I was recently contacted by Allan Wilson who requested an interview. This helped me learn so much about his fabulous Asia focussed travel blog. Allan provides a fresh approach to blogging being both unconventional and successful.
What is your name?
Which country do you come from/call home?
Bangor, Northern Ireland (UK)
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I live and work abroad. My base is Bangkok and my work is travel blogging although it is more of a hobby than a job.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
My younger years of travel are a little blurred. To pick a significant trip it would be a journey by road starting in Northern Ireland, travelling down into Ireland and crossing into France, through Germany, Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg and back to mainland UK via France. Quite extensive for a 6 year old but admittedly I wasn’t driving – my parents did this as I gurned in the back.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Macau maybe – beyond the casinos. The lesser known Taipa village was very different with old colonial buildings and a cute Chinesey town centre. Refreshing.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
I never took to Manila in the Philippines. I tried hard to like it and was in fact excited to seek out the positives but failed miserably. When we weren`t being ripped off by taxis we were being chased down by touts.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Bangkok, Thailand. My new home and the perfect base for travel in Asia
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
Bird Watching in the US (big year maybe) and an Islay Whisky tour in Scotland. Yes I’m like an old man. There are also a number of cities and cultures I would love to immerse in for longer stretches.
Can you imagine life without travel?
The more I travel the more I want to stay put. The more I stay put the more I want to travel. While at times I can imagine life without travel it doesn’t last long. If I could reach places without having to actually travel that would be amazing but this is unfortunately unlikely.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
I live my dream life here in Bangkok. I own a condo with infinity pool and city views. I am debt free and have the most exciting wife in the world. She’s lying next to me as I write this singing Enrique Iglesias into her iPad. This is my life when not travelling. We still try to travel once (or twice) a month.
When did you begin your website?
November 2012. It is now officially one year old.
In 2013 you won the Wanderlust Travel Blog of the Year (many congratulations). Can you please tell us a little bit more about the award and how you were nominated?
I pestered Wanderlust to include me and the following week I won Blog of the Week. This gave me automatic entry to their Travel Blog of the Year competition. I honestly didn’t expect much with 51 other entries until the Travel Awards were announced in London. My blog on Bangkok Street Food wins. A blog citing my breakfast, lunch and dinner.
You are very open about your site stats. How did you succeed at being so successful in your first year?
I concentrate on keywords and images to an OCD degree. SEO such as link building and networking are useless if Google can`t actually map your content.
You’ve written 209 articles/blog posts in your first year of blogging. How do you manage to write so much?
It is honestly a full time job. I could write a whole lot more but I often get bogged down on editing images and SEO.
You state on your site that you don’t read other blogs. Do you think this means that your writing is different from those of other blog writers?
A hard to question to answer as I don’t know how other writers write. I don’t read blogs. In fact I don`t really read anything. I even hate proof reading my own words. If I do end up on someone else’s blog I instantly look for the search button to find something close to my interests. If no search button I am clueless at what to do next. I leave. This is why the search box is prominent on my blog; I don’t expect anyone to actually read what I write. I wouldn’t read it. I only aim my blog at people Googling information. This is another reason why I concentrate on SEO and organic search; to attract similar readers to myself who just Google on Google.
Your blog is focused on Asia. Why did you go to Asia and how long have you been there?
I travelled to Bangkok first in 2003 to escape mundanity and bad weather in the UK. I was in University studying at the time but continued to send coursework by post and returned for final exams. I did this for two years and eventually graduated with a 3rd and an attendance rate of little more than zero. I even went on to complete 2 further Diplomas through distance learning.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
I have a lot of experience in the region so can write in depth and enthusiastically (at least that’s what Wanderlust said). Otherwise I tend to be realistic about travel, cynical and probably annoying.
Please tell us about your side projects, boutique travel in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.
Boutique Bangkok is my neglected baby. I set it up before travel blogging and my obsession with Live-Less-Ordinary. It is a project I am a little desperate to get back to but can`t find the time. The website more or less maps Bangkok into tourist areas and locates the best design hotels, food and attractions in the areas. I started the same for Kuala Lumpur but I have had to shelve them both.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Nope I’m not much of a salesman as you may have guessed. I`ve even failed to sell myself here. I am however working on an eBook but it will likely be a freebie. It will be on food in Thailand of course.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
Living in Bangkok 2013. A guide for those moving to Bangkok. It does well.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
Most articles I write are focused on travel and food which means adding finer details to posts. This means research which becomes tedious. I prefer creative posts about daily life or just general ramblings and observations in Asia.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Car. Nothing beats a road trip.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Don`t hurry; you will likely learn more immersing in one culture than skimming past a dozen.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Emirates for Long-Haul and Nok for Short-Haul
Favourite country? Thailand
Favourite city? Bangkok
Favourite beach? Langkawi’s
Favourite food? Khao Soi Curry
Favourite language? English
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://live-less-ordinary.com/
Twitter handle? @boutiquebangkok
Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/LiveLessOrdinary
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/+allanwilsons/