Travel expert Tiffany Nguyen discusses her 'double life'

Tiffany Nguyen isn't your average adventure-seeker. Not only is her passion relatively new -- Nguyen admits that she never grew up with a strong influence of the outdoors and it was after a recent trip to Yosemite that her perception changed -- but she also balances traveling with an unusual day job.

The California photographer admits that she's really living a "double life," spending her working days as a dentist and her weekends camping, hiking, kayaking, and everything in between. And if you think that's a difficult balancing act, keep in mind Nguyen also documents all of her travels on her fan-favorite Instagram account, which boasts over 150,000 followers. Nguyen follows one golden rule to make all the juggling parts of her life work: make time for what you're passionate about.

In pursuit of her passion for the outdoors, Nguyen has traveled all around the world on expeditions. She's become a pro at hiking and camping along the West Coast and Northern America. So if there's anyone who is an expert on how to travel in the modern age -- where not all of us can ditch our day jobs -- it's Tiffany.

We recently picked the viral photographer's brain on her gig as a dentist, the biggest thing she's learned about herself since becoming a travel junkie, and the camping hacks every beginner should know.

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, including more exclusives on Tiffany Nguyen, click here. ​

How do you find a balance being unplugged on trips and staying connected to social media?
So it's pretty dependent on the trip. Sometimes were out backpacking in a remote area and posting will only happen if we end up going to a hotel with wifi. And on those kind of trips, it's days before I start posting pictures on Instagram from my trip. When I'm out, I really want to unplug as much as possible and really soak in the surroundings so Instagramming happens after the fact.

You're a dentist by day. How do you balance a 9-to-5 job with traveling?
It's been kind of crazy because its pretty much like I'm living a double life. So usually in the week I'm busy with dentistry. And my weekends are pretty short -- since I also work on Saturdays -- but I'm lucky enough to work with my dad who owns our family practice. He's definitely supportive of my travels and because of that, my schedule is super flexible compared to most dentists. If I plan ahead a time, I can go on these trips. I travel at least once a month now and it's really an essential part of me. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices with your career in order to follow your passions and what makes you happy. So for me it's really about finding that balance, and taking care of patients and doing what I love.

What advice would you give to someone in your position, who works a steady job, but still loves to travel?
Well what I would tell them is that there is never really going to be the "perfect" time to travel, whether its now or 10 years from now. There's always going to be something that keeps you busy. But if it's important to you and it's something you want to do, you have to make it a part of your life and go for it. You have to make time, put in the effort and plan it out if you want to get the experience.

%shareLinks-quote="... there is never really going to be the perfect time to travel" type="quote" author="Tiffany Nguyen " authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%

What's the one thing you've learned about yourself during your trip?
I'm always traveling with a full house, so I learned that I can easily adapt to my environment. A lot of times we have a plan but then these plans change.The plan is never ideal but I've learned that I'm more a flexible person than I thought.

What is your packing process like on these trips?
I pack as light as possible! For me having light equipment is key especially if it's on a backpacking trip. I don't try to go over 25 pounds if possible. I have to bring my camera gear, tripod for sure, batteries and memories cards, a headlamp since you always need one in your backpack since you don't know what could happen.

What's one camping hack that first-timers need to know about?
My best advice for a first time camper would be to bring a s'more maker. The chrome plated Rome's #62 s'more maker is something I never go camping without. It toasts the graham cracker perfectly and the marshmallow and chocolate actually melt together. If you're feeling adventurous, add a few slices of banana. It's out of this world! You'll never want a regular campfire s'more with charcoaled marshmallows ever again.

YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases up-and-coming social stars. To see more of past interviews, including more exclusives on Tiffany Nguyen, click here.

By BANU IBRAHIM

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