Every month, we select one member of the Blogosphere Community to be celebrated through our blog, social media and newsletter.
Our #MemberOfTheMonth for January 2021 is… Karen from WorldWideWriter.
1. Where did your passion for travel come from?
I’ve wanted to travel for as long as I can remember. Even before I was old enough to travel I would spend time poring over atlases or reading about foreign places. I think it is just a curiosity about the world, wanting to learn more about the differences (and similarities) between people and places. What I really like is the discoveries that you can’t make just by reading or watching a video about a place: the hidden away buildings or the historical curiosities that don’t make it into the guide books. And I enjoy just soaking up the atmosphere (and the food and the drink) of an unfamiliar location!
2. Having visited almost 70 countries, do you think those experiences and memories have shaped you as a person and content creator?
They have certainly shaped me as a person. It’s much easier to relate to what you read or see in the news if you have visited a particular place. Exposure to different cultures makes you realise that there are always two (or more) sides to a question and that – most importantly – people are not really that different from one another, no matter where they live.
Another benefit is that I always come home with new ideas. This is often just a different recipe to try out, but could also be a subject for research, or more places to add to my travel wish list…
As a content creator, my mission is to share the less obvious things that I’ve discovered. The more I travel the more I find places and things that I just wasn’t aware of before, and I love to write about them!
3. What’s your favourite off the beaten track/hidden gem you’ve discovered on your travels?
In 2018 I visited Greenland, most of which is literally off the beaten track, having few roads, beaten or otherwise (to get from one town or village to another you either fly or take a boat). I was fascinated by the country and the culture, the way that even in the 21st century people can be at the mercy of the landscape and the elements. And it is staggeringly beautiful: seeing the midnight sun while sailing through an icefield was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
4. How have you navigated through 2020 with the impact of Covid-19 on the travel and tourism industry?
I’ve had to be creative in my attempt to continue producing content at a time when I can’t travel! I’ve done a mixture of writing about past journeys and reporting from my – rather limited – trips within the UK during the year. I’ve also invited guest posts and collaborative content from other bloggers. I’ve taken the opportunity to create a second blog (Bewitched By Italy) focusing on travel in Italy, and I’ve finally launched my newsletter (something which I have been meaning to do for a long time).
But I’ve also had to think about the ways in which Covid-19 has impacted upon travellers, the travel industry and the communities that depend upon tourism. I’ve written a couple of posts on this topic and I’ve been careful to emphasise that I am not encouraging people to travel at present, or at least to stay local when they do venture from home. I’ve tried to offer ways of travelling virtually (there are lots of good online tours out there), and I even participated in a virtual press trip.
To some extent this supplements some of the things that I have been saying for a while. Tourism benefits individuals and local communities, but overtourism is also an issue. Perhaps the coronavirus has given us an opportunity for a radical rethink of the way we travel.
5. How can the Blogosphere Community best serve you in 2021?
I enjoyed several Blogosphere events during 2020 (and I think the Virbela campus is brilliant). I’d like more of the same please, especially the networking and sessions on content creation. And it will be even better if we are able to have some events in person later in the year!