This week we get to chat with Emily Luxton!
1. First of all, what are your website and social media links?
I run two websites, my main travel blog www.emilyluxton.co.uk and also the more informative www.backpacksouthamerica.co.uk. You can also find me on:
2. How did you come up with your website name?
I’m not particularly imaginative, so I just used my own name. It seemed easier!
3. What more can you tell us about your blog? What are your goals or intentions for it?
EmilyLuxton.co.uk was originally set up as an online portfolio for my travel writing, but the more I’ve travelled the more it’s grown! Now I like to think of it as a source of information for all stages of travelling – from planning and research, to packing and life on the road.
I run a weekly interview feature called Postcard From, where I chat to another traveller about a recent trip of theirs. It means that my blog has visited more countries than I have – even Antarctica – so that I can share stories and information from all over the world.
My latest project is backpacksouthamerica.co.uk, which I want to become the best information site out there for travelling in South America. While I was researching the trip, and while I was actually on the road trying to figure things out, I became so frustrated both with guidebooks trying to make everything sound good, rather than telling the truth, and with information sites giving outdated or inaccurate information. I’m hoping to create a site where all the information is honest and 100% accurate, by constantly seeking out new guest bloggers and by keeping things well updated.
4. Can you provide us with a Throw Back Thursday picture of one of your favorite travel memories with an explanation?
This is a picture from the Erg Chebbi sand dunes in the Moroccan Sahara desert. Back in March 2012, I spent a night camping in the middle of the dunes in a traditional berber tent. We trekked there and back on camels, and lay out on the sand watching the stars after dinner, then watched the sunrise in the morning. It was a really incredible experience and still one of my favourite memories!
5. Which are your favorite and least favorite cities you’ve traveled to? Why?
My least favourite city will probably surprise everyone that’s been, since everyone else I met absolutely loved it! I really didn’t enjoy Medellin in Colombia. It was clean and modern, which was nice, but there was no personality and I found Medellin really boring and, to be honest, quite ugly. After gorgeous cities like Cartagena and Bogota, it was a huge disappointment!
I have a lot of favourite cities, but the best I visited recently was probably Buenos Aires. It’s really varied, with loads of beautiful old neighbourhoods as well as more modern districts, and there are just so many amazing experiences to be had there! I did a bike tour of the city with Biking Buenos Aires, which was so much fun, and also went to a couple of shows and some amazing restaurants. And of course there were the bondiolas – these huge, hot pork sandwiches you can buy from parilla stands all over the city. BA has a really vibrant culture and incredible cuisine, I could have spent weeks there!
6. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? Where?
I tend to be a bit of a fussy eater, so I don’t go in for too many weird and wonderful dining experiences (I normally just get my boyfriend to try them – like skewered chicken hearts in Brazil!). The strangest thing I’ve eaten is probably crocodile, which I tried at this really cool quirky restaurant in London called Archipelago. I also ate crocodile, ostrich and zebra while I was there!
7. Who are your travel idols?
Paul Theroux is my biggest influence, both as a writer and a traveller. I’m very envious of his narrative skill! I also absolutely love Kira Salak, who wrote one of the first travel books I ever read; Four Corners. She hiked solo through the jungles of Papua New Guinea, and also sailed the Niger River in Africa in a kayak, again solo! She’s a big inspiration for a female travel writer, especially one as lacking in bravery as I am!
8. What’s your best travel tip?
Don’t put it off! I waited about five years before travelling, because I thought that certain financial responsibilities I had were more important, and that I needed to save a particular amount of money up before I could go. I was wrong! The longer you put off travelling, the harder it becomes to leave and the more likely it is you’ll never go.
The tagline from my site comes from my all-time favourite travel quote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” That’s the message I would share with would-be travellers!
9. Which is your favorite post you’ve written? Please provide a link.
I have a lot of favourites, but because Machu Picchu was a really significant achievement for me I’m very proud of that post. http://emilyluxton.co.uk/2014/05/13/machu-picchu/
10. What advice would you give to someone new to travel blogging?
Persevere! It can be quite disappointing to write what you think is a fabulous post, only to check the stats the next day and find that just six people read it. But, the more you post, the more your blog will grow; when it comes to blogging success really does not happen overnight. Grow your audience by engaging with as many people as possible through as many platforms as possible, and exchange guest posts as a way to get your name featured on other sites.
But, most importantly, focus on producing the absolute best content that you can – everything else is secondary. If you can, try and create a brand or theme for your blog around something unique about you – like travelling as a couple – which will help you focus your blog.