CrowdInk had the chance to sit down (virtually) with Stephen Schrek, the backpacker/travel blogger/entrepreneur behind A Backpacker’s Tale to talk about how travel blogging starts, minor and major obsessions, that work/life balance, and how others can make travelling sustainable.
CrowdInk: How did you start traveling? Which came first, the trip or the business?
Stephen Schrek: Good question. The trip. I originally started blogging as a way to make money while traveling. Then it became an obsession. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.
CI: Being a travel blogger, you’re always on holiday, and you’re always working. How do you separate out genuine travel/life with taking care of business (emails, writing, business development)?
SS: It is hard to balance and something I struggle with. They’re both major obsessions of mine. I am a workaholic and always have 5 projects going at once. So sometimes I feel guilty traveling, but then I started blogging so I would have the freedom to travel. They are two sides of the same coin.
Nowadays, I try to balance it out by traveling slower. I travel for a week and not really work, and then I will stay in the same place for a week and work the whole time. This year, I am backpacking New Zealand the whole time. It is the first time I will stay in one country in over 8 years.
CI: Was there ever a moment when it didn’t seem worth it?
SS: For sure. I just talked about this in my latest post about my Sak Yant Tattoo in Thailand. There are lot misconceptions about traveling full-time. Most people view it as a non-stop holiday. But it is still very much life. Sometimes life is hard and sucks. Then add in the fact that you are always alone, always changing friends, and often don’t understand the language. Traveling full-time is wonderful, but it has moments that are very hard.
CI: Was there ever a moment when it all seemed incredibly worth it?
SS: These moments happen daily. Travel is my passion, and life. It is hard sometimes, but every time I experience something new, or look at an evergreen forest, or go hiking in the mountains, I am reminded why I do this.
CI: Do you have a singular piece of advice for anyone ready to pack it all up, get on a plane, and make a go of travel blogging?
SS: Loads of advice. First, I wouldn’t recommend doing it in that order. I would start blogging about a year before packing anything up and getting on a plane. It can take months or even years to make money from blogging so I would write old travel stories, or at least get involved in the community.
Stick to your niche. Value your readers and interact with them.