Andrew Boland is an Australian travel blogger and author who has travelled to several continents including mine, Africa!
Beginning his blogging career way back in the year 2006, Andrew began writing about his fascinating travel experiences first in Ghana before publishing content on other parts of the world.
Over the years, Andrew has written hundreds of travel stories from Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia and America and has also authored a couple of ebooks including backpacking basics, Dhaka to Dakar, and short journeys on Cameroon, India, Laos, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
It’s a great opportunity to have him talk to me about his travel adventures and blogging journey. So, without further ado.
#1. What inspired you to become a blogger?
Well actually, I started blogging back in 2006 when I went to West Africa for the first time. Sending letters and emails was a bit of work and I thought I could do that more easily by keeping a blog – aimed really at just friends and family back in Australia.
When I got back I stopped, when I travelled again I blogged. I didn’t do blog posts at home, I didn’t think of topics or anything like that, and I really didn’t have a handle on blogging at the time.
#2. For how long have you been blogging?
I started running a blog in 2006, very part time. It wasn’t really until around 2013 when living in Japan that I started to actually take blogging a bit seriously.
For me, this meant more comprehensive and longer posts about places I had previously been to. Using photos more, actually learning about blogging too.
I also transferred from Blogger to WordPress around that time. I planned to grow the blog to reach more people, which I did to some extent.
#3. Why be a travel blogger?
Oh dear, that’s a tough question. It’s all about expression and sharing experiences I guess. At one point I thought I could grow my blog to make money from it, but that hasn’t happened for me and so I decided to be content in what I was doing.
So really, I guess it’s a hobby, it gives me purpose both at home and when I am travelling.
#4. How would you describe your style of travel and your travel blogging content?
My style of travel has changed over the years. I was a true backpacker when I started and for many years after (I first backpacked in 1999) I would hunt out the cheapest places I could find.
I remember staying in a sort of homestay for $5 in Goa for a few nights, but split the room with another traveller and so was paying around $2.50!
However, over the years I’ve gotten older. I now travel long trips, but I don’t go away for most of the year as I have done three times in my life anymore. And so I am no longer a budget traveller, although sometimes I do try to hunt out some good deals for cheap accommodation. But these days $30 is cheap I guess!
My writing is well, it’s pretty raw in as much as I don’t spend a lot of time proof reading as you’d probably notice. I don’t have the time or the mental capacity I think for reading these days. I try to cover as much as I can from my travels, and to present as many photos as I can. I want to get as much material as I can from the places I go.
#5. Briefly describe what you use your different social channels for and what is your dominant channel for you personally.
I am not very good with social media.
Facebook is probably my dominant channel and I publicize through it a lot, but honestly, I haven’t really gotten to understand how to use social media successfully. I have Twitter and Instagram too. I also signed up for Pinterest and publicize my posts through it but I have no idea what it is or how it works!
#6. How do you balance your day job and blogging?
I have no idea at all! Badly, I guess.
Basically, a lot of my free time is actually spent on my blog! Which is why I don’t proof-read as much as I’d like. I seem to do a bit of work from home in preparation for my job too, and I also do a lot of video editing.
When I can, I try to get ahead with my posts and try to write a week or so ahead. Sometimes I get further ahead, more commonly I am scrambling to write a day or two at best before my posts go out.
#7. Where do you get your travel inspiration from, who gives you the advice?
Ha! Advice! Best not to listen to advice unless it’s tailored to what you need because I may never have left Australia if I listened to advice as I’ve always received a lot telling me that I shouldn’t go here or do that because it’s dangerous!
But really, the best advice is always from people who have been to your destination. Otherwise you have the internet and guidebooks which will help you. Not that friends and family don’t often chime in with helpful travel hints like how to store shampoo or a little device that is useful to carry.
#8. Name the location that was 1. Most fun, 2. Most Inspiring, 3. Most Challenging.
Crikey! So many tough questions.
Fun… well the thing that springs straight to mind is actually taking a boat under Iguazu Falls in 2017 in Brazil. I got soaked but it was awesome! I actually still, in my 40s, love taking rides such as roller coasters.
Inspiring? I went to Iran a very long time ago now. Everyone in that country was SO friendly to me. And that, to me, was inspiring!
Last year I went hiking in the Fann Mountains in Tajikistan, I was am still am very unfit so that really wore me down and I got a bit of frost bite too that day.
from Andy: Life Under Lockdown – More Stories from Across the World
#9. What is still on your bucket list?
So MUCH! The Northern Lights, Cuba, Colombia and Caribbean.
#10. Have you had any celebrity encounters while travelling?
As a dedicated Doctor Who fan I visited a few convention type things in England where I met a few actors from the show. But none out of pure chance!
#11. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourself since you started travel blogging?
I’m hard to stop if I put my mind to a task!
#12. What was your very first travel blogger destination that you produced some content for?
I started in 2006 with my West African trip, so my first live blogs were from Ghana.
#13. What is your most embarrassing moment while travelling?
Losing my cool in a bank in Burkina Faso when I had malaria.
#14. Do you have any funny stories to tell?
I was travelling in 2004 across Asia into Europe, going from country to country by land. I bumped into the same person on three separate occasions – another backpacker – whilst in the Balkans. Just passed them on the street!
I’m not sure what the law of averages says about that, but seems pretty unlikely to me!
#15. What key lessons do you have for everyone based on what you have learnt from the gift of travel blogging?
Whatever you do in life, keep at it and work hard because that’s the only way to get ahead. And also, in travelling, research and be prepared, but don’t be scared.
If you’ve prepared properly, you will have the time of your life and you’ll be ready when something bad happens. In short – get travel insurance I guess LOL!
Special thanks to Andrew Boland for sharing his journeys with you and I. If you’ll like to keep up to speed with him, kindly like his page on Facebook or follow him @WorldJourneys75 on Twitter and @worldjourneys on Instagram.
Over To You!
If you’re a travel blogger or know anyone who’d be interested in getting interviewed please mention in the comments.
Also tell me in the comments, which of Andy’s answers did you find most interesting? We’ll both like to know.
Thank you for stopping by. And like Andy would say, may the journey never end.
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