Welcome to the fourth installment of the 4,007,236 part series Are There Any Other Travel Bloggers? Whether you’re a reader seeking out the best travel stories, a blogger wanting to learn the ins and outs of the industry, or someone who enjoys ridiculous questions where answers lack relevancy, you’ll like this segment. This week I spoke with Jess, one half of Globetrotter Girls, who were given a big shout out in my last interview with Adam Groffman of Travels of Adam.
What inspired you to start Globetrotter Girls?
We were really just looking for a place to showcase writing and photography skills. At that point I was still barking up the tree of freelance travel journalism and Dani wanted to showcase her photography as we traveled. There were no big intentions at the start.
Globetrotter Girls, Travel and Misadventures
Describe your greatest misadventure.
We have definitely had some misadventures, but the one that completely deflated us was getting scammed in Bangkok. We were jetlagged and fresh off a plane, but it was hard for us to believe how easily we fell for a long series of scams without catching on until after we lost money.
As a gay couple, which country or city did you find to be least accepting of your lifestyle?
Honestly, the surprise has been how many places have been accepting of our lifestyle, like Mexico, for example. Mexico has very liberal marriage equality laws. I would say that the only place we have had any sort of negative vibe was Belize.
What happened in Belize?
Belize was the only country where people actually spoke out against us and gay people in general. Dani and I were holding hands enjoying a walk on Caye Caulker, a small island, and someone shouted out ‘God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” as we walked by. It wasn’t actually all that intense, and a local friend we had made earlier that day actually defended us while we were still within earshot. However, we tend to tone things down when we are unsure of the climate for LGBT travelers, which is why we think we have been relatively problem free for the most part.
Aside from the scams, have the Globetrotter Girls ever been the victims of a crime while overseas?
Yes, travel comes with its downsides as well. So far it hasn’t been anything too serious, but I had my bag slashed when we were on a local bus in Guatemala just outside of Antigua. Luckily, the woman got nothing. And then there were those ego-deflating Bangkok scams we mentioned, and there was actually quite a bit of cash involved.
Which couple do you most empathize with?
Um, Thelma and Louise? Technically they weren’t a ‘couple’ per se, and we are not on the run from committing murder, but we’ve definitely mentioned it a few times on road trips while putting on cowgirl hats and taking off on the open road. The bond between them and the freedom they experience is something that resonates with us.
The Literature of and for the Globetrotter Girls
What projects are you currently working on?
We published an eBook this December to answer the most commonly asked question we hear from our readers. How does housesitting work? We have had a dozen housesits in the two and a half years on the road and it has been a great way to travel long-term, lower our accommodation costs, stretch out the budget, rest, relax, and also get to know places in a much more intimate way. We wanted to be able to share our passion with others, so, we decided to literally create the ultimate guide to housesitting. The eBook is called Break Free: The Ultimate Guide to Housesitting, which you can read all about over at http://ultimatehousesittingguide.com.
What advice can Globetrotter Girls give to new travel bloggers?
It depends what you want as a travel blogger. If this is a way to keep up with family and friends, do whatever you want however you want! If you are looking to develop and grow an audience, remember that every place you go has already been written about, everything you are going to do has already been done. So have something to say in addition to the travel part. Reveal yourself, who you are, and how this amazing thing called travel is changing you, inspiring you, affecting you… From there, definitely get social – share your posts, but more importantly, share posts from other travel bloggers you find interesting or inspiring on Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest, etc. Some say the ratio is 5 to 1, some say even 9 to 1, which means sharing nine (or five) posts from others to every one of yours. This is important because the travel blogging community is so large now, and so active, that in order to get more and more readers, you need to rely on the community to share your work with others.
There is something to be said for creating epic, clickable headlines, whether they are controversial or just really interesting. At the same time, don’t forget Search Engine Optimization – some posts you write should focus on covering search terms you want people to find you for. If you are interesting in adventure travel, make sure you know all the keywords you can target for adventure travel and use them when and wherever possible. Learn about SEO in more detail from places like SEOmoz.com, but don’t get sucked in. SEO can feel like a black hole if you get too obsessed by it!
What blogs and books are you reading these days?
When we are not creating content we are consuming it like crazy. Some of our favorite travel blogs at the moment include Alex in Wanderland, So Many Places and Camels And Chocolate. As for books, I am currently engrossed in Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Dani just finished The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. The best thing about reading fiction is that it just inspires us to get more creative! In addition, we have travel envy all the time, so no matter the setting of a novel, or a destination mentioned in a blog post, we want to go to wherever that is, immediately!
If you could create a country by choosing one food from any country, one geographic feature from any country, and one culture from any country, what three countries would you mash together to create this bizarre, new utopia?
Great question! We would import incredible, vegetarian Indian cuisine and peaceful Thai Buddhist culture (including monks in saffron orange robes on bicycles) to live across the incredible and varied scenery of the United States.
What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve ever eaten?
We are vegetarians, so no insects or alligators are on our list. The Durian fruit is possibly the most disgusting food we have ever ingested, definitely a bizarre flavor mix of dirty gym socks and moldy towels with a creamy consistency.
What’s your favorite expression or word that you’ve learned while traveling?
The first two things that came to mind mean almost the same thing. In Italy we focused on the ‘La dolce vita’ experience, and in Costa Rica the country’s motto is “pura vida’. Both indicate a mentality of living the good life.
Check out http://ultimatehousesittingguide.com/ for more information on the launch of Globetrotter Girls new ebook Break Free: The Ultimate Guide to Housesitting.