Meet the travel bloggers: Brooke vs the world

This week Meet the Travel Bloggers “talks” to travel blogger Brooke Schoenman of Brooke vs. the World.

When, why and how did you start your travel blog?
I started blogging ages ago. Actually, when I first started my site it was a static website (non-blog) – unbelievable! I knew I was about to take a massive trip and I wanted to document the journey and inspire others in the process.

travel blogger Brooke Shoenman at Troy photo courtesy Brooke Schoenman

Brooke at Troy, photo/courtesy Brooke Schoenman

How did you get that name and what does the name mean to you?
Brooke vs. the World is what it says. I planned to take on the entire world one country at a time.  More than that, I guess it was my declaration that I planned to do something big, which at the time of deciding on the name, was going against the grain of “normal” back home. No one I knew traveled, and I had a good job. Leaving to roam around and be a “bum” was unheard of.

What’d the thing that keeps you the most jazzed about blogging?
My favorite part of blogging is getting the email from a reader that has just made the decision to travel – for the first time, solo, to a certain place – because they read my writing. If I could pay the bills with THAT, my life would be complete.

You’re based in Australia now. Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from Peoria, Illinois.

How does having that as your base affect your travels?
It makes travel a lot harder and much more expensive. I miss the days of $800 round-trip fares to Europe. To get to the US or Europe from Australia is no quick hop, and the price tag is enough sometimes to make you faint.

What excites you most about travel?
Probably the feeling of freedom, and the anticipation I have for arrival. I travel to places that are not so luxurious, so the draw is usually something more of a visual and cultural curiosity.

travel blogger Crossing the border from Kyrgyzstan to China photo courtesy Brooke Schoenman

Brooke crossing the border from Kyrgyzstan to China, photo/courtesy Brooke Schoenman

What kind of traveler are you?
I used to be a budget backpacking traveler, completely, but now I’m more about value. On a recent trip, I could have flown to Kyrgyzstan in economy for around $1100 on an airline I didn’t know well at all. Instead, I bought double miles and booked business class flights, with a stopover in Turkey on the way, for about $400 more. Yes, it cost more, but it was MUCH better value.

On the road, do you seek out some experiences more than others?
My most exciting moments when I travel usually come when I get to have face-to-face conversations with locals. In those moments, when we get to ask each other questions, I learn more than I could imagine about a culture and a country.

Part of the reason I loved taking immersive one-on-one language lessons is because I get the opportunity to ask my teachers anything and everything under the sun.

travel blogger  Kashgar, China photo courtesy Brooke Schoenman

Brooke standing in the busy Kashgar, China street, photo/courtesy Brooke Schoenman

Is being in your comfort zone important to you?
My whole goal of travel is to get outside my comfort zone. But then when I do it, I always freak out and say, “How did I get here?!” I am a person who jumps into the deep end and then regrets it, but then does it all over again!

The most out of my comfort zone experience was living with a Kyrgyz host family in Bishkek for seven weeks. I didn’t speak Russian yet (was only learning) and had never been to Kyrgyzstan before. It was a lot of extra stress added on to my day that’s for sure!

What’s your most memorable travel experience or favorite trip ever and why?
A dinner in rural Mongolia rings a bell as being disastrous – for my boyfriend especially. One night, a local woman in a ger {editor’s note, a yurt} cooked us dinner. It was handmade noodles. The title of that dish was taken literally. She made it and dished it out with her bare hands – hands that were not something I would remotely describe as clean. We were in a place with no running water, and no toilets. Earlier in the day, she had picked up animal feces and prepared a dung fire for us, with her bare hands. When she was then dishing out our noodles with her bare hands, I couldn’t eat, and neither could the two friends with us. My boyfriend decided to take the hit, and he ate most of his noodles. It was not surprising that he had to get up at 3am with bad stomach troubles.

What’s your favorite place on earth?
Cedar Point in Ohio. It’s a theme park with the best roller coasters in the world. I swear, I should do marketing for them because I just love them so much! If I lived in the States, I’d make it a goal to visit every summer.

Where are you off to next?
I’m heading to the US on Nov 14th, stopping over in Hawaii before the mainland, to visit family.  After that, I think my boyfriend and I might be spending the following summer in Europe – but it’s still early days.

travel blogger Chinese ice cream photo courtesy Brooke Schoenman

Brooke with red bean ice cream in China, photo/courtesy Brooke Schoenman

What’s the biggest fantasy on your bucket list and why?
I don’t have a bucket list per se. I do know that I’d like to visit more former Soviet countries, and Georgia (the country) is definitely next on my list. The food there is delicious, and did you know it is the birthplace of wine?

Brooke Schoenman is an independent, passionate traveler. She shares her personal experiences and advice on emerging destinations and living abroad around the world. Her work has been featured in numerous online publications from BBC Travel to BootsnAll to World Nomads. She now makes her living as a freelance writer/blogger. Catch more of her work on her blog, Brooke vs. the World, or on Twitter and Facebook.

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3 Responses to “Meet the travel bloggers: Brooke vs the world”

  1. Adam Sommer
    November 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Peoria IL! Wow, never would’ve guessed. I’m actually heading there soon for the new Catepillar Visitor’s Center they opened recently (my son loves tractors)!
    Adam Sommer recently posted..Nashville, TN: Family Friendly EatsMy Profile

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