When I first met Anne Taylor Hartzell, a.k.a., Hip Travel Mama, I fell in love. I already knew her from the family travel circle and had watched her fabulous travel videos in the past. But meeting her in person was a different experience.

She’s tall and beautiful, inside and out. And she has the best smile and personality, the kind of personality around whom a rough-around-the-edges, foul-mouthed, Brooklyn girl like myself needs to spend more time. Anne also is talented and amazing at what she does. Here’s a closer look at the hip travel momma behind Hip Travel Mama.

Carol Cain: You have taken your career beyond travel blogging and built a travel vlogging brand and personality. Was that always your goal when you started?

Hip Travel Mama: Hip Travel Mama always has been much more to me than putting pen to paper and writing blog posts. Maybe it’s because I come from the technology start-up world, but I believe that you have to pick a niche that you can fill and stick with it. You also have to be willing to test constantly and learn and try new things to innovate. I’ve tried to take that same approach with building the Hip Travel Mama brand. Looking back over the last five years, navigating the process of building Hip Travel Mama has been more of following a “gut feeling” about my purpose and what I can contribute than a straight path. I’ve been blessed with great people along the way who have supported me in pursuing work I love and have opened doors for me, each one to a place I never expected. The video and broadcast media work was a bit like that. I feel so in the zone in this type of environment.

CC: Why do you think travel blogging is important?

HTM: Travel blogging is about storytelling the experience of place. The beautiful part of blogging is that it is unique to the person writing the story and mirrors our growth as people. And there is room for everyone who has a unique story to tell.

Hip Travel Mama in Paris with the family

CC: What singular event in your life had the most bearing on who and what you are today?

HTM: I can’t say there is one singular event, but my parents always have told me from a young age that I can do anything I set my mind to. I fundamentally believe this is true for everyone. My favorite quote is from Walt Disney: ‘If you can dream it, you can achieve it.’ My family instilled in me a commitment to hard work and the importance of family time and always looking to share these priorities and passions with my community.

CC: What is one piece of advice you would offer someone considering a career as a professional travel writer and blogger?

HTM: Travel blogging is hard work, so be prepared to keep your day job and know that it will take some time to find your niche. The benefits abound and we are so fortunate to have access to incredible experiences and travel for a living, but behind the scenes of those fabulous trips, Instagram photos, and Facebook posts is a hard-working individual, constantly connected, sharing and gathering details to tell an awesome story.

CC: What is your favorite holiday and why?

HTM: Halloween. Because my husband goes completely insane and turns our garage into a Haunted House. It’s been a neighborhood tradition for the last 9 years and now the kids are really getting into it.

CC: What is your idea of a perfect day at home?  

HTM: Sitting out on the back deck with my girls, hubby and a full house of family and friends and neighbors, sipping a glass of wine. Nothing better.