also went swimming with manatees with Jennifer and while it is something I never want to do myself, I absolutely loved following the experience on YouTube!
Let’s meet Janiel!
 When and how did you become a traveler?
I was 14 years old when I remember driving my Dad to the airport and when he gave me a hug, he picked me up and dropped me on the curb by the car. Pulled out a bag and told me to say goodbye to my Mom because I was coming with him to New Orleans. That was the first trip I was going to take without all my other siblings, and to this day New Orleans has a special place in my heart and instilled the travel bug within me that hasn’t yet found a way out.
 What kind of traveler do you define yourself as?
I don’t like labels to be honest, but I would say I love to connect with other cultures and seek out the unique adventures that aren’t full of tourist. Culture Trekking is geared towards just that, Culture, Connection, Art, and Adventure. No matter how long you travel, or how many bucket list items you see I still feel as we age we evolve in how we travel, where we travel, and what kind of travel is important to us.
 Which country do you come from/call home?
The good ole’ US of A, well, at least it was once – there is a lot of arguments and polarized views at the moment. I appreciate the freedom this country gives me to travel, and that makes living here worth it.
 What do you crave from home when you are traveling?
Oddly, fresh fruits and veggies are what I crave the most about 1-2 days into my vacation. It is so difficult for me to find fresh fruits and veggies, or grocery stores when I’m traveling overseas. If it is a camping trip, I crave smores and peaches above all else.
 Tell us about your blog
Culture Trekking came about as a healing outlet after my traumatic event in Texas. It has since evolved into something I’m intensely proud of, for the Culture Trekkers that have joined the Facebook community and share their lives and tips and tricks for traveling in their country. I recently became friends with a Sami reindeer herder in the Culture Trekking Community. We share and celebrate what being human is, allow for differences, seek first to understand each other and add in some unique art and adventures for good measure. I try to provide as many resources for traveling as I can to help the community create their own adventures. I’m particularly focusing on airlines, airports, and common travel annoyances that inexperienced travelers may not know about.
 What do you love most about traveling?
Connecting with the people at a particular destination, and finding that one trail that isn’t choked with people. I have an ability to interview people and for some reason, they love to share their fears, hopes, and intimate details of their lives with me that most people do not get. At first, I thought this was just because of my profession as a Physician Assistant, but then realized this sort of thing has happened to me since I was very young. So the fact that I can use this gift to help share people’s stories from around the world is something I love in particular about traveling.
 What do you dislike about traveling?
Crowds…hands down the most agitating and irritating thing about traveling. The fact that people shove each other out of the way to be first in line, people are impatient and disrespectful to the culture, and I especially hate when human actions put animals at risk really tries my patience.
 How do you prepare for a trip?
I research for weeks, months, even up to a year in advance. I search all the travel platforms, take advice from the Culture Trekking Community, scour all the Pinterest threads, Instagram hashtags, Youtube videos I can and then put together my own tentative itinerary. Then I use Rome2Rio to plan how to get from place to place; look at festivals during certain times of the year, and then see if there are any hostels or facebook groups in the local area that I can join to meet locals. If I can’t find anyone I can connect with I either pay for a historical guide, or use VizEats, or Airbnb experiences to get to connect with locals.
 You have won the lottery, now tell us where you want to live.
Scotland during the summer, Morocco during the winter, and Oregon or Washington during the Fall, and Las Vegas during the Spring. If there was just one place I had to choose, I would likely live in Scotland (but would want to test out their winters first before committing to it). Miraculously the two times I have visited Scotland I was there for two weeks each time and it didn’t rain at all, so would love to try out the dreary days there before committing fully.
 Travel essentials – 3 things you always travel with.
Camera, toiletries, Keens
 What is your favorite article of clothing?
Pijamas, lol, this is the typical blogger work uniform.
 Your single most treasured personal possession.
My Grandmothers wedding ring, it has hearts on the sides of it and she always hoped that I would be able to get married and have the kind of marriage she did. Her and my Grandfather were my heart and soul and biggest cheerleaders and were married for nearly 60 years.
 Do you have a piece of advice for bloggers starting out?
Don’t limit yourself by what you’re comfortable with when creating your website and brand. Create something you are passionate about and can defend no matter who asks you hardest question, why?
 What are three other blogs that inspire you?
Mapping Megan for her realistic view of the world, and for helping me so much when I was starting out. The Chubby Diaries, where he is changing what the typical traveler should look like (we are all beautiful in my book and he emphasizes this). The last one is Glo Graphics for her marketing genius, kindness, and connections she tries to make with everyone she meets.
 Your favorite travel resource on the web?
Nomadic Matt Superstar Blogging Courses, after buying 3 different courses (over $1200 worth) Matt’s courses, communities and conference have really helped me continue to pursue the golden dream of ‘making it’ in the business.
Janiel’s Lightning Round of Favorites
Airport: Edinburgh Airport
Mode of Transportation: Train
Window or aisle: Window
Travel Gear: LowPro Camera backpack 450L
Travel snack: Zone Protein Bars – Chocolate Mint
Book: The Eye of the World
Song: The City – By Sara Bareilles
Quote: “There is a universal language in this world…enthusiasm.” – The Alchemist
TV Show: GAME OF THRONES or The Handmaids Tale
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