I had the pleasure of interviewing another travel blogger, who has a unique perspective on travel as an expat in Canada, a freelance travel writer and full-time travel blogger. Check out her travel blog and get to know her in my interview below.
When and why did you decide to become a travel blogger?
I initially set up my blog five years ago to provide a journal for myself of living in Hawaii, and to show readers the reality of living in paradise. I wrote a post on the things I learned after living in Hawaii, and readers and my friends in Hawaii told me they loved my post and could totally relate to what I wrote about. This inspired me to share more of my island life.
In the ‘About Me’ section of your blog, you say: “For me, living abroad is the best way to get to know a country.” What do you think you learn from living abroad that a tourist can’t learn during shorter travel?
Living abroad has given me an extended period of time to explore my host city and country, and get to know some aspects of a place other travelers are not aware of. For example, after living in Hawaii for a few years, I realized it was not all paradise. It also has many negative sides – too expensive to live, very limited job opportunities, island fever, and has the second worst traffic in the USA (behind Los Angeles). One cannot notice these parts by just going there on vacation.
You’re a full-time travel blogger and freelance travel writer. How did you transition your passion for writing into your full-time job?
I did not think much, I just decided to do it full-time because it would be the best to combine my profession with my passion for travel and sharing stories. When I just started out, I had no experience in travel writing. I joined the MatadorU travel writing program to hone my writing skills and get myself exposed to the travel journalism industry. There are support groups, valuable resources and work opportunities in the program that helped me transition as well.
What are you most proud of that you have accomplished so far with your blog?
One of my favorite parts of blogging is being a part of the supportive travel blogging community. I have met many bloggers and we have been very supportive of each other. You know the feeling when you get to know someone and totally understand what you are doing?
What are you still hoping to accomplish?
I still want to finish the MatadorU travel writing program. I signed up for the course three years ago and I am still only halfway through it. It is a huge commitment and it’s easy to get distracted, but I am determined to finish this course so I can step up my career.
What has been your favorite place you’ve visited, and where do you still want to visit?
Alaska. It is the best place to visit in the USA if you love natural beauty. I have been to Alaska five times and I still want to return.
I also wish to visit Churchill Manitoba, the polar bear capital of the world with 300 days Aurora Borealis every year and only 3,000 residents.
What is the biggest lesson travel blogging has taught you?
Always be kind and generous. The world is very small and the travel blogging community is no exception. Everyone loves working with those who are nice and easy to work with.
What are some of the things you are most grateful for in your life right now?
Having the opportunity to live abroad and travel around the world. I have seen poverty and people struggle with daily life and it makes me feel privileged to live the life I want in a developed country and be able to travel.
Who are some of the women (both in your personal life and famous people) who inspire you the most and why?
Julia Dimon, co-host of Word Travel, gave me the idea for travel writing in the first place. Her travel show revealed that it is possible to travel around the world full-time. She is quirky and practical, and you can tell she is very intuitive and smart.
I am also grateful to have met my travel blogger friend, Emily Luxton, when I just started out. We collaborated with each other and she invited me to her Facebook group where I had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other travel bloggers. She offered me valuable advice on blogging and encouraged me to work with tourism boards when my blog was just five months old. Thanks to her, I was then offered a self-organized press trip to Winnipeg early this year despite my blog being so new.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a travel blog?
Focus on creating high-quality content, and try not to look at the numbers and your blog statistics. I used to obsess over social media, blog statistics and comment pods, but I found it very time-consuming and can only get me so far. If you offer something readers really need and write from your heart, followers will come and ask for more.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I do not like most sweet foods and desserts, but chocolate and ice-cream are exceptions.