One of the great things about blogging is making connections and friendships. Sometimes these friendships can transfer to the real world as opposed to the virtual one – I’ve written before about meeting Corinne and Jim from Reflections Enroute, and I was honoured that Corinne then chose to interview me for her blog and has now nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers. Well, when I say “now” I mean “a few months ago”. I apologise for the delay in taking it up, but you know how life intervenes sometimes!
The idea is to answer 10 questions, so here’s what Corinne asked me:
Did you do any traveling with your family when you were a child? We spent most summer holidays when I was a child travelling to Scotland to visit relatives, with the odd trip to the Lake District or the Yorkshire coast. My first trip abroad was a school exchange when I was 14 or 15 so that probably made the biggest impression. A German girl stayed with us at Easter and I went out to Gelsenkirchen for three weeks in the summer. She and her family were lovely, but I was too shy (along with most of the British schoolgirls) to practice my German. Their English was too perfect! We kept in touch for a few years, but I have no idea where my exchange partner is now. Susanne Klein, are you out there?
What was your first blog post? What is one of your favourite blog posts? Why is it a favourite? My first post on this blog didn’t say much more than “I’ve started a travel blog”. My first ever blog post said “I’ve started a children’s literature blog”. I’m not very original. My favourite is always the last one. I enjoy the sense of achievement as I click Publish and send it out into the world.
What’s the first thing you do when you get to a new destination? Or what is one thing you make sure you do in each destination? Walk about and explore! We love to get our bearings in the general area before tackling any of the main sights.
Is there a particular place that stands out in your experiences as exceptionally special or especially challenging? I don’t think we will ever top visiting Galapagos, and I never want to go back to Tibet. Both will appear on the blog someday – the problem is, they were a long time ago and, although I have good notes to help with the writing, the photos are all pre-digital. I just haven’t had time for a major scanning project yet – however, I’ve included one of each just to whet your appetite!
Is food important to you when you travel? What is your favourite experience regarding food? What is the weirdest food you’ve tried? I don’t travel for the food – I’m a vegetarian, which can be a disadvantage when I have to put up with what I can get. The advantage is that I have a good excuse not to try the weirdest foods such as fried silkworms, frogs’ ovaries or goose intestines. John has tackled all of those – with gusto. My favourite experience has to be Lancrigg in the Lake District – it’s a totally vegetarian hotel and the only place I get to choose from the whole of the menu.
What has been the most effective tool that you have used to grow the readership of your blog? What’s your biggest challenge or frustration as a travel blogger, either travel or blogging related? What is one frustration you experience when reading travel blogs? I don’t really look at my blog in that way – it’s always been my personal travel diary for logging my own memories. That said, I enjoy it much more since I started to interact. In the beginning I just wrote, and anyone other than family who read it was a bonus. Beginning with the A to Z Challenge last year I’ve really enjoyed meeting other bloggers online, chatting to them and exchanging experiences. Frustrations? Only really finding the time – there are so many great blogs out there I could spend all day reading them.
What do you find challenging about blogging? Does it change the way your travel? See above – time! When I first started, I blogged on the go using the WordPress app. That soon became unsustainable, and I hate the app in its current incarnation anyway (for blogging – I still use it for handling comments). I wouldn’t say the way we travel has changed, but I’m much more likely to be thinking “how would that look on the blog?”
What are three characteristics that define you as a traveller? 1. Curious, or I’d stay at home. 2. Organised – I like to plan so that I see and do all the things on my list. 3. Energetic – there are usually a lot of things on that list!
What are some of your favourite travel blogs? Why? What makes a great travel blog in your opinion? Well, Reflections Enroute of course! It feels wrong to make choices, but I will mention two others, Jo of RestlessJo and Jude of Travel Words and The earth laughs in flowers. Why? Because they both run challenges which I enjoy and which have helped me to make new blogging friends – Jo with her Monday Walks and Jude with her Bench Series (though she’s changing to Gardens for 2016). A great travel blog, for me, is personal – I can find facts and figures myself, so I want an impression of a place through someone else’s eyes.
What’s the top three destinations or experiences on ‘your wish list’? And what’s next for you? I would love to visit both the Arctic and Antarctic but, given the time of year we would have to go, that will have to wait until John is no longer working in a university. Macchu Picchu has also been on our wish list for years – I’m not even sure what’s holding us back there. What’s next? We’ve recently been to Bermuda, so that will be the next thing coming up on the blog (taster above), we have a few days in the Scottish countryside between Christmas and New Year, and next year I’m hoping to add to my tally of states with another US road trip.
Next, I should make up my own list of questions and nominate 10 more bloggers but, as has now become my practice, I’m going to skip that bit and say that if anyone wishes to join in, please do so and answer the same questions as I have. Many thanks to Corinne for nominating me. I enjoyed taking part!