I’ve started reading Monica’s first blog Total Travel Bug and I got hooked! She has a great material not only about travel destinations but also how she uses travel as a way learn and push forward professional writing career (she’s a journalism graduate). She’s now back in the UK but she has lots of great material on her blog!
Here’s my short interview with Monica of The Travel Hack
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your travel blog?
When I finished uni I bought a one way ticket to Australia and didn’t look back for almost 2 years. I travelled around SE Asia and worked my way around Oz before heading home last summer. Since then I’ve started a journalism course and work at Gap Daemon, a gap year website, as an editorial assistant.
My blog follows my travels, my weekends away and my journey to becoming a travel journalist.
Why did you decide to start a travel blog?
Before I left to go travelling I was working for my local newspaper and they asked me if I’d be interested in blogging about my travels for their website. At the time I barely even knew what a blog was but it wasn’t long before I’d caught the blogging bug and began teaching myself the basics.
What’s the most challenging part of being a travel blogger?
Blogging is really time consuming so the most challenging thing is simply finding the time to write my posts and keep up to date with my favourite travel blogs. At the minute I’m juggling blogging with full time work, studying part time and trying to have something that resembles a social life. I’ve been told that travel bloggers don’t sleep so this is something I need to work on and then my life will be much easier!
Can you tell us about your first travel experience?
I grew up with family holidays to European beach destinations but it wasn’t until I was18 that I did something a little different and visited Jamaica. My boyfriend and I travelled around the country staying in little beach huts, eco-resorts and tree huts where there wasn’t another tourist in sight. It was this trip that truly sparked my love for travelling and finding unique places to stay. We spent a while in a tree hut overlooking the sea with a bathroom in the jungle and this huge bathtub on the edge of a cliff. It was a pretty unique experience and something that’s going to be hard to beat.
What’s your favourite destination and why?
Thailand. I know it isn’t very original and it’s everyone’s favourite place but I really love it. The people are so kind and friendly, the food is amazing, the beaches are stunning, the countryside is spectacular, the diving is top-notch and there’s so much to see and explore. And when you’re tired with all the exploring you can hop on a scooter and find a deserted beach and pretend you’re the only person in the world.
If you can travel with a real or fictional character, who will you travel with and why?
Hermione Granger from Harry Potter would have to be the best travel buddy. Not only would she have absolutely everything you could possibly want or need in a teeny tiny bag but you could also hold her hand and she could magic you to anywhere in the world. She’d have that awesome little tent you could pop up that is actually huge and she has a pretty good wardrobe so I’d like to borrow her clothes.
I also love organised people. I’m probably the least organised person in the whole world so I love being around organisation and neat, orderly people. I always wanted to be one of those people who have different compartments in their backpack for different things but within 10 minutes everything in my bag is a mess.
What’s your favourite travel quote (from a book, film, TV show etc)?
Can I quote Nike? I know this isn’t very intellectual for someone who has an English literature degree but I love their slogan ‘Just do it’. It bugs me when people say, ‘I really want to travel and see this and do that.’ And all I can say is, ‘Just do it!’ Don’t sit around at home thinking about it and telling everyone how much you want to do it, just do it!
I’m not much of a planner and tend to make impulsive decisions so ‘Just do it’ is pretty much how I live my life.
If you have one flight ticket to go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where will you go?
India. I’m fascinated by India and the culture so a big trip to India is next on my list for October 2012. It’s a long way away but I’m excited already!
What is the strangest thing you have eaten, drank or experienced on your travels?
While I was in Vietnam there was a typhoon and we were trapped in our hotel for a couple of nights because the flood water was about 6 metres high. This wouldn’t have been too bad but it was a cheap hotel with no windows and obviously all the power was out so we were stuck there for 4 days in the dark. Claustrophobia would be a massive understatement!
Everyone from the ground floor was moved up a level which meant strangers were sharing rooms and all the staff who worked there had their families come to stay because their houses were flooded. It was such a strange experience as the hotel became one huge, multicultural home. Because it was always dark we were constantly bumping into one another and we became really close to perfect strangers who didn’t even speak the same language.
The weirdest part was when the flood water was eventually swept away and we could leave – everyone went straight back to being strangers again. That close, family feel just vanished and it was as though we hadn’t been trapped together for all that time.
Advice to fellow newbie travel bloggers
Read as many travel blogs as you can. They will keep you motivated and help you realise what you like about travel blogging and what you should or shouldn’t use in your own blog.
“My blog is all about my travels and travel related things that make me smile. I’m not quite a flashpacker but I do like to add a bit of style to my trips. My blog follows my journey to becoming a travel journalist, my life in London, my weekend escapes and my plans for my next big trip. “
All photos in this post are Monica’ property but are hosted on this blog’s flickr count. All rights remain with Monica.