Today I’m delighted to feature a travel blogger I’ve been following for a while and who has also taught me a lot about blogging. Please meet Sharon Gourlay of Where’s Sharon.
What is your name?
Which country do you come from/call home?
Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?
I have been most of those things at some point! At the moment, we are in our home in Melbourne, Australia, and we travel regularly. Next month we will move to Malaysia and travel a lot from there while working on growing our online businesses.
How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?
Usually savings, but we are now working on earning a full time income online.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
I was 8 and we came over to Melbourne! I grew up in Tasmania and Melbourne used to seem so far away. My first international trip was when I was 18 and I went to the USA. I was so home sick I actually came back home after 3 days! That seems incredibly hard for me to imagine now.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
I went to the Philippines last year and it totally blew me away. It is a destination that is barely mentioned in Australia, but I found it amazing. There are so many great places to visit, the people are friendly and mostly speak English and it is very, very cheap.
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Unfortunately yes. I was assaulted in Turkey (thankfully only in a minor way), a travelling companion had a seizure in the USA and I have had all the usual missed flights, wrong dates for my hotel booking etc. Given how much I have travelled though, the list of bad experiences is very short.
Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?
Egypt. The constant hassle and touting made it unbearable for me and I did not enjoy my time there at all. It is such a shame as I was looking forward to it a lot.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Anywhere in Argentina. I love that place. The food, culture, language, it all just matches me perfectly. I could spend a long time there.
Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?
I have a vague bucket list that is not written down. I guess I would describe it as a couple of bucket lists really. There is the one with where I want and plan to go in the short term, for example Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Shanghai, and then there is the bigger bucket list of places I want to go at some point. This list includes the Trans Mongolian Railway, the old Silk Route, Iran, the Stans, the gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda, West Africa and more! Basically everywhere I haven’t been yet is on my bucket list.
Can you imagine life without travel?
No. I did for a while when I had my first baby as I thought that ruled out travel. It was not a happy existence and I am glad I realized how awesome travel is with kids and that I was completely wrong.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
I would be working on building my online business. I also work on another blog could Digital Nomad Wannabe where I detail what I am doing to earn an online income including what I am doing to grow and earn money from my travel blog along with other things I am doing such as building new sites that are specifically to earn money from Amazon. I enjoy sharing what I am learning and, if I didn’t travel so much, I would have more time to do this.
What is the name of your travel blog and the url?
Where’s Sharon Family Travel Blog http://www.wheressharon.com
When did you begin your website?
I actually started blogging back in 2005 when I set out on my first one year round the world adventure. At that point, it was really just a journal so my friends and family knew where I was. I only started getting serious about my travel blog a year ago and it has grown a lot in that time.
Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?
My primary motivation is to show people that travel with young kids is not just possible but great fun and worthwhile for all family members. It was travel blogs that showed me that I was being ridiculous thinking I couldn’t travel anymore so I want to return the favour.
It is also partly about money now. However, I put most of my effort into other endeavours. My travel blog is definitely a labour of love.
What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?
There are not many people who travel the world with baby and toddlers and share so much information about how they do it, so that is why I hope my blog is unique. If you have young kids, I hope you find it helpful and inspiring. However, even if you don’t have kids, I have lots of articles about all my travel experiences including working overseas, what can go wrong and doing some of the big travel experiences like walking the Inca Trail, seeing Mt Everest and being sucked into the Bangkok gem scam! I have visited over 80 countries, many of which there is not much information about online, so this also helps my site be unique.
What is the best part about travelling with kids?
I find travelling with my kids absolutely amazing. It is fun to get to experience the world through their eyes. I also find that travelling with kids gives us far more opportunity to interact with local people. Another big plus is that it takes away the pressure to feel like we have to see certain sites that may not interest us like museums, and means that we concentrate on all the fun attractions, like science museums, water parks and outdoor attractions.
Our kids also love travel and get very excited by upcoming trips. It’s nice to have an extra couple of people to share that with. We like to watch youtube videos of the place before we go which is fun.
Do you have any products or services to offer?
Not on my travel blog, but I do offer advice on Digital Nomad Wannabe. I hope at some point to offer services to help other people have success working online as well. I am also in the process of launching a new site specifically on this topic at the moment. I used to be a teacher, so I love educating others and helping out.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
My most successful blog post is actually about how to grow your blog audience from 0 to 12,000 page views in 3 months, so it is not actually travel related! It does seem to have inspired lots of people though and I often get comments from random people I don’t know about it.
What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?
My favourite articles to write are ones that I know are super informative and helpful, although my most recent favourite was announcing our move to Asia as I have been very excited about sharing that.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
JUST DO IT! It is so easy to make excuses, but it really is easy to travel if you are fortunate enough to have been born somewhere with a good economy and passport. There are also so many ways to earn money online now or while you are travelling that money doesn’t necessarily have to be an excuse either.
What has travel taught you?
So much! I think the biggest thing it has given me is self confidence, especially when I was younger. It certainly showed me that I could handle basically any situation. It has also taught me so much about other cultures and traditions and just the world around me. I hope it is now teaching my kids all of these things too.
Quick fire questions:-
Favourite airline? Air Asia. What can I say, I love super cheap prices.
Favourite country? Argentina
Favourite city? Edinburgh
Favourite beach? Boracay, Philippines
Favourite food? Indian
Favourite language? Spanish
Please provide the following:-
Website url? http://www.wheressharon.com/
Twitter handle? http://twitter.com/wheressharon
Facebook page? http://facebook.com/wheressharonandfamily
Google+ profile/page? https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SharonGourlay