This travel blogger interview features a true ambassador for family travel. Meet Jolene Ejmont of Wanderlust Storytellers.
What is your name?
My name is Jolene Ejmont and I am one of the founders and authors at our family travel blog Wanderlust Storytellers.
Which country do you come from/call home?
I am originally from South Africa, however for the past 25 years, I have called Australia my home!
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
We are part-time family travellers. We focus on affordable family holidays, but also enjoy some sneaky luxurious parent-escapes once in awhile as well. As our kids are school aged, we tend to travel during school holidays as much as we can.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
For us, as we are a family of 4 (plus one extra one being born soon!), affording travel can be a real challenge!! It simply comes down to prioritising our money towards the next destination, saving up and trying to work with as many different accommodation and tour brands as we can. As our blog is still fairly new, we generally have to pay for our own travels and that means that often we come home with debt that needs to be paid off.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
From as early as I can remember our family took regular trips around South Africa, to the Oceanside, to Kruger National Park, to Cape Town. I guess I was lucky as my parents’ valued family holidays. My first international holiday wasn’t until I was aged 20, when I flew over to Australia prior to immigrating over 6 months later.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Actually our most recent holiday ended up being totally different to how I imagined. We visited Cambodia and whilst we loved our family holiday there, because we had been to Vietnam only 6 months prior, I was expecting Cambodia to look very similar to its neighbour South-East Asian country. However we found a country that was very much in contrast scenery wise to Vietnam.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Oh, well …. I just realized that we got scammed in Cambodia! We were charged US $5 per child for the Cambodian visa and whilst I wrote a post on ‘Things you need to know before you travel to Cambodia’, I saw on the official Cambodia immigration site that the kids are meant to be free! It is only US $10 lost though, so not a big deal! But not fun nevertheless!
On my first ever trip overseas, I also got scammed in Beijing! On the first day we arrived, we were approached by some students wanting to ‘practice their English’. They befriended us and ended up taking us to a room full of paintings, they shut the door behind us and pressured us into buying a painting! We realized as we backpacked around China, how ridiculously overpriced that first painting was (as we actually bought more at more reasonable prices later on). We lost lots of money on that one and it was also incredibly uncomfortable as well!
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Currently, I think my favourite place in the world would have to be the Amalfi Coast in Italy. I just fell in love with the dramatic scenery found there, the food, the people, and the lifestyle! I wish I could return or even possibly move there!
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Oh, probably too many places to list in this interview! Can I just say ‘every destination in the world?’ At the top of my bucket list is Spain, Greece, France and Japan!
Can you imagine life without travel?
Definitely not! From a young age, I always said that if the only things I can achieve in life is being a mother and seeing a variety of destinations in the world, that I would die happy. I truly believe that anything is achievable! Here I am a mother of two, with another little one due in less than 5 weeks and not only do I get to travel, but I get to share those experiences with my kids as well!!
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
To be honest, I have tried many careers and many jobs and nothing has kept me happy for very long. Something always feels missing. So I’m not sure if there is an alternative to a life of travelling for me, however, as I am very creative by nature, I guess anything that includes creativity would keep me busy.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Our family travel blog is called Wanderlust Storytellers and you can visit us here http://www.wanderluststorytellers.com.au/
When did you begin your website Wanderlust Storytellers?
We only just celebrated our first blog-anniversary!! Our blog journey started on the 1st of June 2015 and what an incredible adventure it has been thus far!
What inspired you to start your blog?
Honestly we simply got sick of the routine of life. We felt like we were always struggling to keep up with the responsibilities and obligations that come from juggling jobs and family life. And we started brainstorming ideas as to how we could create a life that had more balance; one that would provide more fulfilment and more joy!
What is your motto when it comes to traveling?
Our motto is: “To explore the wonders of the world, with our family, in a more mindful manner.”
To us that means being responsible travellers, who love to incorporate local experiences into our adventures. Being mindful means being grateful for the experiences and opportunities that travel brings. It means being present in the moment and to appreciate all the diverse cultures around the world.
Why is family travel so important to you?
Family travel is incredibly rewarding! Not only does it provide you with endless quality time as a family, but you also create some sensational memories that you can treasure forever. For my kids, it is a global education that schools can’t provide, what they learn and what they experience can’t be learnt from textbooks! I love watching their passion and excitement as we travel across various destinations!
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
We started blogging in order to change our lives from the learned norm, into the extraordinary. Our dreams were always to travel the world and to share the adventures with our kids. We think that travel is the best way to learn about the destination and it is the best way to learn about yourself. Open up your mind to new things, cultures, food and all that goes with travel. Blogging, for us, is the best way to share our stories and our pictures with our reader. We hope that we can inspire our readers to take a step out of their everyday life and experience what we have and more.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
Well, in my eyes I believe we are the best family travel blog on the web haha. We focus on inspiring other families to travel the world. We have resources and tips that focus on affordable family travel. We love balance in life and therefore love ‘escaping’ away on luxurious parent-escapes, so we also talk a lot about the benefits (and challenges) of travelling without your kids! Lastly, we have a passion in travelling with purpose, so you can find stories and resources on various aspects of travelling ‘deeper’, with more ‘meaning’ and on how to leave a positive footprints behind.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
We offer products for sale through affiliate links only. We also recommend hotels, tours and travel related services, however none of them are handled directly through us.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
Our Top 10 Travel Essentials for Vietnam is our most popular post. In the article you can find helpful hints and tips for your holiday to Vietnam. It covers things such as the illusive Vietnam visa, to what to pack etc.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
Oh, I loved writing this post – The Most Picturesque Town on Amalfi Coast, Positano Italy.
We went to Italy on our honeymoon and the Amalfi Coast happens to be my favourite destination that I have been to thus far, so the post holds a very special place in my heart for me.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Our absolute favourite mode of exploring is by foot! I think we nearly destroyed the soles of our feet whilst exploring all that Rome had to offer! We very quickly learnt a valuable lesson in purchasing good quality comfy shoes so we could explore and explore and explore without blisters and sore soles!! Typically we tend to make use of every mode of transport whilst on holiday, but I guess if I had to pick one of the top four options it would have to be car as it gives me the flexibility of getting off and having a break when I need one!
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
If you want to travel, then make it a priority. Chase your dreams and make them a reality, even if that means saving over a few years or working hard at your job in order to be able to put aside the money for the next holiday! There are so many affordable destinations out there, that you don’t need to ‘break the bank’ in order to travel!
What has travel taught you?
Travel has immeasurable benefits, but I think for me the biggest lessons it has taught me is to face my anxieties. My anxiety fills me every time I approach departure date, but no longer do I let it rule whether I stay or go. I just sit with those feelings until they pass by! Not only that, but travel is slowly teaching me to live life by the moment, instead of needing to control every aspect of my day. I am starting to love the unknown and starting to love spontaneous holiday decisions, rather than being scared by them!
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? We tend to fly on budget airlines to save money, so when we get to fly on an airline such as Etihad it is a real treat!
Favourite country? Italy
Favourite city? Hanoi
Favourite beach? Positano Main Beach
Favourite food? Anything Vietnamese
Favourite language? I love listening to French and attempted to learn it with a course at uni.
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://www.wanderluststorytellers.com.au/
Twitter handle? @wanderluststory
Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/wanderluststorytellers/
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/+WanderlustStorytellers/