Featured Blogger: Shandos from Travelnuity

Hey everyone! This week we’ve got Shandos from the online travel magazine Travelnuity!


1. First of all, what are you website and social media links?

Website: http://travelnuity.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/travelnuity

Twitter: http://twitter.com/travelnuity

Instagram: http://instagram.com/sjcleaver

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/travelnuity

2. How did you come up with your website name?

I’m really proud of coming up with the name all by myself – usually I’m not good at being creative with names! Initially I had come up with the blog name of “Travelling on a Shoestring”, and had even registered the domain, but then decided it was too similar to the Lonely Planet books and too limiting in scope. I then spent a few days trying to come up with something new, ideally that included the word “travel” and was a new word so there were no issues with registering a domain or social media handles. “Travelnuity”, which is short for travel and ingenuity, just popped into my head!

3. What more can you tell us about your blog? What are your goals or intentions for it?

I’ve loved to travel all my life, firstly as a kid in Australia with my parents, and then overseas since I finished uni. I’ve previously tried to have a go at freelance writing, when I was travelling around Australia, and had a few things published, but not much success. I don’t know why it never occurred to me start my own travel blog! Anyway, I’ve decided to have a break from working, and throw most of my time into Travelnuity. I would love to make a success of it so that I can continue to work for myself. I would also love to style it more as a travel magazine (as I’m not always out on the road travelling), plus have different guest conributors, including ideally being afford to pay them one day!

4. Can you provide us with a Throw Back Thursday picture of one of your favorite travel memories with an explanation?

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The photo was taken at the end of last year in Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic. My husband and I headed to Europe to experience a white Christmas for the first time. (We’re from Sydney, Australia, and usually have beach weather for Christmas.) We didn’t strictly get a white Christmas, as it didn’t start snowing until Boxing Day, and just lightly. This was taken the next day in Cesky Krumlov when it started snowing in earnest! It was just a magical day, particularly when this shot was taken while wandering around in the evening! Although I did get tired of being careful when walking around on the pavements of Prague after a few days!

5. Which are your favorite and least favorite cities you’ve traveled to? Why?

My favourite city would be a tie between Budapest and Paris. I went to Budapest just before last Christmas, and loved it! It was partially the ambience and the bar scene, plus fun things to do like the thermal baths and walking up to Fisherman’s Bastion. I haven’t been to Paris in over 10 years, not since my first trip to Europe, and don’t know how I haven’t yet returned. I spent a whole week there and it was just magical! In particular, I love art, so was really spoilt with the galleries there. My least favourite city would have to be Dar Es Salaam, although it was an eye-opener flying in and spending a night there, before flying on to Kilimanjaro Airport! It was fairly quiet as it was a Sunday, but you could tell where the banks were from the security guards with AK47s.

6. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? Where?

When travelling through Cambodia, we stopped at this roadside stop with a spider sign in between Phnom Penh and Siam Reap – I think all the tourist buses stop there! I tried both an insect like a grasshopper and a leg of a spider. The hardest part was working up the courage to put them in your mouth – both were deep fried and didn’t taste far removed from crunchy bits of deep fried chicken. I’ve also tasted sea urchin straight from the sea – and must admit it’s one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tried!

7. Who are your travel idols?

There are so many people who have inspired me, both the authors of travel books I’ve read in the past, plus the bloggers whose posts I’ve read both recently and long ago. Recently, I’ve been really impressed by Johnny Ward of OneStep4Ward (http://onestep4ward.com). My husband actually met him at a friend’s buck party (he was the best man), and started following him on Facebook. After hearing of his recent escapades as he tries to visit every country in the world, I’ve also started following him, and I’m very impressed with how adventurous and optimistic he has been travelling through central and western Africa!

8. What’s your best travel tip?

Be open to opportunities! Whether that’s being ready and quick to snap up a bargain flight special (especially important when you’re flying all the way from Australia) or doing something completely different that you only hear about on the road!

9. Which is your favorite post you’ve written?

I’m really happy with the post that I just wrote on “My 10 Favourite Female Travel Bloggers” (http://travelnuity.com/2015/09/favourite-female-travel-bloggers/). The more I’ve gotten into this, the more I’ve realised how important community is, whether it’s to share stories and tips, get recommendations on groups to join and do social media exchanges, or just to share frustrations and have a chat!

10. What advice would you give to someone new to travel blogging?

Just get in there and do it! It doesn’t take much to get started; you can just start with a free Blogspot or WordPress site, or pay for a cheap hosting plan and self-host WordPress with your own domain. The hard bit is if you want to build it and earn money from it – there’s a lot of competition, and you need to be patient and work hard!

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