As it’s Monday morning again, I thought I’d do a writer / blogger Q&A but this time I’ve decided to focus on…. myself.
Yep, that’s right. I’m doing an interview with myself. That’s because although I run this site and you can find out a fair bit about me through my About page and my posts, I don’t always feel like I share an awful lot about myself.
So here’s an attempt to offer a bit more insight into me, my life, my travel writing career and my perspective on travel blogging.
If you haven’t already, please have a nosey of the other blogger Q&As in this series. I’ve featured some great people already including Bonnie of Bonnie in Wonderland, Alex of Gingey Bites, Hadas of The Fashion Matters, Sophie of Sophie Cliff, Char of Memoir Musings and Lucy of Wanderluce.
Once you’ve done that, read on! This is me, Lucy, of The Travel Journo and I hope you enjoy the read.
Tell us about you and The Travel Journo
I’m 33 – originally from Yorkshire – and I have lived in London for six years. Before that I lived in Manchester and Edinburgh, both cities I absolutely love.
I live with my husband Ben, who I often refer to on here as BC. Our surname is Clarke but I still mostly go by the name Lucy McGuire – (as my writer’s name anyway). We live in Brixton, South London and I work as a freelance journalist and travel writer alongside running this blog. I write for publications such as (but not limited to) Culture Trip, Rough Guides, Travel Weekly, Escapism and Virgin.
Why did you set up your blog?
I made several attempts to start blogs in the past but The Travel Journo was the first ‘real go’ I made at travel and lifestyle blogging. I launched it in 2013 (it was originally known as Oh So London) as I was writing travel and restaurant reviews for various websites and thought ‘hang on, I could do this myself’. I’ve flipped between the ideas of running a magazine-style site which other writers contribute to and a blog that’s totally personal to me. I think it sits somewhere in the middle, offering both inspirational travel content and stories that are a bit more personal to me.
What’s your typical week – do you blog part-time or full-time?
I blog part time alongside my freelance writing and I typically spend at least a couple of days a week working from home, in local cafes or in my local library. I spend a lot of my time pitching new travel stories to editors, planning future trips, checking emails, communicating with PRs, writing (and chasing up!) invoices and of course, writing actual features. I also offer various other freelance PR and marketing services such as copywriting, press release and website writing, which you can find out more about on my professional website.
When I’m not at my desk, I’m seeing PRs (and occasionally editors) for meetings, going on press trips and of course travelling. At the moment, I’m also freelancing as a digital editor on a new website for an inflight magazine. So my workload is a constant juggle. It’s a challenging job being a freelancer but we’re definitely in the age of the ‘solopreneur’ and I think it’s becoming more and more common for people to work for themselves whilst ‘wearing many hats’. So I’m quite proud to be a part of that. I often question what I’m doing when I see other people working in ‘normal’ 9-5 jobs, but usually I come to the conclusion – that I get to have a career in travel writing and I don’t think I could have it any other way!
What do you love most about blogging?
I love that I can write whatever I like and it gives me the freedom to share my experiences with readers from all around the world. I love that I might inspire someone to travel somewhere I’ve been, or offer them some information that might actually be really useful for their travels too.
Blogging also allows me to showcase my work and offer a bit of insight into my travels for commissioning editors and clients. There are a whole load of benefits of having a blog and although I don’t do it full-time, I can’t really imagine life without it.
What do you think is the key to a successful blog?
By answering this Q&A myself, I’ve realised how hard that question is! There are so many things that can help make your blog successful and ‘success’ is such a subjective concept. However, I think that the blog posts you often put real honesty, integrity and personality into, are often the ones that end up being the most popular and gain you loyal readers.
I also think that high quality, well-edited photos are crucial (especially so in travel blogging) and nailing the social media can obviously turn a reasonably popular blog into a blog that goes global. To me, the best blogs are those that offer genuinely useful information, have a great ‘voice’ that maintains your attention. They’re also selective with their photography and entertain you in innovative ways.
What kind of content can readers expect from your site?
These days The Travel Journo mainly comprises travel stories and reviews, spas, restaurants and occasional focuses on interesting people. I’m also currently working on an ‘in the press‘ section which will eventually have all my published work in there.
I feature quite a lot of luxury but I also like to touch on things that are genuinely useful for all travellers (hello budget airport hotel), insightful (see my piece on the plight of the elephants in Zambia), or just a little bit fun (like our Christmas Day on the top of Table Mountain). I also love to do the occasional photo story and since buying a GoPro last year, I’ve started doing a lot more video posts.
Tell us something about yourself that people may not know…
I love music and used to play the violin (and occasionally still do). One day I dream to be in a band. Anyone in need of a violinist? Gimme a shout!
What are your favourite lifestyle/travel blogs?
I really enjoy Girl Tweets World, Wanderlust Chloe, Silverspoon London, Wanderluce and The Travel Hack. There are so many great blogs out there but these are a few that I find myself going back to – I think Jane at Girl Tweets World is especially entertaining. She’s authentic, funny, very savvy and just manages to capture my attention and imagination every time.
What’s your favourite social media platform and why?
It has to be instagram as it’s obviously great for travel and food photography and I love that you can almost use it like a search engine for travel research and inspiration. Because who doesn’t want to gawp at beautiful travel photography to get themselves excited about a trip? I’ve found it a really useful way to introduce me to new writers, journalists and bloggers too. I even received a commission from a travel website after they stumbled across my profile.
Where are your travels taking you next in 2017?
I am off to Edinburgh in August which I’m so excited about as I haven’t been back in a while and I’ll be staying in a little apartment close to where I used to live. We’ll be immersing ourselves in the Edinburgh Festival for 48 hours, seeing Jimeoin live, and hopefully visiting some great bars and restaurants.
For the Autumn, I am looking at a potential trip back to the Caribbean. It’s not confirmed yet but I’ll be sharing plenty of posts once it is, I’m sure. I wrote a rather ambitious travel wishlist at the beginning of this year and I’d still like to try and tick some of those destinations off my list (especially NYC, Southeast Asia and one or two city breaks), but we’ll see. Saving for a house has kind of ended up taken precedence this year!
If you’re a travel writer or blogger yourself and fancy featuring in this series, please get in touch.