I was looking through old posts recently and realized that I haven’t devoted a post to answering your questions lately. I get emails and direct messages all the time and while I can’t respond to all of them, I feel that posts like this one help answer many of those travel questions. This is the type of post I intend to do more often, starting with some of the most common travel questions I receive along with my answers.
Should I Quit My Job To Trip The World?
Ok, that probably isn’t sufficient enough for most people, so I’ll elaborate. When I first started this site 8 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’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 almost daily, 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 5 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.
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 Camera Should I Buy?
Believe it or not, but there’s no single answer to this question. I firmly believe that great photos come from the eye of the photographer and not the equipment used. What’s more important is to get a camera with which you’re comfortable (even if it’s just an iPhone) and learn everything there is to know about it. Then use it all the time. Practice makes perfect, or at least better, when it comes to photography and over time you’ll see what is and isn’t good. Composition is most important I believe, and that’s something you just have to either be born with or pick up over time.
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.
Please let me know if you have any other questions!