|Jekyll Island, Georgia (2011). Natalie with her husband Landon.
When did you first start traveling? When I was 2, I took a road trip from South Carolina to Florida to go to Walt Disney World.
How many countries visited? 11
Favourite Country? the UK
Best travel advice ever received? No matter if your experience is good or bad, you’ll still have some great stories!
Where are you now? Charleston, South Carolina
In-depth with Cosmos Mariners:
Please tell us a bit about who you are, what made you love travel?
I grew up traveling with my family—whenever my parents had a long weekend off from work, we were off some place! My parents carried my sister and I all over the place, so by the time I graduated from high school, I’d gone as far north as Prince Edward Island, Canada, as far south as the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, as far east as England, and as far west as California. I also moved around a lot during elementary school because of my dad’s job, and I loved the adventure of a new house, a new school, and new friends.
|Fresh Creek, Andros, Bahamas (2007). Natalie with her sister Amber.
As an adult, I travel part-time since my husband has a location-based job in finance that he loves. I have a background in teaching literature at the college level, though I left that three years ago to pursue my loves of freelance writing and travel blogging. I get restless if I don’t have new trips planned, so my travel blogging helps temper the wanderlust enough that my husband can deal with me when I’m not away!
How did you bring about Cosmos Mariners? What is it all about and to what type of traveller is it dedicated to?
Originally, Cosmos Mariners was started back in 2010 as a way to share my newlywed life with our family and friends who lived all over. I wrote about our travels, but it was just one of many things I talked about. In November 2013, I rebranded with the new Cosmos Mariners name and a more serious approach to blogging. By May 2014, I realized that I loved my travel posts more than any of the other lifestyle stuff I was writing, so I made the switch to strictly travel blogging—and I haven’t looked back!
Cosmos Mariners is a travel blog that combines my love of learning with my love of exploring the world. I tried very hard to be a professional student for a long time and went to law school and grad school before I figured I should do something with my life. Through my travel blog, I want to share the rich history, literary backgrounds, and culture of the places I visit—though, as I learned when I was teaching college Literature—it’s a thin line between sharing knowledge and boring people to death. Because of this, I don’t just list out facts and figures, and I try to infuse my literary and historical knowledge with humor and relevance. I hope that my readers are travelers who also want to learn!
From your favourite country mentioned above, what top experiences would you suggest cannot be missed? Either for the country as a whole or a town / city within it.
I’ve been to the UK 5 times in 10 years, and to say that I’m an Anglophile is putting it mildly. A study abroad stint in London was a major factor in my decision to get a graduate degree in British Literature.
|Trafalgar Square, London (2005)
If you’re visiting the UK, I’d highly recommend going to more than one area in it. The culture of Wales is vastly different than that in Scotland, and London has its own charms and traditions. People who aren’t from the UK are quick to lump all of it together, but doing so really undermines the history and social fabric there! Definitely spend time in the big cities like London, Liverpool, and Edinburgh, but get out into the country to explore the castles, abbeys, and gorgeous scenery, too.
Two / Three hints or tips for travellers wanting to travel to your favourite destination?
Make use of the public transportation. Like much of Europe, the UK has a great train system, and London’s Tube is very reliable. I didn’t have a car during my study abroad session—I exclusively used the bus, train, and Tube—and I never missed access to an automobile.
Do the touristy stuff. I know so many travelers shy away from doing the Top 10 type places when traveling, but the UK is packed with these culturally and historically important places—it would be a shame to miss out on visiting Hampton Court Palace, Edinburgh Castle, or the Tower of London just because they’re popular. Particularly in western history and literature, the UK has shaped our modern culture from the works of Shakespeare to the way we speak modern English (you can thank the Great Vowel Shift for that).
What's your funniest / most embarrassing thing that's happened to you while traveling?
When I was coming back from my study abroad experience in London, I was getting over a bad cold and couldn’t wait to get home. I decided to get a hotel room attached to the airport so I could get up very early for my flight and not worry about transportation. The hotel handed out a card to my room to other guests, so I had people try to come into my room at 3 the morning of my flight. Needless to say, I didn’t go back to sleep! I made my way down to the boarding area, only to find that there was mass chaos since my flight was overbooked. The airline attendants tried to bump me, but I refused since I wanted to go home RIGHT THEN. When I got up to the counter, I was told that my suitcase was over the kilo limit, but I had no clue what that meant (thanks America for not teaching the metric system like everyone else!). I got out of line, had to buy a new suitcase, and then had to transfer part of my clothes into a new bag in front of the other 400 people waiting in line. By the time I got on the plane, I was exhausted, stressed out, sick, and thinking, “What else could possibly go wrong!?!?!"
If you had just won the lottery, where would you travel to or what travel experience would you try?
Oh, this is SO hard because I have a ton of places that I want to go! I’d love to do a literary-based road trip around the UK, take a cruise to Antarctica, visit the French Polynesia, or see Eastern Europe. I’d also love to buy a condo on that cruise ship that continually circles the globe, so I could hop on and off whenever I wanted!
|Meet Natalie from Cosmos Mariners! - Zip lining in St. Maarten (2010)
For fellow bloggers/writers out there:
What advice would you give to start up bloggers?
Be patient. From the time that I got serious about blogging (in November 2013) to now has been a long, slow road, and I’m just beginning to see a substantial following and community grow up around my blog. There were nights where I thought I was just talking to myself and got very discouraged. Just know that with perseverance, patience, and consistence, your blog WILL grow!
We would like to thank Natalie for her time with this interview and you can catch more from her and her travels right here >