Today I’m very excited to introduce to you someone who is living the ultimate travel blogger dream. He turned his life around and is now highly respected in both travel blogging and the world of blogging experts. Please meet Ryan Biddulph of Blogging From Paradise.
What is your name?
My name is Ryan Biddulph.
Which country do you come from/call home?
I’m originally from New Jersey, USA.
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I’m a long term traveler who lives the digital lifestyle. I’ve been traveling the world for the past 40 months.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
I own Blogging from Paradise, a blogging tips-themed blog built around my habit of island hopping. Through my blog, I offer my freelance writing services to websites owners and bloggers who need insightful content but don’t have the time or drive to publish posts. I promote some products which vibe with my brand on the affiliate side of things.
I’m also generating a brand new revenue stream through my recently released eBook, Blogging from Paradise: How to Retire to a Life of Island Hopping through Smart Blogging.
While I’m funding my travels through my online endeavors I’m also socking away money to boost my savings and have a pension as well as retirement account for the future. Really key to increase those savings, especially when I’m living in many countries where the dollar is stronger than the local currency.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
In terms of domestic travel, I recall a beach trip to lovely Toms River, NJ when I was a wee little child. I remember swimming in a neat little bay and spending the weekend at a New Jersey style shore bungalow.
My first international trip – and flight – was from New York JKF to Denpasar, Bali. The flight totaled 23 hours, with stopovers in Osaka, Japan and Taipei, Taiwan. I was 36 years old. Nobody ever accused me of easing into things, travel-wise, or being too worldly at a young age!
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
When I landed in Denpasar, Bali, I recall being mobbed by transport drivers at 1:30 AM. I had just taken my first series of flights, leaving New York on a Thursday afternoon, and after a one night layover in Taiwan and the time change, we arrived in Bali at 1:30 AM Sunday morning.
I was in lala land. I expected to see coconut trees, and white sand beaches when I walked out of the airport; instead, I saw transport touts. I gazed upon an urban center, in Denpesar, and was stunned. This is paradise? I freaked, inside. When I arrived in Sanur everything changed. I was in paradise again.
I mean, I love Bali, as it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth but I just wasn’t prepared for Denpesar and the touts as a green international newbie. After 1 trip, I loved Bali, and the transport drivers. Just wasn’t expecting that first somewhat urban experience after landing in the airport.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
A few. My most dramatic was losing 20 pounds in 2 weeks due to giardia in Muhamma, India. I was uber careful but apparently not enough. I lost my appetite and a ton of fluids.
I waited way too long to go to the hospital, as I hadn’t eaten in 10 days. I could see the vertebrae in my back. I eventually had to be rushed to the emergency room. After 3 weeks, I began to recover.
I also was involved in a pretty bad motorbike accident in Bali. I drive like a grandpa, but hit an oil slick and slammed into the pavement, Superman style. I was in intense pain for 4 days then began to slowly heal.
Do you have any funny travel stories?
I once watched a naked man in a cape explain to me how meditating is beneficial to the soul. He’s an inspiring man, actually. The dude was shot “through” the brain in Saigon during the Vietnam War.
He was given days to live, and beat that. Then he was told that he’d be paralyzed for life, bed-ridden, yet he’s an accomplished yoga instructor who achieves physiologically impossible poses, and he’s in his 60’s.
His name is Richard Weinberg. He lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and is referred to as the Walking Miracle. He’s a hoot.
I also met a dude in Quepos Costa Rica who was the caretaker for a man worth hundreds of millions of dollars – an inheritor of the Merrill Lynch fortune – and he was also best friends with Democratic spinmeister Michael Whouley.
He painted a somewhat hilarious picture of how he turned down working with one of the most powerful men politics, in America, for marrying a Costa Rican prostitute. It was colorful, I assure you.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
No really worst place, as each spot has its charms. Although I loved India, I encountered the worst situation, sanitary-wise, there, so eating was a constant worry, especially after I became sick.
Other than that, I loved the country and have enjoyed each trip, and city, and spot.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Probably the rice fields outside of Ubud, Bali. I mean, I’m in love with Thailand, especially the southern tip of Phuket, and Chiang Mai, but Ubud provides me with the most stuff to do while maintaining the whole paradise vibe, 15 minutes outside of town.
We love both Lodtunduh and Keruatan.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
I don’t have one really as I’ve already been to so many amazing spots. Right now I’m typing these words from Savusavu, Fiji.
1 of my dream vacations is doing a safari, perhaps in Kenya.
Can you imagine life without travel?
No way. I never flew until I was 36, and got my passport a few months before that flight. I went 23 years without a domestic vacay in the USA. Once I started traveling I was hooked.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
I have no idea. Maybe sitting at the shipping terminal in Newark, NJ, counting numbers off of a container. I never even think about it though because I’m so clear on living the life I love.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Blogging from Paradise is my blog, and the URL is:
When did you begin your website?
I began my first blog 4 years ago but scrapped it a few months back. I saw success with it but I had no clear target audience, nor niche, and it was missing too many elements.
I started my new website 2 months ago, and it took off right away. I’m still stunned the domain name was not gobbled up but I guess that since it’s in full alignment with my life, and with what I’ve been doing for the past 40 months, the Universe held on to it for me.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
I write to take everybody with me. I write so I can meet as many of my readers as possible, while blogging from paradise.
My intent is to help folks retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging, if they want to leave the 9-5 for a more freeing way of life.
I’ve also met a few travel bloggers who run awesome blogs but haven’t been able to crack the internet lifestyle code. They travel for a few months or maybe a year, then need to come back home to work a job, or to find other ways to drum up money, to fund their travels.
I wrote my eBook specifically for travel bloggers who want to do what me and my fiancée Kelli have done for the past 3 years; travel indefinitely by making your blog the income-generating tool which funds your travels.
My intent is to bring these folks along for the ride, so they can become full time pro bloggers too, and darnit, I want to meet as many of these folks in paradise as possible.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
The domain is unique, but more than that, my story.
I was a broke, unemployed, security guard in his mid 30’s some 5 years ago.
Today I’m a professional blogger, typing these words in a house with a million dollar view, 50 meters up on a cliff over the Pacific Ocean in Savusavu, Fiji.
If you told me 5 years ago when I had 4 pennies in my wallet, was $60,000 in debt, went bankrupt, and walked 3 hours back and forth to the local library, in -10 F temps sometimes, because I was so frikin’ broke I couldn’t afford the internet, just to write a blog post and publish it….if you told me I’d be a guy whose eBook received an endorsement from a New York Times, Best Selling author….I would have slapped you in the face, because I know you’d have been teasing me.
We all have a neat story to tell. My story makes me unique, and my experiences circling the globe, petting 400 pound tigers in Thailand, feeding rare, endangered monkeys from our porch in Costa Rica, living on the water in Fiji, and sharing the specific practical tips that helped me create this life, through Blogging from Paradise, both my blog and eBook, all make me and my website unique.
Nobody can come close to re-creating that, because I’ve been authentic, and genuine, as long as I’ve been online, just like nobody can come close to telling your story The Guy, or nobody can come close to telling the story of any commentator on this post, or any reader, or blogger.
Tell your story, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly doors open for you.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Blogging from Paradise, the eBook. I share practical tips for retiring to a life of island hopping through smart blogging.
Perfect for both new and experienced travel bloggers who not only want to fund their travels, but also, wish to engineer a freeing lifestyle.
New York Times Best Selling Author and World Renowned Speaker Chris Brogan endorsed it with a tweet and million dollar blogger and lifestyle coach Yaro Starak also gave it a hearty endorsement.
More than anything, it came entirely from my heart, as I simply recounted how I built this island hopping lifestyle through blogging, interjecting travel stories here and there.
Click here to pick it up: http://www.bloggingfromparadise.com/ebook/
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
I published a post a few weeks back showcasing 13 successful bloggers. It received 3,800 Social Shares and 91 comments. Giving up your spotlight to share with others is the easiest way to gain some serious traction online.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
I wrote a post on my old blog – and am due for a similar one, on my new blog – sharing facts you didn’t know about me.
Seeing folk’s eyes light up when I tell them that I was a former physique model who shot with the photographer who did Michael Bergin’s first shoot – in the same studio – or that I’m a meteorologist by schooling, or that I faced 3 future NBA players during my days on the basketball court, that’s kinda fun.
Some folks see bloggers as 1 dimensional, but sharing that I was the lead in my grammar school plays and won awards as a 10 year old, for public speaking, or that I once benched pressed 335 pounds during my bodybuilding days, gives a glimpse into my past, which I find enjoyable to share. I also love when other bloggers publish these types of posts.
What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)
Car. By far. Planes are OK, but even after 50 plus flights, I still get a little leery when I hit turbulence – I hate *the quick dips* when my stomach winds up in my throat – and bus rides are harrowing in most countries, so cars work fine for me.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Be open minded. Don’t judge. Don’t let ANYBODY’S prejudices paint your experience. India is not a filthy, disgusting country; it’s beautiful and its people are beautiful. Many folks there simply lack the awareness to be clean, to reduce disease. Stop complaining and judging, and be blessed that you grew up in a country where you had the knowledge and awareness to prevent the spread of disease, through hygienic practices you were fortunate to be taught when you were a kid.
If I listened to other ignorant traveler’s views, Vietnam would have been a country full of greedy, unfriendly folks who were “out to get you.”
Kelli and I went there, open-minded. We’ve yet to meet as kind, caring, warm and genuine people, during our travels. We spoke to a kind young man in HCM City train station for 30 minutes; he detailed where we should go, suggestions, etc. He was so kind, and genuine, and a complete stranger, waiting for a train.
People in Hoi An would see us on the side of the road, and stop to ask up if we were lost. They wanted no money, nor anything else; they wanted us to enjoy our stay in Vietnam. One woman brought us to the best little local restaurant in town, and laid out all of the hot spots. She was a real doll. We offered to pay for her lunch, for the unreal amount of guidance, help and information she provided us with. She wouldn’t have it. Giving was her reward, she told us.
Don’t judge folks, be open minded, and you’ll enjoy your travels so much more. You’re blessed to see so much of the world, as many folks in many villages will never leave their village, or province, during their lifetime.
What has travel taught you?
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, a lesson which has helped me see success online. Dealing with language barriers, clever touts, cultural differences, and all sorts of new, exciting, sometimes uncomfortable experiences, has taught me to be at peace, with being uncomfortable.
When you’re uncomfortable, and keep moving forward, you’ll grow like a weed.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? China Airlines
Favourite country? Thailand
Favourite city? Ubud, Bali
Favourite beach? Nai Harn Beach, Phuket, Thailand
Favourite food? Mixed Vegetable Curry, Thailand
Favourite language? Spanish (because I’m slightly fluent)
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://www.bloggingfromparadise.com/
Twitter handle? https://twitter.com/RyanBiddulph
Facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/bloggingfromparadise
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/107925100609666541763/