Ladies We Love is an interview series with women from around the world that provide us inspiration through their travels and their personal stories. This week we got to know blogger Charlotte Louise of LuluEscapes.com.
You may already know Charlotte from reading her articles here on WeAreTravelGirls.com. Charlotte was one of our first contributors when we launched We Are Travel Girls in 2016, starting with an article First Time In The Big Apple. Since then Charlotte has gone on to contribute articles about Ibiza, Fez, Lisbon, Venice, Madrid, Philippines, Lanzarote and Paris, and is now one of our Senior Contributors. Charlotte recently visited Lausanne on her first press trip representing We Are Travel Girls, and also recently quit her corporate job in Paris, so we are excited to follow her adventures as she embarks on a six-month, solo trip starting in Australia. We asked Charlotte 11 questions about travel, blogging and her decision to leave Paris to see more of the world.
I’m half English half French born and raised in London. During my teenage years I grew up in Ibiza and then I moved to Madrid to study for my law degree for five years. When I graduated the job market wasn’t great in Spain so I moved back to London and studied for two more years to qualify as an English lawyer. I worked in-house for a year and a half for an English telecom start-up and then decided to move to Paris. My dad is originally from Paris and I had never lived in France so it was only natural for me to move to the French capital.
After living in different countries and travelling so much I decided to start my travel blog Lulu Escapes to share all my travel tips and to hopefully inspire every one to travel to the beautiful destinations I go to. It was also the perfect way to do something more creative alongside my job. In addition to travel, I’m a big foodie, I love all kind of sports and I really enjoy reading and writing in my spare time.
2. You have just made the leap from the corporate world and are heading on a travel adventure for the next few months. Tell us a bit more about what led to this move and your upcoming travel plans.
For the past months I had been really tired and bored with my job as legal counsel for a luxury hotel in Paris. The company itself was fantastic and I loved working with my colleagues but it just wasn’t satisfying enough for me. I kept finding it harder and harder to get up each morning to go to work. I had lost motivation and breaking up with my boyfriend was the real ice breaker. I had been wanting to take a few months off to travel for years but never found the right time to do it. This seemed liked the perfect opportunity for me.
I’m turning 30 this year and I knew that if I didn’t do this trip now then maybe this opportunity wouldn’t present itself again. So I told my boss I was leaving end of December and I booked my flight to Australia. I only had over a month to plan my trip, finish work, leave my apartment and take all my personal things back home to London. It was a very stressful month for me and I kept wondering if I had made a silly decision. Anyway, I went through with it and I’m now currently enjoying the summer life in Australia where I’ll be exploring the country for 2 months. After I’m planning to go to India, Sri Lanka and the whole of South East Asia. I don’t have a fixed plan as I’m going with the flow and want to be free to go wherever I want and whenever I want so do stay tuned :)
I will start by saying that I do not like all inclusive resorts or staying in the big chain hotels (unless they have something really special about them) or travelling to destinations that are dominated by tourists, especially places where tourists do not tend to integrate or respect the environment and the local customs… I try to travel to destinations that are up and coming and not too popular – which is extremely hard nowadays, especially with Instagram. It amazes me how some destinations have become “instafamous” – think Santorini, Cappadocia, Positano, etc.
These are all places I’ve been wanting to go to for years but it kind of puts me off when everyone goes to the same pace at the same time. Makes me wish I had gone there a long time ago… I generally tend to go off track and follow my own path so that I can enjoy each place when it’s less busy. I’m currently in Exmouth in Western Australia and there’s literally hardly any tourists and I go to beaches where I’m all on my own and these are the moments that I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to travel and live my dreams. I’m also a big fan of boutique hotels and trendy restaurants that use seasonal local products. So that is overall what you will find on my blog and social media: a mixture of unique destinations, from paradisiacal beaches and islands to stunning cities and snowy mountains. I believe that we live in a beautiful world and that there are so many gems still to be discovered so hopefully I will be your point of reference if these are the kind of destinations you’re looking for too.
4. What were your favourite destinations that you visited in 2017 and why?
This is always a hard question because I love all the places I visit. I find that each country always has something wonderful to offer. But, off the top of my head, the first destinations that come to my mind are the Philippines, Venice and Chefchaouen. The islands in the Philippines are absolute paradise and there are still many untouched places to enjoy. Venice is one of a kind and I had been dreaming about going there for years – it’s so romantic and you can eat really well like most places in Italy. I only spent a day in Chefcahouen but it was enough to mesmerise me by its beautiful blue rinsed houses and buildings.
5. What’s on your bucket list?
Every destination I haven’t been to yet! In addition to all the countries I shall be visiting int the next 6 months, my major bucket list destinations are French Polynesia, Antartica and Kenya. 7. What have you learned from your travels to date?
I have so many funny ones but for some reason the first one I can think of was when my best friend and I travelled to Lapland in Finland and went on a husky sled tour. It was night time and we were hoping to see the Northern Lights and share a magical moment together. Instead it was snowing so the sky was not clear enough to see the Northern Lights and on top of that the dogs must have just had a rich dinner because they didn’t stop farting as they ran and pulled us along. I was in front row and couldn’t believe it!! This made the excursion even more memorable and it makes me laugh so much every time I think back on it, even if it wasn’t so funny at the time…
7. What have you learned from your travels to date?
You learn so much from travelling and that’s what’s so wonderful about it. It reminds me to appreciate the things I have in life , especially when I travel to less developed countries. We can easily forget how fortunate we are when we get wrapped up in our daily routines… It has taught me to be open minded and to respect local customs and cultures. Every trip teaches me something new as a human being and I find that it’s one of the most enriching experiences in life.
8. How did you get started in travel blogging?
I have always travelled a lot and was lacking a creative side with my job. I had always wanted to do my own thing but was never quite sure what to do so starting my own travel blog seemed to be the best option as I could start it whilst still working and earning a living which would give me the patience to let it grow. One of my friends started her own fashion blog so this really pushed me to start my own blog but travel related as this is what I’m most passionate about in life. It even got to a point that many of my friends would ask me if I was still working as I was always on the go and they always ask me for my travel tips. So having my own travel blog was the perfect way to combine everything and have one place for everyone to go and get the information they need.
The most important piece of advice I can give is just to start. We all have amazing ideas and then tend to let them slip away because we don’t feel that we have what it takes to do it and that’s a shame. Yes, running a blog is a lot of work and you should be prepared for that but you’ll learn as you go along so you must start!! There are so many online resources to help you move forward. I use Squarespace and they have lots of guidance on their website. The other really important thing is to network as it’s by speaking with and meeting other people that you will get inspired and learn a lot.
I am a big fan for groups that are dedicated to inspire and empower women and that’s what I love about We Are Travel Girls. It’s a great platform for women to share their travel knowledge and personal experiences and is a great place to connect with other like-minded female passionate travellers. As senior contributor for WATG, I’m so happy to share my travels with this wonderful community and to inspire women to travel as much as possible.
11. Finally, of course we have to ask – who is your favourite Ryan Reynolds or Ryan Gosling?
Is Leonardo Di Caprio an option because he’s my ultimate favourite?! If not, then I will have to choose Ryan Gosling… Obviously, that’s not a bad second choice :)