Welcome to a new series in my blog!
After writing about my thoughts on being a new travel blogger, I decided to start a new series on my blog that features travel bloggers who are newcomers like me. I think that it will be nice to offer a bit of space to introduce newbie bloggers to the big travel blogging industry. This interview will run weekly every Monday.
To start things off, my first interview will be with Neil of Backpacks and Bunkbeds.
I remember meeting Neil through #TTOT and have started my travel blogging journeys with him. He’s been a good mate and had been helpful enough when it comes to giving some external advice to some of my blogging questions. He has travelled a great deal as well in Sri Lanka, South Africa and Australia!
Here goes my short interview with Neil:
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your travel blog?
Hi, I’m Neil. 27 and from London. I currently work the 9-5, dreaming of escape to glorious, distant lands where it doesn’t rain 95% of the time. I am the creator and editor of the travel blog www.backpacksandbunkbeds.co.uk which is my online travel diary, full of stories, images, tips etc.
As blogs go it’s pretty casual, and written as a traveller rather than as a travel professional in the hope that other travellers can relate to what I’m writing about. The site’s still pretty new, so hopefully it’ll start to look a bit more polished in time. I’m pretty happy with it at the moment though.
2. Why did you decide to start a travel blog?
After getting back from my RTW trip in 2007 and splitting from the girlfriend I’d met on said trip, I needed something to focus my thought around. I ended up going to night school to learn web design. I’ll miss out the gory details, but www.backpacksandbunkeds.co.uk was born out of a passion for web design and diarising my travel stories.
3. Can you tell us about your first travel experience?
South Africa 2005. Five weeks volunteering as a football and rugby coach in Port Elizabeth, followed by two extra weeks travelling the Garden Route to Cape Town.
It was a total blast spending five weeks in a volunteer house, playing sport every day and going out ‘socialising’ most nights. It was a bit like university, just in warmer climates. Each weekend we would have the chance to travel, a favourite destination amongst the group was Coffee Bay. Our weekend travels also led a number of our group to jump off of bridges and out of planes. South Africa was a seriously fun time in my life! It was so good I actually had quite a hard time getting over it once I landed back home.
4. What’s your favourite destination?
Sri Lanka – It’s got everything I want and all within a relatively small space. No long journeys and no worries. The people, food, weather etc are all amazing.
I believe the country is totally under-rated in travelling circles, but in a selfish way that’s good as it means it’s not overrun with tourist and I can still consider it my little paradise.
5. What’s your most memorable travel moment?
Wow, now that’s a toughie! I’ve been very very lucky with my travels. They’ve taken me all over the place and I’ve seen some amazing things. Picking out a single favourite is just a wee bit too tough. My highlights would include diving on the Great Barrier Reef, living with a native Fijian tribe, watching the sunrise at Uluru, Climbing Adams Peak in time for sunrise in Sri Lanka, doing the world’s highest bungee jump (at the time) in South Africa … the list goes on. Sorry, but I’ll have to pass on picking just one.
6. If you can travel with anyone famous, who will you travel with and why?
Definitely Bear Gyrlls if it was out in the wilderness, as he would probably save me from some form of gruesome death at the hands (or feet) of giant killer ants.
If I was in somewhat more comfortable surroundings I’d probably like to travel with a band i.e. on a tour. Not quite backpacking, but its travelling none the less. My favourite act at the moment is Chase & Status, so I’ll go with those chaps.
7. Your ultimate travel dream
Being a bit out there, I’d like to say my ultimate dream would be to travel to another planet. I have trouble grasping that this is the only inhabitable planet out there.
Closer to home it would have to be South America, for six months at the very least, ideally during a year when the FIFA world cup was taking place. I imagine the celebrations would be rather extravagant and I’d love to be able to join in. I’d also like to teach English out there and try learn some Spanish myself.
8. What’s the best advice you can give to your travel readers?
When travelling – Take chances and make mistakes, it’s the best way to learn and find things you’d have otherwise missed.
When blogging – SEO is important, but content is king. I’m sure you’re heard that 100 times over, but its true. Write content that is engaging and ask questions. Include your audience, and when they respond to your writing, you should respond to them.
Visit his blog – www.backpacksandbunkbeds.co.uk
Do you want to be interviewed on our next session of Talk with a Travel Newcomer? The only requirement of course is that you have to be a newbie travel blogger. Contact me if you’d like to be featured!