Monica Stott is a travel blogger who runs The Travel Hack – one of the best travel blogs out there! I first came across Monica almost five years ago when I’d just discovered blogging and Twitter.
Last year, I got to meet her at an event in Leeds and despite such great online success, she’s remained incredibly down to earth and humble.
Monica has a real passion for travel and leads by example, even taking her one year old son George on trips around the globe with her. Anyone who leads by example is a leader in my book.
Monica, tell us about an experience that made you fall in love with travel.
I’ve always loved everything about travel – everything from the planning to the booking, packing and even going to the airport!
But the one experience that really made me love travelling was a trip I took to Jamaica when I was 19. Jamaica is a beautiful country but most people who visit end up staying in a 5* resort and rarely see much further than their private beach. We did something a bit different and stayed in eco lodges and tiny beach huts.
We hitch hiked to get around, ate at the street stalls where the locals cooked up the most amazing jerk chicken and really got to explore the country. It was such an amazing trip – especially when I was so young and everything was so new. After that trip I began saving for a long-term travel adventure. Two years later I went to South East Asia and I was truly bitten by the travel bug!
Do you have any trips planned for 2016 that you’re really looking forward to?
Most of my trips are pretty last minute so I don’t have too much organised for 2016. So far I’ve been to Valencia, Florida and I’m currently in Budapest so it’s been a pretty hectic year already. I’m really looking forward to spending some time chilling out at home!
I have lots of weekends away planned in the UK with some glamping trips to the countryside. I really love glamping and the British countryside is so beautiful that sometimes I don’t feel the need to go abroad.
I’m going skiing to Tignes next month too and it will be the first time my little boy will have been in the snow so I’m pretty excited for that!
What would you say to someone who is nervous about travelling solo?
If you have the choice between travelling solo or not travelling at all, which should you choose? Travelling solo can be scary but it’s much better than never living your dreams and visiting the places you’ve always wanted to see.
My number 1 tip is to make sure you’re super organised so that nothing can go wrong – that way you have nothing physical to be scared of. Now it’s just the mental fear of being alone which is probably the hardest thing to conquer. Start by having days out by yourself. Go shopping and go for lunch and you’ll probably have a fantastic time. Now imagine shopping and going for lunch in Paris and you’d have an even better time!
What do you think is the best way to introduce more discipline into one’s life?
Remember that you’re the only person responsible for your life. No one else is responsible for making you happy, for you having a successful career, for you being fit and healthy, for you making friends or anything else. It’s all on you. That sounds really scary but it’s true!
I think too many people blame others and blame external factors for things going wrong but the only thing that can make things right is you!
Thinking like this is definitely what helps me stay disciplined. When you work for yourself there is no one else to keep you in check so you have to be disciplined or you’d never make a living.