In my series of interviews with travel blogger, I look for travel bloggers and influencers with interesting lives who can share some inspiring stories and useful advice from their experience. This week we have Iuliana from Authentic Travels blog.
An Interview with Iuliana from Authentic Travels
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am Iuliana, a freelance travel writer, trip planner, and local tour guide based in Romania. I discovered my passion for writing more than 10 years ago when I started a local mountaineering blog in Romanian, then switched to a travel blog in English five years ago. My passions are traveling and writing as well as planning trips in as many details as possible. I like to travel at a slow pace and to a single country for a longer period (like one month / small country, two-three months / big country). This way, I have the possibility to understand the country and its people more in depth and then help others to plan their trips there. My travel blog is Authentic Travels.
What’s your biggest achievement as a Travel Blogger?
The fact that I haven’t given up blogging in five years. With this large number of bloggers, you are tempted to give up when you see that you are slower than you have wanted, your blog is not developing as you have wanted/ hoped, or you are not doing the six figures that other bloggers do. I realized that it is more important to have my own niche and few clients that trust me than thousands of followers that just follow the crowds.
You have an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours. Give me your itinerary.
That’s almost impossible because I’d never travel for only 24h. As my concept is slow travel, 24 h doesn’t really match my needs. But if I were staying, let’s say, in a mountain resort and I had unlimited budget for one day: I’d go to a sauna, spa, massage, hearty lunch, riding, rafting, and canyoning, and then an open buffet dinner in traditional style. Maybe I’d also jump with the parachute, but I don’t think it’s time for all the other adventures, which I prefer.
How do you fund your travel?
Renting a flat that my family has. It is a very good source of passive income.
What is the single most effective strategy that a blogger can use to bring traffic to a blog?
Write constantly and send regular newsletters (this doesn’t mean every day or spamming).
What tools do you use to monetize your blog? Which works best for you?
I have my shop menu with different trip planning services (questions, skype consultation, detailed trip planning etc). The posts I write on my blog are a visit card for my clients who follow my trips and when they get excited, they also want to travel there and need detailed planning.
What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?
I have had the chance to travel with my parents since I was very little. We lived in Vienna for two years and from there took a lot of trips to Greece, Italy, Benelux, and France, Germany. However, I wouldn’t say that those trips meant something for me because I wasn’t into traveling at that time. It has helped me though, to learn from my parents that it’s pretty cool to travel and stay in camping grounds. Nowadays, I love to take road trips and stop in a camping ground overnight. I don’t have the hustle of booking a room and I can decide where I want to go in the last moment.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
Yes, to Thailand. I wanted very much to go to Thailand but once I got there, I couldn’t adapt with the local food (based on rice and noodles), nor with the high level of noise at night. Even though I ate in European restaurants too (where I had the chance in bigger towns) and used ear plugs, it was just too much for me. I managed to survive for two months (how long my tourist visa was) but after that, I was so happy to come back home, be able to sleep 8h/ night in a quiet place, and eat my beloved cheese (something you don’t find in the Thai cuisine).
Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
I think I covered the general ‘bad’ experiences like fake guides in Morocco, Bedouin interested in having sex with a solo female traveler in Wadi Rum, Jordan, and even food poisoning in Nepal or Thailand. However, I think that these ones are normal for a person who travels on a regular basis and they only show different sides of the same world. This is why we travel – to see the different sides, those that are more different than us.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
I didn’t have a favorite place in the world until I visited Petra. After exploring this extensive site for four full days, I can say that I finally have my favorite place in the world – it’s Petra. The Nabataean tombs, the reddish mountains, and the hospitable Bedouin – all contributed to the fantastic atmosphere I experienced in Petra. I think that what mostly sticks to my mind when I think of Petra is that amazing moment when you enter from the narrow canyon (the Siq) in the space that opens in front of the Treasury. It’s an experience that impacted me forever. Then, there’s the Bedouin’s hospitality which was so mind-blowing.
Do you have a bucket list? If so, what is on it?
I don’t really have a bucket list as I like to travel one country at a time and not to a destination/ place/ city. I plan my trips as a whole country exploration, something along the lines: in 2020, I want to go to Serbia and Bulgaria in spring, and Oman or Israel in autumn. Starting from here, I then plan which places I want to go to in that particular country and decide how much time I need for that.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
I love writing and reading, so if I am not traveling, you will find me reading a travel book or writing about my past travels for my blog or for other magazines. I always enjoyed to share my passions with others, so sharing my travel experiences is essential for me.
What has travel taught you?
Travel has taught me a lot of things, among which: to be more flexible, accept people as they are, be grateful for what you have back home (because you really have all you need just under your nose), live in the present moment, ignore your fears and limiting beliefs around travel (they are just on your mind, not in reality).
Who, in your opinion, is the most successful travel blogger? Why do you think that is?
I like The Wandering Earl a lot. I like how he writes and shares his travel experiences (not the standard round-ups) and how he found his calling to organize trips for other people. He even organizes trips to Romania, where I live, so I hope to meet him one day in person.
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