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
Tell us a bit about yourself
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.
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!
How do you fund your travel?
What is the single most effective strategy that a blogger can use to bring traffic to a blog?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!!
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.
If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?
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?