Coach, Trainer, Mentor: The Real Deal with Blogger Anna Lundberg
Tell us about yourself! What do you do when you’re not traveling the world? Where are you from? Where do you currently live?
Born to Swedish parents in the UK, I lived in England until the end of my undergraduate studies when I moved to Geneva, Switzerland, to continue my studies, after which I stayed on to work at Procter & Gamble for almost seven years.
A few years ago, I left the apparent security of my full-time job to work independently, pursue my passions, and make sure that I don’t have any big regrets when I’m sitting in that rocking chair in the retirement home in years to come.
Today, I’m designing a life that allows me to live according to my most important values: freedom, personal growth and development, and authenticity. I’m mentoring start-ups on how to build their brands and market their message to customers, I’m training new managers to become the leaders of the future, and I’m setting up my practice as a life coach to support other people on their personal journeys towards their most fulfilling lives. Coach, trainer, mentor.
As part of this process, I’m currently experimenting with travelling while working on my various projects – but not the usual two days here, two days there, rather a month in each place, allowing me to take things more slowly and get to know the people and the city a bit better. Last month, I was in San Francisco; this month in Honolulu; then I’m back to England to spend Christmas with my family, and then… let’s see!
What first inspired you to start your blog? Since then, which destinations have you covered?
I started my travel blog almost three years ago. I had decided to take a sabbatical from work and spend three months in South America, and I wanted to document it mainly for friends and family. I’ve always loved writing and I had been thinking about starting a blog, so this was a great opportunity as I knew I would have a lot of interesting experiences to share! I wrote and published every two days – a pace that I definitely haven’t kept up since – and it was a really nice way for me to process what I was seeing and feeling. As it turned out, it was not just a great way to keep my friends and family up to date with what I was doing but also a way to connect with strangers who began to discover the blog.
So I started with South America, covering my journey from Quito, Ecuador through Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. On returning from my trip, I continued to write and I’ve done so ever since. I write about all of my trips – Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, the US, as well as places closer to home in Europe like Sweden, UK, Italy.
What is the main purpose of your blog? Is there a message that you’re trying to convey to your readers?
While the purpose of the blog started out as a way of sharing my travel experiences, it’s become so much more than a personal diary. I quit my job in the middle of my sabbatical, and after returning from South America, I started to expand beyond travel writing, interviewing people who had quit their jobs to do something a little more unconventional and exploring broader topics like how to find your purpose, define your values, and live an authentic life. In fact, this has led directly or indirectly to my training to be a personal life coach, initially to find these answers for myself but now increasingly to support other people.
My core message now is that we each have a choice as to what we will do with our lives, and I hope that readers will be inspired to make that choice for themselves. This won’t always be easy but it’s what will ultimately allow you to live your most fulfilled life. As the saying goes, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is one step outside of your comfort zone” – and I hope to encourage people to take that one little step…
What gets you into the writing mode?
The biggest inspiration for my writing of course comes from the act of travel itself, with new destinations and perspectives giving rise to all sorts of blog post topics, both directly and indirectly. Some days, I’ll sit down and bash out a post in no time at all; other days, I’ll find that I’m completely stuck and uninspired – I’m not sure what drives that difference! A good solution is to have a few blog posts up your sleeve to allow you to maintain your regular blog schedule even when you haven’t had the necessary inspiration this particular week…
What are some exciting partnerships, connections, or opportunities that have come out of your blog?
I love hearing from friends and strangers alike that they can relate to what I’m writing, or that I’ve inspired them in some way to make a change for the better. Random connections on the site, including a couple that I’ve met up with in person, have been an unexpected consequence of my writing. My posts about particular destinations such as Malta and Pompeii have also been shared broadly by local tourist organisations. Most recently I was contacted by the organisers of an upcoming travel show who offered me a press pass along with discounted tickets to share with my followers, and I’m hoping there will be more of this kind of opportunity going forward.
Is your blog a business? If so, what are some of the ways that you monetize it?
To be honest, up until now I haven’t been looking at my blog as a business. I’m not interested in annoying my readers with lots of ads on the site, but going forwards I will definitely be looking at providing e-books and other resources, as well as promoting speaking engagements and workshops. I am also expanding the website to offer my new coaching services, so this will be another source of income linked indirectly to the blog.
What advice would you give to other women who are interested in launching a travel blog?
Start small and start writing. Write whatever you want and you’ll soon find out both what most interests you and what most interests your audience. In my case, I discovered that my packing lists – what to bring on your trip to South America, for example – drove the most traffic to my site, along with my “bucket list” post about things to do before you die. This, along with comments and shares on my different articles, has given me an indication of the kind of posts that my audience will most engage with.
The same goes for the technical side of things: I started with a free site on WordPress.com, moved onto a self-hosted website with WordPress.org and a premium theme, and I’ve recently just repositioned the site again with a new and more professional look and feel. It’s an evolution, so take one step at a time and learn along the way.