In our series of interviews with travel blogger and influencers across the globe, we 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 Megan Jerrard from Mapping Megan blog.

An Interview With Megan From Mapping Megan

Beach in Tasmania-min

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am a 32-year-old travel addict, an outdoor adventure enthusiast and adrenaline junkie with an incurable disease called “the travel bug”. I am from Australia and have a degree in both journalism and law. My passion for traveling and writing overtook my desire to sit in a corner office, and instead, I am now a professional travel blogger, my office ranging from villas in the Galapagos Islands, to beaches on the Great Barrier Reef, bungalows overlooking volcanoes in Costa Rica, and everywhere in between!

I had just graduated university when I began my blog, and it ended up turning into a profitable business before I had the opportunity to apply for grad jobs! I’ve always had a passion for writing, so when I started traveling in 2007 I began keeping a personal travel blog as a way to express myself, and a way to document my travels – somewhat of an online diary which I could look back on in the future and remember my trips.

Then technology revolutionized the world, and people began making money online, so I kept uploading my adventures as I had been, though started marketing my content as a professional brand instead of a hobby blog. The website today is an online space dedicated to content, photography and video aimed at inspiring others to travel the world and providing them with the best knowledge and tools to do so. We have a focus on adventure travel, so don’t be surprised to find me jumping out of planes if I think it would provide a better view!

What’s your biggest achievement as a Travel Blogger?

I would say building and scaling the business to the point where it provides a sustainable household income is my biggest achievement as a blogger – I’ve been working on it full time since 2014, and then my husband came on to join me in 2017, so now the two of us work full time online, and we additionally often contract writers to take travel assignments for us when we’re unable to accept a press trip campaign ourselves.


I also see the location independence that comes with working online as a massive achievement. As opposed to a traditional career where you’re tied to the location, your building or the cubicle you’re in, being a travel blogger comes with 100% freedom and flexibility to work remotely, from where-ever you want. As long as I have my laptop and reliable WiFi, I can continue to work, whether that’s from home, or from Tokyo, London, or Bangkok. I’m able to set my own hours, take last minute opportunities as they arise, and only have myself to answer to. It’s pretty nice!

You have an unlimited travel budget for 24 hours. Give me your itinerary.

Unlimited budget? Jump on a flight to Antarctica (a cruise would be more appropriate with more time), and spend the whole day hiking, kayaking, exploring, swimming, taking a zodiac past floating glacial ice, witnessing the incredible wildlife, and camping on the ice to enjoy the sensation of complete silence at the end of the day!

Faroe Islands (3)-min


How do you fund your travel?


Just like everyone else, we earn money through our full time jobs, and we save that money for travel. We’re fortunate that our full time job in this instance is one which allows us to work online, so we can take advantage of cheap or last minute travel deals if we want, and not have to worry about things like requesting time off, etc. We’re also fortunate that the nature of our job means that some of our travels are actually tied to work assignments.

We live a pretty minimalist lifestyle, and keep our expenses as low as we can so that we can put our income towards travel experiences – for instance, we don’t eat out, we don’t smoke, drink, or spend money on new clothes or new iPhones – sounds like a boring life lol but if I gave you the option of a trip to Iceland vs a year of cigarettes, I know what I would choose!

What is the single most effective strategy that a blogger can use to bring traffic to a blog?

I don’t believe there is one single most effective strategy that will translate into success for every blogger. I believe there are important fundamentals, like understanding SEO, that are good practice for bringing traffic to a blog, but ultimately, the way you attract traffic will depend on your business strategy, and your goals for the blog.

Everyone is different. Every blog is different. Every business plan is different. You might decide, for instance, that you don’t want to write internet copy for search engine algorithms, and that you instead want to write for your audience in a voice and style they vibe with, and social media traffic is there-fore what you’ll target over SEO. Social media traffic can be just as lucrative if you know how to rank well on Pinterest, or if you know how to run Facebook targeted advertising, or groups, for instance.

As a general answer though – learning how to write good Search Engine Optimized (SEO) content is the best way for *most* blogs to bring in sustainable traffic.

What tools do you use to monetize your blog? Which works best for you?


There are many ways to monetize a blog, and I highly recommend that when developing a business strategy, you play to your strengths (this post by my friend Mar is a great introduction to all the ways bloggers can make money). Ie what works well for me might not work well for you, or it’s not what you might be good at or interested in doing.


My primary income stream has always been through content based advertising and sponsored posts. Whether this is a product review, an endorsement, or a general travel article where I place a link back to a company site. We also run in content ad placements, partner with brands for destination marketing campaigns (which may sometimes involve press trips and paid travel), and make a little money from affiliate marketing, which is a commission based agreement based on sales.

The brilliant thing about a blog though is that it can be used as a portfolio for your work and lead to other opportunities. Now that my blog is established and people are becoming more aware of my story and my work, clients approach me for freelance writing, public speaking, paid press trips, and social media consulting too. The sky is the limit when it comes to opportunities for monetizing a blog.

Kangaroo Island Bushfire Recovery-min


What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?


My first ever trip overseas was to Japan when I was 15. It was a language immersion trip with my High School, and my name was pulled out of a hat for one of the coveted places, so I was very, very lucky!  There were many cultural highlights like attendance at a local school, a homestay with a Japanese student, and traveling to Hiroshima to place 1,000 cranes, though the part I remember being most excited about at 15 was admittedly our day at Tokyo Disneyland!

 

Kangaroo Island Emu Bay South Australia-min


Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?


Yes, actually Bolivia really surprised me, I think largely because I had no idea of what it would be and no expectations. Bolivia was a country I hadn’t researched, or really knew anything about – it wasn’t even on my radar, but we wanted to spend time in the Amazon, and it was much cheaper in Bolivia than in Peru.


I thought Bolivia would probably be an interesting place to pass through on our way into the jungle, but not the major highlight of our South America trip, but I was very wrong – it is like no other place on the planet!

There are the breathtaking Andes, the daunting altitude, the lush rainforest, the too-small bowler hats worn by the indigenous women, the vast salt flat, the decorated llamas, the pink flamingos, and that famous harrowing mountain bike ride (I mountain biked Death Road here and it was incredible!). We spent 2 weeks in the country outside of the Amazon and our hearts were captured by the diverse and perplexing nation.

Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?  

I’ve been very fortunate not to have had any incredibly bad experiences whilst traveling, though I’ve definitely made many mistakes!! I like to see travel mishaps as a learning curve though. One ‘almost’ mishap I’ll share, in 2009 I traveled with my mum on a 2 month European adventure. Having traveled Europe quite extensively in the past, I was our resident expert, and planned both our itinerary and accommodation. Though let me tell you, this “expert” was quickly knocked off her high horse!

Flying from London to Rome to spend two weeks in Italy, we left ourselves plenty of time to catch the train to Heathrow Airport, and arrived a good 2 hours before our departure. Though for some reason our flight was not listed on the departures board. As it turns out, the flight wasn’t listed because it wasn’t leaving from Heathrow. We were meant to be at Gatwick, and there was no way we were going to get there in time to catch our flight.

The good news is, we did get to Rome that evening, though as you can imagine I’ve never heard the end of this, especially since having booked accommodation in a convent with a strict curfew, if we hadn’t made it to Rome by 8pm, we were sleeping on the street!!

Vietnam-maping-megan


Where is your favourite place in the world?


Italy. Because between the culture, the history, the stunning countryside, and the friendly, hospitable nature of the Italian people, who doesn’t love an excuse to eat pizza and gelato every day of the week?


Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?


I used to have a very long bucketlist, though I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life crossing it all off in the pursuit of living while I’m alive!!  My biggest bucketlist item was Antarctica, though I’m fortunate enough to have ticked that experience off in 2017.


Now I’m setting my sights high and saying the moon. If anyone can get me in a room with Richard Branson please reach out. I’m certain I can convince him to put me on a Virgin Galactic flight to be the first blogger to the moon!


If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?


I don’t think a parallel world exists where I wouldn’t be traveling!! Even if I had gone down the path of a full time job in law (which is my main qualification), instead of having become a travel blogger, I still expect I would have taken trips on my vacation time off from work.

Skydiving-maping-megan

 

What has travel taught you?


So much! Because of traveling I like to think I am a very grounded, well-rounded person, able to accept and listen to all points of view, appreciative of all world cultures. Travel taught me how to survive by myself – taught me to become street smart. It taught me that kindness exists in the world, and that strange cultures should be explored and not judged. It continually teaches me new skills, and has opened my mind to new perspectives on history and politics. Because of travel, I will forever be curious, and forever be intrigued by different cultural norms, and forever have a thirst for world knowledge and new experiences.

Who, in your opinion, is the most successful travel blogger? Why do you think that is?


I think there are hundreds of highly successful travel blogs out there, and it all depends on who you ask as to who’s the best. Success is defined differently by different people too though, so when we’re talking success, the answer will be different whether you view this as sheer number of followers, the amount of money they earn, how well traveled they are, or how well they tell a story.

Blogs I personally love include onceinalifetimejourney.com, and followmeaway.com for their authenticity and fantastic photography.

You can follow MeganInstagram |  Blog | Twitter

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sumit

Author sumit

Sumit Sharma is a full-time digital marketer who finds his passion in traveling and blogging about his experiences.

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