It’s such a small world, you guys. Let me give you the funny story of how I came upon this interview. Sometime before the summer of 2016, I went out with some friends to some random club in Chicago. Long story short, we met these guys and eventually exchanged numbers before going our separate ways. Like most reasonable human beings in a club, I’m sure none of us really had the intention of actually keeping in touch. It just seemed natural, if not obligatory, after a night pleasant but trivial conversation being shouted over the bass lines.
Well, a few weeks later I’m checking Snapchat and I notice the guy I met was in Spain. Since I was still preparing for my own move to Madrid, I reached out to him just to ask how long he’d be there. Just a few weeks, he said. It was a like camp or workshop or something of the sort. After that we went for months without another conversation. Fast forward to December. I make an Instagram post about the surprising success of my blog, and he comments about how he happens to have one, too. Cool. I check it out and I’m thoroughly impressed. I like the content, the layout, and even the merchandise, but I never mention anything about my research to him. Less than week later, he messages me asking if I’d be willing to do an interview for his site.
An interview? Who, me? That sounds pretty legit. Am I even interesting enough for that type of thing? Lbvs.
Well, obviously I accepted, and a few days later I officially had my first interview published for Ciao, Chicago! Here are a few excerpts from the post….
Gerald: Your website did numbers in 2016, you had over 80,000 views. Can you tell our readers about your website? When did you launch Ciao, Chicago!
Lauren: Before I launched my site I was researching the program I’m with now in Madrid. I found dozens of blogs, but the authors…well, didn’t look like me. I wanted the read the perspective and experience of people living abroad as the minority. I wanted to see someone with my brown skin and kinky hair doing exactly what I wanted to do. I couldn’t find one, so I decided to make it myself. I believe it was November 2015 when I launched Ciao, Chicago! I called it that because ciao means both hello and goodbye in Italian, so it symbolizes my departure and eventual return to the city. The blog is centered on my experiences traveling the world (with a special focus on all things Chicago) and tips on working abroad, budget travel, and learning languages. I also write lifestyle and ranting blogs, one of which recently went viral. In fact, “People Who Can’t Travel With Me” might be responsible for half of my views alone!
Gerald: Faith is deciding to take action even when you don’t see immediate success. How does your faith play a role in your endeavors?
Lauren: Everything that I’m doing now is because I stepped out on faith. Like I said, I quit a full-time job to move over here to Spain. I left my favorite community of Hyde Park, left my friends of 10+ years, paused my plans for graduate study (for now, at least). Why? Because I trusted that God gave me a passion to travel for a reason, and that this door wouldn’t have been open if I wasn’t supposed to go through it. I’m very big on energy; I trust signs and follow instinct. Everything about moving to Spain at the time felt right, so I leapt. Now I’m here and I honestly couldn’t be more grateful.
Gerald: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Lauren: Yikes, I’m not sure honestly. I’ve been doing this “living on faith” thing so much that I’ve kind of stopped planning ahead lol. Currently I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate traveling into my career. I would love to somehow create an opportunity to teach Chicago kids about the importance of travel and language learning. I’ve also started painting again and I want to use my art to tell my stories. But my first real passion is neuropsychology; so maybe starting a PhD program is in my near future?
To read more of my interview with Gerald Jackson, click here!
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