Each week we will be featuring an interview with a member of the Superstar Blogging community. These interviews will highlight the ups and downs faced on the road to success, illuminating helpful tips and tricks along the way. If you want to get inspired and succeed in the world of travel blogging, video, writing, or photography then consider these interviews must-read material! This week we are interviewing Geri, a member of the Travel Writing course. She blogs at When Woman Travels.
If YOU ant to be featured in our interview series be sure to email our Community Manager Christopher, at email@example.com.
Tell us about yourself!
Hi, I’m Geri. I am a travel blogger from Bulgaria and my niche topic is female travel. With an experience of living in countries like Ethiopia and Ukraine, I have a lot of tips to share that can be helpful to other women to travel better informed.
The main focus of my way of travel seems to be culture — everything from traditional food, local customs, and festive traditional clothing is attracting my attention. Places for authentic shopping, travel fashion, quirky restaurants and guest houses, out of the beaten path destinations and places – all are featured on my blog from a women’s perspective.
My travel experience started 14 years ago when I’ve spent one year as an expat in Ethiopia. Followed by expat periods in Romania and Ukraine, this allowed me to develop an interest in culture-based travel. Now, when I write about a destination I always use my observations of the local lifestyle (and the connection to the local mentality) to make conclusions and give travel advice.
What are some of your favourite places you’ve been to?
Cuba, particularly Vinales Valley, is my favorite place on Earth so far. The tranquility of the place that comes from the simple life is unimaginable in the modern cities. It is very easy to feel the ‘here and now’ moment and even easier to feel appreciation for all you have in your life.
Last year, I did a trip to Russia for New Year. Although I experienced freezing cold that is not pleasant for a southern girl like me, Saint Petersburg is the place I want to go back to. It looks magical in winter with all the glittering bridges crossing Neva River, the thick ice forming a dead sea from the wide river bed and the abundance of classic Russian architecture make this city one of its kind. St. Petersburg in winter is a magical place coming right from the Russian fairy tales but surely is stunning in summer too with those impressive parks and gardens surrounding places like the Peterhof Palace. So, yes, I want to see the place in summer too!
How long have you been blogging?
I started travel writing during my year in Ethiopia. I was sending long e-mails to my friends and relatives, including some photos illustrating what I was writing about and this was my way to keep in touch and make them understand my life in this so foreign to me country.
Years later, when I actually started blogging (three and a half years ago) I realized that my emails were very similar to travel blogging and so I built upon them for the blog.
What struggles have you had during your blogging/writing career? How have you overcome them?
My first struggle is the language. English is not my first language so it doesn’t come naturally. However, I always loved this language and my whole life worked on improving it.
My second struggle (as for many bloggers) is the time. As a blogger/freelance writer, you are the sole proprietor of a small business and you need to make time to fulfill all the work positions. The solution is to decide what areas of the business are most important to you and for your future success, and focus on them. My heart is in writing and creating original products for my travel clothing and accessories collection that’s why I focus primarily on these areas of my business.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you started blogging?
Probably the most important thing for a blogging success is the networking. Even if you have a high-quality content, if you don’t keep contact (online and offline) with readers, colleagues and influencers, you will never reach your potential. It is because people tend to respond to people they know, not to total strangers. That’s why it is better to start networking as early as possible. TBEX is a great place to start.
Where have you been published? What are your travel-writing aspirations?
One of my articles will be published in the winter issue (February) of Rovers Magazine US edition. The article shows an unexpected angle on the Land Rover Enthusiast club in Bulgaria. In many male-oriented magazines there are rarely articles featuring women that, in fact, take an active role in the club’s activities.
Apart from this article, I have been published in well-established travel blogs such as Ytravel blog and Mapping Megan (coming soon), took part several times in collaboration posts on Huffington Post and several others. I am also a columnist at The Girls from the City, an online magazine for women in Bulgaria.
Next year I will be focusing more on writing freelance articles for various travel and women’s magazines as I have a lot of stories to tell and many insider tips to share.
What tips do you have to help people get published?
Always take into account the audience and the focus of who has hired you and create article ideas around this. Don’t try to ‘sell’ them something that they don’t need.
Also, always try to do your best in writing no matter how small is the publication is; always write professionally, not just to get the work done.
What do you enjoy the most about being a travel blogger/writer?
What I enjoy the most is the possibility to be useful to others. There are many women who want to travel but don’t know where to start. They need information on safety, hygienic conditions, culture particularities and other very specific areas, and this makes the women’s travel very different from men’s way of travel. My goal is to help these women with advice and information but also with inspiration.
What gear do you travel with?
Canon D7100, although not the best choice for travel because of its weight, was my choice of photo camera in the past two years.
What are some of your favourite travel stories/publications/books?
Recently I’ve read the “Tracks. One Woman’s Journey Across 1,700 Miles of Australian Outback” and found it absolutely inspiring. Another favorite of mine is a book written by the Bulgarian-German writer Ilija Trojanow “The Collector of Worlds.”
Why do you keep blogging/writing?
I believe that as travel writers we have the power to change the way people see the world. We don’t change the environment and the reality but we influence the way people perceive the place. This is why I continue to write and blog. I would like to be part of the positive way people see the world, to help them be more tolerant to each other and to start caring more about the environment by traveling responsibly.
What is one thing you can’t travel without?
I need a notebook and a pen (computer/smartphone/tablet/voice recorder) to write notes and observations and a camera to steal the moment so that I can share it later with my audience.
Do you have any blogging/writing regrets?
At the beginning, I was trying to be good in everything. I should have been more focused on what I want to become as a writer and blogger and do the work connected with it than just spreading my efforts in different directions.
What one piece of advice you’d give to a fellow blogger/writer?
Know what you want to accomplish and trust your instincts and your abilities.
Tell us about your blog and where we can find you on social media.
When Woman Travels is a blog that focuses on women travel and topics include safety & health, fashion & beauty, packing and organizing and more, all in connection to travel. However, my favorite part of the blog is the Ladies on the Move series where other women (who are not bloggers and therefore don’t have another tribune to speak about their experiences) share travel tips about destinations. Thus, they help other women too.