Here’s this week’s instalment of Blogger Behind the Blog where I interview a blogger all about their reasons for blogging and what it means to them. This week I’m joined by Cathy from Mummy Travels.
Here’s Cathy with more about her blogging life:
Where did your blog name come from?
I was playing around with all kinds of variations on mum/mama and travel but none of the ideas seemed to work. Then another blogger I knew said, I suppose something obvious like ‘mummy travels’ has been taken. We checked… it hadn’t. So I snapped it up!
When did you start your blog and why?
I had been thinking about starting a travel blog for a while but couldn’t work out what my angle or niche would be. Then I got pregnant and everyone told me I’d have to stop travelling – that, combined with the fact that there weren’t as many family travel blogs around then as there are now, gave me the idea. I wanted to write about my experiences and hopefully show that you can keep travelling with a child – with 17 trips aged four, I think my daughter has proved that!
What did you do before you blogged?
I’m a freelance journalist and editor – I’ve been a travel writer for years (and still am) so blogging fits as part of my career.
What was your first post?
My first post was an introduction for the blog, followed by one on stretch mark oils! The posts I consider my first proper posts were discovering I was off to a bumpy start to pregnant travel and taking my first pregnant trip.
What inspires you to blog?
So many things. A lot is our experiences, sharing the places we’ve been, the best things to see and do, and how it actually works with a child. Sometimes it’s something which infuriates me, like people suggesting children on planes are a nightmare or the whole ridiculous situation with term-time absences.
What post has had the best response, which post are you most proud of and which post did you enjoy writing the most?
One of my opinion posts, on child-free sections on planes, really seemed to strike a chord, while I really enjoyed indulging in a bit of nostalgia and remembering just why I love the British seaside for a more recent post. The one I’m most proud of is really hard to narrow down: some of my photo posts or ones where I’m really happy with the video but otherwise I think it’s the posts on our trip to Burma.
It’s not somewhere many families go but I’d wanted to for years (dating back to that third post about cancelling the flight!) and I’ve had quite a few people contact me as a result, asking for opinions on visiting the country.
Have any of your posts not had the response that you expected?
Lots. Sometimes what seems like a fairly ordinary review post will get loads of hits and I can never quite work out why. Sometimes I write a really passionate opinion post and there’s complete tumbleweed.
Where do you see your blog in a year’s time?
I’ve never really had a long-term plan (maybe I need one) but I’m starting to get offered more travel opportunities for the blog so hopefully there’ll be even more of those in 12 months. And fingers crossed, making more money from it too. The best thing for me is seeing the hits rise though as it means people are enjoying reading what I write, or finding it useful.
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
The creative freedom. As a journalist, I am usually constrained by the publication I’m writing for or the brief or the word count – not that I don’t enjoy that but on the blog, I get to decide what I write, what photos I use, how long it’ll be: everything.
…and your least favourite?
All the fiddly extra bits before you can publish a post, like SEO. It can take me less than an hour to write the actual post but by the time I’ve edited and uploaded photos, sorted captions, filled in Yoast, scheduled and soon, it takes far longer. Technical issues are in there too: I was hacked last year and the clean-up took forever, while I hate updating plugins as half the time something seems to go wrong.
What’s the best blog post you have ever read?
It’s so hard to say! I honestly can’t pick one – some I love because they really move me, some because I’m laughing incredibly hard, some because I’m nodding away to every word, some because of the beautiful inspiring writing, some because it’s the place I’m going next and they’ve told me everything I need to know. It’s one of the things I love about reading blogs, the incredible quality and variety.
What blog do you love to read and why?
Lots of other family travel blogs mostly: too many to list, but Wandermum, My Travel Monkey, Five Adventurers, Mini Travellers, One Tiny Leap, Travel Loving Family and Globalmouse all have children a similar age to my daughter so they’re particular favourites.
Do you do anything differently now to when you started blogging?
Lots! I cringe a bit looking back at the early posts, especially the photos. On a practical side, I do video, I’m on far more social media, I have (hopefully) a much slicker site. I’ve also become much more involved with the blogging community – when I started, I didn’t seem to fit with parenting bloggers or with travel bloggers, so it took a bit of time to find my tribe and feel less of an outsider, but I couldn’t be more glad and have made great friends through it.
Is blogging what you expected it to be?
Far more than I expected. At first it was partly for myself, partly because I enjoyed the freedom and creative side while I was writing less on maternity leave. I don’t think I could ever have expected the opportunities which have come through it – or quite how much work, time and effort it would be!
What’s been your favourite blog collaboration to date?
It has to be my trip to Antigua with Elite Island Resorts. I’ve worked with the PR before and she’s fantastic, really professional, switched on and lovely too, which makes a big difference. Plus… a week in Antigua!
Are there any brands you would love to work with, why?
Definitely. It would be fantastic to work with an airline, actually getting around the world is the hardest bit sometimes but there’s an endless number of travel companies that I use and love, from AirBNB and Expedia to Skyscanner for starters. Or one of the big suitcase brands would come in useful!
Have you had any blogging fails so far?
Oh yes… I lost a memory card from a trip to the Cayman Islands so I basically have no photos whatsoever. I’ve done a huge tweet-out to people who regularly join in with the City Tripping linky that I co-host… and put the wrong link on. I’ve had camera batteries run out, I’ve forgotten to put the memory card back in the camera. My first Facebook Live I was sideways to start off, until one of the watchers pointed it out. It’s all a learning experience!
What is your biggest blogging hope, dream or ambition?
At the moment, it’s to be paid to go on blogger trips – the trips themselves are wonderful, but for a travel-focused blog it’s hard to pay the bills if you just keep going away without making any money! Plus fun though they are, they’re hard work. I do love my job so while part of me would love to be able to blog full-time, I really don’t want to stop that either. I think I need to dream bigger!
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
Between work, my four-year-old, travel, blogging (and reading other people’s blogs) plus occasionally eating, sleeping and seeing my husband, not a lot! Travel is my passion so I’m lucky that my work and my fun all overlap.
and lastly, tell us all a random fact about yourself
I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I used to skydive (category 5 student, I never quite qualified) and I once zipwired across an Italian mountain valley at around 90mph. Fun!