What is the place you least enjoyed and why?
I don’t really dislike anywhere I’ve been, but since you said least I’d say it was probably Fez, Morocco. I felt like the city itself was incredible, but the amount of people that don’t just hassle you but are straight up abusive completely killed it for me. The fact that this was such an incredible place and I couldn’t enjoy it only makes me more frustrated by the whole situation.
What place have you enjoyed the most and why?
Pretty easy for me to say Medellin, Colombia. That place felt like home for me, and it still tugs at my heartstrings. The weather was beautiful, the people friendly, and the whole atmosphere of the city was great. I was there off and on for 8 months which is easily the longest I’ve stayed anywhere since University. Moreover, it was the place where my businesses really took off. I was hanging out with other travel journalists a lot and the ability to bounce ideas off each other way huge. It really pushed me over the edge from struggling to excelling.
Where do you see the future of travel blogging heading?
It’s funny to say, but I think you’re going to see blogging become less independent. For years, bloggers have lived on their independence. However, many are realizing that it’s much easier to create teams and alliances and pitch tourism boards and brands as a group. In fact, it’s already started. Personally, I have not joined on to these groups because I really like my independence and personal freedom. I think the other thing you’ll see happening is the professionalization of the industry. With the soon to be established professional travel bloggers association there will be a much higher level of professionalism among members of the community I believe. This professional nature is something I’ve longed for for years. In fact, the lack of professionalism is the reason that for years I refused to call myself a blogger. I used to believe that the term “blog” was related to hobbyist, so hopefully as this develops we’ll be take more seriously.
How do you keep your budget balanced to carry on travelling?
It’s all about tracking your spending and your funds. You can’t just say “I’m going to spend $40 a day” and not keep track of what you’re actually spending. I have an excel sheet where I plug in all my details of what I’ve spent and what I have left in my funds. It tells me how I’m doing on my budget, how many days I have left that I can survive on my current funds, and it also tells me, based on my monthly earnings, what my daily budget can be for the next month. In the end though, I’m inspired to keep under budget because if I mess up I might have to go home, and that’s encouragement enough as a traveller.
Do you have a specific strategy for the running of your website and social media presence?
The short answer is no. But that being said, my sites get about 30% of their traffic from social media. I share everything I publish, but I try to treat social media as both a way to connect with potential readers and as a marketing game. I’ve always believed in the idea that time is money and vice versa. Traditional advertising costs money, and I don’t have any money. Thus, I spend time on social media to counteract my lack of cash. Social media has really allowed those of us without huge bank accounts to use hard work to help propel us.
What is your plan for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 and 20 years time?
Wow, I honestly don’t even know where I’ll be in 5 months! I will humour you though with some predictions.
5 years: I will be in Europe somewhere with an office for my travel magazine Vagabundo Magazine.
10 years: I’ll be married with 2 kids and start a family travel blog ;)
20 years: I’ll have broken from my career as the owner of the largest online media firm in the world and start a “career break” travel blog.
Thanks to Brendan for answering the questions, you can also find him on Twitter.