Amanda Williams is the girl behind the highly popular travel blog, ‘A Dangerous Business’. Obsessed with the “Lord of the Rings”, it was the trilogy that encouraged Amanda to visit New Zealand and explore the locales where the filming took place. And, it was indeed a visit to New Zealand with her mom in 2005, where she caught the “travelling bug”.
She has been to more than more than 30 countries, straddling across 4 continents, taking in the sights and putting it all down in her blog. Her inspirational blog talks about her travel experiences and her efforts to manage a successful blog. Her posts are loved for their honest approach and personal narrative. Amanda Williams is also known for her photographs and videos, which she posts on her blog, regularly.
In 2013, she won the Ottawa Tourism Travel Writing Award for one of her write-ups. Further, her blog has been featured in several influential listings, such as Wanderu’s Best Travel Blogs of 2013 and Top 25 Travel Blogs: 2014 Viator Travel Awards.
Travel bug had already given you a little nibble at the age of 9; thanks to ‘Carmen Sandiego’ who made you want to see the world. What else do you take inspiration from when it comes to your travels?
Books and movies definitely inspire me to travel. I dreamed of visiting Eastern Europe for years after reading “The Historian” (and did end up going in 2012), and my love for New Zealand was originally sparked by the “Lord of the Rings” movies.
You harboured a dream to visit New Zealand since you were in school. When you finally made it there, did the country live up to your expectations?
Not only did New Zealand live up to my expectations - it completely and utterly surpassed them. The country is even MORE beautiful in real life, and I love the vibe there. I've been to NZ four times in the last 9 years, even studying abroad there for a semester when I was at university.
Your travel philosophy is “to set aside the maps and itineraries (although I also love those, too), and just see where the road carries you off to, learning and evolving and relishing in the experience along the way”. What have been the most unexpectedly interesting places that the road has taken you to?
I end up finding interesting things no matter where I go! But some of my surprise favourite destinations have been places like Poland (especially Warsaw) and Romania - slightly off-the-beaten-path, but really fascinating!
You are obsessed with travel, though you do not travel full time and you feel that the world is big, and you will never see it all. Have you never planned to pursue your obsession full-time?
As in, have I ever considered traveling full-time? Not really. I was supposed to go on a 6-month trip in 2013, but ended up coming home after 3 months because I discovered that I didn't love constantly being on the move. I like having a home base and some time in between trips to relax and get some work done. I HAVE, however, ditched the traditional 9-5 job and today have a career that combines a bunch of different jobs that I can work from home.
What other things apart from travel do you find interesting and spend your time indulging yourself in?
My life is largely occupied by traveling (and thinking about traveling) and blogging these days. But I also love riding my bike, swing dancing, and dabbling in photography.
You like crossing things off your bucket list and we see you have a pretty long one! What is next on your to-do list?
My list is constantly growing! In 2015 I'm hoping to finally visit Norway, and am hoping to swim with some manatees in Florida!
Your ‘bucket list’ hints at your inclination towards Europe, is there a reason for that?
I've always been a bit of a history nerd, and Europe has a ton of it! I suppose Europe has always seemed “safe” to me, too, in a way, which is important for someone who tends to travel alone. That, and, the more I travel in Europe, the more I WANT to travel there.
You want to “prove to people that traveling (and especially traveling as a woman) doesn't have to be scary, lonely, or out of anybody's reach”. What precautions you recommend solo travellers must take while on the road?
You basically just need to be smart. Don't do anything you wouldn't do at home, trust your gut, and be aware of your surroundings when you're out and about on your own. The media often portrays the world as a scary, dangerous place - but this of course is incredibly overhyped. Chances are you're in more “danger” when you're driving your car in your hometown than when you're traveling the world!
You say you are more capable of solo travel than you once thought. What brought about the change and how have you evolved as a traveller?
When you decide to travel solo, you quickly learn how to take care of yourself. You don't have anyone else to hide behind or fall back on, so you quickly realize that you are strong and capable. You're also forced to spend a good deal of time on your own, which I really think helps you get to know yourself - I've grown a lot as an individual from traveling. I'm also a strong believer that traveling opens your eyes and teaches you a lot about life on a basic human level - I am a much more open-minded and adventurous person thanks to travel.