Keeping it real in Caracas

Lauren Quinn is a freelance writer and recovering poet. She’s actually not that lonely, but does love traveling sola.

Raised in Oakland on punk rock, malt liquor and Marxism-Leninism, Lauren has traveled independently (and once illegally) to over thirty countries across five continents. She’s been detained by the Venezuelan police,ย kicked it with the Colombian military, been kicked out of St Peter’s Basilica, survived an ill-fated attempt at living in Cambodia and spent the night in a Mexican cemetery. She has a penchant for abandoned buildings, street art, tattoos and 12-step meetings.

Lauren’s work has appeared online at The Rumpus, Nerve, The Nervous Breakdown, World Hum and Culinate, and in print in 7×7, San Francisco Chronicle, We Still Like and Best Women’s Travel Writing. She writes for the online magazine Vela and mans womans persons their Twitter feed, which you should totally follows here. Lauren was also a Spring 2011 Glimpse Correspondent, and holds a BA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.

Lauren has inflicted herself on the following locations:

Lauren used to have contact information on this page until a deluge of spam and weird stalker emails prompted her to take it down. If you wish to get in touch about non-advertising, non-creepy writing-related stuff, leave a comment on this page and she’ll respond to the email you input.

62 Responses to “About”

  1. 1 Tony September 28, 2009 at 4:23 am

    Hey, just wanted to say that I think what you’re doing is amazing. Also, you’re very cute. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope everything turns out alright for you.

  2. 2 lynda October 3, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    yo chica. bored at work and finally reading your blog (yes, i’m a great friend!) i’m living vicariously through your travels. keep it up! love you.

  3. 3 neha November 3, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    hey. i followed the matador (twitter) link to your website and am glad i did. loving your writing!

  4. 4 Brubby November 4, 2009 at 6:19 am

    I am at a loss for words. I don’t know what the blogesphere is about. But damn, the girl can write. I’ll have to check her out on MyFace.

  5. 5 peregrina feminina November 5, 2009 at 7:25 am

    I am so glad that our cyber paths crossed as well. We even have similar tastes in layouts ๐Ÿ˜‰ Love your blog and can’t wait to read more!

  6. 6 Nancy November 10, 2009 at 4:10 am

    I love your story, writing, site, everything. That settles it; I’m adding you to my blogroll.

    • 7 laurenquinn November 10, 2009 at 6:47 am

      Yea! Thanks for the add. Couldn’t comment on your “About” page, but we’ve got a few things in common. Maybe one day, the travel gods will arrange for our paths to cross, to do yoga to Nina Simone in NYC or Argentina, followed by a gorging on vegan cupcakes? It could happen…

  7. 8 Abbie December 2, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I didn’t know how else to contact you, so I had to post this here… feel free to delete (after you read it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I tagged you in the 3 Best Travel Secrets game. Here is my post:

    If you accept the challenge of sharing your 3 Best Travel Secrets, here are the instructions:

    Congratulations, youโ€™ve been chosen to take part in Tripbase Blog Tag!

    Hereโ€™s how it works:

    1. Publish your top 3 travel secrets on your blog Can be anywhere in the world – a hidden travel spot, an incredibly tasty restaurant or a great budget hotel, whatever!

    2. โ€œTagโ€ 5 more travel bloggers
    Anyone you think will have some great tips and whoโ€™ll be happy to take part.

    3. Forward this email on to your 5 chosen bloggers
    Let them know that theyโ€™ve been tagged and pass on the Blog Tag mantle!

    4. Email Katie @Tripbase
    Email with the URL of your blog post to ensure your travel secrets are included in the final post.

    The aim of this game is to unite travel bloggers in a joint endeavor โ€“ to create an amazing list of top travel recommendations across the globe to share with the entire online travel community.

    The final list of all our travel secrets will be published as creative commons and shared with travel bloggers across the Net.

    Letโ€™s try and make it to 100 travel secrets (at least)!

    Happy travel tagging!


    Ps. If youโ€™d rather not take part, thatโ€™s no problem. Just let me know and Iโ€™ll replace your tag with someone else.

    PPs. Confused? Email to clear up any gray areas

  8. 9 Brooke vs. the World February 7, 2010 at 1:59 am

    Hi Lauren! I blog over at Brooke vs. the World, and I just started a monthly newsletter called Female Travel Underground. The goal is to discuss some offbeat topics that pertain to girl travelers, and I think you would have a lot to add given your interesting travel resume ๐Ÿ™‚ You can check out the newsletter section of my site, or email me, for more info – will be looking for submissions and all that good stuff soon. Cheers!

  9. 10 Ben February 12, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Hey, do you have an email address? I want to contact you ๐Ÿ™‚ BTW, nothing creepy, it’s writing related ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. 12 Jeff February 15, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Just wanted to talk to you about Cuba. I just returned from there and took a different approach to addressing whether or not I traveled there at the US Customs desk.

    Also going to Morocco in a couple weeks so I wouldn’t mind picking your brain. I didn’t see an email or contact link on here so if you have the time please get back to me. Thanks, and keep writing.

  11. 13 Amanda March 18, 2010 at 4:40 am

    I just found your blog via @lesleytellez and huzzah! It rocks.
    I am a Petaluma girl living in Asia (NOT teaching English) and though I am looking forward to returning home after 5 years abroad, I often suffer your itchy foot syndrome, fernweh in my case…

    Either way, so glad I found your site – it is going on my blogroll for sure.

  12. 14 di March 23, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Loving your writing lonely gurl, the sparrow story was poetry!

  13. 15 leslie March 30, 2010 at 5:22 am

    sigh, you’re writing is lovely. i found you over at world hum, and so glad i did. consider yourself blogrolled.

  14. 16 Enigma April 30, 2010 at 7:09 am

    I am just in awe… I admire and envy you..

  15. 17 Ant Stone June 23, 2010 at 12:28 am

    GREAT site, Lauren, it’s good to see a fellow K2 theme advocate! I’ve been using it for a few years but I’m considering jumping ship. Anyway, just wanted to leave something positive, and not be one of those that just sneaks around quietly!!

    If you want to stick a link from me to you, just whack your details in the T-Bag Directory over on my site. Nay worries. Keep it up

  16. 18 Amie K July 11, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Glad I found your blog, awesome photos, I appreciate the off-beat perspective of the world. I’m a graphic designer and was wondering if you might have any photos of run-down, seedy motels to share for a project I’m working on.

    If not, no worries…happy traveling!

  17. 19 Laura July 14, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Hi! I would like to swap links with your site. My blog is I’ve already added you under my “Links” section on my page. Thank you!
    I’m also looking for guest bloggers. Please let me know if you’d be interested in being featured on Travelocafe.
    Regards, Laura

  18. 20 greg August 22, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    i came across your grottaglie post amidst my scrambling for some closure on this year’s fame festival. i will be attending as well.

    it would be nice to have a word with you before the departure, exchange contact information, etc.

    thats all for this about page comment.

  19. 21 Mimi September 16, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I’m not a blogger but I LOVE LOVE LOVE checking out blogs on food and travel…………yours is my fave by far!! AWESOME! Take care and happy travels

  20. 22 theforestandthesea October 4, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I also enjoy your blog a lot, and I’m trying to get my own hotmess of travel writing into a nice and easy-to-read format on the these-here internets. I was wondering if you had any tips or the like? This you recommend doing? Things I should never do in a million years? Or if you know of any brilliant resources that google hasn’t pointed me towards yet?
    Anyways, if you have a second, my email is

    happy trails,

    • 23 theforestandthesea December 17, 2014 at 11:43 am

      I cannot believe both that I flippantly, unsolicited, asked for this advice, and that I put my email on the wide open internet. If you get an opportunity to delete this comment and the one above, I request that you please do.

  21. 24 Mike Shubic October 12, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Hi Lauren,

    I too am a solo traveler and sometimes “lonely.” Love your writing style, you’re quite talented.

    Keep up the great work.


  22. 25 Shawn November 20, 2010 at 4:43 am

    Great stuff, particularly that about abandoned buildings and street art. Really makes me want to get of my ass and write more.
    I think you’d be great to travel with.

    I’ll be back again!

  23. 26 essa November 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    i read a bunch of different travel blog, but yours is so refreshing.
    It’s awesome to see someone with a punk background write about photography, travel, street art and most importantly, abandoned building!
    I got so excited when i saw posts about that!!

    I’m finally moving to Oakland at the end of the winter (from the east coast of canada) to be with my husband.
    One last trip and then it’s time to move!

  24. 27 Josh Wolff December 8, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Hey Lonely Girl,
    Congratulations on being in the top 100 travel blogs; such an awesome place to be. A couple of months ago I splintered my production company, Nomading Films, into a Film Festival.

    And so The Nomading Film Festival was born!

    Based out of Brooklyn, NYC, NoFF is a two day festival celebrating the love of travel, and the media produced from these trips. We’re planning a massive party with local food and beer and, of course, prizes (yet to be solidified but will include trips and gear.) We’re at the stage of getting the word out and would love any help we can get, from friends to friends of friends to flyers we’ve printed out, to bloggers who are in the thick of it.

    If you have any ideas on how we can best get the word out, I’m all ears!



    Josh Wolff

    PS: Amazing photos, btw.

  25. 28 Gisele January 28, 2011 at 6:08 am

    Hey Lauren,

    Love your blog – especially the post about the Coral art in Hawaii….amazing!

    I was wondering if you offered any advertising to sites in the travel vertical or accept guest bloggers?



  26. 29 Anna Asterina February 24, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Lauren,

    I’m starting an online blog magazine called Avant-Garde. I am looking for original works from guest bloggers and I stumbled across your article “Love in The Time of Matador: Romantic Roman Rendezvous Foregone for Self Love” and thought it was smashingly beautiful. Your writing style and content is fantastic. I was hoping to obtain your permission to feature your article on my site and if you’re interested, have you contribute future works.

    A little about Avant-Garde:

    “Avant-Garde is an online blog magazine about everyday living featuring people and subjects that cross conventional norms. Discover a new consciousness that fuses the ancient and modern, the esoteric and reason. Our mission is to gather innovative people from all around the world to discuss personal and spiritual growth. Join the Avant-garde and be part of the movement to nourish and advance our society.”

    The magazine will feature print and broadcast on topics pertaining to: Mind + Body + Spirit, Life & Style, Relationships, Art & Culture, Travel, and World Issues.

    The Avant-Garde website is still being developed, but as soon as it’s up and running I can link you. Please let me know if you’re interested in contributing. Regardless, I wanted to pay my compliments to you and your writing. I will be following your blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you,

    Anna Asterina

  27. 30 phillegitimate March 8, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Is the Lonely Planet featured blogger patch new? Never noticed it before. Whether or not it is, congrats. I don’t claim to know how blogsherpa works, but it seems like something worthy of envy…

    • 31 laurenquinn March 8, 2011 at 11:08 pm

      No, it’s not new, I just couldn’t get the link to work for 2011 badge. Finally got around to figuring it out… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. 32 constant nomad March 24, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Love your blog! Keep on rocking.

  29. 33 Michael Hodson April 27, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    liking your blog, but you REALLY need to throw up some social media buttons so people can find and follow you — and a RT button that works with your address/handle in it. Arrggggg.

  30. 35 Rogue Roadshow April 30, 2011 at 2:06 am

    Mighty fucking good blog. Been to alot of these places you blog about and you are right on! Your style,edge,insight and grittyness is a welcome relief from the “Lifestyle” crowd working some of the same travel paths.

  31. 36 Mercedes Jones August 4, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I love this blog! I feel like if cody diablo didn’t write screen plays and she traveled instead, it would end up a lot like this. (in the best way)

  32. 37 Alta Buden September 19, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Hey Lauren! I can’t find your email anywhere…it sounds like you are crazy moving etc. but I am part of a film crew making a doc about Vandy Ratana and the group of artists he works with, we thought maybe you might be able to help us spread the word. I won’t post anylinks here but if you have a sec we would love to get you involved! ps. I think what you are doing is right on! -Alta,

  33. 38 Jana October 2, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Virginia and Bud Matthiesen were my aunt and uncle.I think you are spot on about them I would like to buy the collage.They inspired me in life…Jana

  34. 39 Journey of a Jungle Girl November 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    I completely agree with the comment that your writing’s “style,edge,insight and grittyness” is so refreshing. It’s so interesting reading all of your insights on your travels… Thanks! -Shelly

  35. 40 emanuelarosa November 29, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Go to Brazil to see street arts ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. 41 Sarah Peck January 3, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Just discovered your blog. Your writing is wonderful – thank you! I’m currently in Phnom Penh if you’d be up for food/coffee/chaos sometime.

  37. 42 jadelest February 1, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Happy to have found your page! I’m always looking for inspiration and I got that much just from your write up ๐Ÿ™‚
    Looking forward to reading what more you have to say, thanks for that!

  38. 43 Sharon Bjornson February 11, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Hi Lauren: Your writing is fantastic. Hope your time there is everything you hoped it would be. Sharon Bjornson

  39. 44 abstalavista March 26, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Hi Lauren,
    I came across your blog while trying to locate a writing group in Phnom Penh – my partner and I move there from Oz in June and I was wondering if you had any success in starting one or know of one?! Enjoyed reading about your experiences…
    Cheers, ab.

  40. 45 bbecares April 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Just found ur blog searcing in Internet information about Legzira, where I ve been yesterday and we both think is one of the most beautiful beaches we’ve ever seen. Im starting my first travel alone. Despite I love travelling and my life is all about that, I had always different companies. Now im going direction to the desert in Morocco. I see you have travelled alone a lot. That amazing. I wish I could be more brave, cause Im a bit scared as it’s difficult to find acommodation in the cities where I am going.
    As I see u live in Asia Pacific now…. Im think to morve there next fall. Which country would you suggest better: Tailand or Vietnam or something else??? Best luck!!!

    • 46 laurenquinn April 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm

      Glad to hear Legzira’s still awesome! Been a few years since I’ve been there. Haven’t traveled much in Thailand, but I can say that Vietnam is fuckin killer. Good luck!

  41. 47 Susan Taing June 13, 2012 at 8:26 pm


    I came across your article about Mai Rut refugee camp in Matador. I’m currently in Koh Chang and about to do the same trip tomorrow to search for Mairut, my birthplace. There was a vague set of directions in your article that was told to you by Bill. I was wondering if there was more to it, so I could find it. I think it’s unlikely you’ll see this note before tomorrow, but if you do and can respond, please email me at

    Thank you, and thank you for that article.

  42. 48 danthewanderer June 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Wonderful writing, brought back memories of Cambodia. Thank You. Look forward to hearing more.

  43. 49 amiramelody August 8, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Hey there! how did you get the map with the pins onto this page?

  44. 50 Molly August 19, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Great blog…it’s so inspirational for a woman that is just starting to travel solo. Love it!

  45. 51 Chasing Butterflies: Sunshine and freedom September 15, 2012 at 3:52 am

    I have nominated you for the โ€œOne lovely blog awardโ€, Congratulations! ( no offence taken if you choose not to accept it!) Have a great day, G ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. 52 Jax October 4, 2012 at 10:45 am

    I’ve just moved to Siem Reap and stumbled across your blog from a link. Just wanted to give you a shout out that I love it. So often, travel writing romanticises all aspects – it’s good to read BS free writing about the trials and tribulations, as well as the positives. Cheers

  47. 53 Jennifer Avventura October 29, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Awesome blog, awesome style. You’ve found a new follower – thanks! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  48. 54 Nydia November 1, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Very inspiring, entertaining and exciting. I love reading your blog since I discovered it a year ago! Please keep writing ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. 55 ExpatsBlog November 16, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Hi! Can you get in touch re your nomination in the awards: Thanks!

  50. 56 Doug Frank November 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I serendipitously stumbled on your blog by being very tired on a Friday night and typing “rat turd” into my Google text box. Yours was the first viable-looking result. Glad I stopped by!

  51. 58 rae December 19, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    hi, i’m leaving seoul and moving to vietnam (city TBD), i think, and i just want to start getting some info about living/working there. ๐Ÿ™‚ i promise i’m not spammy or creepy. i’m just another expat girl looking for some advice. cheers!

  52. 59 vitaviva96 February 25, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Hi Lauren,
    Hopefully this comment isn’t posted twice, as my computer was having some problems.
    I came across your blog when I was looking to get more information about Cambodia since I will be moving there two weeks from now. I noticed that you are currently in Hanoi and had a question for you. I was originally interested in teaching English in Hanoi but was told that even with an associates degree and teaching certificate that I would not be qualified. Have you found this to be true? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Warm regards,

    • 60 laurenquinn March 7, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      Haha, no way! Hanoi’s super easy to find work in. Cambodia is *dismal* for teaching English; I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have a really compelling reason to be there. Hanoi’s an ass-kicker of a city, but the ESL gravy train is in full effect. Get on board!

  53. 61 Jenn Ashworth April 15, 2014 at 4:14 am

    Really enjoyed your essays in Velamag (which is how I found you). You’re such a gifted writer. Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ J

  54. 62 Avy Mallik December 8, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Hey I read your piece in Vela about Dory Tourette — I met him as a child on the 38L and he played a song to me and a crazy old cowboy until the bus driver threatened to kick us all out! Anyway, I play music and I recently rediscovered him and wanted to know more about his music — drop me a line if you want to talk about him.

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Lauren Quinn is a writer and traveler currently living in Hanoi. Lonely Girl Travels was a blog of her sola travels and expat living from 2009 to 2012. She resides elsewhere on the internet now.

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