Travel blogging is moving mainstream – fast. Forget the weekend travel supplements, its bloggers who could well be the future of travel journalism. People like my interviewees this time: Nellie and Alberto from Wild Junket
Nellie and Alberto are a husband-and-wife team passionate about independent travel, outdoor adventures, languages and food. They’ve been traveling the world hand-in-hand since 2003, experiencing over 50 countries in six different continents. Along the way, they’ve lived and worked in London, Madrid, Granada, Tanzania and Singapore. They set up their blog, WildJunket in 2008, growing it to become one of the top travel websites in the world. Since its success, they’ve launched WildJunket Magazine, a digital flipbook magazine that shares travel experiences and inspires readers on a deeper level. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
– What got you into the idea of travelling and writing for a living?
I’ve always been a travel addict. Even when I had a normal job, I was living abroad and I would, take weekend trips, daydream about travel and constantly plan my next jaunt with Alberto. I started my blog in 2003 to keep my friends and family informed about my adventures living abroad; but it was only after spending a few months volunteering in Tanzania that I really got serious about making a living from my blog. I networked with several travel bloggers and learned that it was possible to build a career in travel blogging. I then took a few online writing classes, did my research, and started pitching to magazines and newspapers. Eventually gigs started rolling in. I found myself earning a small income from writing and blogging. I then left everything behind to focus on this career; my husband also quit his job to join me as our designer and photographer. We’re now traveling and writing full-time, running an award-winning website and a new digital iPad magazine.
– What’s the best thing about being a travel blogger?
There are many perks, like having the flexibility and the freedom to work wherever we want, and not having to report to anyone else besides ourselves; but ultimately, the thing I love most is combining my love for travel and new media. The world of new media is constantly evolving and it’s full of surprises; and that’s what keeps me motivated.
– And the hardest thing?
Being a travel blogger doesn’t just involve writing. To succeed we need to take the tricks of photography, dabble in social media, communicate with advertisers and sponsors, and keep up with new trends and technological advancements in the world of publishing. All in all, we take on a lot more roles than conventional writers and journalists do. It can be hard work!
– What’s been the best place you’ve visited to date and why?
It’s a toss between Madagascar and the Galapagos Islands, as we’re huge wildlife buffs. We visited Madagascar for our honeymoon and we love just how raw and rugged the country is and how genuine the people are. The Galapagos is like nowhere else in the world, where animals are uninhibited by human beings and roam freely just as they should.
– Which place or places do you still want to visit and why?
We’ve been dreaming of visiting Papua New Guinea as we’ve always been intrigued by the tribal culture there. We also really hope to go to Brazil next year for Carnival and make a side-trip to the Pantanal to see jaguar in action.
– What’s your top tip for making your money go further whilst you’re away?
One great way to save on accommodation and meet locals is couchsurfing – we’ve couchsurfed a few times and ended up making lifelong friends along the way. I believe in passing it forward so we also host couchsurfers when we’re back at our home base in Spain.
– What thing or things do you always pack when you go away and why?
I never leave home without my Australian cowboy hat – we’re always out and about doing all sorts of outdoor activities, so it’s really useful to have it with me. We also love our gadgets and since we depend on most of them to get our work done, we never travel without our laptops, cameras, and iPhones.
– You travel as a couple – what are the pros and cons?
Traveling as a couple definitely means we get to share amazing experiences with each other. Going through ups and downs together also brings us closer. Neither of us is good at solo travel, so we really enjoy having each other’s company. On the other hand, because we travel so frequently, we don’t spend any time apart and that can be challenging for a relationship. I think the hardest part is working together as a couple – and that is something we’re still working on
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