Best of 2017… ‘Travel Blog of Month’ Q&As
To finish of the year nicely, for December we’ve put together a special ‘best of 2017’ from our fabulous Travel Blog of the Month answers… enjoy!
1. When did you start your travel blog & what inspired you to set it up?
Blogger: Melissa Giroux Age: 27 Travel Blog: A Broken Backpack – I started A Broken Backpack back in 2015. I was living on a farm in Australia and I was quite bored. To entertain myself, I started to write about Australia – in English- and I fell in love with the blogging world.
Blogger: Alice Teacake Age: 32 Travel Blog: Teacake Travels – I kicked 2015 off with a bang and a fresh start. On 1st January, I started tapping the blogging keys and it hasn’t stopped since then. It was in mind that I wouldn’t mind sharing my travel stories but it wasn’t until my friend asked me to write a piece about teaching English in China for her blog, that I really got the kick up the butt I needed.
Blogger: Emily Luxton Age: 29 Travel Blog: www.emilyluxton.co.uk – I started my blog just over five years ago. I’d always wanted to be a travel writer, but after university I’d lost my nerve a little and never really gave it a go. Then my friend gave me a series of travel books for my birthday, along with one about how to be a travel writer. The same friend was the one who suggested I started a blog as a way of practicing and building a portfolio. I always approached it as a hobby, and never thought for a second that one day I’d be a full-time travel blogger!
Blogger: Jamie Edwards Age: 26 Travel Blog: Explore with Ed – I started travel blogging after University as I wanted a space to share my passion for travel, photography and food. I was inspired by the blogging community as a whole; their desire to share stories with the world and pave their own path in life.
Blogger: Karen Age: 26 Travel Blog: Wanderlustingk – I started my travel blog in January of 2016 shortly after moving to Amsterdam with my now husband. I’m a New Yorker and I have been often asked for travel advice by friends visiting NYC for the first time. At first, I’d direct all their queries to Google, but I started reading blogs about New York City and I felt like I wanted to give a local’s perspective. It also inspired me to explore Amsterdam more than I would have otherwise.
2. Where is your favourite travel destination?
Blogger: Stephanie Parker Age: 32 Travel Blog: Big World Small Pockets – I can’t help it, there’s something in the air that always draws me to Central America, particularly Nicaragua, where I lived for a year. The small countries in this part of the world are so diverse, delightful and daring! I’m intoxicated by their madness, chaos and rich cultural heritage.
Blogger: Alice Teacake – I’m also a firm believer in woman empowerment and fighting stereotypes, so I like to go to places where this can happen too. To date, my most exciting experience has been Bangladesh. I love it because it is still very much off the beaten path for tourists. Yet what you will find there are beautiful historical sites, rolling green tea fields, hidden tigers, lush mangroves and one of the kindest populations I’ve ever known.
Blogger: Macca Sherifi Age: 31 Travel Blog details: An Adventurous World – I’d probably say Greenland. It’s without a doubt the most beautiful country I’ve ever been to. I know everyone talks about Iceland, but Greenland is next level, it really is. It is just so raw and rugged, the people are so kind and open. All in all it’s an very humbling place to visit.
Blogger: Sofie Couwenbergh Age: 30 Travel Blog: Wonderful Wanderings – I always love going back to London. It’s just a city that’s so alive and always has something new to offer. The Austrian mountains bring peace to my mind. Canada is always welcoming thanks to its friendly people and I love to road trip through the Southern part of Europe, because it’s sunnier there :D.
Blogger: Karen – One of my favorite trips to date was our trip driving the entirety of Ring Road in Iceland in winter. The driving was difficult, however the nature and the remoteness of much of Iceland surprised me. Compared to the many city trips that we had done before this, winter in Iceland convinced me that I wanted to do more nature related trips.
3. What’s your favourite travel memory?
Blogger: Chloe Gunning Age: 31 Travel Blog: Wanderlust Chloe – Last year I spent a month in Indonesia. While in Bali we decided to climb Mount Batur – one of the volcanos there. After getting up at 4am we drove to the base of the mountain and hiked up a very steep incline in the dark. It was really challenging, but watching sunrise with two of my favourite people in the world was totally unforgettable.
Blogger: Katie Dawes Age: 26 Travel Blog: The Hostel Girl – My first time camping. I went for a week in the South of France and I can’t remember ever waking up as happy as I did every day that week by the river, with no one else around except the few friends I’d gone with.
Blogger: Emily Luxton – Climbing Mount Batur in Bali in time for sunrise last year was a really special experience. So was snorkelling with the manta rays around the Komodo islands, also in Indonesia. One of my all time travel highlights was running down a seventeen-storey building dressed as Batman (as you do!), and in fact a lot of the crazy challenges I’ve done over the years, like bungee jumping in India and abseiling a 200ft gorge in the UK, have been really special memories. The best travel memories are often the ones I was most scared to try at the time!
Blogger: Alice Teacake – I’ll never forget my epic adventure driving from the UK to Mongolia with an all-female team for the Mongol Rally. It took us 2 months of blood, sweat and gears to get to the end of the journey. It was a real challenge but an amazing one. I loved it so much, I decided to drive back again rather than fly.
4. Which European city do you love most?
Blogger: Jamie Edwards – I love being based in Cardiff, it’s a young and thriving city with a growing food scene and plenty to explore in the area. Beyond the UK it’s a toss up between Palma de Mallorca, Rome and Cannes for their mix of history, culture, good food and weather.
Blogger: Sonja Thomson Age: 29 Travel Blog: Migrating Miss – Tough one! Of course I love Paris and London. Edinburgh is my favourite place to live, and cities like Prague and Budapest are amazing in winter and summer. I might have to choose Berlin for it’s mass of history and modern culture, or maybe Stockholm for the food and how much I could see myself living there. Oh and Porto, because it turns out I love Port wine and I think it rivals Lisbon for the title of Portugal’s best city. Or maybe Granada in Spain, for the tapas and the Alhambra alone… Honestly, I can’t decide!
Blogger: Chloe Gunning – London is home, and will always be a favourite, but I also adore Barcelona. There’s such a fun vibe in that city. Plus I love the mix of beach and old city, and how creative and arty it is.
Blogger: Melissa Giroux – I recently fell in love with Brussels (waffles always win), but I’d say I prefer the countryside or the remoteness of an island. I love the mountains in Wales as much as I love the coastal views in Malta.
5. What’s your favourite travel blog you’ve written called & why?
Blogger: Stephanie Parker – I think my favourite blog piece has to be ‘5 Reasons I’m Glad I Prioritised Travel Over Career in my 20’s’. This was a real coming-of-age piece for me to write. A chance to let the world know what I was about, to make my voice heard and to give myself the stamp of approval I’d struggled to for many years.
Blogger: Jamie Edwards – It’s light on words compared to other blogs, but I’m pleased with the photo and video content in my “Inspiring Photos of Rome at Night” post. It’s also proved popular for me on Pinterest and Instagram.
Blogger: Sofie Couwenbergh – Oh dear, I’ve written over 600 already and now I need to choose? I wouldn’t say this is my all-time-favorite, but I’m pretty proud of this 7000+ words post I wrote about one of my road trips in Austria simply because I’m proud that I’ve finished it :D. A runner up might be this one on how to spend a weekend in Rotterdam as it’s pretty popular with my readers still, even though it’s already over a year old.
Blogger: Katie Dawes – It would have to be 20 Things I Did For The First Time the Year I Turned 25. 2015 was an incredible year for me when it comes to career breaks, new experiences and friendships. It’s funny to think of now, when readers tell me the blog has inspired their travels. Because sometimes I have to return to that post, when times are tough, to remind myself of all the reasons I love what I do and why I fight so hard to continue doing it.
6. What future travel do you have on your ‘wish list’?
Blogger: Sonja Thomson – I have a few big dream trips that I hope to take sooner rather than later. I haven’t been to Africa or South America yet, and places like Tanzania and Bolivia are high on my list. Being based in Europe means I’ll be planning lots of shorter trips around the continent. I’d love to return to Iceland a few of my favourite places with my husband this time, instead of going solo.
Blogger: Karen – I’m hoping to do more trips up into the mountains now that I’m only two hours from the Alps and I’m hoping that we’ll be able to take our dream honeymoon (going on safari in Africa) in a few years. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to exploring France and heading back to the US more in the coming year. Despite living most of my life in the United States, I’d love to see more of my own country.
Blogger: Macca Sherifi – I’m already planning my 2018 and it’s shaping up to be another year packed with travels. A few places I’d like to visit next year are South Africa, New Zealand and a big trip around Southeast Asia again – it’s been a few years since I’ve been there and I missing it!
Blogger: Melissa Giroux – I’m not a huge planner, but I’m planning a few European adventures for the next few months. Then, I’ll visit home for a few weeks. I might move to New Zealand or stay longer in England, I don’t know yet!
Blogger: Sofie Couwenbergh – I’d love to do a long road trip through Australia. There are so many places I’d still like to visit but I’ll say Australia because it’s a bit harder to accomplish because of the distance, the budget involved and the time you’d ideally need for it. I’m hoping I’ll get there in the next three years or so.
7. What three items are must-bring things for you on your trip (other than the essentials like passport etc)?
Blogger: Karen –
1. I always bring a book with me as you never know when you’ll be stuck on a long bus ride. Before I leave a country, I love to pick up a book by a local author if I can find one for once I’m back from the trip.
2. A map. Whether it’s a physical map or a map that’s downloaded on my phone, it’s so important to know where you’re going without having to ask constantly. As an independent traveler, I love being able to move around freely with learning my way as it also allows me to see more of the city while walking around.
3. Cat treats. I know this one is a bit strange, but I often keep cat treats in my purse with the hope that I can feed/charm some of the local stray cats if I meet them. I always miss my own my cat when I’m traveling, so this is my way for atoning for leaving her with a friend.
Blogger: Emily Luxton – A notebook, comfy shoes, and a filtering water bottle (to save plastic and keep your water safe!).
Blogger: Sonja Thomson – I always have my camera, and plenty of plug converters! Aside from those essentials, I carry a sarong that can be used as a towel, cover for entering religious places, blanket, or beach clothing – you name it. Second would be a journal to write down my thoughts while I travel, and third is a book. I do have the Kindle app but there’s something special about reading a real book on holiday.
Blogger: Stephanie Parker –
1. Earplugs – I’m a terribly light sleeper, so camping, staying in hostels or sleeping on planes can be a nightmare for me without earplugs
2. Peppermint Tea Bags – If I’m ever feeling sluggish, tired, dehydrated or a bit out of sorts when I’m travelling, these guys sort me out every time!
3. Head Lamp – too useful in too many ways!
Blogger: Alice Teacake – A compact tripod (a solo female traveller’s essential!), a 50s bikini and a bar of solid shampoo.
Blogger: Chloe Gunning – Eye mask, music, camera!
8. What’s the best thing travel has taught you?
Blogger: Melissa Giroux – How to let go and make the most of your current day. It’s not always easy, but I’m still working on this. The world is huge, I’m tiny and I want to make the most of it.
Blogger: Katie Dawes – To accept myself. I travel alone, and at home with friends I might worry that I’m too boring if I don’t want to clubbing, or too tight if I can’t afford to go out for dinner. But when I’m on the road I couldn’t care less if someone thinks I’m boring or stubborn. When you spend a short amount of time with other travellers, you make such close friendships with those who accept you for who you are because there’s no need to pretend around strangers.
Blogger: Sonja Thomson – How to rely on myself. Travel can make you a stronger person. When there’s only you, you only have yourself to rely on. And I don’t just mean in difficult situations, but in learning how to enjoy a destination solo, or putting yourself out there to make friends as well.
Blogger: Alice Teacake – That you are capable of anything if you’re brave enough to throw yourself into the world feet first (and that everyone is brave enough deep down).
Blogger: Sofie Couwenbergh – That I can rely on myself without things turning into chaos…
Blogger: Macca Sherifi – To be open minded and accepting of all things in life. The reason I travel is to understand different cultures and societies – within three months of travelling in India I learned more about myself and the world than I ever did in three years of uni. I actually think travelling is one of the best educations out there!
9. What book would you recommend as a good read on a long trip?
Blogger: Stephanie Parker – Wild: An Elemental Journey by Jay Griffiths. A great way to fuel up the wild woman in all of us!
Blogger: Katie Dawes – John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ is my all time favourite novel. And it’s definitely big enough for a long journey!
Blogger: Emily Luxton – How long have you got?! Anything by Paul Theroux is worth a read, especially if you’re headed to that destination – I love The Old Patagonian Express. My favourite travel book is Kira Salak’s Four Corners, or The Cruellest Journey which she also wrote.
Blogger: Chloe Gunning – I just finished US by David Nicholls (author of One Day). I won’t spoil it, but it’s about a couple going through a hard time who go off on a big European adventure. It weaves relationship themes with travel which, for me, is a dream!
Blogger: Karen – I typically burn through books, so I recommend bringing a beast of a book that will occupy your times and your thoughts: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started it, but it made me obsessed with finding out what happened next.
10. Finally, what’s your favourite tipple?
Blogger: Jamie Edwards – Ginger beer, it’s warm, spicy and helps aid digestion if I over-indulge!
Blogger: Katie Dawes – I’m an espresso martini addict. In fact, I just found my favourite bar to drink them in Vienna last week! I make it a priority in each new city I visit to find the best!
Blogger: Sonja Thomson – Tea for non-alcoholic and gin for alcoholic. Luckily 70% of the gin made in the UK is made in Scotland, so there’s plenty of places I can visit and discover new ones!
Blogger: Alice Teacake – If it’s wet and it’s alcoholic, I’m game. Korean soju has fueled many an adventure in Asia but in Europe I don’t mind a good old shot of Czech Becherovka.
Blogger: Macca Sherifi – I think it’s always good to drink the local tipple wherever you are in the world. Beer in Germany, wine in France, rum in the Caribbean. For me though, I’d say a michalada from Mexico is pretty hard to beat!
To read all our 2017 Q&As with our Travel Blog of the Month winners… click here!
Or click on each of the below links:
2017 Travel Blog of the Month winners
January: Big World Small Pockets
February: Broken Backpack
March: Explore with Ed
April: The Hostel Girl
May: Emily Luxton
June: Migrating Miss
July: Teacake Travels
August: Wonderful Wanderings
September: Wanderlust Chloe
November: An Adventurous World