Travel Bliss Interview Series: A Wandering Web.
In continuation with my Interview Series, wherein each month I feature two interviews with people from around the world – who may be a home-maker, a traveler, a blogger, or a biker or a painter or a potter or an entrepreneur or a writer or just about anyone who have chosen to follow their bliss against all odds, this time my very special interview is with the very creative and enterprising Charlotte Tweed. Charlotte is a full time travel blogger with a passion for travel writing and photography. She is the owner of her website: A Wandering Web.
Charlotte’s interview is sure to inspire us and motivate us to continue to strive and explore and try out new things or just excel in whatever we put our minds to do. I am so excited to have her featured here on my website. We had collaborated earlier, when she wrote an article on soft-shelled crab po’boy sandwich for my cuisines page.
1. Tell us about yourself.
First and foremost, I am a devoted wife and mother. My family means the world to me and we love sharing travel experiences with each other. I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. Farming is a huge responsibility so as a child, my family didn’t travel much but I always dreamed of seeing far away places. I have always loved to write and take pictures so being a travel writer and photographer is a natural fit for my entrepreneurial spirit.
2. You are the founder of A Wandering Web. Please tell us more about it. How did you conceptualize it into being? What was your thought process behind it?
A Wandering Web is a blog specializing in small-town travel with a focus on food, drink, history and photography. When deciding on my niche, I thought about all the things I love to do when I travel. Food, drink and history are the cultural aspects that draw me to places I want to visit. I know when I visit new places these are the types of things I research so felt it would be an interest to my readers. But how could I tie that into one niche? In 2018, my husband Darryl and I embarked on an extended trip to discover how to do just that. While in the small town of Waldeck, Germany, we realized how much we enjoyed the small towns and relaxed in them more than the big cities. We were sitting in a biergarten, all by ourselves, overlooking the green, rolling hills of the German countryside and the lower level of the town. All the while, enjoying a German beer and Jägerschnitzel. It couldn’t have been a better “a-ha” moment. Small towns would be my niche. Big cities are exciting to visit but I love the small-town charm and sense of community a small town delivers in a big way.
3. You have made travel blogging as a full time occupation. Tell us more about it.
Travel blogging full-time is not easy, especially when travelling! It is not what you would expect. I work long, hours, often ten to twelve-hour days. It is not all play and no work, which some people think. I look at it as a work hard, play hard attitude. We will travel for awhile and then hunker down to work. I don’t want to spend my travel days sitting behind a computer. I need the time to explore where we are and then write when we get back home. I thought I could wander during the day and then write when I got back to my room, or wherever we are staying, but it doesn’t work that way. By the end of the day, I’m tired and I find I am the most productive and focused on my writing in the morning. If I don’t start writing in the morning, my creative process blocks. I also realized if I did not delve into developing my blog full-time, it would never take off the ground. Life gets in the way, you know.
4. I know exactly what you mean 🙂 Did you face any challenges / difficulties during the course of your journey? Please elaborate.
Ha! Yes! I still am facing challenges; it’s all part of the game. Time is always a challenge, and since there is only one of me, it is difficult getting everything done that I need to do to make my blog successful. Darryl (my husband) and I don’t blog as a couple – writing isn’t his thing. And then there is the joy of technology when it doesn’t work. I don’t consider myself a techy person so it can get very frustrating when my computer or phone is giving my grief. Money can be a challenge as well. Blogs don’t make oodles of money to start. I’m not at my financial goal with my blog yet but with perseverance, determination and a will to succeed, the success will come.
5. Any one lesson learnt or travel moment you will not forget?
Oh boy. That’s a tough question. There are so many lessons and great memories created through travel. Thinking back on our travels last year brings Egypt to mind. Egypt was a bit of a culture shock for us, yet it has some of the most magnificent historical sites to see since it is the cradle of civilization. The Valley of the Kings blew my mind more than the Pyramids of Giza. Seeing the tombs underground and how they were carved and painted thousands of years ago is hard to fathom. What a miraculous civilization the ancient Egyptians were. The Valley of the Kings gave me goosebumps. It was one of those moments of awe we all seek when exploring new lands.
6. Apart from traveling, you are also very passionate about writing. In fact, I believe you are about to publish your first book? Please do tell us about it.
I am in my zone of genius when I write. Time does not exist when I sit down to write and I love it. I’m in the process of publishing my first book, Roam Free: A Travel Transformation Memoir scheduled for release in January 2020. Today, I had an early morning Zoom call with my graphic designer for the cover. I am excited to see what her ideas are going forward. Three rounds of structural edits have been completed and now I’m working with my copy editor to perfect the grammar, ensure the punctuation is consistent and correct, and look at sentence structure to ensure flow and proper syntax. It is incredible to see how my book has evolved from my first manuscript to the inspirational travel story it is now. The book is broken into three parts: pre-travel where I go in depth on trials we faced before leaving everything behind, the six-month extended travel we took together, and how our travels changed us and how we face life today. Above all, I want to take my readers on an emotional journey that will encourage them travel for an extended period.
7. Awesome, looking forward to the release of your book. What are your other passions apart from traveling, blogging, writing and photography?
Cooking, reading, movies and spending time with family. I love food and I’ll try to cook anything. I especially love to cook for my family and to sit down and enjoy a meal with them. I’m kind of obsessed with food and my day revolves around what we are going to eat. I adore grocery shopping, especially in other countries. Comparing different items available and the prices fascinates me. My days start with reading, though. I must read voraciously in order to improve my writing skills. So, I guess you could say travel and writing weave their way into all of my days.
8. What is your idea of Bliss? Are you following your Bliss?
My idea of bliss is having freedom. Freedom to do what I want, when I want. To go where I want, when I want. Time is our most precious resource and my desire is to spend it with my family travelling the world and experiencing different cultures. Travel is the best education we can give ourselves. God willing, I’ll be able to continue following my bliss by experiencing the world through more travel.
9. Please tell us about your vision/dream for A Wandering Web and for yourself.
I have many plans for A Wandering Web. I am working on downloadable guides for my website on small towns in the countries I plan to specialize in. Upcoming guides will include small towns in Alberta, Texas, Germany and Belgium. Texas will come first as we just spent four months in the Lone Star State exploring Texas Hill Country. What a fantastic collection of small delectable towns the area has. Alberta is next on the list since I live there. More research is needed for Germany and Belgium so I have travel plans in the future that will help flesh out the ideas for those spectacular countries loaded with history. I am also planning on developing branded products, and of course, my book. An idea for a second book is already cooking in my mind. The long-term goal for my blog is to have an area where I can hook up people with local guides for intimate, personal tours where it is only the guide and their party. It would be completely customized. And for myself? I plan to be a best-selling travel writer.
10. Any words of wisdom / advice to all the people out there? There are so many of us who have certain dreams or passions that we want to pursue, but are struggling within ourselves, are not sure or are second guessing and having doubts about it. We could all do with some inspiration!
Just do it. Sorry, I’m stealing that from Nike. Seriously, though, I have always admired people who left everything they had and went on mission trips or long-term travel. I honestly never thought I could be one of those people because I had a job, a mortgage and a family. The opportunity came for Darryl and me to go so we jumped on it. If the opportunity presents itself to you to go on extended travels, don’t let it pass you by with fears of what could go wrong. We must take risks in order to grow. I promise you will be a different person after opening yourself up to the world. Through travel, our marriage improved and we improved as people in general. My skills as a photographer and writer have also grown leaps and bounds. I would also suggest getting a support group of peers that want you to flourish in your goals. Nothing will bring you down faster and hold you back more than being around negative people that do not understand your innermost desires. Allow yourself to dream and then write those dreams down into goals. Ask yourself what one thing you could do today to take a step toward those goals. Then, take that step, no matter how small it may seem.
Awesome! Thank you Charlotte for doing this interview with me! Your journey so far and all that you are doing is truly an inspiration for me and all those reading this blog.
I wish you all the very best in everything that you do and sincerely hope that your soon to be released first book Roam Free: A Travel Transformation Memoir is a huge success and that it will be only a first among many others to follow! And I also wish you all the success for A Wandering Web.
Stay tuned for this space, as I come out with another smashing interview very soon.
Till then, keep traveling and keep sharing your stories of inspiration here.