Nedra McDaniel’s travel, lifestyle and adventure blog, Adventure Mom, is inspired by her passion to live life to the fullest by trying new experiences and encouraging others to do the same. She shares adventures to try solo, with friends, family or on a date to her 100K+ social media followers. Nedra joins us this week to talk about her blog, balancing work and family, and some of her favorite adventures.
What inspired you to create your Adventure Mom blog?
A big part of the inspiration for creating my site Adventure Mom was a desire to continually challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone by trying new experiences. As a mom, I felt a bit stuck in the cycle of routine and I craved adventure to feel more alive. I found that when I tried something new solo, with friends, family, or on a date, I felt more energized to be a better mom, wife, and friend. As a result, my family has experienced so many incredible adventures together and each of us has built more confidence every time we try something new.
A big motivation for my site is my family and also as a way to honor my mom and brother I’m going to sound like Debbie Downer for a moment but stick with me.
My older brother had cerebral palsy and passed away when I was in middle school. He was nonverbal and had a feeding tube and was confined to a wheelchair but expressed emotions through his big smile and laugh.
My mom detected breast cancer late and fought it off into remission a few times, but it came back with a vengeance when I was in my late 20’s. I remember asking her a few weeks before she died if there was anything that she still wanted to do, and she said she had always wanted to go to Hawaii….but it was too late now. She was physically too weak to even walk to another room and knew that her time on earth was ending soon.
Their deaths have fueled me even more to not take health or time for granted. I don’t want to waste days and I want to live to the fullest every opportunity I get.
You’ve built up a considerable following on the blog as well as your social media channels, what tips would you give someone trying to do the same?
I would say to be consistent and engage with your audience as much as possible. Invest more time in the social platforms that you actually enjoy but have a presence on all of the major ones. It’s taken me YEARS to build up my social platforms and it takes TIME. Keep on showing up and educate yourself because social media is always changing and what worked a few years…. or even a few months ago, might not work today.
How do you balance your workload between building your blog, work as a content creator and social media campaigns? Does one take priority over the others?
It’s always challenging. Sometimes a blog post comes really easy to me and other times it can take me days between editing images and writing content. I think that it helps to have daily tasks that are part of your everyday routine when it comes to social media. I like to have deadline goals when it comes to blog posts and I keep a running list of upcoming sponsored posts and topics so that I always have something to work on.
Speaking of balance…what’s your secret to balancing travel, writing and your family life?
That can get tricky too. My boys both play sports which makes their time at home really limited between practices and games. Some days you have to focus on “quality time” vs “quantity time.” I try to make use of the times when I have to wait before practice lets out by bringing my laptop to work on projects in the car.
I also try to get a lot done while they are at school, but I think it’s hard to feel “balanced” in all the areas of your life at the same time. As one area goes up, I feel like another area goes down. I want to make memories with my family and I also want to model a great work ethic. I think that it’s most important to stop and reevaluate when you start to see signals that something feels out of line. It might mean scheduling a date night, one on one time with a child, or investing in yourself if you are starting to feel burnout.
I strive to be the best version of myself every day and I miss the mark all the time….but I keep trying.
You’re always on the lookout for new adventures to try. If you had to pick your top three adventures so far, what would they be?
That’s a tough one! I’ve had so many incredible adventures over the years and each one has challenged me and added to my life in a meaningful way. Here are a few that come to mind.
A hot air balloon ride in New Mexico because it was so peaceful and beautiful.
I’ve tried the trapeze several times with friends and family because watching “Circus of the Stars” as a kid made it seem attainable and it was awesome to live out my circus dream for a moment.
Another adventure highlight was an RV trip with my family that included my dad because we had so much quality time together while exploring several cities.
If money and time were no object, what adventures would you want to experience with your kids?
Our days off are pretty limited because of school and sports so unlimited time and money would be a dream come true! I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list….seriously it is!
Hmmm…if we did an around the world cruise we could pretty much cover everywhere in the world which would make things so much easier.
I would also love to take them all over Europe, visit our friends in Australia, and go on an extended road trip out west to see all of the National Parks and cities in between.
Residing in the Greater Cincinnati area with her husband and two boys, Nedra has worked with over 200 destinations and brands. Follow her adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.