The Baker Orange

Gloria Atanmo returns to BU for book tour

Story by Dory Smith, Multimedia Editor

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Who knew that traveling around the world could bring a stable and fulfilling career?

Baker alumna Gloria Atanmo visited Baker last week to share her recent adventures and celebrate the release of her book From Excuses to Excursions: How I Started Traveling the World. She spoke to a mass media class on Thursday morning and then was the focus of a public meet-and-greet event on Friday evening.

She said that during her fourth-grade career day, she realized the typical careers of doctor, lawyer and teacher weren’t meant for her and she slowly began her journey to entrepreneurship.

“The day I learned that I could be my own boss and actually make my own life, I could create the life that I wanted to live,” Atanmo said. “I knew that’s what I wanted to do.

She began blogging at age 12 on social networks such as Xanga, where she usually vented about teachers and classmates. When she finally reached Baker, her passion for speaking her mind and her creativity opened opportunities on campus.

She began teaching herself Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and within a short time, many football players and local sports teams were paying her for her creations, although she was terrified at first to charge for them.

“I was like ‘wow, maybe I’m a professional,’” Atanmo said. “Once you own your confidence and what you’re good at and know your worth, you’ll never settle for anything less.”

As her passion and skill level increased, she secretly, in fear of her strict Nigerian mother, changed her path of studies from science and biology to an interdisciplinary mass media and art major.

In 2013, she studied abroad at Harlaxton College in England for one semester. While there she soon became a Harlaxton campus blogger and ambassador.

“Once I got there, they realized all of these skills I have, so they just started putting all of these hats on me,” Atanmo said.

During that summer she began her blog, “The Blog Abroad,” and landed in Spain as a translator and children’s tutor.

Since then, Atanmo has traveled to more than 30 countries, including Thailand and France.

Thanks to playing pro basketball in Spain, teaching, blogging and running with bulls, Atanmo has created a brand that is valued by thousands of viewers.

“The one thing I wanted to do was to find a way to get paid to travel, so now that I think about it, I’m here,” Atanmo said. “Being at the destination doesn’t feel real.”

She encourages students to follow their dreams no matter how unrealistic they are.

“I don’t know if you guys are still at a place where you’re confused and you have a skill and a passion but you don’t know if you can make it a career out of it, go for it,” Atanmo said.

Junior Jazmine Ervin was still concerned about embracing a nomadic lifestyle.

“I think being able to travel for a living would be fun, but I would miss my family and being at home,” Ervin said.

Others in the audience were more fearless and hope to follow in some of Atanmo’s footsteps.

“She is very inspiring, especially since I will be spending a semester at Harlaxton,” sophomore Danisha Turner said. “I’m excited to see what this experience brings me.”

Atanmo’s blog is at theblogabroad.com, where visitors can also purchase her e-book and read articles that have been published in the Huffington Post. Travel pictures can be found via @glographics.

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