Meet the Nomads – Lauren Metzler of The Wandering Orange

The Wandering Orange is one of the latest travels blogs that I’m following lately. Lauren, the blogger behind The Wandering Orange left her home and career at the age of 23 to travel the world. My favorite part of her blog is her travel comics. This would probably be one of the few first travel blogs that I know that has a comic strip.

Lauren draws her own comic book and it’s really entertaining to read. Aside from the comic books, you’ll definitely find so many helpful travel tips that will suit solo travelers especially solo female travelers.

By the way, for all the readers in the Philippines, I’d like to share that Lauren recently had a fund raising project (sold her artworks) to raise money for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). She was able to successfully raise AUD2000. This project of hers is in collaboration with other local artists in Australia. If you want to buy her artworks, get in touch with her here.

Get to know more about Lauren and visit her blog at The Wandering Orange.

Before you click away, check out my short interview with Lauren.

Lauren Metzler of The Wandering Orange

How did you discover your passion for travelling?

“The first time I discovered my passion for travelling was when I hitchhiked around the Pacific Northwest as a rebellious teenager. Inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, I slept underneath bridges (with a knife in my hands!), hopped trains and lived the life of a beatnick dharma bum. It wasn’t particularly safe (or smart!), but it began this insatiable thirst for travel and adventure. When I went to Uni a few years later, I studied abroad in Italy and backpacked around Europe as a student. It was one of the most eye opening experiences of my life; learning different languages and cultures, eating amazing food and meeting people from all walks of life. After that, I traveled to China, England, Scotland, Wales, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand-where I began teaching English to cute little Thai kids! They couldn’t say my name right, so “Lauren” became “Orange”, and has stuck ever since!”

What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road?

“The worst experience I’ve had on the road was when I took a bus from Laos to Vietnam. At first, on the way to the bus station, I was surrounded by other backpackers with beers in tow, excitedly talking about Hanoi, making travel plans together to visit Ha Long Bay and getting ready to party down on the night bus there. When we arrived at the bus station, the bus driver asked, “Who is going to Hanoi?” and to my horror EVERYONE raised their hands except me! I sadly watched them all file out into a huge, air conditioned, brightly lit party bus…chock full of Backpackers! “Are you going to Hue?” the bus driver asked. “Yes!” I squeaked, still looking at the other bus full of lost potential travel buddies. We walked around the back of the bus station where my bus was…it was old and tiny and half of the seats were made out of bags of rice! I had twenty four hours on that bus, and it broke down twice in the night! I still laugh about how much of a newbie traveler I was back then! That route was definitely off the beaten path, and allowed me to see a lot of beautiful countryside as a very solo backpacker!”

What’s the best travel experience that you’ve ever had?

“There are too many to chose from! If I had to pick one, it would be scuba diving with sharks at night in The Great Barrier Reef! My heart was racing so fast, but it was an experience I will never forget!”

Lauren Metzler of The Wandering Orange

What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of travelling?

“When I started to travel, I met so many people who were considered poor in my country, and yet they were happier than any of my friends and family back home. These people had absolutely nothing, and yet they always had a smile on their face and the most humbling outlook on life. It was then that I started realizing the bigger picture. Money cannot buy you happiness. A boyfriend, nice house, great job or brand new car- all of these things will disappear one day. True happiness is not circumstantial or fleeting, it comes from within.”

What keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?

“There are moments I have experienced during my travels that I wouldn’t have otherwise, such as climbing the ancient path and getting over my fear of heights on Mount Huanghsuan in China, living in a bamboo hut with nothing but a candle and mosquito netting at Tacomepai farm in northern Thailand, crawling under hidden caves searching for bats in the mountains of Laos, and watching the sun set over the beautiful town of Assisi while riding a motorcycle across Italy. There are so many more wonderful experiences that I’ve had, and that I continue having as I travel, and that is what keeps me going.”

This is a silly and hypothetical one. If you would be given a chance to travel with a popular person or a celebrity, who would it be and why?

“I would travel with my favorite Travel Blogger Turner from Around the World in 80 Jobs! He’s so passionate about traveling, blogging and all the things I love in life…plus I think he’s drop dead gorgeous, so that doesn’t hurt! :P”

Lauren Metzler of The Wandering Orange

Where’s your favorite place in this planet and why?

“My favorite place on this planet is a little permaculture farm just outside of Pai in Northern Thailand, called Tacomepai Farm. I lived in a little bamboo hut with nothing but a candle and mosquito netting, and a couple of good books! Every morning I meditated before beginning my work on the farm, and at sunset practiced Tai Chi in the rice paddy fields with the other volunteers. Surrounded by gorgeous jade mountains and lush green fields, without any material possessions and the company of so many wonderful people, it was one of the happiest times of my life.”

What’s your best tip for newbie traveler?

“Just Buy the Ticket! You won’t regret it!”

What’s the funniest and silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?

“On my way to the train station in Sicily, I realized that I was too late for the last night train! While I was frantically trying to buy my ticket in time, the train was already starting to move! My friend Sebastiano, being a true Sicilian, stood in the doorway of the train to keep it from closing. The train conductor came and started asking him frantically, “What are you doing!? We need to move this train!” Sebastiano said, “My friend needs to buy her ticket.” The train conductor yelled in a frenzy of Sicilian-Italian, “You cant just stop the train! Who do you think
you are” Sebastiano replied coolly, “What are you gonna do about it?” The train conductor realized he couldn’t call the police without further delaying the train. “How much time does your friend need?” The train conductor asked, defeated. “Five minutes” Sebastiano smiled. I finished buying my ticket, in complete awe of Sebastiano’s Mafiosa-style stunt he had just pulled, and eternally grateful for his help.”

Lauren Metzler of The Wandering Orange

How do you keep yourself safe on your travels?

“As a solo female backpacker, its important to be aware of your surroundings. Don’t drink too much and definitely try to learn a little bit of the local language (if you can).”

How do you finance your travels?

“I work pretty much every place I travel. I’ve worked as an English teacher in SE Asia, and now I am on a Working Holiday Visa in Australia. I’ve started working as a freelance illustrator, and hoping to become location independent to fund my travels and continue living the dream!”

What do you think about yourself?

“Wandering comic book artist.”

Lauren Metzler of The Wandering Orange

“At age 23, I quit my job to travel the world as a solo female backpacker. Fed up with trying to live a life that others would approve of, I went off in search of adventure and living the life of my dreams. I traveled to Southeast Asia and taught kindergarten to some cute little Thai kids who couldn’t say my name right. “Lauren” became “Orange”, and has stuck ever since! I’ve been working and traveling around the world one country at a time, living the life I want to instead of what others think I should. I don’t know where this will take me, or when I will grow tired of following my “itchy feet”, but I am having the time of my life discovering the world around me!”

I also really love comic books, drawing, surfing, trekking, doing yoga, trying new things, meeting new people, learning about different cultures and eating some really bizarre stuff!

*Oh yeah…and…*

*For over three years I’ve been wandering the globe and drawing comic books about my travels abroad.*

*Check it out on my blog, and don’t forget to like my Facebook! Also, check out my FB Page where you can see my artworks.- Lauren Metzler

Editor’s Note: All pics are provided by Lauren.

Next: Gigi Griffis of GigiGriffis.com Previously: Megan Claire of Mapping Megan For more interviews with travel bloggers, check out the archives of Meet the Nomads.

Comments

  1. go lauren!

  2. Haha I love the story of the bus, so many times in my travels I have seen nice buses flying by only to discover our route was assigned a dodgy looking chicken bus. But hey, they’re cheaper and filled with locals!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Lauren Metzler of The Wandering Orange: “When I started to travel, I met so many people who were considered poor in my country, and yet they were happier than any of my friends and family back home. These people had absolutely nothing, and yet they always had a smile on their face and the most humbling outlook on life. It was then that I started realizing the bigger picture. Money cannot buy you happiness. A boyfriend, nice house, great job or brand new car- all of these things will disappear one day. True happiness is not circumstantial or fleeting, it comes from within.” […]

  2. […] Meet the Nomads – A Year of Learning Part 1 Previously: Lauren Metzler of The Wandering Orange For more interviews with travel bloggers, check out the archives of Meet the […]

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