I am so excited for today’s post – The Interesting Women Interview is BACK! So many of you loved this series when I started it last summer, and after a bit of an unintentional break I’m bringing it back. I’ve got interviews with some really kickass ladies planned for the next couple of weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!
I’m kicking things off today with an interview with one of my favourite travel bloggers, the wonderful Jess Gibson from The Travelista. We talked about travelling the world, blogging full time and career highlights – enjoy!
1) Hi Jess! I know so many of my readers will already be familiar with you and your blog, but for those that aren’t why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi everyone! My name is Jess Gibson and I am Founder and Editor of The Travelista, a UK luxury travel blog. I started the blog back in March 2013, so The Travelista is approaching its fourth birthday! I have classed myself as a full time travel blogger since July 2016, which is when I made the leap to quit my job in Social Media. I’m 26 and originally from York but have lived in London for 4 years. I’ve recently relocated to Leeds where I am now currently based with my boyfriend.
2) I’ve been following your blog for ages now and really love keeping up with all of your exotic travels. What is your favourite place you’ve ever visited?
That’s so nice to hear! I get asked this question all the time and it’s so hard to answer. There are so many places that I could say but if I had to pick 1 it would be Bali. I visited Bali exactly 1 year ago in January 2016 and the country really got under my skin. Of all my travels, it’s the one place I am dying to go back to and see more of. Especially Ubud and Sayan.
3) Where’s next on the list? What are the destinations that you’re really itching to travel to?
People are always surprised to know that I have never been to New York, but it’s at the very top of my bucket list! I genuinely think I would feel like I was in a film if I went there. I’ve been to America as a child but I have never been as an adult, or a travel blogger! I would love to also visit San Francisco and take a road trip along the West Coast of America. Other places on my list for 2017 are Costa Rica, Stockholm and Copenhagen.
4) You’ve managed to turn your blog into your full time career. What encouraged you to first start blogging?
I’ve always had a way with words and wanted to be a writer ever since I was little. When I graduated from Newcastle University (my degree was in Media, Communications and Cultural Studies), I wanted to become a journalist. But the more I looked into the world of journalism the more I realised the jobs were few and far between and the pay was terrible. I realised that print media was dying out so I decided to develop my writing skills online. Starting a blog was part of this process and it allowed me to start self-publishing before that dream job came along.
5) Have you learnt anything new about the blogging/social media industry since doing it full time? How did you know you were ready to take the plunge?
I actually learned a lot about the blogging and social media industry just before I took the plunge thanks to my social media job within a London PR agency. It was here that I learned how things work on the other side. I learned what PRs are looking for in bloggers and how they choose to work with them. Now that I have been working on the blog full time for nearly 6 months I have also learned that self-discipline is key. I work alone from home most days and there is nobody telling me what to do. I set my own deadlines, structure my own day and if I didn’t absolutely love what I do, it would be a struggle. I knew I was ready to take the plunge because it felt like I was working two full time jobs at once and I couldn’t apply myself to my social media job as I knew my passion lay elsewhere.
6) Travelling the world and getting paid for it is the dream for so many. Is being a full time travel blogger as glamorous as it looks?
I do truly believe that I have the best job in the world and at times it can be wonderfully glamorous, but being a professional travel blogger requires so much hard work. My paid travels revolve entirely around content creation, so I very rarely am enjoying life in the moment or on my own time. I am usually sticking to a strict itinerary that starts early and ends late. I am always thinking about shooting the next video clip, getting the perfect photo and posting on social media. This is so I can deliver on the content I have agreed to do. There’s no such thing as a free holiday, even for me.
7) You’ve achieved some incredible things already in your career, including winning a host of impressive awards. What are you most proud of?
That is a great question! Winning my Cosmo Blog Award is a significant moment where I felt immensely proud of my blog. To receive recognition from a magazine I had always looked up to and dreamed of working for was an indescribable feeling. I also feel immensely proud whenever someone comments on a post or tweets me to say they’ve booked a hotel / visited a destination based on my blog posts. It makes me realise that my readers really trust what I say and that I have influence. That is an awesome feeling.
8) Finally, if you could give my readers one piece of advice, what would it be?
If you want to become a blogger, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Don’t start a blog simply because you want make money or even just get freebies. That part comes way further down the line because it takes time to build a reputable blog. The only way you will find the motivation to sustain a blog and perhaps even grow a career in blogging is if it comes from a genuine passion. For me, the primary passion is actually writing and the secondary passion is travelling. Whether it’s photography, fashion, travel or words, if you’re truly passionate about something you can build a successful blog.