DCFunemployment: Tell the people – Who are you?
My name is Ashlee Tuck and I’m the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Will Drink For Travel. Will Drink For Travel is a travel site that combines my love of traveling and seeing new places with my love of unique and native spirits. It’s a view into the wine, beer, and spirits I’ve encountered while traveling. (DCF: For all of us with travel more on the list for 2017 Ashlee is goals so take some notes and get to seeing the world, first through her eyes then hopefully on your own!!)
DCF: What does being funemployed mean to you & what was your path to funemployment?
AT: Funemployed means doing whatever you love and makes you happy, whether it’s through a being an entrepreneur, having a full-time job or a part-time side hustle. When looking for a new job about 5 years ago, I evaluated what my interests were (travel) and thought about careers and places I could work that could combine the two. Since I am a travel blogger, I read a lot of pieces from my counterparts that say to quit your job and travel the world, but that is not always possible or realistic for many people. I actually enjoy the work I do and the steady paycheck that accompanies it. While I work full-time, I’ve found a career that incorporates my love of travel, so heading down this path has been a win/win for me. In retrospect, it was a pretty great idea!
DCF: Who was your first cheerleader?
AT: My first cheerleader in my Funemployed adventure was my friend, Fabian. When I first told him my idea to start the site, he thought it was a great idea and has encouraged me ever since. He often has bigger dreams for the site than I do!
DCF: What experiences in your life prepared you for where you are now?
AT: I think having jobs that I’ve hated in the past has given me the awareness to know that what I’m currently working on makes me happy. I’ve learned that once doing something no longer serves you or makes you happy, you need to move on to the next thing. (DCF: So true, it’s very important to know when to let go!)
DCF: Where do you get your inspiration and/or motivation?
AT: Not wanting to fail keeps me going. I am naturally competitive with myself, so I always take a look at what I’ve accomplished in the past and try to up the ante. I also look to see what other travel bloggers are doing and how they are growing the narratives of their brands. It’s always very inspiring and motivating to watch as their brands expand based on the work they’ve put in. (DCF: That’s a great way to both support and learn! Everyone wins.)
DCF: What does balance mean to you and how do find balance?
AT: To me, balance means listening to the wants and needs of your mind and body. I don’t believe in being strict in any area of my life because I think it will cause me to go too far in the opposite direction. I try my best to balance work, play, food, exercise, and every other aspect of my life. I’ve noticed that when I don’t have a balance in all areas, repercussions show up in other ways, like an expanded waistline, low monthly number for the site or not spending any time with my family and friends. I usually try to find balance by planning and prioritizing my life.
DCF: What sacrifices did you have to make to get here?
AT: As a travel blogger, being away from home a lot is a sacrifice that many people don’t see. And while most of the time I am in an amazing destination, I do miss important events for family or friends and it can sometimes weigh on me. But I love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world. (DCF: I used to travel for work and while it was a lot of fun, people only see the glamour and not the struggle that sometimes goes with it like missing out on important things at home).
DCF: What struggles have you faced as a women in your industry?
AT: As a black woman travel blogger, we aren’t always taken seriously or have to fight twice as hard to be recognized by the travel industry. If I look to see who are on media trips or have sponsorships with major travel brands, it is most times men or white travel bloggers. Don’t get me wrong, I am not being discouraging of other travel bloggers but I believe it is time for brands to diversify their media partners, which in turn will diversify their audiences. We need to be included in the conversation and have a seat at the table. (cue Solange). (DCF: Girl play all the Solange for that one!)
DCF: What is the early advice you didn’t listen to that you wish you had?
AT: At my first job out of college, I expressed to my mentor how I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I felt like what I was doing didn’t matter in the grand scheme of life and I was just another company employee. She told me that while I needed a job to pay my bills, it didn’t necessarily have to be where I look to for happiness. She told me that many people work full-time jobs but have outside activities that fulfill their other interests. She told me that my happiness comes from me and I couldn’t look to a job to find it. I don’t hate my current career, but I now have a better understanding of what it means to have something other than employment to feed your soul. (DCF: Sounds like she gave you some great advice, glad you learned how to hear it! I needed to hear that too lol).
DCF: What was your greatest failure and what did you learn from it?
AT: I wouldn’t say I’ve had one huge, particular failure. However, I will say that sometimes I lack the discipline I need to accomplish goals I have for Will Drink For Travel. A lot of it comes from not properly planning, so it’s an area I am constantly working on being better in. (DCF: The struggle is real! Keep pushing girl! You are doing great work!)
DCF: What is your proudest moment?
AT: My proudest moment (so far) has been appearing on Great Day Washington twice discussing my travels to Martinique and Zambia. Additionally, one of my blog posts was found by and republished on Matador Network, which is a major travel website and a huge win for my brand.
DCF: What’s next?
AT: I am currently working on making Will Drink For Travel a go-to travel resource for people who really want to experience their destinations in a unique way. This will include travel guides, working with tour companies and providing other useful travel information. I am in the process of finding brands whose goals align with Will Drink For Travel, so if you work for or know someone who may be interested in partnering, please let me know!
YouTube: Will Drink for Travel TV