We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtney Hardy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtney, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I find it funny to be answering this question because on exactly this date (June 9) 6 years ago, I took one of the biggest risks of my life: packed up everything and moved from North Carolina to Los Angeles, California with my then-boyfriend, now husband. We had no jobs, only knew 1 other person living in LA, and were about to move in with a complete stranger…who eventually became one of our best friends. But it was one of the best decisions. Within a year we were both working in our desired fields and truly loving life. In 2018, we were presented with an even crazier opportunity: move to Europe for the year for my husband’s job. I was at a turning point in my career where I was ready for change, so after much consideration, we decided to go for it. We both loved to travel, but it was during this year that we really fell in love with it. So much so that it became a prominent feature of my lifestyle blog which I recently transitioned into a solely travel blog: Hardys on Holiday. You’ve probably heard the saying “big risk, big reward” or “go big or go home.” I truly believe big risks can pay off in big ways, BUT I’m a firm believer in what I like to call “calculated risks.” I didn’t just drop everything and move to LA. I didn’t just quit my job on a whim and move to Europe. There was a lot of thought, planning, budgeting, saving, and endless pro/con lists. Every risk I’ve ever taken started with the same thought: “That sounds like so much fun.” And it should sound fun. It should excite you. But don’t let that blind you. Another part of taking a risk is the unknown and the possibility of failure. That’s where my idea of “calculated risk” comes in. Think about the pros and cons. Take time to make a plan. Think about your finances, your goals, and your future. You want to set yourself up for success, but don’t let the unknown scare you. When you take the time to make a plan, it makes taking the leap a little easier. Be prepared to work hard and know that there will always be challenges to face, but setting yourself up for success makes it even more likely that the risk will reap the reward. Without taking the risk and moving to LA, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to move to Europe, which means I probably wouldn’t have shifted my entire blog from lifestyle to travel. Big risks have impacted my life in BIG ways – and I’m so thankful I didn’t let fear get in the way.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m not new to the blogging world. I actually started my very first blog in 2014: a fashion and food blog (two other passions of mine), but over the years it evolved into a lifestyle blog where I would share everything from fashion advice and inspiration to recipes to travel guides and more. But at the end of 2019, I decided to move in a new direction. Enter: Hardys on Holiday I found that my travel content was what I was most excited and passionate about sharing, so I decided to refocus my blog on that. Hardys on Holiday is still a baby (officially launched at the beginning of 2020) so there are challenges that come with that. Growing my audience, for one thing. I’ve already expanded from just a blog to Instagram and YouTube as well – which are great ways to reach new people. Of course 2020 has brought its own set of struggles for travel as well. COVID-19 has pretty much halted all travel, but I’ve come up with creative ways to share through it. People need an escape so helping them plan future vacations by re-sharing old trips has been one solution. I hope that when people discover Hardys on Holiday, they are inspired to get out there and explore the world – even if it means somewhere new in their own city.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ironically, I have plans to do a blog on this soon, but I’ll give you guys a sneak preview. For food. I have to break this down into smaller categories because there is so much good food in LA. Best Rooftop: Perch Best Happy Hour: Culver Hotel Best Outdoor Restaurant: Salazar Best Budget Friendly: Killer Noodle Best Coffee/Tea: Alfreds Not So Touristy Things to Do: Stroll through the Venice Canals Visit Point Dume – a nice little nature walk with ocean views. If you plan ahead, a day trip to the Channel Islands is such a unique experience. MUST spend one night watching the sunset on the beach. Is that too much for a long weekend? I think we could make it happen!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Firstly, my husband: Zack Hardy. He has been on my side through it all and we are constantly pushing each other to raise the bar. Erin Benach, a costume designer who also just launched her own jewelry line, Billie Valentine. I met her while living in Europe, and I was so inspired by her creativity and her drive, and thankful to call her a friend. And of course, my family and friends who have always been there to support me and cheer me on.