“The trick was to surrender to the flow.” – Phish
Who am I?
Hello! I’m Laura Nalin, a 28-year-old Pittsburgh native who has been living and working abroad since 2013. While participating in a travel writing program in Lima, Peru in 2010, I instantly became interested in the prospect of traveling long-term. After nearly seven years living in Chicago, I moved to Seoul, Korea in 2013, Auckland, New Zealand in 2016 and currently based in Saigon, Vietnam. I hope to inspire others who are interested in this lifestyle – anything is possible.
Why did I create this blog?
I started Willful and Wildhearted because I wanted to keep my friends and family back home up to date with my travels. Over time it has morphed into an informative space that enables me to write about my experiences dealing with expat life, travel tips and teaching English abroad while continuing to serve as a little corner of the internet for me to reflect and grow as a writer.
A bit about myself:
- I’ve been in a few food-related competitions including a spicy pepper challenge and tater tot eating contest
- I have an Advanced PADI Open Water Dive Certification
- I’ve been a vegetarian for nearly 20 years
- I have a deep appreciation for music and often make playlists related to my journeys
- I’ve been carrying hot sauce in my purse long before Beyonce sang about it
- I love the Pittsburgh Steelers more than most people love cat videos. I’ve brought my Terrible Towel with me to 11+ countries
- If I had to pick three bands to listen to on repeat for the rest of my life they’d probably be Bela Fleck, Feist and the Grateful Dead
- My favorite albums of all time are Paul Simon’s Graceland and Air’s Moon Safari
Get to know me through my writing:
- Why I started traveling, or how traveling changed my life
- Why it’s important to take risks
- What it’s like to go home after living abroad
- I didn’t like living in Korea. I hated it. Here’s why.
I’m an advocate for responsible travel:
- NGOs to support in Cambodia
- How to be a mindful traveler
- Help sex trafficking victims through ethical dining
I love taking photos everywhere I go:
- The temples of Bagan, Myanmar
- Exploring Northern Laos
- Feeling alive in Bangkok, Thailand
- Smiling through Jeollanam-do, Korea
- A lovely weekend in Hong Kong
- A day in Osaka, Japan
My goal is to create a space where people who are just as passionate about travel, expats themselves or those beginning an adventure abroad can feel welcome. With that said, I love meeting new people and would love to connect with anyone who is interested in writing for Willful and Wildhearted or has interest in hosting a guest blogging opportunity for yours truly.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or head over to my Contact page. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to hearing from you!