After A 15 Year Legal Practice Michelle Quit Her Job To Pursue Her Dream Of Traveling Around The World
What is GAFFL?

GAFFL connects solo travelers with similar itineraries to explore destinations together. Whether you are backpacking in Asia, road tripping in Australia, or exploring national parks in the US, simply type the destination you are traveling to, find travelers who are going there at the same time as you, connect with them, plan trips, meet, and travel together.

After practicing law for almost fifteen years and with her supportive husband by her side, Michelle left the law firm life and launched her travel blog.
18th Jul | 8 min read

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    At GAFFL, we love to publish inspiring travel stories from adventurers around the world. You can connect with travelers from 190+ countries on GAFFL, meet up, and explore destinations together.

    After practicing law for almost fifteen years and with her supportive husband by her side, Michelle left the law firm life and launched her travel blog. She hopes the information you learn on her blog inspires you to pack your bags and head out on your next epic vacation.

    Michelle is a former litigator turned travel blogger. Michelle founded The Trav Nav, a luxury travel blog that provides fellow travelers with in-depth travel ideas and recommendations for luxurious fun-filled active adventures.

    You can follow both Michelle and her husband as they travel the world through The Trav Nav and be sure to check out their Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. You can also connect with Michelle on GAFFL

    The Trav Nav - biking Maldives

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    Our Reason To Start Traveling

    While I practiced law, I worked long hours and spent most of my day indoors. I began to crave travel with outdoor activities to feel rejuvenated before returning to work.

    Now, I travel because I love exploring new places and trying new things. Plus, I get to share the practical information I learn along the way through my travel blog - The Trav Nav.  

    The Trav Nav Hang gliding in Rio

    How Long We Travel For

    We generally travel at least once a month. Over the last couple of years, most of our trips have been three-to-five-day road trips. However, I recently started traveling internationally again, and those trips are generally five to ten days depending on the destination.   

    The Trav Nav - Couple standing at Taft point

    How We Decide Our Next Destination

    I use a funnel approach to determine my next travel adventure. I start with the premise that everywhere is possible and then decide when I want to travel, how many days we can get away, the places with the best weather for that time of year, whether shoulder deals are available, and I factor in a reasonable amount of travel time. Using this method, I can quickly narrow down our options to find the best place for our next vacation!

    I love preparing for vacation. I talk to friends and fellow travelers to see if I can get a few inside tips for our trip. I also spend countless hours researching the best places to stay, epic and unique adventures, and incredible places to eat. To get ready for our trip, I also check to see if I need any special gear or clothing to enhance our travel experience. 

    Our Favorite Memory Of Meeting New People & Exploring With Them

    Meeting new people is half the fun of traveling. We have met some interesting characters over the years.  One day while sitting at a beach bar in Cabo San Lucas, we met an older gentleman who was a self-proclaimed drug smuggler in his youth.  He had wild stories to share about his drug smuggling days and his time in prison.  While I will never know if the stories are true, they were entertaining.

    While staying in Hanoi, Vietnam, we were invited to attend a cocktail party hosted by our hotel.  We spent the night getting to know fellow travelers and ended up meeting a nice local couple.  Years later, while on their honeymoon in the United States, we were able to reconnect. It was so nice to be able to show them the same kind of hospitality they showed us while in Vietnam. 

    The Trav Nav at Tunnel view

    Countries We Have Visited & Our Bucket List

    I have traveled to over twenty countries and feel lucky to have seen so many amazing places around the world. Some of my favorite destinations include hiking on the Prieto Moreno Glacier in Argentina, exploring the Golden Triangle in India, relaxing in an overwater bungalow in the Maldives, and hiking in Banff National Park.

    I have an ever-growing bucket list of adventures. I'd love to go on a safari in South Africa and see the animals roam free, sail around Croatia and the Greek Islands, trek in Nepal, and relax in Fiji while my husband surfs the waves at Cloudbreak and Restaurants.  

    The Trav Nav - Lake Mary, Mammoth Lakes Winter

    Inspiration To Start Our Blog

    When I stopped litigating, I needed a project to direct my energy. Knowing nothing about WordPress, blogging, or social media, I took the plunge and created The Trav Nav. Through The Trav Nav, I realized I could feed my passion for travel and love of providing practical travel tips to fellow travelers.

    A goal of our blog is to inform and inspire travelers through in-depth and detailed blog posts about luxurious places to stay, fun-filled active adventures, and tips and tricks to enhance the travel experience. I am honored that FeedSpot has recognized The Trav Nav as one of the top 100 luxury travel blogs to follow in 2021 and 2022.

    Challenges I Faced When I Decided To Quit & Start Traveling Full-Time

    After litigating for fifteen years, I knew it was time for a break. But it was hard to let go of what I knew, a steady income, and start something completely different. Since I wanted to write about travel, I figured the best place to start was with a travel blog.

    The Trav Nav - Via_ferrata_-_couple_scaling_the_route

    Even though travel blogging was outside my comfort zone, I was ready for a new challenge. I put in a significant amount of time and effort to get my travel blog up and running.

    In addition to learning the business of blogging and creating content, I spent countless hours learning how to create a blog, publish blog posts, and edit photos. Getting started was extremely time intensive. But The Trav Nav is and remains a labor of love 

    How I Manage My Work & Travel

    I learned throughout the years to plan ahead and stay organized while traveling. Before I leave for a trip, I outline my blog posts to focus on the topics I anticipate writing about and the pictures I want to take while away. After each experience, I jot down a few notes about the highlights that I want to include in my blog post. I am also realistic about the significant time it takes to write and publish a blog post. I keep all these things in mind when planning my next travel adventure to ensure I can meet any deadlines.

    Safety Measure I Take Before Starting My Journey

    Safety is crucial when traveling. I sign up for the STEP program through the United States government whenever I travel internationally. STEP provides automatic e-mail notifications of potential safety issues in the countries you visit around your travel dates.

    Several years ago, I signed up for STEP before leaving for Hong Kong. I was scheduled to be in Hong Kong while there were daily protests. Before I arrived, I received a notification telling me about potential transit closures due to the protests. Knowing this information, I pre-arranged my transportation to avoid the possible protests and arrived safely at my hotel. 

    Gary in hammock

    Our Say About GAFFL

    GAFFL provides solo travelers a terrific opportunity to connect on the road and meet new people. Connecting travelers with common interests allows travelers to create exciting, shared experiences. Some of the apps I use the most when traveling include Google Maps, Viator, Uber, and, where available, GyPSy Guide

    Some Of Our Most Exciting Travel Experiences

    As a reward for studying for the California State Bar Exam, I spent a couple of weeks backpacking in Thailand. One of the highlights was exploring the beautiful islands. But as someone prone to seasickness, I was worried about getting sick during the boat rides between islands.

    As a planner, I did what I could to avoid seasickness by wearing an anti-seasickness patch. I read the directions, which stated you could only wear the patch for three days. I diligently followed the instructions, and after three days, I removed the patch. However, I was due for another boat ride. So, I opened another package and applied a new patch. During the boat ride between islands, my vision started to get blurry. As I exited the boat, my eyesight went from bad to worse. Within minutes, I could barely make out shapes, and darkness was quickly closing in.

    The Trav Nav at Lake Louise

    I managed to find a payphone and called my now husband. I explained the situation, and without skipping a beat, he asked “did you take the patch off yet?” I was so focused on my loss of eyesight I forgot I was still wearing the patch. I don't know how the most obvious solution was the furthest thing from my mind.

    Fortunately, within an hour or so after removing the patch, my eyesight ultimately returned with no lasting damage.

    I learned a valuable lesson that day. When something goes wrong while traveling, sometimes the most obvious answer is the right answer.  With my eyesight problem solved, I was able to enjoy the rest of my Thailand trip!

    Our Advice To Travelers Who Want To Start Traveling Full-Time

    For those looking to travel full time, I suggest learning how to budget. Budgeting is not the most exciting piece of advice, but it could be the most practical. It’s essential to know how much you can afford to spend on food and lodging each night to maximize the amount of time you can spend traveling. 

    Otherwise, you could run through your entire budget without seeing half of the place on your bucket list.

    The Trav Nav -Admiring_the_view_at_Taft_Point_

    Things We Wish We’d Known Before We Started Traveling

    Our world is vast and full of amazing places to see. I used to try to squeeze in as many places and activities as possible to take full advantage of my vacation.

    However, moving from place to place didn't give me a chance to fully appreciate my surroundings. Now, I try to travel a little slower and stay longer. The slower approach gives me time to get to know a place better, which allows me to pass along helpful tips to my readers. 

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