I am incredibly excited to be sharing this ‘almost’ ten questions (in this case it is actually nine, but you know, a series name is a series name …) with you. Shannon O’Donnell’s blog A Little Adrift is one of the best, and best known, travel blogs on the internet today. It is an amazing resource, full of advice on destinations, working remotely, following your passions and great photography. Shannon is pretty amazing herself and a real inspiration – she was even named Traveller of the Year by National Geographic! I strongly suggest you go and view her blog as soon as you finish reading this interview.
When did you first start your blog? What was your motivation?
I launched my blog in 2008 when I left on a one-year trip around the world. Travel blogging was in its infancy and there was little information about how to plan and execute a round the world trip, especially as a solo female. I started my website with the goal of sharing with others the information I wish I’d found when I was planning my first long-term trip.
Is your reason for writing your blog the same as when you first started?
My goals have shifted over the years. Now, my site still contains extensive travel planning resources and guides, but I am passionate about sharing stories that encourage travelers to embrace responsible travel. I profile social enterprises around the world that are using tourism to support positive change in their communities. It’s with this goal that I launched a sister site to my personal blog, Grassroots Volunteering.
Do you write for a specific audience? If so, who are they?
I write for anyone planning a long-term trip, and for those intrigued to learn the stories of other people and cultures.
How do you keep motivated to keep writing? Do you find it easy? Do you have any tricks or tips for other bloggers?
Staying motivated it tough, but I find that writing about topics I truly enjoy, like social enterprise and responsible travel, inspires me to share those stories and ideas with my community. I like to think of it as a “two for them and one for you” model — serve your community and answer questions, but sprinkle in the stories you most love to share.
Name one way that having a blog has changed your life.
My life is inextricably linked to blogging now, nearly nine years after I began. Blogging introduced me to an entire community and a set of friends I would have never known otherwise, and it keeps me connected to these friends as well.
Do you use any social media such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc.?
What are some of the things that make you decide to follow (or not follow) another blog?
I love bloggers who have a unique personal story and point of view, and this is within not only travel blogs, but all of the blogs are most compelling when bloggers can offer information and perspectives I might not have considered. Blogging is a mature enough field that readers have so many options — you have to offer them something specific they can’t find elsewhere.
Can you name something that inspires you? (a book, an Instagram account, a course you took, a person – anything!)
Last year, I took on a personal challenge to read 52 books — one a week. I selected books from a wide range of genres and really sought to expand my input and expose myself to a number of new perspectives. I ended the year inspired with dozens of new project ideas, blog posts, and a better sense of direction for myself and my blog. I can’t recommend highly enough that you find books, websites, and people who challenge your assumptions and encourage you to look at the world in a different way. It’s this type of work that fuels creativity.
Share one thing about yourself that is completely un-related to your blog – it can be anything about you!
I used to be an actress in Los Angeles before I left to travel, and initially I thought I would go back to that life after my one-year round the world trip. One I hit the road, however, I discovered that I could build a life I loved in a different area, and with a lot more travel!