the girl with the glo
At only 26 years old, Gloria Atanmo is a woman of influence. This full-time travel blogger, who also goes by the catchily accurate pseudonym “Glo”, has nearly 25k followers on instagram, over 8k followers on facebook, and over 100k page views a month on her blog, TheBlogAbroad.com. This powerhouse is fluent in English, Spanish, and memes; her fans love her, her articles get shared internet-wide, and she’s been sponsored all over the world. A three year world traveler and entrepreneur, Gloria Atanmo thrives off of “adventure, awkward situations, and inspiring the masses to get out there and chase whatever sets their soul on fire.” Her forte is travel, and she relayed to us that her primary goal is to do her best to provide honest, transparent, and empowering accounts of what her life is like traveling as a solo, African-American, woman.
"I often find that my most inspiring or viral articles come from real-life scenarios playing out"
Three years is a long time to be on the road, so we asked how she continues to provide such quality content in such volume. “I often find that my most inspiring or viral articles come from real-life scenarios playing out, and me giving an account of what happened, how it made me feel, and why it matters. “ She relayed, “So much travel content out there focuses on the destination, and I love to give characters and moods on top of that.
I refer to my articles as storytelling, rather than just blogging or writing.” This distinct style can be seen in her facebook posts, where almost every image has a story. “I literally have a list of almost 200 blog drafts/topics sketched in my phone of things that have happened and inspired a thought or quote. I’m constantly writing articles in my head, and being able to regurgitate even half of the stuff my mind cranks out daily, will suffice for now. Titles are usually the first thing I come up with, and as I begin the article, the title will either change to reflect the post better, or be framed in a way that can captivate readers without sounding too click-baity.”
Gloria Atanmo is unique in that she tends to have a very personal feel on her blog posts. You feel like you’re traveling with her, experiencing the new places she’s going, and meeting new people. “I’d like to think my kinky love affair with writing started from the womb” she laughs, “but in reality, I’ve always been a bit of a chatterbox. I always got in trouble for speaking out of turn in grade school, and often said mildly inappropriate things, as my mental diarrhea knew no bounds.”
We asked how she changed as she got older, and she explained, “I began to be more tactful with my messages, learning how to have manners, online etiquette, and basically a bit of a filter, although that arguably rarely exists in my writing these days.” As for the catalyst of her blogging career, she recalls, “I’ve been blogging in some capacity since I was 11. I had an Xanga site (which I hope to God never resurfaces) and embarrassingly wrote about the “thug life”. Ya know, talking behind people’s backs and the occasional jaywalk. #holla” Glo explains that she evolved over time,from gossip blogging to sports blogging, school blogging to lifestyle blogging, and then eventually to the final destination…travel blogging. “Over 15 years in this industry has helped me develop a knack for writing to people in a way that make my messages easily-digestible. My proof-reader is myself the next morning. I never write and publish a post in the same day. There’s no way the article will reach its full potential after just one or two glance overs. I need fresh eyes and a sober brain to proofread, as I often initially write with the help of some good, red wine.”
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"You're only competing with your past self"
In a cut throat industry, Gloria is the epitome of confidence. We asked her if she feels threatened by other travel bloggers or their successes. She gave a little laugh and shared, “This is hilarious, but I think such an important question, because a lot of bloggers come into this industry thinking we’re all in this big competition with each other.” She continued to explain, “I think with any career path in life, once you get to a point where you’re so confident in your own talents, skill sets, and what you uniquely bring to the proverbial table, then your only competition is your past self.”
When asked about her experiences with other bloggers, she shares why she doesn’t have too many close blogger friends she can trust “I’ve strangely had other bloggers tell me that they’re sometimes hesitant to share my articles, no matter how much they love it, because they don’t want to lose blog followers. I couldn’t help but laugh at such thinking. You can listen to Rihanna and still have love for Beyonce in the same way you can follow one blogger and enjoy the content of others‘. The blogosphere doesn’t render exclusivity from readers, and that overly-competitive notion that it does, is the reason I don’t have too many close blogger friends that I can trust. But such is life!”
"From Excuses to Excursions"
How I started Traveling the world
While many of us struggle to even remember our own bank passwords (hello, me) Gloria has perfected the art of working independently and even published her first book. When asked about her experience penning her first work, Gloria revealed “I don’t know why the word “author” makes me feel like I now piss streams of glitter, but I just know how much I struggled and fought to not only be on this journey, but to have the mental stamina to write about it.” She tells us that the best thing about her book is that it’s realistic, and doesn’t paint a fairy-tale about why her life is an unattainable castle in the sky.
Gloria explained to us, “I don’t see a single thing inspiring about perfection, and I often preach how it’s through my transparency that I want people to draw the most inspiration from.” Her new book is inspirational and motivational, while providing real life tips and reflections that can help others looking forward in their lives on how they can get to where they want to be. The book is divided into 4 parts: The Dream, The Journey, The Adventure, and The Destination. It chronicles every important moment in her life that got her to where she is today.
"People like to look at the Chapter 11 victories in my life without reading about the Chapter 2 struggles." -Gloria Atanmo
Now that her book is finally done, Gloria is proud to say that she is “incredibly happy with the finished product”, which can be purchased in PDF, iBook, or paperback HERE. While the actualization of this book took only her a few months, the story itself unfolded over the span of 20 years. “It’s such a great feeling to have such a complete product that is the most personal thing I own today. It’s definitely written like a memoir, and much like my blog, it’s fun, conversational, and easy to follow along. “
Glorias secret to happiness
(hint: it's pretty much snapchat)
Gloria Atanmo is built for celebrity, and her book reflects her personality: energetic, positive and “larger than life”. Her fast paced lifestyle doesn’t leave much room for error. But everyone has to have bad days though…right? “Of course I have bad days!” she laughed. Sensing how dubious we were, she continued, “I’ve learned to be 100% okay with that. The beauty of the human genetic make-up is that we’re wired to feel a range of emotions. Not that we should always act on them, but it is perfectly healthy to embrace anger, hurt, or pain, and then process accordingly. The best thing we can do when we have these days, is put things into perspective. I’m having a pretty bad day right now with the result of the US elections, but I’ve already vented out my emotions, processed them accordingly, and now doing what I can to move on, just like everyone else.”
"Put things into perspective"
Building her Empire
"Obviously being a wife and having kids isn't something I want right now, but I'd be lying if I said I never question how the timing would work with my crazy lifestyle."
Gloria has mastered the art of seemingly effortless confidence. When asked what it is that she loves about herself, Gloria jokingly replied “Ha! Hello, vanity, meet Glo. Sheesh, how does one answer this without sounding the least bit conceited, lol. I have to say I’m in love with the confidence I’ve developed over the years. I love how any random dimwit on the internet could spew a ton of hate my way, and I’ll dodge them like marriage proposals in Italy.” She ponders for a moment and expounds, “I love how my passion translates so well into my writing and that I’ve been able to build this incredibly loyal, hilarious, and diverse community of followers around the world who keep me humbled, inspired, and motivated to keep doing what I love.” And Gloria’s community really is something powerful. With almost 25k followers on instagram, over 8k followers on facebook with unbelievable engagement, and her blog getting over 100k page views a month plus being shared across the internet daily, Gloria Atanmo is a woman with an influence.
And while she loves writing, blogging, and the traveling lifestyle she’s created for herself, this globe trotting entrepreneur knows it’s only the beginning. Gloria explains that one of her goals is to be realistic about her future, and what she truly wants for herself. Looking to the future, she muses, “Obviously being a wife and having kids isn’t something I want right now, but I’d be lying if I said I never question how the timing would work with my crazy lifestyle.” She explains that she’s committed to her uncommitted ways, per se, “and this seemingly selfish approach at only taking care of me and doing what I love, won’t last forever. I obviously have family and friends who I care about and vice versa, who I need to make sure I’m actively supporting and pouring into them like I do with my blog followers.” But she also knows that someday her life, rich with experience, will benefit her family in ways she probably could never imagine.
Balancing her finances
The "Treat yo' self ...occasionally" approach
Gloria is not a woman who unnecessarily lives beyond her means. Her no-nonsense approach to life also applies to her travel philosophy, which evolves as she does. “I find myself not able tolerate some of the things my 22-year old self wouldn’t second guess. There’s also nothing wrong with the #treatchoself mentality every now and then, especially when you’ve busted your butt to get where you are.” Despite enjoying the finer things in life now and then, when it comes to accommodation, she actually is a self professed hostel addict, but for reasons we can all understand. “I adore hostels. I love meeting people, swapping crazy travel stories, and not feeling like digging too deep into my pockets. At the same time, I do love my privacy, so the private bedroom option at hostels is now becoming my new standard. I use geoarbitrage to spoil myself accordingly based on the location, so my nightly budget in Bangkok will be light years different than that in London. If I go out for dinner and drinks and don’t spend more than $50, I’ll be happy. The random splurge on special occasions exempt, I think it’s important to have just enough fun with your finances to where you don’t feel financially irresponsible nor a tight-wad.” Gloria’s balanced approach to handling her finances while traveling the world reflect what many successful travelers do to save for trips – tempered spending during the year and living within your means in order to both enjoy life and concurrently save for future trips. This metered approach to finances yields rewards beyond measure.
solving the "what to pack " dilemma
"Clothes are cotton and wool and at the end of the day...they will always be replaceable"
Besides needing to be financially responsible, being constantly on the road poses another “threat”…the quintessential traveler’s dilemma of what to pack. As a long term traveler, Gloria packs approximately 7 outfits for each season of the year, ensuring that there is some overlay between spring and summer outfits, as well as fall and winter. It’s a skill she says she mastered in high school, when she and her sister would share clothes because “hey, hand-me-downs, and we had to make it look almost inconspicuous to our friends who saw us both daily.” When she rotates her outfits, Gloria also regularly donates her clothes to the homeless, charity shops, or friends she’s made along the way. “I also never buy expensive clothing.” She explains, “I don’t think there’s any point in buying $80 jeans when these $8 will do the same job — cover my ass, ha.” Thaw way, when she eventually gets tired of wearing her jeans, “it’s much easier to give away $8 than $80 when in the form of clothing. It keeps me from hoarding clothes, and while they’ll each be special, because most are picked up in foreign countries around the world, they are cotton and wool at the end of the day — and that will always be replaceable.”
three important posts
when asked which posts she was most proud of, Gloria shared these:
“I’m most proud of my blog about Visiting Israel, because it was the first time I was truly challenged to practice diplomacy and subjectiveness in a truly delicate political situation, and I think I tackled that challenge pretty well.”
“I wrote a post in which I address every fear, doubt, and concern people have asked me about Solo Travel. It took me several hours to go through, compile, and complete, and I used people’s names and addressed individual concerns with encouragement, even if I couldn’t personally relate. I think that article touched all bases and can hopefully be used as a resource for several years to come.”
“I always try to encourage African-Americans to venture overseas. I will always have a soft spot for my people, because the hardships, prejudice, and racism we deal with on a micro or macro level daily, are just exhausting. All our lives we’ve grown up never really knowing our place in society, only seeing ourselves in movie roles as thugs and prostitutes, so I’m always actively pushing an agenda encouraging other African-Americans to see, do, and be more than society tells them. “
"I will always have a soft spot for my people, because the hardships, prejudice, and racism we deal with on a micro or macro level daily, are just exhausting." -Gloria Atanmo
"If I'm meeting new people, I have to mentally prepare myself to entertain and explain every detail of my life, as their curiosity often leads to me dishing out the deets. "
“I suppose my juiciest dating story is something along the lines of the cookie crumbs I wake up to in my hotel bed, and one chocolate chip melting overnight, and the cleaning lady thinking I shat myself. That’s unfortunately as juicy and ris-que as things get round here. Aka, nice try ;)”
Dealing with burnout
“You just have to actively keep a balance of doing things that make you happy, and doing things that make you money. While the line is quite blurred for me, since my job qualifies as both work and play, there are times, like now, where I’ll go to a city just to escape constant movement and just make love to the same mattress for a bit. And while my readers are always eager for me to share pics and details of daily life, sometimes I have to let them down by just sharing TBT’s while I celebrate never changing out of my PJs for 48 hours, ha. I also love meeting new faces and meeting up with followers on the road, but there are times where I can only handle familiar faces.“
“Thanks for this amazing interview and to those who’ve made it all the way to the end! I’m truly blessed and fortunate to be doing what I love and I hope through my journey and transparency, you’re actively being reminded that there is truly no limits to the possibilities of life to those daring enough to chase them. Fortune favors the bold, my friends!”
THANKS FOR READING!
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Meet the Author-ess
Alyne Tamir of Travel Experts Vista is a 27 year old person who went to University and also got a great SAT score in high school that 10 years later is still her life’s greatest accomplishment. She has been to 59 countries, and especially loves Eastern Europe and the Balkans. After semi-retiring, she continues to work in the magical world of Digital Media. She incidentally knows a lot about travel, and can be reached via the internet at: