Not Your Average Gals are kickass, blazing-their-own-path, independent-minded, free-thinking, kind-hearted and all around wonderful humans beings. We learn a lot about ourselves and the people we choose to look to for inspiration or friendship. I’m excited to introduce you to some of them.
Ladies and gents, it is my distinct pleasure to introduce you to our first (!) Not Your Average Gal: Hannah Logan. I originally started following her on Instagram and then kept up with her blog on the regular because they are so incredibly helpful for travel. (Plus, you need to see her quarantine Tik Toks.)
As a woman who has been called nearly every name in the book because I am not stick thin, I admired how much she promoted just loving your own body, as you are. It gave me a lot of confidence to travel to SE Asia, where my boobs just laugh at the options for even t-shirts. Hannah is hands down one of my favorite writers and I’m so happy that you’ll get to meet her.
What’s your passion–the thing that makes you a Not Your Average Gal?
My two biggest passions are travel and writing which I have managed to merge. But today, when more people are working online and blogging than ever before, I don’t think that really makes me stand out. I think what differentiates me from so many other young women in the blogging and travel industry is my appearance. Travel bloggers have become synonymous with white, slim, bikini wearing girls with perfect makeup and twirly dresses. Which is so not me.
I’m a plus size travel blogger which, in itself, goes against the norm. Plus, while I love pretty dresses, they don’t fit my travel style. I pride myself on showing and telling the honest reality of travel. For every Instagram photo I share of me in a dress, I have twenty more of me in leggings and a t-shirt with a ponytail or a messy bun. I’ll be the first to tell you about how gorgeous a destination is, but I won’t shy away from telling you if the food made me sick, or about that time I missed the train, or if I was sexually harassed. I’m all about empowering everyone, especially women, to travel but I pride myself on being honest and telling it straight. Travel is amazing, but it isn’t pretty or perfect.
When did you start this business?
I started blogging at Eat Sleep Breathe Travel in 2012; a year after living in Ireland, which was the first place I had ever travelled to. At first it was more of an online journal but somehow people managed to find me and follow along. Things just sort of grew from there. I started freelance writing in 2016; a couple of little things, nothing major. But it wasn’t until 2017 that I managed to turn both freelance writing and blogging into an actual business. In 2018, I’ve actually started a second Ireland-specific blog (Ireland Stole My Heart) as it’s my favourite country and the place I enjoy writing about the most. Two blogs on top of freelance work is quite a bit of a juggling act though!
Do you make any income with your business?
I do! Blogging and freelance writing is my full-time work as of January 2017, but it’s not always easy. It’s a lot of trying to find work and opportunities and then chasing down people to get paid. Sometimes I miss having a regular, dependable paycheck but then I remember that my wake up and go to work means sitting on the couch with my dog while wearing sweatpants and I can’t really complain. It’s not perfect, and it’s definitely not easy, but I do enjoy it.
Do you have a “day job” that is different from your passion or business?
Not anymore (thank god!) but I did for the first few years. When I first started travelling and writing I worked at a national victim organization here in Canada. That lasted about two years before I decided I needed to move onto something happier. That ‘happier’ job ended up being a professional cake decorator. It was fun for a bit, but I don’t miss the long hours and crappy pay! That being said, it was a very seasonal job and I was able to take extended 3-4 month trips while working there. So, crappy pay and hours aside, it wasn’t all bad.
What lead you to your current path?
I’ve always loved writing (I used to write stories as a little girl and read them to trees- not even kidding). I think once I fell in love with travel, writing about it just became natural. I enjoyed it so much as a hobby that it just made sense to try to turn it into my job.
In pursuing something less than conventional, did you face any pushback from family, friends or even strangers? If so, how did you deal?
In the beginning, absolutely. My mom has always been very supportive but I had a lot of friends who scoffed at the idea of me being able to ‘travel for a living’ and have the ability to be location independent. But here I am. Just a couple months ago I went back to Ireland, where it all started, and was laughing with my old roommates. They remembered when I told them I wanted to be a digital nomad years ago and thought I was crazy, yet there I was; able to visit them again because my work led me back to Ireland. It was kind of funny, but it felt really good.
What are 3 things that you’ve gained from doing what you love and perhaps going against the norms?
I’ve learned a ton. Budgeting and patience are two big ones. Nothing like the stress of having to chase down paychecks to teach you to be more mindful of your money! But I know that I’m not the only one who suffers through that. It’s a bit of a sad reality for those of us who work online.
I’ve also learned to be more self-assured and confident in myself. It’s easy to hard on yourself in an industry where followers and likes are so important. I think as a plus-size blogger this can be even harder to deal with. It can be so easy to look at a photo I posted of me on social media and compare it to someone who looks more “Instagram perfect.” But then I’ll get messages from someone saying how nice it is to see someone who looks like them in the travel world and that makes it all go away. Yes, I do stand out in a world of female travel influencers, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Building on the above point, as a blogger and writer I’ve realized how important it is to stay true to myself. Again, it’s easy to compare blogs and writing to others who may be more successful in terms of getting traffic or going on press trips and building partnerships. But at the end of the day we need to remember that working with brands is only beneficial when it’s a good fit. I may not have worked with as many brands and companies as others, but those that I have worked with have been perfect for me. They see value in what I offer and love my story-telling approach and writing style. From working with Viking River Cruises and the Ireland tourism board to partnering with Canadian travel clothing brands and even being a keynote speaker at the 2018 Women in Travel Summit; I’ve had some pretty awesome opportunities.
Tell us something about yourself people would be surprised to hear!
Being a writer, most people expect me to have a background in journalism or travel, but I actually have a degree in criminology with a concentration in psychology. For a while I wanted to be a forensic psychologist. I blame it on too many years watching Criminal Minds and CSI.
Are there any words of advice you can offer readers who struggle creating their own path?
Stick to it. As mentioned above, I faced a lot of pushback but I persisted and it worked out in the end. One of the benefits of being stubborn! Also, don’t half-ass it. I spent years harboring the same goal but it wasn’t until I gave it my full attention that I actually started to really succeed.
Any favorite mottos or quotes that you live by? (You can list several!)
I’m a big believer of ‘You only live once’ and ‘You can’t take it with you.’ So travel often-and travel well!
Be sure to follow all of Hannah’s adventures here:
Bolding throughout article is my own emphasis.