We had the good fortune of connecting with Noelle Bertram and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Noelle, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Throughout my life & career, I believe that the willingness to take risks has helped me transition out of, what I might call, a more “conventional” life ~ into one that has taken me places I never imagined I’d be.
Many years ago, I left the family restaurant business ~ & left a lot of money & stability behind. But I was no longer happy, & even though I was terrified to leave: I knew I had to. And that decision, that risk: led to a life in Oregon, & the start-up of a new business there…in the fitness industry. It led to meeting so many new people, & falling in love with a new state & a more easygoing lifestyle.
After about six years of running that business, I felt drawn to take perhaps the biggest risk yet: traveling solo throughout South America. Friends met up at various places along the way: but the greatest part of the journey was a solo one. I started a website & blog not only to document that journey ~ but to encourage others to travel in Latin America: not to be afraid of it. Because I heard so many well-intentioned “warnings” about how dangerous it was “down there” ~ mainly from people who had never been!
The website was started out of a desire to shine a light on how many wonders lie below our borders, if only we are willing to take that small risk ~ to go & see what lies out there.
And even though I am back in the States now & establishing a more permanent home base in Bend, Oregon: those years of travel in South America are still close to me. I truly fell in love with their culture. I can’t imagine my life without having taken the risk to travel, alone ~ my life would be missing a certain depth & richness had I not gone.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The creation of my travel blog/website was definitely more of a creative venture than a typical “business” one, particularly in the beginning. I am most proud of the fact that I’m shining a light on & giving voice to places that are often overlooked, or considered too “dangerous” to travel to. Starting any business, be it a restaurant or a travel blog, is never “easy” ~ but for some people, it’s more of a calling, or something they feel they have to do. And when you feel like that, all the extra work is simply part of the gig, & far more enjoyable than doing it for someone else. Challenges are best overcome, I’ve found, by speaking with trusted colleagues or friends who allow you to talk through an issue or problem; sometimes when your own head too much, it can be hard to see your way around the problem. The main lesson I’ve learned re: starting businesses is that you’re playing for the long game: it’s a long, slow road ~ particularly when you’re developing passive income. None of it comes easily. I care less about what the world thinks of me personally or my “brand” ~ I care much more about shining a light on other people, other countries, other cultures; helping people get out of their comfort zones. If “Girl Who Travels the World” has any brand, it is that: using adventure as a catalyst not only for understanding yourself better, but for opening yourself up to the beauty that other cultures & other ways of living expand your view of the world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In Bend, we’d float the Deschutes River, hike Tam McArthur Rim or visit one of the Cascade Lakes, grab a burger from quirky McMenamins in downtown Bend, & end with a nightcap at Dogwood Cocktail Cabin.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The book “Women Who Run With Wolves,” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, is a phenomenal achievement in storytelling, & one I read prior to my trip: it is essential reading for all “wild women.”