Izzy Pulido: Travel Blogger
Izzy Pulido spent 3 years as an expat in Asia with stints in South Korea as an ESL teacher and a sojourn in Vietnam as a freelance travel writer for the Vietnam Tourism Board. During her time abroad, she founded a beautifully designed travel blog, which is how we connected. She’s also lived in Thailand (2008) and Italy (2011).
Recently, she’s relocated to the US where she’s started a career in the higher education field while continuing to travel and maintain her passion project, The Next Somewhere. With nearly 50 countries under her belt, it’s safe to say Izzy has a bad bad case of wanderlust!
Where are you from?
I’m a Bostonian by way of the Philippines, proudly sporting the hyphenation “Filipino-American.”
Where are you living?
How was the transition back to the US after years of living in Asia?
As with every transition, there are ups and downs. This wasn’t my first rodeo of readjusting to life in the USA and so culture shock wasn’t an issue this time around.
However, two months into my return, the reality that there was a price to pay for my absence started to set in. I was naïve to think that I would return home to solid relationships and similar routines, that I could just reinsert myself to a world of comfort and security that I left behind in 2014.
The readjustment of working a 9-to-5 job in a culture that values presenteeism (i.e. working hard and long hours for the sake of appearance) was a huge difference to my freelance lifestyle in Vietnam where I did things at my own pace. Navigating this new social terrain really began to take a toll on my mental and physical health.
Needless to say, it wasn’t easy but I’m thankful that I came home when I did because it helped me recognize that my health and relationships are my first priorities. My fiancé Tim has been my rock throughout this process.
The world will always be out there for me, but for now, I have to reset my batteries.
What does travel mean to you?
Travel is as much of an inward journey as it is an outward one. I travel to discover new parts of the world, different ways of living, varieties of worldviews, and in light of all this learning, I unlock new things about myself or reaffirm what I already know is true about who I am. I travel to collect experiences and to gain knowledge.
Talk to us about your blog.
The Next Somewhere Blog is more of a digital journal than a traditional travel blog. It was born out of a desire to document and remember my travels.
In late 2015, as I was about to embark on a 7-month backpacking excursion around Asia, I started the blog. The Next Somewhere is now a two-year-old treasury of my travel-related thoughts. I create infographics for cities I’ve visited, compile lists of favorite travel goods, draw up recipe cards for different foods I’ve tasted abroad, and also let friends and family have a forum to share their adventures. I am so deeply humbled and appreciative of those who read it in their spare time.
How do you balance a full-time job with blogging?
To be honest, I am still struggling to carve out time for the blog amidst the demands of a full-time job. But blogging to me is more than a hobby; it’s a method to cope with my anxiety. In 2018, I am trying to reframe blogging as a habit–post a new entry once a week, write for thirty minutes a day–so that the blog doesn’t feel like this tedious obligation.
But there are also different facets of blogging that non-bloggers can’t see, such as creating a community with other bloggers, responding back to readers, and managing social media channels, that also take up time and energy.
What are the top 5 places you’ve visited?
- Kathmandu, Nepal: A collective, palpable spirituality surges in the air, blanketing the whole country with an element of oneness. All the Nepali we encountered on our trip were so compassionate and genuine.
- Marrakesh, Morocco: There's a rich quality to the motion of life in Morocco. People watching here is a must.
- Istanbul, Turkey: Istanbul is one of those places where you can expect to be surprised at every turn with the endless amounts of things to do, eat, and see.
- Taipei, Taiwan: The best thing about Taiwan is its people. They are the nicest people I've ever met on my travels. And don't even get me started on Taiwan's street food culture! Simply the best.
- Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Visiting Sarajevo made me appreciate the beauty of the Islamic faith. The city is built across hills, so you can travel to different points in and see Sarajevo from different vantage points.
What has traveling taught you?
Travel is the greatest teacher in life. It exposes your strengths and weaknesses, it shows you the importance of self-sufficiency, but also teaches us to rely on and trust others. Traveling has taught me that there is always something to learn. After a trip, I am always so exhausted from everything I’ve absorbed, but I always feel fuller knowing what has been gained.
Any travels coming up?
I began the year with a jaunt around Spain, eating my fill of tapas and learning how to whip up the perfect paella. Up next in April is a trip through the Baltics by way of Sweden where I will be trying my hand at Swedish with the locals, sleeping in haunted houses in Estonia, bungee jumping out of cable cars in Latvia and hitting my 50 country milestone in Lithuania!
Also, Mexico is on my mind this year for personal reasons and I am thrilled by the prospect of traveling deeper into this rich, wildly colorful culture.
Who’s your hero (and why)?
I’ve realized I want to be exactly like my parents. I learned compassion through their weaknesses and love through their selflessness. They gave their children the two best gifts a parent could give: roots and wings. To have an anchor (my mother) to keep me grounded and vision (from my father) to make me soar, makes them heroes in my eyes.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“If you limit yourself only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.” - Anaïs Nin
Anytime I feel dissatisfied with where I am in life, I ask if I’m challenging myself enough, what I’ve settled on, and try to remove all the things that are limiting me, and I feel so much lighter in the wake of this process of reflection.
What’s your definition of success?
Success is living your truth. It’s as simple as that. I want to live a life filled with integrity, of following my moral compass, of pursuing my bliss. I’ve lost a lot of sleep trying to live up to other people’s expectations and I refuse to waste any more time running someone else’s marathon. Because of this definition, I wake up feeling successful every day!