We all love to get away, but what if traveling became your full-time job? It’s something many dream of, but few accomplish. Vancouver-based travel blogger Trish Friesen of TripStyler.com gave up her desk job in 2010, and she’s never looked back. We sat down with her to talk travel, style and overcoming the fear of flying.
When did you first catch the travel bug?
I really got the travel bug in university. I went to a small school in BC and there were a lot of study abroad options. So while I was there I did a development class in the Dominican Republic, I did a media class in New York, and I took an international business course in China. And I was hooked. After university, I went off on my own sort-of program of learning about the world. I went to Europe twice, and from there on in I was traveling every few weeks. And I had met my husband by then, who also had a similar love of travel, so we were just off to the races.
How often do you travel?
I travel every two weeks. I find that in the winter, fall and spring I travel a lot more internationally, whereas in the summer it tends to be closer to home. A few years ago I realized that I was traveling all over the world, but people would always ask me about Canada, and I didn’t have that first hand experience. So my husband and I set out on a mission to get to know the country better. One of my favorite places here is Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver island. You can go surfing, or storm watching, it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth.
What’s the best trip ever you’ve ever taken?
There’s a special place in my heart for Bonaire, it’s almost inexplicable. Sometimes you go to a place and it just grabs you. I went with my husband and we’ve been plotting our return ever since. Normally I love the urban side of destinations, you know, restaurants and shopping. Bonaire is different, it’s focused on nature, and it’s just so stunning. The other place I love is Palm Springs, because I love Mid Century Modern design, and living in Vancouver means it’s just a two-hour flight. I cannot get enough of the furniture shops, the vintage hotels the old school Hollywood vibe. It’s my happy place.
How many countries have you visited?
I actually have no idea how many countries I’ve been to, I’ve stopped counting! I prefer to count cities. I find that when I go to a country I get so obsessed with it that I get into exploring all the different cities.
What place is next on your bucket list?
Any Scandinavian country, I haven’t been and I’m dying to get there. They just do it right over there. I follow lots of Scandinavian design and fashion blogs, I know I’m putting it on a pedestal, but I think it’s with good reason. I fear I may want to move there.
I’ve heard you’re afraid of flying, is that true?
I remember taking my first plane trip – to Disneyland in grade 4. I can remember every detail, I was so petrified!
Since then I’ve done a lot of travel, and I believe in the saying ‘Practice makes Perfect’. At first I considered drinking heavily before flights but I realized early on that was a stupid idea. Now, I like to get to the airport early and gather my thoughts before I get on the plane.
Are you a good packer?
I used to be a crazy indulgent over-packer, but when I started Trip Styler, I made the commitment to travel light and with style, so for the last five years I’ve only traveled with carry on. Even if I’m away for a month. I pack light by making a list of at least five days’ worth of clothes and I match that with my itinerary. I also look at the weather, which is absolutely imperative for packing light. It sounds complicated but it only takes me 10 minutes. Lastly, I always keep my toiletries and my tech stuff fully loaded and ready to go.
Is the job as glamorous as it sounds?
Sometimes it is. A few months ago I was trekking in the golden triangle in Thailand and eating at Michelin-starred restaurants in Hong Kong. But sometimes I end up being the one staying over the smelly kitchen vent at a hotel. I’ve traveled so much that I’ve seen everything.
What’s your best kept travel secret?
I always keep a small arsenal of products in my purse when I travel so I’m ready for any situation. My sky-vival kit includes: sanitizing wipes, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, lip stain, YSL Touche Éclat, and protein bars in case I get a hunger pang or arrive at my destination late and nothing is open.
What’s next for Trip Styler?
With travel, I think I’ve found the thing that really makes my heart race. On this journey I’ve had all these opportunities – working as an Expedia View Finder, or writing for Fodor’s. I’m still as passionate as the day I started, which shows I’m on the right path. Also, I just launched a store on my website – for the last 4 years I’ve been gathering unique finds with the help of locals and now they’re available to buy. I’m always thinking of ways of making it fresh and new and fun.