Howdy all, it’s Sunday and as is becoming the trend, I have a new travel blogger interview for you. Today it’s Jessica from the her amazing blog ‘I’ve Bean Travelling’ (I’m glad someone likes a pun as much as I do!). Jessica hails from destination Canada, and it was great to get the chance to ‘interview’ her and hopefully introduce her to a new audience. If you like a coffee when you travel, this is the blog for you!
- Hi there. Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. Would you mind starting by telling us who you are and where you’re from, and of course the name of your blog?
Hi Andy, thank you for inviting me to participate in your interview series. I’m the writer of I’ve Bean Travelling, which is a travel and food blog. My real name is Jessica but I originally started writing under the pseudonym of Chuckles, and I’m too far into the blog now to change it! I’m based out of Toronto, Canada, where I live and work as a physician.
- When did you start your blog and why did you decide to start a travel blog?
I started I’ve Bean Travelling in early 2019 while I was planning my first trip to Southeast Asia (Thailand and Laos). It was the dead of winter here in Canada and I was bored and a bit miserable, to be honest. My sister jokingly suggested that I should start a travel vlog or blog to pass the time, and I became intrigued by the idea so started a WordPress account on a whim. The blog started off as an outlet for me to think through my travel plans, and then evolved into a way for me to share my travel experiences with friends and family who had been interested in learning more about them. Since then, it’s grown exponentially and I now have a modest readership within the travel blogger community including people from all over the world.
- What do you like to write about and why?
My blog is, for the most part, a diary/journal of sorts where I recap my personal travel experiences, including specific tours I’ve been on and sights I’ve seen. In the past year, I’ve also expanded it to include recipes and, now that international travel is restricted, there is also a section highlighting my hometown of Toronto while I do more local exploration.
- What have been some of your favourite destinations?
I have really enjoyed all my trips to Asia. In particular, my most recent international trip to Vietnam was amazing. I also love Japan and it’s probably on the top of my bucket list in terms of places I’d like to revisit.
- Who do you see as the audience for your blog?
Other than friends and family who want to keep up with my whereabouts, I think the people who find my blog most useful are other leisure travellers who want to get some ideas for places to visit during their travels.
- What advice would give to someone just starting out blogging?
My best tips for expanding the reach of a new blog is to write about topics you are passionate about, and to engage with your readers or other bloggers. The quality of content is first and foremost, and then making that effort to connect with other people. I found that once I started commenting and sharing other bloggers’ posts, they would often reciprocate and this would draw in more readers. It’s also really rewarding to establish a community with people who have similar interests, where you can share ideas and insights.
- What is the hardest thing about running a travel blog?
These days, probably coming up with new content!
- How has your world changed due to Covid-19? What restrictions are in place where you are right now?
Working in healthcare, I have been heavily immersed in managing the Covid-19 pandemic and it has been an exhausting several months. However, I feel very fortunate to live in a country that has handled the pandemic relatively well, and most lockdown measures have finally lifted here in Toronto. I sure was happy to go out for my first haircut in six months and I’ve dined out a couple times too. Interestingly, things are getting busier at the hospital although it is not Covid-19 patients that I am dealing with now, but rather all the non-Covid cases that were placed on the backburner during the peak of the pandemic.
- How do you think travel will change due to the pandemic?
It’s becoming harder for me to imagine the state of international travel as I observe how this pandemic is evolving, now with second waves happening in Europe and Asia, and the ongoing mess in the United States. I think that for at least the next year or so, local domestic travel will be the way to go. I’m certainly not particularly keen on long haul air travel right now so I can only see myself taking short trips, ideally to destinations accessible by road or train.
- What place would you really like to visit and why?
I have an ever-expanding travel bucket list! Off the top of my head, a few places I’d like to visit that I haven’t been before: Scotland, Iceland, South Africa, New Zealand, and India.
- You blog from your home country, Canada. Please tell the readers why they should visit Canada and what they should see and do when they come!
Canada is safe, diverse, and beautiful; I think those are some good reasons to travel here. It’s also the second largest country in the world, so there is a lot to do and see! For first time visitors, I recommend checking out some of our national parks, especially the ones out west in British Columbia and Alberta, and spending time in our major cities – my favourites being Toronto (of course), Vancouver, and Montreal.
- Please recommend three posts from your blog you’d like people to read (and why!)
My UNESCO World Heritage Checklist
A recap of all the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage sites I’ve visited throughout my travels, spanning five continents.
Food Tours Around the World
Travel and food together? Sign me up! This post is a summary of all the food tours I’ve been on around the world.
#Alphabet Adventures: Travel Memories from A to Z
This was a really fun one to write, based on a Twitter challenge I completed over the month of April 2020. A list of 26 alphabetized places I’ve visited.
- Finally, how can people find you on the net and social media? Please include blog address, facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and any other channels you use.
- Finally (again!) what are you hoping or dreaming for in 2021?
To resume international travel. I take several weeks off a year and like to plan two major trips in the spring and autumn. Hopefully one of these will come to fruition in 2021. It’s something to look forward to while dealing with the grind at work.
A HUGE thanks again to Jessica, please do check out her blog! Take care wherever you might be in the world, and… what do I say again???
Oh yes – May the Journey Never End!