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A very, very, very long time ago, Portia from Migrant Muse nominated me for a Liebster Award.
What’s a Liebster Award? It was created to help readers discover new blogs. This way less famous writers receive recognition for their hard work. There are many famous bloggers and while I don’t begrudge them success, it’s great for newbies to receive support for their small impacts on the internet. Blogging is hard so it’s means a lot to receive a award when you’re still lagging in the early stages of this hobby and/or career. Oh, and Liebster means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. In German.
So, thank you, Portia!
Below are my honest responses to her eleven questions. Happy reading!
1. Why did you decide to start a travel blog?
I started a travel blog because I wanted to share my passion for travel and reach a circle bigger than family and immediate friends. Before starting Blond Wayfarer in May 2015, I was an avid blog reader and mentally devoured various posts to plan my upcoming adventures. I went through a series of rapid changes in May, and although everything worked out for the best, I realized life is short and unexpected.
So if I wanted to create a blog, then I should create a blog. I bought the domain, joined Travel Blog Success, and never looked back!
2. What do you currently do for a living?
I’m currently a secondary English teacher at a small private school. Yes, I take care of teenagers and encourage them to embrace books, maybe even turn into literature nerds. Haha, but seriously, I enjoy my job most days. It’s great to make a meaningful impact on young people, despite them hating essays and failing to finish their summer reading on time.
All in all, I’d say my teaching career has benefited my travels, and I don’t see myself quitting the profession entirely.
3. What do you love and hate most about blogging?
I love talking to other travelers and potential travelers! I joined the “travel blog world” in order to make meaningful connections with people who share similar interests and values as myself.
As far as hate is concerned, I’d have to say I dislike the drama that infests this particular slice of the internet. Drama exists everywhere, sadly, and travel blogging is no exception to the rule.
My blog is brand new and therefore a positive place because what type of haters waste their time with a small website? None. As my site (hopefully) grows, I remain determined to avoid any internet controversy. Because, seriously, what’s the point?
4. Have you received any negative reactions from your blog?
Not yet! As I’ve said, my blog is brand new so I don’t think trolls will waste much time with me (yet).
However, I want to note that I do have a comment policy strictly prohibiting abusive comments. Constructive responses are great and helpful to my readers. Lord knows not everyone will agree with my wild opinions, and fresh perspectives are more than welcome on my blog. On the flip side, if a poster doesn’t contribute to the website and opts for hatefulness, then sorry, but the comment won’t ever see the light of day.
I thought long and hard about implementing a comment policy. After speaking to a few experienced bloggers, I figured having a disclaimer against trolls and abuse was a smart move to keep this space safe and positive for my readers. And no, this policy doesn’t infringe on “freedom of speech” because I’m not the American government and under no obligation to publish unintelligible trollish nonsense.
5. Where do you plan to travel next and why?
I WISH I had an answer to this question.
At the moment I don’t know where I’m traveling next, which is absolutely terrible for my mental state. I have many ideas for potential adventures on the horizon, but no booked trips. Some of my ideas include seeing Iceland in the winter, visiting the west coast of the United States, spending a few weeks in New Zealand, enjoying the museums in Washington DC, and revisiting France.
Stay tuned for more details! I’m sure I’ll have airline tickets and hostels reserved in the near future since I’m a total travel addict and can’t sit still for more than a few months.
6. What has been your most memorable or inspirational trip and why?
I was at a low point in my life prior to leaping at fate and booking my ticket to Edinburgh. I had never traveled solo before Scotland and didn’t think I had the guts to fly to a foreign country without knowing a soul there.
Boy was I wrong.
I won’t say anymore about this trip because otherwise I’ll ramble for hours. All I can say is Scotland taught me so many lessons and I’m forever grateful. I want to return sooner rather than later. One day.
7. Are you involved in any travel blogger networks or groups? If so, which ones?
I’m currently a member of Travel Blog Success. I originally signed up for the in-depth blogging course and webinars, but to be perfectly frank with you all, it’s the facebook group that truly makes this network fantastic for up and coming bloggers.
All the top travel bloggers participate on the facebook group, and they give important advice that is immensely helpful to new bloggers. Finding all their tips via google would’ve been a nightmare. I seriously doubt I would’ve built such a strong website without Travel Blog Success in my corner.
8. Have you gone on any press trips or written any sponsored posts or products?
Not yet! My website hasn’t been around long enough to warrant a press trip or sponsored posts. I’m not a big influencer right now in the blog world, and therefore I focus most of my attention on my writing and audience rather than chasing freebies.
However, if you check my About Me page, I clearly post my editorial policy about sponsored trips, meals, accommodation, etc. In the future, all my sponsored posts will be disclosed to my readers upfront in addition to my full honesty about the service I received. I’d be nothing without my readers and pulling the wool over their eyes for perks isn’t cool. I’ve already put so much work into this website and don’t want to sell out.
9. How would you describe the way you travel?
My travel style focuses on a reasonable pace and the local economy.
I don’t enjoy zipping from city to city. Whirlwind travel has never once appealed to me even though sometimes a faster pace has been necessary due to time constraints. For example, I loved Busabout’s hop-on, hop-off network around Europe because you could set you own pace. I spent five nights in Vienna and it was a perfect amount of time for me to truly appreciate Austria’s capital city. At the same time, although Busabout’s Eastern Treks were enjoyable for the locations and people (guides, drivers, and other travelers), the breakneck pace was a bit too much for me. At the end of the day, I don’t travel to rush through as many destinations as possible. I’d rather absorb everything. Take my time. Enjoy.
As a traveler, I also feel as if it’s my responsibility to help support the country’s local economy rather than line the pockets of big business. I prefer small independent hostels/hotels compared to large chains. Family-owned restaurants and shops also raise my interest more quickly than H&M or Starbucks. That’s not to say I don’t ever stop in McDonald’s or stay at the Marriott, but I try to “travel local” whenever possible.
10. What do you think sets you apart from other bloggers?
I think two major characteristics set Blond Wayfarer apart from other bloggers who write in the same niche I do: 1. I’m not a full time digital nomad who earns a living from this blog and 2. my blog focuses on encouraging less-adventurous individuals to go and travel.
The internet is flooded with the “I quit my boring 9-5 job to travel the world forever” brand of travel blogs. I don’t hate these blogs and I certainly appreciate a few of them, believe me, but sometimes I think they’re a little unoriginal; plus, let’s be honest, not many people feel comfortable abandoning their careers to travel for an indefinite period of time. My blog focuses on travel but I’m not a nomad. I have a teaching career and fixed address.
As for point number 2, I sometimes “play it safe” when traveling due to my own anxieties and insecurities. I feel this topic resonates with many readers yet it’s rarely discussed in travel blogs.
11. What are your goals for your blog and what are you hoping to achieve from blogging?
I want to have influence. I want readers. I want to make a difference. I want people to email me to say they’re fighting their fears and anxieties and are now traveling thanks to the inspiration they found on my blog. Free trips are lovely, of course, but I’m more excited to make an impact on people and help them realize their dreams are within reach.
AND NOW FOR MY NOMINEES:
My 11 Questions for My Liebster Nominees
- Who is your biggest travel inspiration?
- How do you stay motivated to update your site?
- What do you think is your greatest creative strength: writing, photography, or videography?
- What advice would you give to a person who wants to begin a travel blog?
- Are you a full time digital nomad? If not, is this career appealing to you or have you decided to take another route?
- Do you prefer natural wonders or manmade wonders? Why?
- Describe your first international trip. Did it impact you in any meaningful way?
- As a travel blogger, which social media outlet do you think has been the most beneficial for your site?
- Are sponsored posts useful to readers or a total drag?
- Have you ever been to a destination that disappointed you? Why?
- If you won the lottery tomorrow, do you think your style of travel would change? How about your blog?
THANKS AGAIN, PORTIA.