I am not in the habit of sharing other people’s blog posts here, although I’ll happily link to them and recommend my favourites. But today there is something I just have to share.
I was very honoured that Marsha of Always Write asked me for an interview about my blogging experiences and interest in photo challenges. I think she’s done a great job of capturing and presenting my responses to her very interesting questions. Thank you Marsha!
You can read the full interview here: https://tchistorygal.net/2021/04/23/why-world-travel-blogger-sarah-wilkie-loves-photo-challenges/
Here’s how it all started …
I only started this WordPress blog in August 2020, but I’ve been sharing my travels online since July 2005 when I joined the now-defunct Virtual Tourist website community. The emphasis there was on writing reviews of places visited (restaurants, tourist sights etc.) rather than blogging.
I became a very frequent contributor and also got involved in attending the member-organised ‘in real life’ meetings, as well as organising some myself. I acquired a great network of friends around the world.
When VT (Virtual Tourist) was shut down by Trip Advisor in early 2017, many members gave up sharing travel info online. Others turned to other review sites or blogging. I joined TravellersPoint, partly because a VT friend was already active there and partly because the owner kindly developed a programme to move all our VT content across to stop it being lost. I really got into blogging, using TP (TravellersPoint) as a platform to journal my travels from that point onwards and write up some previous trips from old VT notes. But the transfer of VT material wasn’t as immediately successful as hoped, as the platform wasn’t set up to host reviews, and in any case I found I preferred the blogging format.
Some other VT friends had started WP blogs and from time to time tried to persuade me to do the same, because they thought I would enjoy the flexibility of having my own site and full control over the content. I didn’t think I had the time to devote to two blogs and I was enjoying the community aspect of TP (although it wasn’t a patch on VT’s) so I resisted.
But in 2020 two things happened to change my mind. I retired, so had more time, and the pandemic struck, which meant no new travels for a while. I decided to take the plunge and haven’t looked back!
Whereas on TP I wrote day by day journals of a trip (and will probably continue to do so once I can travel again), I decided my WP blog would have mostly shorter posts focused on specific sights, experiences etc. Plus I saw it as an opportunity to be more reflective about my travels, pulling together different experiences at times to reflect an overarching observation about a place, or draw parallels or simply group some photos from different locations around a common theme. My sub-title ‘travel snapshots’ reflects this concept and also an increased emphasis on photography.
Before I started on WP I didn’t even know about these challenges. None of my ex-VT blogging friends are involved in any of them. A few months after I started my blog I came across a challenge for the first time, Friendly Friday, purely by chance, through a blog I’d started following. It looked interesting and I saw it as a way to build my network of followers while trying out a different approach to blogging. It achieved both those things and I found that the people who did that challenge also did others, which led to me discovering those too.
Even though I enjoy the challenges I don’t want them to dictate the overall ethos of my blog. I set it up to share two things, my travels and my photography, so I won’t do any challenges that would force me to deviate too far from that, e.g. a purely writing challenge or one on a theme that doesn’t relate to travel in its broadest sense – by which I mean, including places close to home as well as those far away, but usually remaining location-centric.
If you’ve found this interesting do check out Marsha’s blog – not just my interview but the many others she’s posted and all the other support she provides for fellow bloggers!