Category: Interviews – travel bloggers

Interview with TeaCake Travels

interview with Alice

Friends, I would like to introduce you to travel blogger  Alice from Teacake Travels.

Me:    For the readers, please could you introduce yourself and your blog?

Alice:   Strong-minded, honest, inquisitive, straight-talking and in search of the next thrill, I’m Alice at Teacake Travels! It’s all about solo female travel in Asia and pushing your boundaries to reach your full potential through travel. It’s for the traveller who is on a path to find out more about themselves and test their limits but also for the armchair reader who wants to go deeper into life’s reflections and life lessons through all the experiences I put myself through.

Me:     What was the motivation behind starting this blog?

Alice:    What started out as just writing a piece for my friend’s blog about teaching English abroad quickly turned into an addiction to travel writing and promoting women’s rights. I always had it in my mind that I would write a book or make a zine but discovering blogging through all these ideas into one platform. I absolutely love it. It’s my baby, it’s real, it’s me and it’s proving to be a great resource for women to gain strength, courage and motivation to go out there on their own and conquer their adventurous dreams.

Interview with TeaCake travels
Alice peeking out from Cambodia

Me:      How do you fund your travels?

Alice:     Through many ways! I predominantly funded my travels for the first five years through Teaching English Abroad in South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and China. I adore teaching and get immense satisfaction by giving others the gift of English. Then the other things I love brought my money too. Playing the drums in bands, performing in Burlesque shows and now through Travel Blogging.

Teacake in Shanghai
Teacake in Shanghai

Me:      Which are favourite travel destinations?

Alice:   The challenging ones! I write about solo female travel in Asia and to date my most favourite country has been Bangladesh. The experience was fantastic because of the Bangladeshi people (possibly the nicest people in the world) and the food and the scenery and the architecture and (I could go on and on).

Me:      Where is your next travel destination?

Alice:     In July, I’m driving from the UK to Mongolia across 21 countries with four amazing women in 50 days to raise money for and document women’s rights. It’s all part of the Mongol Rally and it’s going to be one hell of a journey to follow. Make sure to follow along with us! After that, I think I’m gonna need some respite and TLC. I’ll be heading to Bali to catch some waves and recover.

Interview with TeaCake travels
Teacake Motorbike

Me:        What is it like to travel solo? Any tips for the first-time solo travellers?

Alice:       It’s the best! Please don’t be scared. This planet is awesome with amazing people and extraordinary places and if you want to find out who you are, what you want, what you need and what you want from life, solo travel is for you. There’s no better way to educate yourself on these matters. You’ll be challenged and treated to some life-changing experiences and your old-self will be thankful for taking the leap and deciding to travel. No one wants to leave this earth not having fulfilled their dreams. If you’re dreaming, seize the desire! If you’re travelling for the first time, check out my backpacking packing tips and build up for excitement and motivation here.

Me:         The best meal you’ve eaten anywhere?

Alice:         Kimchi Jiggae in South Korea. I’m nuts about Korean food. Even if I’m in Germany or made it to the North Pole, I’d go out of my way to find a Korean Restaurant.

Interview with Teacake travels
Motorbiking through Taiwan

Me:       Who is (are) your inspiration in the travel world?

Alice:      Women who do crazy stuff, strong stuff and stuff other women don’t do are pretty much my heroes. This includes Iris from Mind Of A Hitchhiker and Jessica from Comfort Is For Wimps.

Me:        Are there any books you read as a child that inspired your travel interests?

Alice:       Alice in Wonderland!

Me:       What is your travel motto?

Alice:     Grab fear by the balls, push your boundaries and reach your full potential through solo female travel. I use to travel for life lessons and to be the best person I can be by trying to learn from others and myself.

Me:        Name three hardest things/setbacks that you experienced through your blog?

Alice:      Setting up a blog is a bit of a minefield. I’m constantly learning new things and having to backtrack, making changes, chopping things up…it’s a never-ending learning process. I integrated Pinterest at a much later date than I really should have. I only learnt about SEO six months ago and I have a newsletter advertised but still haven’t sent one out! Rome wasn’t built in a day. That’s what I tell myself ><

Me:       Name 3 (personal travel stories) setbacks that you experienced in your travels?

Alice:     Oh man, where do I start? I accidentally became pregnant on my first serious backpacking trip and had to head to Cambodia for an abortion. Whilst I was there I witnessed a death at a funfair to add a cherry on top of it all and lately, I had to deal heavy-handedly with a Chinese guy.

Me:      Have you ever faced a ‘writer’s block’? If yes, how do you overcome it?

Alice:     Hell yeah. I hate it when that block comes and trust me, it can come every couple of months sometimes. I love writing and I love sharing my experiences with everyone. Sometimes the ideas and experiences come crashing across the ocean with full gusto but other times tumbleweeds are rolling across the desert in my mind. You can’t force yourself to write if the passion isn’t there. I just wait, keep on travelling and try to experience my days with full awareness for that next story to come along. It always does.

Me:      Any tools you can suggest that bloggers could use in their first year?

Alice:    Ooh yes! Travel Blogging is about 20% and 80% social media promotion. There’s no point writing a masterpiece if no one is going to see it. Get clued up on how to use social media and market yourself then use a couple of tools to help you manage all of it. I recommend Tailwind for Pinterest and Hootsuite for Twitter.

Me:     Any comments, suggestions.

Alice:   Feel free to pop me an email at aliceteacake@teacaketravels.com if you want to ask me anything and stay connected with the chaos on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!

Interview with #travelblogger Paul Johnson

#travelblogger Paul Johnson

Friends, let me introduce you to #travel blogger Paul Johnson.

  • He is Director at The Dedicated Partnership Ltd. – promoting tourism.
  • He has been Voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.
  • He is a Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine.
  • He has been Voted #1 most influential travel blog in the world in independent research conducted by Travelocafe.
  • He is also a Winner of ‘Best Travel Blog’ in the Travelmole Web Awards.


Me:  For the readers who don’t know about you, please could you introduce yourself and your blog?

  • Paul : My name is Paul Johnson and I am a travel blogger and Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog (http://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/ ) – I am full-time with the site, have been running it for more than 10 years and working in the travel industry for about 30 years.
#travelblogger Paul Johnson on a land rover trip
Paul on a land rover trip

Me: What was the motivation behind starting this blog?

  • Paul:   I love to travel and have long since had a fascination in all aspects of the luxury travel industry. When blogging first came along, the few travel blogs that were out there all seemed to focus on backpacking and budget travel so I saw this as an opportunity to do something different.

Me:     How do you fund your travels?

  • Paul : Travel is my work (as well as a pleasure!) so I work on paid advertising campaigns with travel and lifestyle brands when I travel.
#travelblogger Paul Johnson with family

Me:     How did you come up with the idea of writing exclusively on luxury travel? And, what is ‘luxury’ for you?

  • Paul:   It was simply a niche that wasn’t covered but where my own personal interests lay. You are right to ask what is luxury to me – that last bit of your question is an important point since luxury can be very different things to different people. For me, it is all about service – the element of surprise and the ability of those providing travel services to anticipate your needs (perhaps even before you realize them yourself!).
Interview with #travelblogger Paul Johnson
Paul at the Berlin Wall

Me:    It seems you are foodie with delicious recipes for your readers. Tell us about favourite cuisines across the globe?

  • Paul:  My favourite cuisine is Thai – I just love the clarity of the flavours and the variety in Thai dishes.

Me:   Which are favourite travel destinations?

  • Paul:  Although I love travelling, and have been to many amazing destinations, my favourite location is in fact home.
#travelblogger Paul Johnson and family

Me:    Where is your next travel destination?

  • Paul:  I am next heading for the island of Crete in Greece to do some work for a luxury hotel and resort there.

Me:    Name the hardest things/setbacks that you experienced through your blog?

  • Paul:  One of the hardest things to do for me was to know when to ‘take the plunge’ and go full-time. I was already running a very successful internet marketing company for the tourist industry so it was hard to justify putting all my time into the blog. When Google made some changes to their algorithm that affected my other work, though, this decision was made easier for me. I just wish I’d taken the leap of faith sooner!

Me:   Any tools you can suggest that bloggers could use in their first year?

  • Paul: Aside from the obvious of using the likes of WordPress and social media channels, I’d recommend Buffer for scheduling, SumoMe to help build your mailing list and Hootsuite for attending to Twitter.

Interview with Melissa @A Broken Backpack

A broken backpack

Friends here is an interview with my other travel blogger friend, Melissa from a broken backpack.

Me: For the people who don’t know about you, please could you introduce yourself and your blog?

Melissa: I’m Melissa and I blog at abrokenbackpack.com.  I am a French Canadian who decided to go out there and move abroad.  I have been on the road for more than 20 months.  At the moment, I’m back in Canada to visit my family for the very first time. A Broken Backpack is a website about backpacking on a budget, long-term trips and moving abroad.

Melissa from a broken backpack
Melissa

Me: What was the motivation for starting this Blog?

Melissa: I was ready for a new challenge!  I love writing and I have a big passion for the World.  I decided to share my stories and my motivation with you.

Me: What are your favourite destinations? If you had to choose one among them what would that be?

Melissa: I really loved New Zealand and Western Canada!  I have a big crush on mountains! If I had to choose where to settle, I’d probably choose Australia.

Melissa from broken backpack

Me: What tips would you give others about hitchhiking?

Melissa: Being confident is probably one of the most important keys.  The confidence will influence your smile, your trust and your experience.  It’s all about trusting our feelings and to feel confident enough to leave the car if you need to.

Me: Since your blog is about backpacking, could you give us some backpacking tips?

Melissa: Pack light… and lighter… and even lighter!  We normally pack too much stuff and it can be tough on the road.  We need to learn to live with the minimum and keep what really matters.

Me: What do you have to say about traveling on a shoe-string budget?

Melissa: It’s possible!  Obviously, some destinations are budget friendly and some others are unfriendly (laughs).  It’s all about priorities, compromises and experiences.  Travelling is about putting yourself out of your comfort zone.  Surf on a couch, share a dorm, cook yourself, taste the street food and enjoy the free landscapes.

Melissa from a broken backpack

Me: Would you like to say something to women out there about travelling solo?

Melissa: I really do believe solo travel is the best thing I’ve ever done!  I don’t like to compromise on my dreams and on my wish lists.  Having friends and seeing them a couple of hours versus travelling with friends are two different things.  When I travel solo, I spend time with myself, I meet easily new friends and I enjoy the challenge.  I fell in love a year ago in Australia and now I’m sharing the road with another backpacker.  Who knows what could happen?

Me: Any tools you can suggest that other bloggers could use in their first year?

Melissa: I’m now starting to coach new bloggers.  I really love it.  I really think that success comes with hard work (and good content). But, we also need to work smarter (Tribber, StumbleUpon, Canva, Buffer).  Be social, connect with other bloggers and let your passion goes online.

Me: Do you have times when you wonder what to write next, ‘writer’s block’? How do you overcome it?

Melissa: Yes, I do.  I wish I could say no!  I always have a list of the topics I’d like to write about, but I always wait until I get the inspiration for it.  I also choose my battles and where to focus.  At the moment, I’m working on a different project at the same time, so I can focus less on my blog.

Me: Name three hardest things/setbacks that you experienced through your blog?

Melissa: Haters. A down website. Malware.

You need to learn how to let go, change the things you can and accept that you are not a robot… Well, I’m not!

Me:  Any other comments, suggestions, that you would like to add/mention.

Melissa: Don’t compare yourself and don’t focus on numbers… Your time is too precious to waste it!

Me:  Finally, do you have something to say about my blog ‘Best Places of Interest’?

Melissa: Your website covers a lot of different topics related to the nomadic lifestyle, which is great! Good work mate!

Interview with travel blogger Gamintraveler

Friends, I feel honoured to interview my travel blogger friends, Ruben and Rachel at Gamin Traveler.

Ruben Arribas is a Spanish traveler who has traveled more than 70+ countries around the world. He believes in travel without money. Recently, he finished a bicycle trip, 9500 km, from Madrid to North Cape. He and Rachel blog at Gamin Traveler. Here is an interview with them.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

Hitchhiking-a-Tuk-Tuk-in-Thailand

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. 🙂

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