Travel Blogger Interview Series – Ola Wysocka From 8 Stóp

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Ola & her family sitting outside of the RV they used to travel around the United States for 6 months.
Ola & her family sitting outside of the RV they used to travel around the United States for 6 months.

New Interview Series

I am excited to introduce our new interview series. Over the past couple of months I have worked hard to line up some amazing travel bloggers to interview for this series. Since we are really trying to make an effort to bring unique content to our readers, some weeks we will feature an award travel blogger and others a more a traditional travel blogger. The interview series will run every Saturday for the foreseeable future.

Today’s blogger is Ola Wysocka from Poland.  She writes 8 Stóp along with her husband Pawel.  While they recently completed a six month journey around the United States with their two children, 8 Stóp is about much more than family travel!  She has spent years traveling to various destinations and even spent some time living as an expat in Libya before the fall of Gaddafi! Ola & I met during my recent trip to India and she is a wonderful person and a fantastic blogger.  I hope you enjoy the interview!

Grand Canyon, Arizona.
Grand Canyon, Arizona.

Ola From 8 Stóp

How long have you been writing/blogging about travel and why did you start?

I started blogging when I lived in Libya, but that was more about our lives as expats, cultural differences and after February 2011, the situation in Libya. We started writing http://osiemstop.blogspot.com when we traveled to the US last year. We knew it would be a 6-month-long trip and we wanted to keep our families and friends up to date.

Writing the blog was my idea. Pawel says he hates writing (he used to be a journalist and he wrote two 200 page long theses), but I convinced him to cooperate and he finally agreed. I usually write the draft and he does the final version.

At first, we wrote in Polish only, but as we were using BoondockersWelcome.com (which is the RV version of Couchsurfing) we wanted our hosts and other people we met on the road to be able to follow our trip too, so we started an English version – http://osiemstop-en.blogspot.com.

Ola sitting in the middle of a road in Libya!
Ola sitting in the middle of a road in Libya!

What was your first memorable travel experience/trip?

I remember camping with my parents when I was a child. I remember walking through the forest, sleeping in a tent, staying up late by the fire and looking at stars. I must have been 4 or 5. We would do this every year until I was a teenager and I didn’t want to go with them anymore. Until now, that’s what I love the most – sitting by the fire in the middle of woods.

Can you tell me what makes your blog unique?

We are a traveling family so of course we travel with kids and we write about it. You’ll find some kids’ photos there and information whether the place we go to is kid friendly or not, but it’s not a blog about our children and it’s not a blog about places for kids around the world. It’s about two adults who travel to places they want to see and they happen to have kids with them.

Ola & her son Maciek in Malta.
Ola & her son Maciek in Malta.

What is your absolute favorite place in the world and why?

There are many, many places I love. For example there was this little village called Las Galeras in the Dominican Republic that we planned to stay in for a couple of days and ended up spending a week. I know it was the perfect place for that particular moment of my life, but I’m not so sure it would be my number one at some other time. There are many places like that in my memories – perfect place and time combination. I keep looking. I just know that it has to be somewhere warm.

Can you share a useful travel tip with my readers?  Something that you have learned through your own travel experiences.

Check the weather forecast. We never did. Until Hurricane Sandy trapped us and we couldn’t get out of the Dominican Republic (also: be careful what you wish for, we sooo didn’t want to go back home from DR, we wished we could have stayed longer and…we did, we got to the airport 2 days late!)

On a more serious note: get out of your comfort zone and do something you thought you’d never do You might love it!

Taken in Las Galeras Dominican Republic.
Ola with her daughter Kalina in Las Galeras, Dominican Republic.

What inspires you?

That’s a difficult one. I don’t know. I like to read about the world and other people’s travels, about places I want to visit and I like to talk to people who travel and listen to their stories. Do they inspire me? I guess they plant a seed. And then I have those short moments of clarity every once in a while. If I catch them and make a decision in that precise moment, it usually turns out to be a good one.

The decision about quitting my job came to me in Gran Canaria, when we went to say goodbye to the sea on our last day. I was standing there all alone (Maciek fell asleep in the car so we took turns), warm sea up to my knees, lazy Spanish village behind my back…I stood there and I knew what I should do.

Sitting with a cold beer on warm night in the Dominican Republic with the sky full of stars & fireflies swarming around me. Driving through New Mexico. Waking up in a trailer parked on a side road somewhere near Big Sur. I guess those moments inspired me and keep me going.

Taken at The Wave in Arizona.
Taken at The Wave in Arizona.

What is your overall favorite travel experience and why?

I loved our 6-month-long trip. The United States is an amazing place to travel. There are so many beautiful places and we could easily go on another trip for just as long (or twice as long) and not get bored. I think the best thing about our trip was that it was so long that I didn’t have to worry about going back to work in a week or two.

During the trip I didn’t have a tight schedule or a list of places to put a check mark next to. Of course we had in mind what we wanted to see, but we could plan as we went. In other words, we could just focus on the road and enjoy it. I would love to do this again.

Why do you continue to travel?

I just can’t sit still.

Spending time in Paris with her children.
Spending time in Paris with her children.

Backpack or suitcase and why?

Depends on the situation. If I have to carry it and move a lot from place to place – absolutely a backpack. But for example for KeralaBlogExpress or to the States last year I took a suitcase, as I knew I wouldn’t have to carry it around but I needed easy access to my stuff.

Do you have anything else to share with my readers?

If you have a dream, follow it. Don’t leave your life for later!

I just want to thank Ola for being the first blogger to participate!  If you have any further questions for Ola or comments about the interview series, let us know below!

 


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2 COMMENTS

  1. Cool post and great answers from Ola. Kinda fun reading this now that I’ve met her and she isn’t just some random blogger in my book 🙂 Looking forward to read the other interviews you have in store for us!

  2. Thanks Shawn for sharing this amazing interview.

    I just discovered you blog and this was the first interview.

    Funny enough, only yesterday I was thinking about one day
    traveling around US and Europe in RV 🙂

    I absolutely love your mission and blog,
    harmonizes very well with my own vision.

    I started my own passion blog recently and one
    of the things I do is interviews with tough cat travelers too 🙂

    I’ll be heading to the next interview now and
    if you like you can check out my own interviews I’ve done so far here:
    http://www.xraycattravels.com/category/tough-cat-traveler-interviews/

    But be warned, you might get hooked to my weird and furry humor 😉

    Love and light,
    Marko

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