Thanks for taking the time to chat with SIW. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog.
Zara : My name is Zara and I am half Portuguese and half Spanish. I am the co-founder of Backpack ME, a travel blog that I run with my husband Ashray, who is from India.
We used to live in Dubai, where we met and fell in love, until we decided to quit our jobs to travel around the world. Now, we share our observations and stories on Backpack ME, aiming to inspire everyone to travel and see the world, no matter where they come from.
What makes your blog so unique and why should people read it?
Zara : There are many travel blogs out there. But not many who are run by a multicultural couple. As Ashray and I come from such different sides of the world, we obviously have different perspectives. So it is really interesting to realize how we see and feel things in such distinct ways. This is exactly what makes our travel stories unique: they have a little bit of west and east in them. You can read more about what it’s like to travel in a multicultural couple in this article I recently published: http://bkpk.me/az-what-its-like-to-travel-in-a-multicultural-couple/
The travel blogosphere is heavily dominated by Western blogs, and we hope to add something extra to what has been said and done before. For instance, we have an entire section dedicated to visa procedures with an Indian passport. Other than this type of practical info, we want Backpack ME to be a blog to feed everyone’s wanderlust. No matter where in the world you have been born and raised, if you have a desire to travel and expand your horizons, we’d like to help out and give you an extra push so that you go for it just like we did!
How often do you blog?
Zara : I do not blog every day, but I do connect with my blog’s audience every single day: via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. As for new content on Backpack ME itself, I tend to post at least 3 times a week, sharing a variety of travel stories, photos and, sometimes, videos.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
Zara : If we measure success by number of page views, my most successful blog post until today was a foodie article entitled “” 10 Traditional Dishes a Portuguese Grandma Would Feed You””: http://bkpk.me/more-traditional-dishes-a-portuguese-grandma-would-feed-you/ It is basically a collection of food preparations very typical from the country where I come from, Portugal.
Some of my favorite stories to write (and read!) are those that focus on a given destination but from a foodie’s perspective. I think food is one of the most down-to-earth and enjoyable ways to experience a new culture, so I couldn’t be happier than my travel and food stories do so well on the blog.
What do you find most challenging about blogging?
Zara : No person is inspired every day! The number of new experiences I live tends to be higher than the output of stories, photography and edited videos I manage to create. This is a good problem to have thought, but sometimes I wish to be more productive as I feel I have so much to share with the world and I don’t want to loose momentum.
What are some of your favorite author blogs and why?
Zara : I am a fan of Roads & Kingdoms: http://roadsandkingdoms.com/
This blog manages to share impressive stories about travel, food and politics around the world in a way that I really like (smart, yet easy and captivating to ready) along with great images too.
What are your favorite books that you would recommend SIW family?
Zara : I do not have all-time favorite books. The things I read keep on changing depending on the mood of phase I am in. Right now, I have been reading a lot of travel and food books by Anthony Bourdain. If, like me, you are interested in knowing what the world tastes like, his stories are a very good medium to get hungry – for travel and for actual food!
Can we really make a living by Blogging? If yes, how we can do that?
Zara : Not many bloggers can make a good living by blogging, but it is certainly possible. But one thing that newbies have to keep in mind is that it will more likely than not take a lot of time. Even if you have the greatest content in the world, monetization usually happens slowly but, hopefully, steadily.
You may include advertising on your blog (which will only make a decent amount of money if you receive a high number of visitors) and also work with brands in order to create sponsored content for them. I personally prefer the second option, and I rather not clutter Backpack ME with ads that will take away from our reader’s daydreaming experience. But it is also important to keep in mind that just because a project is paid, it doesn’t mean it is worth it: if you wish to build a blog that will last and that you are proud of, you should only work with brands and products you would actually use independently of payment. Your long-term readers will appreciate your honesty and consistency because, in the end, your blog wouldn’t mean much if those readers don’t keep on coming back for more.
What advice would you give to young women readers of SIW who want to follow a similar career path as you?
Zara : Becoming a professional travel blogger does not happen overnight. There is a lot of “learning as you go” involved and making a living with it is not easy. If you are passionate about it, I’d say ideally you shouldn’t make this your main source of income. This way, you will keep your freedom of expression and only share travel stories when you really feel like, not because “you have to” – these are the type of stories that tend to be more inspiring for others to read.
Blog URL : bkpk.me
All images are property of “Zara” and required permissions have been taken to publish it on www.smartindianwomen.com website.
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