Hope this post finds you well! Today I’m interviewing Tanya, whose blog is entitled ‘Red Phone Box Travels’, which I have to say is a very alluring title indeed! I’ve been reading her blog for over a year now and Tanja also contributed to my ‘Lockdown Across the World’ series check her contribution here – Life Under Lockdown – More Stories from Around the Globe! I hope you enjoy her interview with me today!
- Hi Tanja. 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? What do you do when you’re not blogging?
Hi! Thank you for inviting me to do this interview. My name is Tanja and I’m from Croatia but I’m crazy about London. My travel blog is called The Red Phone Box Travels.
I’m currently on a maternity leave (my daughter has recently turned 1 and my son is almost 3 years old). I have worked in education and in tourism. I live with my family in a seaside town in Croatia. I don’t really have free time anymore but when I manage to steal away a few free moments I like to read books and blog.
- When did you start your blog and why did you decide to start a travel blog?
I started my blog The Red Phone Box travels in 2015. I was in a difficult personal situation so I needed a distraction and a new hobby. Travelling has always been my biggest passion so after reading a few travel blogs I figured I should do it myself even though I had no idea about blogging (I still don’t know much about SEO for instance).
- What do you like to write about and why?
Obviously, I like to write about my travels around Europe. I also post monthly life &blog update posts and I occasionally participate in photography linkups. You can find a couple of pregnancy/baby posts on my blog too. There are some posts about Croatia but I prefer to write about my London trips and other travels.
- What have been some of your favourite destinations?
London is my biggest love obviously. Oslo and Stockholm were such great weekend trips. Bruges was probably the most perfect day trip we’ve ever had. We spent our honeymoon in Lisbon so it’ll always have a special place in my heart. When I was at university I explored a lot of Italy with my friends and those are one of my best travel memories. My woolliest and wildest travel experience was a train journey from Croatia to Turkey.
- Who do you see as the audience for your blog?
I chose to blog in English because I wanted to have an international audience. Most of my readers are other female bloggers (not just travel bloggers). If I look at my blog’s statistics I can tell you that most of my followers come from the USA, the UK, India, Croatia, Canada, and Australia. I guess they are all enthusiastic about travel as I am so they decided to read my blog too.
- What advice would you give to someone just starting out blogging?
Write about what YOU like not about what you think that others would like to read. Be persistent. Engage, read and comment on other blogs. Try to post consistently (something I don’t do anymore unfortunately). And just enjoy it!
- What is the hardest thing about running a travel blog?
What to write about when you are not travelling….When to find the time to blog at all when all of your time seems to be consumed by childcare…
- How has your world changed due to Covid-19? What restrictions are in place where you are right now?
Croatia was in a complete lockdown in spring. Almost everything was closed. My husband couldn’t work and our son couldn’t go to daycare. We didn’t see our family and friends for a long time and I felt horrible. Then, everything changed again and life seemed to have resumed semi-normally just before summer. Croatian economy is too dependent on tourism so borders were opened (too soon) and we had a rise in numbers of confirmed Covid-19 cases. Now we have a greater number of confirmed cases daily than we had in spring and yet everything is open. Confusing, right? Face masks are obligatory in closed spaces, social distancing is preached and disinfectants are used everywhere. There are a number of other restrictions (e.g number of guests at a wedding, number of people at the theatre, the amount of time you can spend in the hospital with your sick child etc).
- How do you think travel will change due to the pandemic?
It has already changed dramatically. Tourism has suffered greatly because of government restrictions due to covid-19 here and all over the world. People have lost their jobs and their livelihoods. It’s uncertain to travel now because you never know when borders may close again or when quarantine might be imposed again. I don’t think that tourism will get back to its pre-pandemic value in years to come. It’s the psychological effect of pandemic that will linger longer than its economic consequences. I love to travel. But there won’t be any international travel for us this year, just trips around Croatia.
- What place would you really like to visit and why?
There are so many wonderful places I’d like to visit. I have only travelled around Europe so far. If I had a lot of money, I’d go to Australia and New Zealand. Why? Because it’s so far away and so different from anything I’ve seen so far. I’d also like to visit Egypt to see the pyramids. NYC is my big wish too. In Europe I plan to visit Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Iceland…basically all of the countries that I still haven’t visited.
- Tanja, you’ve lived (if I’m right please correct me if I’m wrong!) in both Croatia and the UK. Which do you prefer and why? What are the main differences in living in these two places?
Yes, I lived in England. I was in one of those work experience programmes and I spent some time working and living in England right after university. There are many differences between Croatia and the UK. I liked the law & order mentality in England. I liked the living sense of tradition and history and the pride that people take in their heritage. In a way I felt more at home there than at my real home. I can’t really explain why. However, Croatian way of life is more like Italian. You’ll always see people out in cafes, drinking their coffee and people watching no matter the time of the day. Life is slower in Croatia generally. The weather and the nature are nicer too. We have gorgeous beaches. But the amount of bureaucracy and corruption in the politics and in society is horrible.
- What are your favourite destinations in Croatia, and what would you recommend people visit when there?
Most of people have heard about Dubrovnik or the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. Sure, you should definitely visit those but there are so many other beautiful destinations in my homeland. My favourite places are Kvarner islands (Krk island, I blogged about Rab and Lošinj islands). I’d recommend visiting the region of Istria because it really has everything: great cuisine, pristine beaches, abundance of Roman remains and other historical and cultural sights, small hilltop towns like in Tuscany plus adrenaline water parks for your kids. You should visit Opatija too, the oldest tourist destination in Croatia. Kings and queens used to holiday there during the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Also, don’t just stay at the seaside, explore the inlands too. I wrote about several gorgeous castles in different parts of Croatia. Explore Northern Croatia (region Hrvatsko zagorje ) if you like castles as much as I do. For a breath of fresh air and some wilderness visit Gorski kotar region.
- Please recommend three posts from your blog you’d like people to read (and why!)
It’s hard to choose just three posts that could represent my blog in the best possible way. So, I’m choosing these three, all for a different reason, not because they are the best I have ever written or because they got the most likes or comments but because they are one of my personal favourites
Discovering Hampstead, London
I chose this post because walking around Hampstead was probably one of the best days I’ve ever had in London! And I saw two major film starsJ
What to do in San Marino
This isn’t my typical post because I don’t write often a sort of a travel guide blog post but San Marino was the first proper trip that we took as a family when our son was just 6 months oldJ And yes, we managed to do all from this blog post with a baby.
Discover Croatia: Rab
I felt like I needed to include one post about Croatia on this list so what better than a post full of gorgeous photos of stunning Rab town on Rab Island? (one of the places I definitely recommend to visit in Croatia, check question 12).
- 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?
I’m hoping to start feeling optimistic again, to start making plans, to travel again. I’m looking for a new job too.
Thank you Andy for this interview.
And THANK YOU Tanja for a great interview! Please take the time to check out Tanja’s blog and to read some of her posts! They are always a great read! Thanks for popping by today as well – and May the Journey Never End!