Viktoria Urbanek’s heart belongs to the ocean. An Austrian by birth, travel blogger Viktoria first learned about her love for the open ocean and scuba diving when she lived abroad in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela for a year. Here, she learned Spanish from scratch, discovered her love of the open water, and learned she had another passion in life: travel.
Read below to learn more about Viktoria’s adventurous story of a life abroad and her journey to starting her blog, Chronic Wanderlust:
- Tell us about yourself!
I’m Viktoria from Austria. I run one of the top travel and scuba diving blogs in Austria and it’s enabled me to grow and become who I am today.
I’ve always been keen to discover foreign countries and collecting passport stamps. I found a fun and creative way to combine my love for travel with my love for my country. For more than a decade I’ve been packing my Dirndl (the traditional Austrian dress) and wearing it in exotic places. It’s been a big icebreaker in many situations and a great way to make people smile and start a conversation. Another big passion of mine is scuba diving. Earlier this year I celebrated my 10 year anniversary of breathing underwater. I dive whenever and wherever I can, no matter the temperature or the circumstances!
- When did you first realize you loved travel? Has it always been a big part of your life?
As a child, I could hardly sit still and not move around and explore whatever was around me. I’m still very active and love to get to know my surroundings.
When I started university I decided to keep living with my family, not move out and get a part-time job. Since I had almost no expenses (keep in mind that uni in Austria is usually free or costs less than 1k€ per year in public universities), I spent my money on one thing: travelling. I also decided to study abroad in Spain for an entire year and during that time I only spent a handful of weekends in the city I lived in. All the other times, I travelled throughout the Iberian Peninsula.
So far I’ve been to 66 countries and have a lot of travel plans and places I plan ongoing. Travelling has been the biggest part of my life without a doubt. On average I spent half the year travelling. Not continuously, because I really enjoy to take smaller weeklong trips and come home and then travel again.
- Have you ever lived an expat lifestyle? If so, what inspired you to start? If not, have you ever considered it?
During my high school years and then later on in university I took the great advantage of studying abroad and also working abroad as an intern for several months at a time. Travelling and living abroad has been very important to me, so that’s what I focussed on. Over the past decade, I’ve lived in Venezuela, China, Spain, Mexico and Colombia while frequently returning to Austria. Living abroad has taught me a lot and I grew so much as a person, I doubt I would be who I am today had I not had this experience.
- Where do you currently reside? Do you have plans to move back to your home country or to other foreign countries?
I’ve been living in Linz for about 4 years now with my husband. Linz is Austria’s third-largest city and a great place for creative and entrepreneurial minds. I’d love to move abroad again for a few years, and share this experience with my husband. Let’s see what’ll happen in the near future. As for where I’d love to move: anywhere in Latin America or somewhere in Central Asia, or perhaps South Africa, I’m pretty open about it and would also like to expand my language skills.
- What has been your favorite travel moment? Where were you and what were you doing?
There have been many wonderful moments abroad, but I’d say that those where I met people that then became good friends. It’s something about meeting strangers abroad that then turn into friends in real life. Also, whenever I can combine travel with scuba diving I’m the happiest. Throw in good food and I don’t need anything else. Summing this up and thinking of past travel buddies turned friends, scuba adventures and excellent food, it’s been Mexico that has combined that all for me several times.
- Tell us a bit about “Chronic Wanderlust”. What encouraged you to start blogging?
I started my travel blog in 2013 when I was living in Spain. I wanted to keep in touch with my friends and family at home without telling every story a dozen times. I’ve always loved writing and learning. YouTube videos and tutorials have taught me all I needed to know about starting a blog including getting a webserver and buying a domain. Diving into a topic that I had no idea of before, proved to me that I could teach myself about anything I wanted to know, do or become.
Chronic Wanderlust was born out of a deep desire to share my love of travelling with likeminded people. Like most other bloggers I had no idea where this corner of the internet would take me. After the first year, I had my first collaboration that paid 100€. To a student like I was at the time, this was big money. During year two I registered as a small business as I got more requests to work for brands or travel places. Learning to deal with business things like taxes, invoices, and insurance really helped me understand how I ideally had to conduct this to be successful.
- Do you blog full-time or do you have other jobs?
At the moment, I blog full-time while working on ideas with a few friends and former colleagues. One of those ideas has the potential to become a business, we are in the early stages and I am super excited to see where this is going.
In an ideal world, I would have a part-time position somewhere with creative people or as a project manager and continue growing my blog with the remaining time. I enjoy working on different projects and with different people and blogging can be very lonely at times. I still do my best work working from home – it’s where I’m the most focussed.
- What is your favorite aspect about blogging?
As much as I’ve come to appreciate routines, blogging is different every day. Different tasks, different clients, different countries to get to know, different people, different challenges. I live for this and it gives me the strength to carry on. I’m a curious person through and through and need a mix of everything.
The easy part is the travelling about my blog, but hard part is then make it work and find a way to present it to my readers, so they actively want to read and be inspired to take similar trips.
- What has been your biggest challenge as a blogger? How have you overcome it?
Sometimes it’s things like not knowing when the next paycheck is coming in. Other days it is motivating myself to actually get work done and not be “busy, but not productive”. For me, mindset helps me a lot with this as well as having a strict morning routine that allows me to get inspired, reflect and get ready for the day.
- What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Having pursued this dream of travel blogging and sticking to it for more than seven years now. Also, having registered it as a business when I was 20. I strongly believe that it helped me advance my personality and grow.
A few days ago I received a notification that one of my underwater photos is in the top 10 in an international underwater photography competition. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing others also enjoy and appreciate what I create!
- Where do you hope to see yourself 10 years from now?
In ten years I want to be more confident, knowing that I’ve been working hard to make it work and to truly enjoy life and be able to take a month off every year to travel and explore.
- What is one piece of advice you would give to other people who want to start their own blog?
Have fun with it! Enjoy the process, acknowledge that starting out isn’t the same as someone who’s been at it for years, know that you are getting better with time. Strive to be better and stand out.
- Is there anything else you would like to share?
I read this quote a while ago, and it’s incredible how true it is: “Opportunities are like ghosts. If you believe in them, you will find them.“ Believe in your abilities, enjoy it and make the most of it.
Learn more about Viktoria and her work at Chronic Wanderlust by visiting https://www.chronic-wanderlust.com/
Follow Viktoria on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/wanderlustcom/
If you like it, pin it on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.at/WanderlustCom/
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