Getting to know a Travel Blogger Series : The World was here first
Maggie and Michael are the American/Australian couple behind The World Was Here First, a blog specialising in off-the-beaten-path travel and expat life. The two have been inseparable travel buddies ever since their paths crossed one night in a hostel common room, travelling together to most Eastern European countries and a few destinations beyond!
What got you into blogging and how long ago was this?
Blogging was always something that was in the back of my mind, mainly because I like to write and wanted an easy outlet where I could get my work seen. Travel blogging seemed like a logical step, and both Michael and I had thought about starting a travel blog at one point or another, but a lot of times it seemed like the market was over saturated as it was and didn’t know where to start.
Then one day we were talking and realised that we both thought we had something to offer the travel blogging world that wasn’t there already. We like to travel to more off beat, less touristy destinations where there isn’t a lot of information readily available. More so, we travel fairly slowly and like to befriend locals and support the local economy more than we’re interested in the main tourist sites. So we sat down and did a lot of research and a lot of writing and started The World Was Here First! That was about six months ago now, but we’ve only been properly launched for a shorter period of time.
Favourite destination and why
That’s such a hard question! I guess the place to jumps to the front of my mind would be Belgrade, Serbia. All in we’ve spent the best part of a month in that magical city and I still feel the draw to go back!
It’s an absolutely amazing city and I don’t think it gets enough credit. Maybe because it isn’t the most picturesque of destinations, especially compared to somewhere like Budapest, which isn’t far away. But if you can get beyond the initial grittiness of Belgrade, you’ll find an extraordinarily vibrant and cosmopolitan city with some of the most friendly and hospitable locals I’ve ever encountered. I honestly can’t shut up about how amazing it is and pretty much tell anyone who will listen to visit Belgrade as soon as possible!
We’re pretty new to the blogging game so we don’t have much insider knowledge to share, but the main piece of advice I would give is to be hyper-organised! Michael and I have spreadsheets galore outlining our posting schedule, social media, content ideas, writing schedule, weekly plans, quarterly plan, etc.
We started treating our blog like a business from the get-go and it has really paid off. We always know where the other stands and what he or she is working on. We also set time aside once per week to discuss what needs to be done the following week. This organisation has helped us immeasurably and I certainly don’t think our blog would be at the stage it is now if we hadn’t been so attentive to detail.
There are so many places to explore in the world it’s hard to pick just one! Right now I’m dreaming about travelling through Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan and we’re planning to do a long a trip through the Caucasian region at some point in the near future.
I know Michael also really wants to journey back to Australia (his home country) overland at some point. That plan would be to take the trans-Siberian railway across Russia, travel through Mongolia and China and eventually mosey our way south through Nepal, India, and Southeast Asia. This would, obviously, take months but it is something that’s definitely in our plans!
Pet peeve about travelling
There are a few things that end up bothering us on the road, but most notably I would have to say I loathe tourists who show little regard for the country and culture. I notice it more and more with European destinations that are inexpensive to reach on budget airlines, where rowdy groups go solely to get plastered on the cheap. I think it leaves locals with a bad taste in their mouths about people from certain countries, especially when the majority of their encounters with foreigners are when they’re drunkenly wreaking havoc in their city streets.
Favourite Travel Blogger
Again, so many to choose from! I have to say that Goats on the Road are probably our all-time favourite travel blog, we travel in a similar style to them and it was their blog that encouraged us to take the leap and try our hand at travel blogging ourselves.
Another mention would have to be Against the Compass, who we’ve recently just stumbled upon. I love reading his articles on places where people typically do not travel (ie. Sudan and Pakistan) and he gives us a lot of inspiration to try harder and harder to stay off the beaten path!
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