Whenever I leave home or open up my email inbox, I get a lot of questions. They range from general travel inquiries to more intimate ponderings about my life and work. Once again, I thought I’d take a few moments to pick the most common questions and answer them all here. I’m also happy to answer any other questions you might have – just ask away!
What’s your favorite place?
This is always the first question I get when I meet someone new and I dread it because I have a really bad answer to it. My answer is that it depends. I know, I know, it’s a really bad answer. I have a favorite city, a favorite country for food, adventure, relaxation and so on. The honest truth is that I like most places I visit. I love to travel, I love learning about new places and people and with very rare exceptions (I’m looking at you Athens) I really do love most places. That being said, I will try to come up with a slightly better answer. My favorite city is without a doubt Paris. The City of Lights holds a very dear place in my heart. It was my first overseas trip and I even lived there briefly. I love it and always will. Other than that, there are several countries I could go back to a thousand times and never get bored, principally South Africa and Australia. I guess I have a thing for far away places on the other side of the world, but they speak to my soul in a way that few countries save my own have.
How do you make money?
An oddly personal question I get asked right after the one about favorite travel destinations and I wish I had a more succinct response. But, as any freelancer will tell you, there is no single source. I do a lot of different types of work for and on behalf of companies and destinations around the world and get paid for it. Honestly, most of what I do is editing work for corporate web sites. It’s fun, engaging work and allows me to expand my own writing abilities in the process. Is it sexy and cool? No, but that’s just fine with me. My site does generate income as well, but in the form of fully disclosed partnerships that make sense for everyone involved. That’s definitely not the bulk of my income though. Finally, I consult. I spend a lot of time in the digital space and in the 6 years since I started my web site I have learned a whole lot about it. More than I ever thought I would, to be perfectly honest. Those skills are now part of my business and I love helping others navigate the space I have come to think about day and night.
Should I quit college and travel?
I actually had this email and it nearly broke my heart. On the one hand, I’m personally happy that I (and a few others like me) have been able to somehow, through luck and hard work, make a career out of travel blogging. But I fear that we somehow make it seem as if it’s easy, that anyone can do it. Like any profession, some folks are better at it with others but blogging in particular is problematic. There really is no barrier to entry, anyone can start a travel blog and see how they do. The problem with that is that anyone can start a travel blog. Most will give up after seeing how much work is required and how many years it takes to go from earning nothing to earning a little more than nothing to maybe, hopefully, making a career out of it. If travel and tourism isn’t what you think about every moment you’re awake, if it’s not your true passion in life then being a travel blogger won’t work for you. That’s true for any profession really, but for some reasons bloggers get more offended than others when this issue is brought up. Back to the question at hand though, the answer is HELL NO. A college education is one of the best things you can do in life. Not only will it forever keep doors open to you that would be otherwise kept locked, but it’s a great primer for life in general. No matter what one actually studies in university, the ability to write well, to problem-solve and develop interpersonal skills is all worth every penny spent. I am a firm believer in the power of higher education, and also believe that no sacrifice is too big to make in order to achieve the goal of completing a degree.
How often do you travel?
It fluctuates depending on the time of year and it’s been a really hard balance to try to achieve. I understand that it’s hard on my partner when I travel a lot, so I try to limit my trips to no more than 10 days (7 is better) and not too close to each other. It’s no fun being the one at home and I try hard to respect that. We also love to travel as a couple, that’s how this site started, so I make sure we plan a few private getaways throughout the year to keep both of us sane. That being said, I travel around 25%-33% of the time. It just depends.
What should I do in…?
I write every day about travel experiences around the world, all based on my own experiences and my personal opinions. Thousands of folks find my site every day by Googling something, whether it’s “What to do in Iceland,” or “Croatia cities.” Because of this I think, they are only exposed to a small portion of my site and don’t take the time to poke around and take a look at my other posts. Of the 4,400 or so posts on my site, more than 25% are focused on specific destinations and what to do or see there. That’s a lot of information and everything I think about a place and everything I experienced in a destination is on my site, somewhere. I never leave anything out, although it may take me a while to actually write posts about it. Yet, every day people email me asking for what to do in Croatia or Iceland or somewhere else. I always invariably send them a link to my other posts, because all of the information is on my site, waiting to be read. I’m not complaining, I guess I’m just frustrated. I’ve done all that I can to provide great travel information and if it’s not on my site, then I haven’t done it or visited it. I can’t plan travel for people, I’m not a travel agent, and no, I don’t know if you’d prefer going to Bali or Koh Samui – that’s kind of up to you. All I can do is provide the information and let you make the best decision for your travel style and interests.
So there you go, answers to a few questions I always get. Anything else you want to know?