travel blogger jen sotolongo from long haul trekkers
Aspiring Travel Writer of the Week: Jen Sotolongo

Blog Name & Start Date: Long Haul Trekkers, January 2015

Bio: Jen is currently cycle touring the world along with her partner and dog, Sora, an Australian Shepherd who convinced her humans that life on a bike is much better than behind a desk. She is the storyteller and photographer behind the blog Long Haul Trekkers. When she’s not cycling, you can find her running long distances in the woods or exploring the beauty of her home state of Oregon.

I am a Part Time  travel blogger and photographer. The other part of my time is spent cycle touring! I am an independent traveler.  I am focused on organized media trips. We’re independent travelers. We plan day-to-day and connect with tour operators or boards on occasion.

How long have you been a blogger/writer/photographer? A little over a year.

Where do you call home? Portland, Oregon

How many countries have you been to? 34

How many continents have you been to? Four

Top 5 destinations on your travel to do list:

  1. The Huascaran Circuit in Peru (by bike)
  2. New Zealand (by bike)
  3. Sri Lanka
  4. Japan (by bike)
  5. South Africa

Earliest travel memory: I remember going to Miami to visit my grandparents often. I think I took my first flight at six months old and I used to get very, very airsick!

Favorite Travel Writer: Bill Bryson

Favorite Travel Blogger: Shannon O’Donnell from A Little Adrift

Favorite Travel Photographer: Jeff Bartlett!

Favorite Travel Blog/s or Website/s: I love what the Adventure Junkies are producing. Oh, Ladycakes has some great travel writing on her blog and I like While Out Riding for bikey stuff.

The trip that turned me from a vacationer to a traveler: I think it started when I studied abroad in Madrid. We had the weekends free and travel is so cheap and easy in Europe, that I went away nearly every weekend to explore a new destination in Spain.

The trip that turned me into a travel writer/blogger/photographer: Our dog, Sora convinced us to take her on a world cycle tour, and we wanted to document our travels. We knew we’d be on the road for at least eight months, cycling from Norway to Greece, via the Balkans and Turkey. Now it’s looking like we’ll be on the road for at least two years, as we’re pedaling from Ushuaia, Argentina back to Portland.

My first steps to become a travel writer/blogger/photographer: I studied journalism and always loved writing, but never pursued the field as a career. My partner, Dave created the website, and I knew we needed content, so I just started writing.

The social media platform driving the most traffic to my site is: Definitely StumbleUpon. I’m not very good at remembering to use it. I remember when I see posts in travel groups on Facebook and participate then, otherwise I forget!

My favorite tool/app for social media: Instagram! I love, love, love Instagram. I’ve formed great relationships over the app and have had a lot of great success connecting with brands and tour operators.

My favorite WordPress plugin: I create camp recipes on our blog and use Recipe Card. It’s super helpful for organizing my recipes.

Favorite Travel Twitter Chat: MostlyAmelie

Favorite Travel Blogger Facebook Group: The Aspiring Travel Writer Group!

If only I had the time, I’d do/finish…… : We want to update our site and have been talking about it for months, but poor WiFi connection and constant traveling leaves us little time to complete the update.

My top tip for aspiring travel writers and bloggers! I wished I had known more about Facebook groups related to travel writing and blogging. They have been so helpful in learning and building traffic to our site. They’re also great for forming new communities.

Best travel tip for travelers: Travel vulnerably. We often don’t know where we’re sleeping each night. Sometimes we arrive in a town and there’s nowhere to camp, so we have to start knocking on doors. We have been welcomed into homes throughout Europe and South America, bringing us some of our best memories.

Connect with Jen!


Jen’s article Five Portland Breweries to Visit on Two Wheels was just featured on 52PerfectDays. Please check it out here:

Nominate a friend (or yourself!) as our next Aspiring Travel Writer of the Week!

If you have been blogging, writing or taking photos for less than 2 years or have less than 10,000 unique views per month to your website, I invite you to be a featured ATW (Aspiring Travel Writer) of the week. As ATW of the week you will be featured on my travel website, and the website! Here are all the details!

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