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Welcome to today’s installment in my new travel blogger interview series! The goal of this weekly series is to help spread the blogging love and introduce you to some other awesome travel bloggers! Any travel blogger, whether new or experienced, can sign up to be featured in this new series. Today I’m happy to share that I’m featuring Manon from Bondi to Basic.
Hi! I’m Manon, a 30 something-year-old Dutch expat living in Sydney, Australia. I love travelling, writing and photography. On my blog, Bondi to Basic, you can find my travel tips, guides, and itineraries for some of the best travel destinations.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BLOGGING FOR? WHY’D YOU DECIDE TO START A TRAVEL BLOG?
I started my travel blog in April 2018. After getting my heartbroken and I needed a creative outlet. I love being creative, taking pictures, and writing so I decided on a hot Saturday afternoon to start my blog.
This is not my first blog, I had another one a couple of years back, but I didn’t have the time to set it all up properly. For me blogging is an outlet that allows me to be creative, meet amazing people, and keep me busy when I need it the most.
I decided on a travel blog because I moved across the world a couple of years back. I love exploring Australia, and I had so many amazing topics to write about. I have been lucky to have travelled since I was young and have pretty much seen most parts of Europe. I’ve lived in India for a couple of months and travelled to tropical destinations like Singapore, Andaman Island, Mexico, and the Maldives. So, I thought I would have plenty to talk about and would like to share some of my amazing experiences with the world.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW TRAVEL BLOGGERS/ASPIRING TRAVEL BLOGGERS?
Start a blog because you love to write and photograph. Do not start a one because it’s ‘Easy money’. Blogging is hard work! You have to write at least one post a week, be social on your social media accounts, learn how to do SEO, Get the hang of Pinterest, take and edit your own photos, and more…
So if you are not passionate about blogging, then you won’t last (sorry) But if you are passionate, and you love it. Then dive in! It will bring you so much, you will learn so much and if you are lucky, you might be able to earn some money from your hobby.
The number one thing I wish I looked into a bit better before I started was SEO. This is probably the most boring part of blogging, but it is so incredibly important. By doing it properly from the start, you will be able to rank better on Google. And the better you rank, the more traffic you get. The second thing is to get the hang of Pinterest. Pinterest is also an amazing tool that will get your stream of traffic going! Pinterest is also a lot of work, but it can bring in a nice stream of traffic as well.
My last tip would be, be yourself and find your voice. Blog about what you want to blog about and don’t worry about what other people think.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WISH YOU KNEW BEFORE YOU STARTED TRAVELING?
I wish I was more of a planner. I am a very last-minute type of traveller. And yes, that cool! But it can be more expensive to go last minute if you can’t look up destinations, flights, and hotels properly. Additionally, I do not always have time to do extensive research of the destinations before I go. It happened a couple of times that when I arrived back home, I discovered something cool that I would have loved to have checked out (when writing and researching my blog posts).
So I wish I was able to plan my travels a bit better, so I would be able to make my dollar stretch a bit more.
Additionally, I wished I was a better photographer from the start. I am a hobby photographer and I have learned by making mistakes. I wish from the start of my travels that I had a good camera and I knew what I was doing. I have travelled to quite a few amazing destinations and the photos are not always on point. It does help that I have an amazing DLSR camera now, and the quality of the photos are simply incredible. So, I wished I knew more about photography before I started traveling, so I had more amazing photos for my blog.
WHY DO YOU LOVE TO TRAVEL?
I think this is a pretty standard answer, but I love to travel to see new cultures, see how people live, and explore their beaches, National Parks, architecture, and museums. I love learning about their history, wandering their streets and seeing how they live.
WHAT’S YOUR BEST AND WORST TRAVEL EXPERIENCE?
The worst is an easy one for me. For my birthday I always go on holiday. One year I decided to go to Bali, Indonesia. Months prior I was having some health issues but nothing I was too concerned about. I did a lot of research on Bali and made sure I knew what was safe to eat etc. I always eat at my hotel because I wanted to be safe. But on the second to last night, things went wrong. After I had dinner, I immediately was sick. Proper sick. I could not drink a sip of water as it would all come out again. It did not go away after 2 days so I had to postpone my flight home and extend my stay at the hotel. That night I got sharp pains in my side and had to call a doctor. I got diagnosed with parasites and dehydration. After a drip and lots of medication, I started to feel good enough to fly home a couple of days later.
Once I was home, the pains came back in full force. It turned out I was severely dehydrated and developed kidney stones because of it. A trip to the emergency room later and a full day in the hospital I was well enough to go home. But I could not work for weeks after and was recovering for months.
The worse part is, I did not have travel insurance. All of this came from my own pocket. So please, if you are going to travel, make sure you get proper travel insurance. Having to pay for something like this out of your own pocket was not fun.
My best travel experience is probably my last big trip. I met up with my parents in Brisbane (Queensland) and from there we rented a campervan. We went on an epic 4-week road trip all the way up the Australian coast to Far North Queensland. We saw kangaroos on the beach, swam at the Great Barrier Reef, and explored the incredible Daintree Rainforest. This whole trip was simply incredible and something I will never forget.
DO YOU PREFER SOLO TRAVEL OR TRAVELING WITH OTHER PEOPLE? WHY?
I prefer to travel solo. I am a bit of a last-minute traveller. When I feel like traveling, I am often on holiday 1-2 weeks later. Not much planning and preparing, just GO. It is a lot easier to do when you are on your own. Additionally, being a travel blogger, I take a lot of photos and videos, and it can be a bit embarrassing when you have someone waiting for you constantly. By travelling solo, I can do my own thing, take as many pics as I want, etc
Of course, every now and then it is more fun to travel with someone, as it can get a little bit lonely.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE YOU’VE EVER BEEN TO? WHY?
Without a doubt, Cape Hillsborough National Park. The national park can be found near MacKay (Queensland) and offers some of the most spectacular natural sights! From kangaroos and wallabies on the beach during sunrise to imposing prehistoric rock formations and stunning untouched rainforests.
If you don’t mind getting up 5 am, then this is the place where you can spot kangaroos on the beach during sunrise and makes for one of the most amazing photography spots in Australia.
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST TRAVEL TIP?
My biggest travel tip is to just GO!
People are so concerned about getting the right price, the right hotel at the right location, that booking and going on a holiday becomes such a task.
Travel is supposed to be fun!
IS THERE ONE SPECIFIC THING YOU LIKE TO DO, SEE, OR BUY IN EVERY PLACE THAT YOU VISIT?
No, I am sorry. I am not one to collect souvenirs from places. So corny but I travel more to create new memories. And nowadays we can take so many photos (Either with a phone or with a digital camera) that memories are captured in such a way, that you have mementos in this way instead, that’s my view anyway.
IS THERE ONE PARTICULAR FOOD THAT YOU’VE TRIED WHILE TRAVELING THAT YOU LOVED? WHAT FOOD WAS IT AND WHY DO YOU LOVE IT SO MUCH?
I don’t like food? people that know me still think I am odd. But food is simply not my thing. I do not travel to locations wanting to try a certain food. I travel to see the cities, meet people, and experience new cultures, not to eat new foods.
So now that people find me odd and won’t follow me lol.
The food that I loved when I was traveling is butter masala paneer with naan. I had this often when I lived in India and I loved it. But I know this is very basic haha.
Plane or train? Plane
Hotel or hostel? Hotel
City or nature? Nature
Popular site or off the beaten path? Off the beaten path
Suitcase or backpack? Suitcase
Fast travel or slow travel? Slow travel
Professional camera or phone photography? Professional Camera
Warm or cold weather? Warm
All photos used throughout this post are taken by Manon from Bondi to Basic.