Interview with Jayne Gorman, Travel Blogger
Jayne Gorman is an award-winning travel blogger currently blogging her way around forty countries before her 30th birthday. A social media expert as well as a travel buff, Jayne is the perfect person to quiz about modern travel and how the internet has changed the industry…
1. How did you come to start blogging?
My friends talked me into it! I was working in international events and used to send my friends long emails about my travel experiences. They gently encouraged me to start a blog and share these stories online, and in January 2010 40before30 was born.
2. Tell us how you feel your travel blog, 40before30, inspires your readers.
My blog begun as a way to communicate with my friends, and I continue to write it as if it is only friends and family reading it. I think it is this personal touch that readers connect with, and by being completely honest about my experiences they have come to trust my opinion.
3. You’ve been to some fabulous locations: although it’s often an impossible question to answer, what is your favourite destination so far?
For many years I was obsessed with Asia and would find any excuse to head that way every winter. I’m a huge fan of Thailand – the beaches, food and people are all sublime – and more recently I fell for the friendliness of Taiwan. Taipei is an eclectic mix of traditional and modern Asia, and I found it a really refreshing blend.
4. These days anyone with a laptop and a camera phone can be a blogger. How have you managed to distinguish yourself in this crowded arena?
I think I was lucky in that I started out before travel blogging became so popular and I have been very fortunate to have picked up awards and recognition for my work along the way. I also worked in-house as a content and community manager for a large travel agency, so I have experience of blogging both professionally and personally, and have picked up tips from both sides.
5. What would be your best piece(s) of advice for someone starting up their first travel blog?
My advice to anyone starting out is to be yourself; inject your personality into everything you produce, and stick at it! It takes time and dedication to build a blog so make sure it is something you are passionate about, and that you produce content you can be proud of.
6. As a social media expert, how do you think Twitter et al has changed the travel industry – and is it for the better or worse?
Speaking from a personal perspective, Twitter has hugely shaped my travel plans, from inspiring me to visit a new destination to receiving recommendations on things to see and do from people who know the area. As a travel brand, Twitter provides a way for you to connect with and assist customers in an engaging and instant way, building up brand loyalty and a sense of community. Watching the way Twitter has changed the travel industry over the last few years has been phenomenal – I’m excited to see what happens next.
7. You’ve also founded the Travelling Shopaholic. Where is your favourite city in the world for shopping?
I have a knack for being able to shop anywhere but, in particular, I recently found the range of shopping on offer in Vegas fantastic. From high-end designers in the luxury hotels on the Strip to discount outlets and vintage stores Downtown, it’s got it all. In some of the second-hand stores off Fremont Street you can even buy retro casino paraphernalia like old chips and slot machines. It’s like a taking a little piece of Vegas history home.
8. What are your top three ‘go now’ destinations?
Visiting Brazil in a few months time to see how it has dealt with the demands of the World Cup will be interesting. Touring Japan is also something that is becoming more accessible, and the coastline of Central America offers Caribbean-style picture-perfect beaches at affordable prices. I have my eye set on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica and some diving in Belize.
9. Is there anywhere you haven’t been yet that’s still high on the bucket list?
Japan is a country I am itching to explore. I read literature set there all the time and am planning a grand adventure around the country in my head. I’d love to spot Geisha in Kyoto and cherry blossom in Osaka.
10. 40before30 comes with a fixed end date: what’s next?
Good question! I have been secretly squirreling away on a book based on the last four years of my travel and blogging experience. It will weave travel tales with the effect sharing them on the blog was having on my personal life. I’m also working on a relaunch for the site. It will have more of a travel and social media aspect and aim to inspire others who have dreams of blogging the world too.