Erika Bud started traveling overseas when she was 18 years old, working as an Au Pair. Since then, she has traveled to over thirty countries, living in both Spain and Australia. International travel is her passion, and Erika takes pride in the fact that by the age of five, her son already had two stamps in his passport.
Erika embarked on the Travel Rangers book series and Planes, Trains, & Kids Abroad travel podcast because she hopes to ignite a passion for travel abroad in both children and adults. She wants to teach them about the fascinating cultures throughout the world and the many diverse perspectives shared by the wonderful people of this world that make it such an amazing place to live
You are an author, but is it your day job? Yes, I committed to focusing on being a full-time author April 2022. I really want to succeed as an author, so I figured the only way I could do be successful was to commit 100%. With that being said, I also host a travel podcast. I never intended to host a podcast, but my book series and podcast share the same mission, to inspire families to travel abroad and learn about countries and cultures, so it was hard to pass up on another opportunity to reach more families.
Did you always want to be an author? I have honestly been searching for the career that fulfills since high school. I wrote the original version of my first book over 20 years ago, with the intent of one day publishing it for fun. I never intended to make it a career until I realized I was miserable with my career path and I needed to figure out what truly fulfilled me. Educating families on other countries and cultures made me light up and I knew I had to find a way to become an author full time.
What is your most recent book and what inspired you to write it? My first book, Travel Rangers, is about the country and culture of Australia. I chose Australia because I lived there for three years and I loved the experience. Australia is also the first country I took my son to visit on a vacation, so it was special to both of us. I wanted to share some of the great culture with others and hopefully inspire them to want to travel there one day.
How do you hope your book uplifts those who read it? My series is intended to make it fun to learn about other cultures and countries. Kids are not reading a bunch of boring facts about a country, but they get to go on an adventurous mission with the Travel Rangers. I tried to make the Travel Rangers team diverse so that as many kids as possible could relate to the characters and picture themselves on the adventure. The kids are not just diverse because of the color of their skin, but also because of their habits (i.e., biting their nails), their interests, their characteristics, and their fears. I want kids and families to get excited and picture themselves in the Travel Rangers characters so that hopefully they’ll want to travel to these destinations as well.
What are you most excited about with this book? I love that my son helped me with certain aspects of the book. For example, he wanted the Travel Rangers to travel via helicopter and wear camouflage mission vests. This is something that we will always be able to share together. I also love that so many people do not know what augmented reality is, so when they see my book come to life for the first time, even the adults are in awe. I love the smile my book brings both children and adults and that reading my book is a family experience.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in your professional industry? My advice is if you want your book to look professional and not just like a side project, let the experts do their job when it comes to editing and illustrating. Also, listen to the mistakes of other authors. Luckily, so many authors are willing to share their experiences. Learn from them. Finally, be strong and persistent. This is not an easy business and it’s easy to get discouraged. Focus on your “Why” every day to keep you going.
How do you handle setbacks and criticism? Being an author today is like running a business. How do you manage all your publicity, social media and keep your engagement up with readers?
How do you hold yourself accountable and achieve the goals that you set forth? This is not easy for me because I feel like there is so much that can be done. It’s difficult not to get overwhelmed. Each day I prioritize what needs to get done and I set small goals for what I want to accomplish. They have to be small goals or else you’ll never feel as if you accomplished anything. I close my social media and email as often as I can as this is a big distraction and it’s easy to get lost down the rabbit hole.
What do you find most fulfilling in the career that you’ve chosen? I feel like I am making a difference as an author because I’m not only making it fun to learn, but I’m also opening my reader’s eyes to new cultures and ways of life. I believe the more we learn about other cultures, the more accepting we will be of each other’s differences. I hope this acceptance creates a better, happier place to live for everyone.
Connect with Erika and the Travel Rangers at Big World Publishing, LLC
Images Courtesy of PR by the Book, LLC