It’s been a while since I did a post like this one, so I thought I’d take a moment to answer some of the most common travel questions I receive, whether in person or via email. I know that people mean well, but they also tend to ask the same questions which, I suppose, makes them easier to answer in a forum like this one. I decided to pick some of the most popular and answer them in this post but if there’s something else you’d like to know, please don’t hesitate to ask!
Should I Quit My Job To Travel The World?
Ok, that probably isn’t sufficient enough for most people, so I’ll elaborate. When I first started this site 7 years ago, the universe of travel bloggers was already large and growing. Now it’s a veritable city full of wide-eyed folks who want to share their own travel experiences with the world. That’s great and I laud them. This isn’t a zero-sum game, their success doesn’t hinder my own so I encourage folks to follow their passions. But I also encourage folks to be very realistic. Of the thousands of travel bloggers out there, very few of us have been able to make this a true career; turning it into a stable profession with income sufficient to live in a Western nation. It’s more than just making money though, it’s about having the business sense to understand how the site and associated business should grow over time, how it should evolve and change in order to guarantee that this remains a career choice and not a momentarily blip in the timeline of my professional life. Looking around at the other folks who have made this a career, I see many commonalities. Most of us are 35-50, we all came from successful careers in other fields like politics, medicine, law, banking and so on. For the most part, these are individuals who would succeed at no matter what they do, it just so happens that they chose travel writing. If you want to make travel your career, that’s fine, but treat it like a career. That means being organized, methodical and having a business plan moving into the future. Part of my job is to make this all look effortless, but it’s certainly not. I’ve never worked harder in my life, but I’ve never been happier doing it.
What is your favorite…?
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 destinations 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.
Where Should I Go and Will You Plan My Trip?
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 thousands of 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.
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. This also leads into another question I get about my three dogs. When I travel they stay at a boarding facility that they and I love. They’re outside all day and sleep together in their own “suite.” They are very well taken care of, even if the daily rates tend to be high. They’re my kids and I always want the best for them, especially when I’m not around.
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 7 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.