Meet Joanne from Sunsets and Roller Coasters | Travel Blogger Interview Series

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Welcome to the next 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.

This week I’m happy to share that I’m featuring Joanne from Sunsets and Roller Coasters!

Joanne is a proud Canadian mom of three with a passion for travel and photography. She has been travelling around the world with her husband and three kids, now teens and pre-teens, since they were babies. Her blog, Sunsets and Roller Coasters, is filled with recommended destinations and detailed information on local activities, travel itineraries and travel tips. 

How long have you been blogging for? Why’d you decide to start a travel blog?

Sunsets and Roller Coasters is officially two years old. I was in a car accident several years ago and my ability to work and stay focused was impacted. I was falling behind on our albums and the thought of creating a travel blog was born. It started as a way to create memories for the kids and to find something for myself that I loved to do. It has grown way beyond what I had anticipated and I couldn’t be happier for that.

Do you have any tips for new travel bloggers/aspiring travel bloggers?

Don’t get discouraged and don’t do it because you think it will make you rich. Do it because you love it. We travelled for many years before I decided to start blogging. In the beginning, you’ll get curveballs thrown your way but each one will result in learning something new, about travel and technology. Travel blogging allows you to relive wonderful experiences and share them with the world. Down the road, it might even help you travel more!

What’s one thing you wish you knew before you started traveling?

Travel is one of the most amazing gifts we can give ourselves. It isn’t something to fear. I was a nervous nelly and when my husband suggested travelling to Switzerland for five weeks I truly thought he had lost his mind as we had three young kids and I had never left North America before. That first trip introduced me to something I had been missing all my life but hadn’t yet realized. 

Why do you love to travel?

Travelling as a family allows us all to set aside our daily schedule and obligations and to truly get to know ourselves and each other without being interrupted by daily life. It allows us to have unique experiences and to create memories that will always stay with us no matter what life throws our way. 

What’s your best and worst travel experience?

Worst is easy. That’d be the time my husband and daughter ran over my oldest son on a steel summer toboggan track en route to the top of Mt. Pilatus, just outside Lucerne, Switzerland. (He had cuts and bruises and was otherwise alright but we were all pretty shaken.)

Best is a bit harder. We’ve had so many fantastic experiences. If I have to choose one, I’d say snorkeling with sea turtles in Barbados. They are such beautiful, majestic animals. To be able to get so close to them was just amazing. 

Do you prefer solo travel or traveling with other people? Why?

Well that’s easy. I’ve never been on a solo trip. We started travelling after we had the kids and we’ve always brought them with us. It’s amazing to experience the world with them and to see everything through their eyes.

What’s your favorite place you’ve ever been to? Why?

Can I have two? For now, I’d say Spain and Switzerland. Spain because the country is so historic and diverse. From Catalonia to Andalucia, there is such variety of experiences, history and food! Switzerland because it was our first European destination and the location where we stayed the longest. Our first trip to Europe lasted five weeks, four of which we spent in Switzerland. The country is stunningly beautiful and the people are some of the nicest we’ve met on our travels. I’d return to either location in a heartbeat!

What’s your biggest travel tip?

Plan, plan, plan! If you wait until you arrive to decide what to do you’ll miss so much! Do the research, make a list (or even a few lists), read the reviews …. It’s half the fun!!

Is there one specific thing you like to do, see, or buy in every place that you visit?

We always do a private tour. It’s such a great way to meet a local and to get to know a new destination If there is water nearby we also always like to experience it somehow, either with a boat ride or walking along a riverfront. 

I buy a Christmas ornament in every location. My oldest son buys a metal or ceramic re-creation of a local hot spot and my two youngest kids always buy a national flag. They also collect a little sand from each beach destination.

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?

Absolutely. The food in Budapest was such a wonderful surprise. Everything we tried was unique and so flavourful! The gulyás soup was amazing. The beef and paprika soup is nothing like the goulash we’ve eaten at home.  

quick questions

Plane or train? Depends on the destination but I’d say train if at all possible.

Hotel or hostel? Apartment LOL. Next choice would be hotel.

City or nature? Most of our travels include a bit of each but if I have to choose, I’d say city.

Popular site or off the beaten path? Popular site

Suitcase or backpack? Suitcase, but a small one.

Fast travel or slow travel? Slow travel

Professional camera or iPhone photography? Professional camera

Warm or cold weather? Definitely warm. I get enough cold weather home in Canada.

Interested in following Joanne elsewhere? Be sure to follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

All photos used throughout this post are taken by Joanne of Sunsets and Roller Coasters.

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