Friends, I feel honoured to interview my travel blogger friends, Ruben and Rachel at Gamin Traveler.
Me: When did you start blogging? What made you start a blog?
Rachel/Ruben: We started blogging 4 months ago. We decided to work together in something. I have been traveling a lot, so I can share my experiences and tips about traveling. Rachel works with social media and digital marketing online, so we can pair up and work together. So that´s it! The blog is a mix of our strengths.
Me: What are your favourite destinations?
Ruben: South America, I spent a few months traveling around the continent. And the experience was amazing. I met interesting people. I made many friends and visited amazing places. Speaking the same language is very helpful. You can communicate 100% with everybody.
Me: If you had to choose one of your favourite destinations, which would that be?
Ruben: Colombia is one of my favorite destinations. I spent two months there. Colombia has amazing beaches, mountains and cities. People are very friendly. I felt great visiting the country and I had amazing experiences.
Me: Name three hardest things/setbacks that you experienced through your blog?
- I would say the most challenging thing is the time in handling the blog. We want the blog to grow super fast, and we want to accomplish so many things at the same time, but really you accomplish more when you focus and simplify, so you really have to prioritize, and pick which of your goals should have attention first.
- It took us time and a lot of effort to put a lot of social media channels in a good engagement level. Again, we had to prioritize and start with one, and we are lucky to have a good start with Facebook, which was able to support a lot of social media outreach in the beginning. We now spread our efforts with a lot of channels, however, we each have our focus. Since we are a team of two, we do our best with what we can, and try not to be too crazy and perfectionist with the others that we cannot really handle 100%.
- The tech side of things consume a lot of time and effort too. Rachel had to focus a lot of her time in design work in the beginning so we can launch the blog properly, and that takes her time away from the content. We also have to control our efforts with much more technical things like SEO and site optimization. All our content are optimized, but not to the level that we obsess about it, since SEO is a challenging field, and really very few in the world are real specialists. We follow the best guidelines and we focus our attention in engaging with the readers.
Me: How did you overcome obstacles?
Rachel/Ruben: The good thing about the blog is that we really like it. At least for me, I am so into travel, that when I write the guides, it’s about me recollecting all my experiences and that is always fun. The thing is passion is not enough to fuel a blog growth, especially if you want to turn it into a business. That is where Rachel and I’s work personalities enter. We are very different. Rachel is more of the creative type and kind of big sponge who can digest so many new things. She can handle all the tech side of the blog, and builds the personality. I handle the time, the discipline and the scheduling behind all the work, plus all the content.
Me: Any tools you can suggest that bloggers could use in their first year?
Rachel/Ruben: We laid out all the tools we used for our blog in our 2nd monthly report which you can find here. We suggest to stay lean, not just because of money, but also because obsessing with a lot of details and work will hamper you from really launching something. And things will definitely evolve and change at one point, so we suggest launching early and minimally. The report is detailed, but here are some tools we mentioned:
– Using WordPress, powered by Genesis and Siteground — Freaking excellent customer service and tech support. Really. They have been our saviour a lot of times. We have a small team, and Siteground has helped us do a lot of the site maintenance, which is to be honest, pretty rad of them.
– Using Mailchimp and Appsumo for lead generation
– Using Canva for design – Rachel does Magic with Canva (she wrote that. ha!)
– Buffer – To manage our social media accounts better
Lean operation. 😉
Me: Well, this is for Rachel, what is your experience like travelling solo as a woman?
Rachel: Traveling solo for a woman was not an issue for me, although I don’t really travel extensively the way Ruben does. If I go out-of-town alone, it’s really great because I meet a lot of new people and as a big social person, that pumps me up. I’m more into people than travel. Which means, I don’t usually care if a place is not majestically amazing, if I am with new people or people I want to spend time with, I will have the time of my life.
Things have changed now since having a son. (I have a cute, little toddler) I would say I am less daring in going to crazy travels and Ruben has been helping me manage those fears.
Me: Would you like to say something to women out there about travelling solo or hitchhiking?
Rachel: It’s amazing, and you have to try it, at least once. It will build up your character, and discover things about yourself. You will also love meeting new people (sometimes you meet amazing people on the streets who will help you like truck drivers), and sometimes it could be a little sad that they will not be your permanent friends, but there’s a magic knowing there are other amazing people in the world out there ready to help someone in need, and a stranger at that. I have experienced running to tell trucks I need a ride, and them helping me and even buying me food, so that was really a nice experience!
Me: What would you like to say about budget travel?
Ruben: Traveling on a budget is really a change in perspective. I had seen people in Africa with lesser things, and that changed how I look at travel and life, drastically. If you want luxurious things, I guess you can balance. Budget and slash things you don’t necessarily need so you can spend on the things you want later. If you are on a super tight budget which I have done, there’s a lot left for you to enjoy — company of new and amazing people (can’t stress this enough), the new territories you’re visiting, which is let’s be honest, beautiful already, and spending time appreciating your life and these new things.
Me: Finally, do you have something to say about my blog ‘Best Places of Interest’?
Rachel/ Ruben: We love the variety of your love, but especially like the areas where you talk about food and travel. We are so happy to meet you (e-meet, but still :)) and that it fuels our passion more, seeing more bloggers like you who are ready to talk about their passions and interests online and put up the work so other people can get inspired to follow their passions too. We hope to meet you Kash one day, and we hope you continue writing a lot! x
Me: I am keeping my fingers crossed, we shall meet someday, somewhere. 🙂