As a traveler who embraces the DIY mentality, I also realize that the do-it-yourself acronym doesn’t mean I have to pursue my personal goals or travel adventures alone. In fact, it’s because of an incredible community of strong, inspiring women that I am embracing my wanderlust and taking the leap to live abroad and follow my personal and professional dreams.

Being an introvert by nature, I’m grateful for the Wanderful women who have inspired me to get out of my comfort zone. If you are looking for like-minded women to keep you motivated, here are three bloggers you need to follow today!

Pola Henderson of Jetting Around

Image courtesy of Pola Henderson.

A Chicago-based traveler with a passion for bringing the travel community together, I began following Pola Henderson’s blog and weekly #JAchat Twitter chat after having the pleasure of awarding her a Greenheart Travel Volunteer Scholarship.

What inspires me about Pola is her energy and passion for creating a space for travelers to meet both online and offline. She reminds me that it’s important to seek out fellow travelers and DIY-ers and that talking about travel is a great way to meet people from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Here’s what inspired Pola to start blogging and how she avoids burnout:

Q: Why you were inspired to create Jetting Around and JA Media?

Travel and writing have been a part of my life since I was little. We traveled a lot as a family, thanks to dad’s engineering job, and I first got published at the age of 12. All that eventually led me to create Jetting Around.

JA Media is an extension of the blog and an umbrella for various projects (content writing, event management, photography). After working in marketing communications for a few years, I wanted to have a more flexible schedule and decided to go freelance.

Q: How do you balance working, traveling, and life in between without getting burnt out?

I burned out in my previous job, and I finally get to do what I love. Hopefully, that means I’ll never get tired of JA work! But it’s good to take a break sometimes — get off social media for a few days, or go on a trip without writing about it. You need to recharge to stay healthy and productive.

Q: Do you have a favorite blogger or traveler that is inspiring you at the moment? If so, could you share their name and blog site?

Now that I’m back on Instagram, I started following bloggers that are either based in Paris or visit often. It’s my favorite city, so I can’t get enough of photos! I enjoy posts from Norma of My Beautiful Paris, whom I got to meet in France last summer.

Pola soaks in the surroundings of her favorite city, Paris. Image courtesy of Pola Henderson.

Megan Arzbaecher of Traverse

Image courtesy of Megan Arzbaecher.

Megan describes herself on her blog as a “travel & fashion obsessed midwesterner living in Chicago and dreaming of the world.” As someone who is also pulled between many different passions, Megan’s blog has encouraged me to not limit my interests and personal writing pursuits to one specific niche.

Plus, her fashion sense is incredible, and who doesn’t love reading about food while traveling? Traverse has a great mix of travel, style, and personal posts that remind me that it’s important to embrace what we are passionate about in life.

I caught up with Megan to learn how she got started and who is inspiring her work at the moment.

Q: What first inspired you to start writing about your travels and fashion?

I’ve always loved writing, and it has come easily to me since I was young. Even though I’m an extrovert, talking about my travel experiences in person makes me uncomfortable. I prefer to write about them.

The first trip I ever blogged about was back in 2009 on a volunteer program in Ecuador. I thought it would be a really easy way to keep my family and friends in the loop about what I was doing rather than sending like 20 emails each day. It worked great, so I did it again on my Semester at Sea program and again when I interned in Chile.

It was after that last trip that I realized that blogging was something I really enjoyed doing. So that’s when I decided to turn it into a more regular part of my routine. Since I’m not always on the road, I wanted to write about other passions of mine, such as fashion and food. I started taking pictures of my outfits and writing about my local community. It’s really morphed into a big part of my personal identity.

Megan shows off one of her many ponchos inspired by her recent trip to Portland. Image courtesy of Megan Arzbaecher.

Q: How do you balance working, traveling, and life in between without getting burnt out?

I’m one of those freak-of-nature people who has more energy than I know what to do with. I’m not good with idle time; I’m not good at relaxing. I mentally punish myself if I’m not doing something “productive,” so blogging is a great outlet for me.

It’s a hobby I can do at home during my free time that still feels like I’m accomplishing something. Of course, there are weeks when I need a break, but, overall, it doesn’t burn me out. It’s something I need to stay sane!

Q: Do you have a favorite blogger or traveler that is inspiring you at the moment? 

I met Lauren Marinigh earlier this year at the Women in Travel Summit, and I’ve been following her travels ever since. I like that her blog Twirl the Globe is approachable and real. She doesn’t sugarcoat things, but is motivating at the same time. It’s been inspiring to watch her transform her blog into a more full-time, professional project without losing her authenticity. Plus, she’s a laid-back, cool girl in person!   

Candice Walsh of Free Candie

Image courtesy of Candice Walsh.

Years ago, I started reading Candice’s writing on Matador Network. Her laugh-out-loud sense of humor and honesty in her writing was refreshing, not to mention I felt like I could relate to her approach to travel experiences.

There is a very unpretentious tone to her work, and as a Lead Writing Faculty member for MatadorU, she is working to help other travelers share their adventures with a larger community.

I was a bit star-struck writing to her about this post and was excited to learn more about her new website launch and took some notes on her writing strategy.

Q: What first inspired you to start writing about your travels, and how has the launch of your new website, Free Candie, reflected your evolution as a blogger?

I’ve really been blogging since I was in high school, but through websites like livejournal and deadjournal. Travel blogging was never really meant to be anything other than just a fun way to document my travels, but then here we are!

When I started out as Candice Does the World, I had no idea it’d turn into a career. I guess back then I didn’t think too much about branding and names or images. I feel like Free Candie is a much more accurate representation of ME and my growth as a writer. I’m so happy to have a site that will grow with me.

Candice indulges in a little reading and exploring while in Potsdam. Image courtesy of Candice Walsh.

Q: How do you balance working, traveling, and life in between without getting burnt out?

It’s not easy! And I’m not even all that good at it, honestly. The problem with freelancing is that you always feel like you COULD be doing more. There are always more publications to pitch, more stories to write. I have a content and social media schedule I follow pretty strictly.

I usually don’t start working until the afternoon, and then I make sure to stop working by 9 PM. When I travel, I try to stay in one place for a long time…that way, I can thoroughly explore the area but still get my work done. It’s complicated — I don’t think anyone’s an expert.

Q: Do you have a favorite blogger or traveler that is inspiring you at the moment? If so, could you share their name and blog site? 

I have a pretty filled Feedly account with dozens of blogs, but I’m really happy that travel narrative and longer reads are becoming more of a thing again. I love storytellers, like Jodi from Legal Nomads and Candace from The Great Affair.

Trying to pick just a handful of women to highlight for this post was no easy task, and the Wanderful community is an amazing place to start building an online (or offline) supportive network. More than ever, we need to celebrate courageous and strong woman and cheer on those who are working to get out of their comfort zones and pursue their dreams.

Who inspires you to go after your dreams? Share in the comments below, so we can all find and follow these inspiring women!

Image by Jill Robinson.