I first met Lauren of The Down Lo while working on a project last year during our RV trip. Funnily enough, a few months later another blogging friend of mine suggested that we connect on Instagram where Lauren was (and still is) killing it!. I am a total fan of her captioning skills and love her enthusiasm for her current home state of Colorado and city of Denver. Her gorgeous photos of lakes and trails make me want to get out an explore.
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She is so well liked that her good-natured and generous personality made her a shoe-in to win all the votes necessary for a free trip to Nepal!
Let’s meet travel blogger Lauren!
 When and how did you become a traveler?
I think it’s always been in my blood and truly believe that some people are born with the wanderlust gene. Growing up, our family vacations were to different islands or cities, but it was never particularly inspiring. My first “real” trip was teaching English in Israel, which was the first place that felt really foreign yet overwhelmingly welcoming and patriotic.
 What kind of traveler do you define yourself as?
I describe my travel style as actively experiential, which means I seek out the weirdest and most offbeat adventures wherever I go. I’ve done everything from becoming a certified Viking in Iceland to ski biking in Colorado and blackwater rafting in New Zealand.
 What do you love most about traveling?
Realizing at the end of the day just how similar we all are and how small the world actually is. I just had one of those crazy small world experiences in Patagonia. I was literally at the edge of Earth in Chile and the Marketing Manager of our hotel ended up being the sister of our Austrian foreign exchange student from my high school in Chicago. We literally connected on three different continents. How does that even happen?
 What do you dislike about traveling?
It can be stressful (no one likes missed connections, transit delays or cancellations), but you can’t dwell on hassles. It’s all about the journey, not the destination, right?
 Why should people travel?
Your view of the world is infinitely smaller if you don’t. It makes you a more open-minded and well-rounded person. There’s just so much to see and experience that you can only learn by traveling.
 What famous person would you like to travel with?
Mila Kunis is my doppelganger and she just seems hilarious.
 Travel essentials – 3 things you always travel with.
Yoga pants, iPhone, and Abdominal Abe, this stuffed snowman my girlfriends and I mail back and forth Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants style.
 If you’re a foodie, what’s your favorite food city? Do you have a restaurant recommendation?
I gotta give it up to my hometown of Chicago. Staples are Portillo’s for hot dogs and Malnati’s for deep dish, but I like everything from hole-in-the-wall Asian like Tank Noodle to bucket-list worthy Michelin starred restaurants like Alinea and Next.
 What’s one location on your bucket list?
I haven’t been to Africa at all yet so I’m dying to do a safari or volunteer with the big cats.
 Do you have a piece of advice for bloggers starting out?
Have a point of view. The market is so oversaturated, you really have to make it crystal clear why people should care. Pick a memorable name you use to brand all your channels (I wish I had locked down my handle on Instagram years ago before it was taken…).
Lauren’s Lightning Round of Favorites
Mode of Transportation: Plane
City or Country: Thailand
Travel Gear: North Face
Travel snack: Goldfish
Movie: Hunger Games or Divergent
Song: Anything T. Swift
How about you? What would you like to know about Lauren?
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