Travel and Lifestyle Blogger Annette White Shares Her Bucket List Journey

Travelling is good for everybody. We all know that, but some people not only travel to see new places and discover new things. For travel and lifestyle blogger Annette White, it’s also important to learn more about herself.

Read on and learn how Annette got into travelling, how she travels and what she has learned through her bucket list journey and serial adventures (including her best advice for new adventurers and travellers).

Travel Blogger Annette White

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Hello! I’m Annette, the author of Bucket List Adventures, co-owner of Sugo Trattoria, a serial adventurer and creator of the award winning travel blog, Bucket List Journey. I am from the little town of Petaluma in Northern California and my passion is for checking the world off my bucket list one experience at a time.

How and why did you get into traveling?

My first overseas trip was many years ago, when I was just 16 years old, but it has just been only in the last five years that I have racked up 40 of my 45+ countries. Before that, I had always had a curiosity of the world, but was too afraid to get out there and explore it. There was one specific day that I made myself a promise to never let fear make my decisions for me and since then I have been keeping that promise! My first trip after that one when I was a teen was actually back to Italy and I prepared by doing way too much research and over planning. I spent countless hours looking for hotels, the best restaurants and coolest attractions. It was a great trip, but not as relaxing as I would have liked.

Travel Blogger Annette White

Why is traveling important for you?

I travel to have an authentic experience that my imagination could have never possibly conceived. I travel to encounter places so beautiful that a sense of peace overcomes me. I travel because of a pure fascination with the world and desire to get to know it better. But, mostly I travel to learn, not only about the places I visit and people I meet, but also about myself. Navigating the world has been an empowering experience and not only have I taken away countless memories, but also gained a lot of confidence in myself.

Many brushes with nature are brief escapes from an otherwise stressful day; you may pause for a moment to look out your office window at an afternoon rainbow or spot a deer in the fields across from your child’s school. For an instant, the accidental encounter energizes and calms you at the same time, but you may not be sure why. Connecting with nature means more than simply getting a little fresh air, rather it has the potential to make us aware of an existence bigger than the latest Apple product, and possibly even ourselves. The world is an incredible collage of natural plants, animals, and landscapes—filled with unforgettable places organically created.

Something spiritual happens when you are connecting with nature and experiencing wildlife. There’s nothing quite like witnessing the peacefulness of a mother baboon cuddling her child in a Ngorongoro crater, the soothing sound of the rushing water of the Iguazu Falls in South America, or being amongst the stillness of the giant redwoods along the California coast. These experiences can spur creativity, bring happiness, relieve stress, and cause you to look at the world with a sense of awe.

Traveling gives you many opportunities to be among animals and consciously connect with them in their natural environment, not at a zoo or animal park. Look for places that allow you to interact with dolphins in the wild, participate in turtle protection programs, and spot birds in natural habitats; visit national parks, sanctuaries, and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Feel the grass beneath your feet, catch snowflakes in your mouth, or climb to the top of a deserted mountain.

What has been the best parts of your travels?

I have been fortunate to have had many amazing experiences around the world. A few of my favorites were going on an African safari in Tanzania, swimming in a lake filled with a million jellyfish in the Micronesian country of Palau, sleeping in the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan and kayaking with the beluga whales in Manitoba.

What has been the most difficult parts?

Traveling to and from the destination is the most difficult part for me. My fear of flying combined with jet lag and long lines is a little bit tiring, especially the older I get. With that said, when you are doing something you are passionate about, all the hardships are totally worth it. Experiencing a culture, participating in a tradition or standing in front of a site most have only seen in a book trumps any difficulties of getting to the destination.

How do you eat and sleep on the road?

Being that I am a restaurant owner and chef, I love to visit the local markets, dine on traditional street food and in the hottest restaurants. It is rare that I would prepare my own meal while traveling unless I am taking a cooking class.

I typically sleep in a guesthouse or hotel while traveling, unless it enhances the experience to do otherwise. For instance, while in Wadi Rum desert in Jordan we step in Bedouin-style tents and while on safari in Serengeti we glamped in the middle of the park surrounded by wild animals.

Travel Blogger Annette White

What are your best advice for new adventurers and travelers?

My advice would be don’t put travel off because you think you may not be able to do everything you want to on the trip due to your financial situation. There are so many experiences around the world that are free. One of the most memorable for me was witnessing the Call to Prayer in front of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Powerful and totally free. Most cities also have cheap street food, economical hostels and free attractions. You can always revisit a city when you are more financially secure and have a totally different experience.

Another piece of travel advice would be to always comparison shop when it comes to booking flights and hotels. Never settle for the pricing on just one website! You can start with checking directly on the airline and hotels homepage, but venture beyond this and you’ll be surprised how much you can save.

Also, even if you can not afford to travel out of the state or country, you can always start by exploring what’s in your own backyard. I have been fascinated by what exists less than an hour drive from my home!

Travel Blogger Annette White

How do you prepare for your adventures and travels?

I start by doing a lot of research and then creating the perfect itinerary using Evernote. It is usually a mix of adventure and culture with lots of room for unexpected experiences. As far as keeping in shape, I do exercise on a regular basis at home because traveling to many destinations requires being physically fit. Plus while I am on the road, when it is feasible, I will always choose to walk and take stairs so I can keep my fitness level up even when I am not able to go to the gym.

How do you finance your adventures and travels?

In the beginning, my travels were funded by savings and choosing budget destinations. I also redefined my definition of travel. It didn’t have to mean a two-week international vacation, it could mean a weekend getaway close to home.

Now, there are two things that help support my travels:

The first is my blog, Bucket List Journey. I make money through advertisements, product reviews and earning commissions through affiliate programs. Plus, I partner with many different companies and tourism boards who sponsor my travel. Secondly, my husband and I own a successful Italian restaurant in Northern California that gives me a degree of financial freedom. With that said, we have worked diligently for the past several years in order to set it up to fit around my traveling lifestyle.

Let me also say that I believe that some of the reasons I can afford traveling is because it is what I choose to be able to afford, it is what I am truly passionate about. I would forgo designer clothes, fancy coffee or a manicure any day of the week if it were in exchange for a memorable experience.

Travel Blogger Annette White

How do you balance normal life with traveling?

I travel about 30% of the time, approximately ten days per month and it is my normal life. My goal is to bridge the gap between travel life and home life, so they are not two separate entities but just my lifestyle.

When I travel, the thing I miss most about home is the pillows on my bed! There’s nothing like a good down pillow.

What inspired you to write your book?

Writing a book (this book) had always been on my bucket list, so I knew that I wanted to do it at some point. There just never seemed to be enough time to whip out 70,000 words! It wasn’t until a publisher contacted me and offered a book deal that I just couldn’t refuse. This was the push I needed.

Writing a book was the hardest thing I ever had to do. Because I am a blogger, everybody assumed it would be easy for me. But, blogging and book writing are two totally different beasts. The most difficult part was all the research that was involved in order to make certain the facts and figures were correct.

What has been your best adventuring purchase below $100?

One of my most used items is my Joby GorillaPod. It is a compact tripod for my Canon 6D that has bendable legs and can wrap around trees or stair railings. It’s perfect when I need to take selfies for my blog, but there’s no one around to take them.

What other favorite gear do you have?

My other favorite gear is my Lowepro ProTactic backpack, GoPro, Beats headphones and Humangear Gotoobs.

Travel Blogger Annette White

What will the future bring?

Of course, there will be lots more travel in the future — Antarctica, New Zealand and Peru are all on the list. As far as gear goes, I am always on the look out for things that are smaller, lighter and more compact!

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