Since launching The Globetrotter Cookbook back in September of last year, I’ll admit it’s had its ups and downs. Writing a weekly post, sharing recipes that I feel proud of and developing stories that people want to read is intimidating. And when you only have yourself to hold to account? Even more difficult.
Sometimes I need to stop and reflect on why I started this blog. I talked to other new and seasoned bloggers about this, and found these are common struggles and insecurities.
One of the bloggers who reached out to me was Maria from Travel Bliss. We connected through Nomadic Matt’s Superstar Blogging Course over our love for traveling and sharing stories, but also the fact that we are new to blogging and needed some motivation. Maria sent me some questions that really got me thinking about why this project is so important to me. This post is a little different from what I normally write, and some answers are a little personal, but I hope that by sharing, this little community can grow closer.
1. What is the inspiration for starting The Globetrotter Cookbook blog?
Anybody who knows me knows that I can’t stand so-called inspirational quotes. It basically kills me to reference Tony Robbins, but he has a quote that pinpoints the reason why I started blogging:
I have always been adventurous – my mom likes to remind me that as a child I would frequently “run away”, not because I was mad at her, but because I voraciously craved adventure. She even helped me pack sandwiches to take on the excursions to my hideout under a bush in the alley behind our house.
And nothing’s really changed. I moved to Spain after university to teach English, satiating my wanderlust while earning a half-decent paycheck. Fast forward to 4 years later, and I’m still here. What was meant to be a temporary “see the world” job seems to be turning into my career. Sure I like teaching, and I love my little munchkins. But when it comes down to it, teaching isn’t my passion.
I was on a flight from Paris to Budapest last Spring thinking about how I could change directions. I had been “working to live” instead of “living to work” for so long that it took a little bit of pondering to remember my passions : travel, food and sharing both with friends and people I meet on Couchsurfing!
The reality is at 25, I’m starting to think more about my future and attempting to mould myself into the person I want to be. Becoming a successful blogger may be a far-off dream, but as I see it, now is the time to try. What have I got to lose?
2. What is the one special thing which drives you to travel?
Ironically, my motivation to travel stems from one of my worst qualities: my short attention span. I am easily bored, and staying in one place makes me feel confined, anxious and at the worst times, depressed. This attribute is what pushes me to travel – I constantly crave new, different experiences: moving around helps to satiate this hunger, however briefly. It does worry me sometimes that I’ll never settle down, but I’m content with burying that insecurity away for now.
3. What are the hardships you faced in setting up your blog?
Before I started my blog, I did a lot of talking. I was so excited to share my plans for The Globetrotter Cookbook, and everyone around me seemed to think it was a stellar idea. I received so much encouragement that the day I first launched the blog, I thought it would be an instant success, at least within my in-circle. Turns out, most of my friends haven’t subscribed to receive notifications on my blog. Many haven’t even given me a “like” on Facebook. When we hang out, it’s more than obvious they don’t read my posts. How’s that for a reality check?
What I’ve learned is that although friends and family can admire and support you doing what you love, they may not actually be interested in the product, at least not to the same degree as you. And that’s fine. I believe there are people who have a genuine interest in what I’m doing, and I am determined to reach out to them.
4. How long do you like to travel for? What’s been your longest trip?
I am constantly travelling, and my “trips” have many different durations. For example, there are many beautiful pueblos blancos (villages where all the buildings are painted white) close to where I live, and I often pop over just to have lunch and take some pictures. Other times I wait until I have a work holiday and will jet off to Lyon, France for a week. I have also done the Camino de Santiago, which was a backpacking journey that lasted 36 days. In the summer, I’ll go back home to Vancouver, Canada and spend a couple months there. The short answer is: the duration of my trip is however long I have! Time should never be a constraint.
5. How do you strike a balance between work and travel? How do manage to fund your travels?
As a part-time English teacher, time is hardly an issue when it comes to traveling. I work afternoons Monday-Thursday, so I have three day weekends as far as the eye can see! In addition, I get all of the bank holidays off (there sure are a lot in Andalusia!) plus school holidays.
Despite the fact that I’m well paid for my time compared to normal Spanish salaries, my income is fairly modest. I also don’t get paid for summer months when the academy closes, so I have to keep that in mind if I don’t want to work at an English summer camp (bless all of you who do, I don’t have the stamina!). I am able to afford my trips by adopting a minimalist lifestyle. I rarely buy clothes, cosmetics or other items for the sake of having them. Not only is this better for the environment and takes a stance against consumerism, it’s a lot easier to get up and move on to the next destination if you have nomadic tendencies like yours truly!
6. In your opinion, which is the best countryside destination in the world?
To be completely honest, I’m a city girl, and most of my trips have been to cities. However, I absolutely love visiting the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. It’s surrounded by mountains and has the most gorgeous lakes. Europeans may be surprised that you can find some of the best wine ever there, and oh my god the FRUIT! Amazing. It’s a great area to for hikes and check out the wildlife, just watch out for rattlesnakes! My friend Sam has some amazing hiking recommendations in this area on her blog, Explore the Map that you should definitely check out.
7. How do you travel? Solo, with a partner, friends or with family?
After completing a degree which attracts internationally-minded people and having lived in 3 different countries over the past 5 years, I am lucky to have met people from all over the globe. I now choose my travel destinations based on who I know and where they’re living. It emboldens me to open my mind to towns or cities off the classic list like Paris, London, Rome (which are all still awesome, mind you). Why not Sighet in Hungary? Saint Amand Tallende in France? Not only does this allow me to visit an old friend, it provides me with a local tour guide and sometimes even free accommodation! So essentially I travel solo, while freeloading off my pals. Just kidding, I’m a good guest and always take them out or cook them up some delicious vegetarian food!
8. Have you ever taken up a course / class like wine tasting, cheese making, photography, dance class etc. while traveling?
I did a wine tasting at the Chateauneuf du Pape winery in the Rhone Alpes region of France while I was studying in Lyon. Alas, at 20 years old on a student tour, I spent more time getting excited about being able to drink really expensive wine than savouring and trying to understand its intricacies.
9. Which has been your favourite travel destination till date?
Yikes! It’s like having to choose my favourite child! I have such fond memories of my exchange in Lyon and picnicking in Le Parc de la Tête d’Or and rowing on the lake. I was stunned by the gorgeous gothic buildings of Edinburgh against the green rolling hills. And Berlin! The coolest city I have ever been to. You can’t make me choose! You can’t!
10. If you could change one thing about the way you travel, what would it be and why?
I am quite careless with my things, and ironically I’m the worst with misplacing my passport. The night before my trip I am always flipping my apartment upside down looking for it. It’s a nightmare, and it should be a simple correction to make… yet I never learn.
Thank you so much Maria for helping me to reflect on the reasons for why I blog!
Have you got a blog? What keeps you motivated to keep it up?