Lauren Lucio is not an ordinary lady who travels the world – she travels the world with her hula hoop! Lauren is 28 years old, born in Canada but now lives in Australia, and she has been hula hooping for 8 years now. One of her latest hula hoop destinations was Dubrovnik. We spotted her video on Youtube and just had to know her story. When did you start your journey of hula hooping around the world? I moved from Ontario to British Columbia and was working and living in the Tofino Botanical gardens with my sister and a girl travelling through was selling hula hoops and my sister bought one and I told her she got ripped off, after a few weeks she got tired of it and I picked it up! I didn’t start making videos and recording myself until 2013 and I feel like it took me this long to start making good videos (laughs) my earlier videos are lacking in editing skill.
Thailand 2015, Lauren hula hooping outside her bungalow
Which countries have you visited until now? I started travelling in 2009 when I moved to British Columbia in the summer of 2009 after graduating from photojournalism. That fall I was off to Central America, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Belize but since I was new to hula hooping I had no idea how to travel with one so I just used hula hoops I could find along the way. Then I went back to Canada to make money for my next adventure. After working three jobs all summer I had enough money to apply for a work visa for New Zealand and buy a flight and have enough to travel with, so my sister and I went! Then two years I was in travelling and working on working holiday visas in Australia. Australia is very expensive so my first few months almost took all my money so I had to start street performing with my hula hoop and was making some good money doing that. People responded well to my hula hooping. Older ladies would tell me it reminded them of when they were young and how they use to hula hoop and I would ask them why they stopped and they said cause they got old and I would say that’s no reason and I would hand them my hula hoop and they would try it and laugh and smile and feel young!!
Lauren, her friend Kat and of course hula hoop in Cambodia in Kampot in 2014
After Australia I had to return to Canada to renew my passport, then I went to California to hula hoop in San Francisco and check out the city, then 6 months Asia (Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia) where I hula hooped a lot and put on many shows at night time with my LED hula hoop. After Asia I flew to Canada again for the Yukon summer, then California then back to Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia where I put on more shows with my LED hula hoop on the beach and at bars.
Performing with LED hula hoop in Cambodia, photo by Attila Majom
Then back to Canada for a year of living in my van and camping all over the country with my Australian partner so he could see my country and we were waiting for my residency for Australia to be approved. Then back to Australia. Then in March I flew into Hungary and have been taking buses to Croatia, Slovenia and this week I’ve been in Austria. Next is Czech Republic then Romania!
What was your experience in Dubrovnik? I had the best time in Dubrovnik, the people were so helpful and amazing, the hostel I stayed at was really good and peaceful. It was very beautiful and I just loved how much history and age the buildings and walls had.
How do you choose the locations where you hula hoop? The way I chose my hula hooping locations are by circumstance , so if I can get a place that not a lot of people will walk past my camera and walk through the movie. I look for that. I look for authentic places, maybe special to that city or country or places that I am just feeling like it. Do people sometimes look at you while you do it, do they wish to join? Sometimes large crowds gather and I don’t even notice, sometimes people stare at me like I am a crazy person and sometimes I get clapping and cheering from crowds like in Budapest. I had a lovely tour group cheering and clapping and I almost didn’t notice ‘cause I had my headphones in!! I love the positive feedback but it’s not always positive. In the Train station in Sydney, Australia they called the police on me and kicked me out in 2012 for street performing without a permit, fair enough, but they were really really mean about it (laughs). I always appreciate when people are happy when they see me hula hooping! I hand over my hula hoop to anyone who wishes to try it and there are a lot of people who ask to try it! I have taught many people how to hula hoop all over the world.
2013 Laos, Luang Nam Tha, a little girl using Lauren's hula hoop
Why do you love hula hooping? I love hula hooping because it makes me feel good to be able to something really well and not only that but something that involves a lot of moving and dancing. I love putting in my headphones and getting lost in the music and the spinning knowing that I am doing something good makes me feel good. It is my meditation for sure. What are your future plans? My future plans are to enter the U.K in May then maybe Spain, Portugal and Morocco then return back to Australia to work in cafes or whatever work I can get anywhere and make money for my next adventure or possibly to find a way to make a living and a career from hula hooping somehow.