Face Time: Globe trotting with Hannah Rheaume

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Popular travel blogger appreciates her Lewiston roots.

Hannah Rheaume gets around. In fact, the Lewiston woman has traveled so far and so frequently, you might experience jet lag just looking over her photos.

China, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Malta . . . You name it. If it’s considered a hot travel destination, there’s a good chance Rheaume has either been there or plans to go.

Thousands of people across several social media services follow Rheaume specifically to read about – and enjoy the hundreds of dazzling photos of – her travels.

On Instagram alone, Rheaume has more than 20,000 followers. Some come for the travel recommendations, others for the lively photos featuring monkeys, elephants, architecture, landscapes and the occasional bikini.

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Rheaume takes stunning photographs, but she also tells captivating stories about the places she’s been and the things she’s seen. Browse her blog or Instagram page even briefly and it’s easy to see why she’s made a go of this travel blogger gig.

Is it a dream job? We thought so. But we figured we’d ask Hannah about her work to see what she thinks. You never know. Maybe she hates it! (Spoiler: She doesn’t.)

How do you describe what you do? Well the short answer is I’m a travel blogger. And now you’re saying “But sure Hannah, you’re a travel blogger, we get that, what does that mean?”

Here’s the long of it. I’m a travel blogger. I travel to destinations across the world to experience different cultures, cuisines, customs, experiences, hotels, people and adventures to share them with my readers and followers. In a sense I become a source of inspiration and knowledge for these destinations. Think of it as the new travel agent. While I don’t actually book the trips for anyone, I do create itineraries, hotel reviews, share travel tips and anything else you can think of that is travel related.

When did you know you wanted to pursue this lifestyle? Travel blogger is never a title I set out to have. It wasn’t my childhood dream and it most definitely wasn’t how I envisioned I would be spending my 20s.

But I think it was after my first international trip that I really felt the travel bug. Sure, people feel the travel bug all the time. Returning home after trips and you feel that first-week-back-to-work depression, you find yourself looking at photos and reminiscing of fresh coconuts and long walks on the beach. And then the next week follows and you’re back in your weekly groove. Well, for me I felt like I could never get back into that weekly groove. Something wasn’t clicking. I craved being on flights, hearing foreign languages, experiencing new destinations and going on new adventures almost daily. Travel, the mere thought of travel, became all consuming. This is when I knew it. This is when I discovered my true passion. I had to find a way to make travel part of my daily life. And so I created a job that would allow me to do that, took the plunge and never looked back.

All it took was one plane ticket and a trip across the world and back.

What’s your background? Do you even know where Maine is anymore? I was born and raised in Lewiston. I grew up trying to escape Maine but somehow I’m still here! I graduated from Lewiston High School and received a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Maine in 2014. Some of the best years of my life were spent there! When not on an airplane, you can find me hanging out at local coffee shops (great wifi, ha), Whole Foods and, when the weather cooperates, I like to get outside as much as possible — hiking, camping, boating, beaching are a few of my favorite things to do. I’m always moving! It keeps me creative. Not to mention, there is nothing like the fresh New England air. I always took that for granted until I started traveling so much. There really is nothing like it. We are spoiled up here!

You’ve traveled all over the place. What’s been your favorite destination so far? This is a loaded question! Every place is so different from the next and I love them all for so many different reasons. But I would have to say my favorite destination has been Hong Kong. This was my first international trip (I had never even been to Canada before). I was traveling alongside travel buddy Lesley Murphy of The Road Les Traveled. This was, I think, her second or third time in the city so she was able to show me the ropes. I’ve never seen such a cosmopolitan city before with so much to offer. You’ve got the urban scene, the dated Kowloon side, the mountains, Victoria Harbour, beaches . . . Hong Kong has a little bit of everything. Also making it the most livable place I’ve traveled to.

We landed just before sunrise; jet-lagged as ever we made our way to our hotel. All the way up on the 112th floor we watched the sunrise hit every inch of the city. There is nothing like seeing a city like that — when it looks like everyone is still asleep except for you. These moments are very rare in Hong Kong, but these are the moments that made me fall in love.

How did you amass so many Instagram followers so quickly? I wouldn’t say I did it quickly. I’ve been at this whole blogging thing for two years. My growth has been slow but steady. I started off with around 500. I turned my personal Instagram account into my blog account because I never thought it would ever grow to be what it is today!

I noticed it start to really take off after my trip to Malta back in October 2016. I truly credit the growth to sharing quality content, interacting with the Instagram community and other bloggers, and having my photos reposted and shared by larger accounts like Refinery 29 and Afar Magazine.

Is there a kind of dream Instagram photo you’ve yet to capture? This is perhaps the BEST question I’ve ever been asked. There are so many travel pictures I have yet to capture. The architecture in Moscow, Russia in the middle of winter. See the Matterhorn from Zermatt. See Mount Fuji during cherry blossom season. Snap a photo of the northern lights from a glass igloo in Finland. Safari in Africa. See Giethoorn — a town where the roads are canals in Holland. Sunrise at Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. Iceland — all of it. And Machu Picchu.

What’s next for you? I am heading to California at the end of the month and this will be my first time there! I’ll be exploring San Francisco, Lake Tahoe and Los Angeles. As for longer term, I have plans to head to Italy this summer and hoping to check some of those places off that I listed above. One thing I love most about this career path is that it is always changing, and sometimes I really never know where I am going next.

Where can we find you?

Blog: The Sunny Side of Things: thesunnysideofthings.com

Instagram: @hannahrheaume

Facebook: The Sunny Side of Things Blog

Twitter: @hannahrheaume

Hannah Rheaume and a friend at The Monkey Forest in Ubud, Indonesia, one of the travel blogger’s many destinations. “Keep a watchful eye,” Rheaume cautioned her followers on Instagram, “they’re known for stealing sunglasses, hats and, in my case, bracelets.”

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