Ø Who are you?
My name is Alyssa and I blog at Alyssa Writes.
Ø Where are you from/Where’s home?
I’m Canadian but I currently live in London.
Ø What type of traveller are you? Backpacker, full time traveller, luxury traveller?
I get this question a lot and I’m still not sure. I suppose I’m an expat traveller? I’m about to start year four of living abroad in my second adopted country.
Ø Where was the first trip you took?
My parents took me to Jamaica when I was six months old, though we vacationed regularly until I started university. My first experience living in a new place, which I’m sure is what sparked my choice to be an expat, was when I was 15. I spent a summer in Montreal at a homestay to learn French.
Ø Do you have any funny or crazy travel stories?
There was this one time that my friend and I went all Before Sunrise in Paris and ended up spending the night with a group of Parisian drug dealers. But that’s a long story and I’ll just leave you all wondering…
Ø What is the worst place you’ve travelled to and why?
I haven’t travelled to a place that I didn’t like! I’m of the opinion that you make the place, so it’s up to you to find something interesting about it. It’s not always possible, but just trying can make a good story.
Ø Where is your favourite place in the world?
I fell in love with Barcelona. I don’t really know what it is about that place, but I just felt good there. I lived in Martinique but I missed the city; I live in London now, but I miss the weather and nature. Barcelona was the perfect mix of old and new, countryside and city life – everything I think I want. If I can, Barcelona will be my next expat destination.
Ø How do you fund your travels?
I live and work abroad, so it means I’m always travelling! In Martinique, I was an English Language Assistant. Currently I work as an in-house copywriter and outreach executive in London. I travel when I have holidays. It isn’t ideal, but money has to come from somewhere!
Ø What is your most fond memory from your travels?
I have a lot of fond memories from travelling. One that springs to mind is Christmas the first year I was in Martinique. For a lot of the assistants, it was our first time away from home for an extended period and Christmas in the Caribbean isn’t like it is at home. No pine trees, snow or songs we’re familiar with. A big group of us got together and we did a Canadian/Australian/British/American Christmas with silly hats, Christmas carols and crackers. It was both the hottest and one of the warmest Christmas celebrations I’d ever had.
Ø What would you be doing if you weren’t travelling?
I would probably be in graduate school, studying sociology or anthropolgy! I’ve always loved writing and studying and that was my plan until I caught the travel bug. I’ve actually been flirting with the idea of going back to do a Masters in Social Anthropology about expat integration.
Ø Have you ever experienced any cultural faux pas?
I’m more familiar with embarrassing language mistakes. When I was studying abroad in France, a health nut type asked about a drink we were buying a café: “Est-ce qu’il y a des préservatifs dedans?”
The French are already not very forgiving and the woman just looked at my classmate like she was insane. Préservatifs in French does not mean preservatives. It means condoms.
Ø What is your Favourite airline?
I had a really great experience on IcelandAir. On long-haul flights they also allow you to book free stopovers in Iceland for up to a week!
Ø Where are you off to next?
Back to Paris! I’ll be heading over for Nuit Blanche, which is an all night art festival that I’ve only been to in Toronto. I’m really excited about it – and no drug dealers this time!
Ø What is the name of your travel blog and why did you choose this name?
The name of my blog is Alyssa Writes. I chose this name because I didn’t want to feel restricted to writing about just one thing. I just love to write and travel happens to be one thing I write about a lot. I also write about food and my relationship every now again, too! I also thought that if I did decide to change the theme, it would be easier to re-brand that way.
Ø When did you start blogging?
I started blogging when I was in university. I had a LiveJournal, but it was Friends Only. It wasn’t until I was moving to Martinique in 2011 that I started my little Blogspot called Colour Me Martinique.
Ø Where did you start blogging?
I started blogging in Toronto as I was leaving for the Caribbean.
Ø Why did you start a Travel blog?
Basically, I wanted to make my friends jealous. Kidding! It seemed like a rare opportunity that someone was getting to live in the French Caribbean and I wanted to share it with people.
Ø What are you tips for new Travel Bloggers?
Do what you enjoy and write what you love. Don’t do something just because that’s what other people are doing or because it’s what you think you should do. There are thousands of travel blogs, but being uniquely you is how you will resonate with people.
Ø Do you wish you did differently when you started out?
When I first started blogging, I mostly wrote about funny stories or short overviews of what I had done in Martinique. Unless you knew me, you couldn’t really relate to it. I wish I had started writing more about what I was seeing and how other people could do the same.
Ø What has been your most successful blog post and what was it about?
Based on statistics, my most successful blog post is about getting a Youth Mobility/Working Holiday Visa for the UK. Hundreds of comments and dozens of emails from readers tell me that the post has helped them immensely with their application. I like to help people, so that makes me happy. A few of my posts in French about Quimbois and Rum in Martinique are also very successful, especially with readers in France.
I got really good traction (and a retweet!) from my university when I wrote a post about finding a vintage University of Toronto postcard in Prague.
Ø Have you worked with any “big name” sponsors, if not who would be your dream to work with?
I haven’t yet! That’s a really good question. I really like immersing myself in a place, which is why I prefer to live and work abroad. If there are any companies that can offer an experience where I can get that, then I’d love to hear from you!
Ø Do you have any tips for new bloggers who want to work with sponsors?
Don’t be shy. You are your best spokesperson, so be vocal (but not obnoxious) about what you have to offer. Get in touch with people and always let them know what you can do for them.
Ø Which travel bloggers do you admire?
I love the writers – the bloggers who jump into places with both feet, gain an understanding of the culture and community and are able to convey it with beautiful words and photos. If that’s you, you’re admired 🙂
Ø Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Just do it. Start small if you have to – visit a new city or state. Find something that interests you that you’ve never seen before and voila! You’re travelling.
Ø What is your Travel Motto:
“People need to see that, far from being an obstacle, the world’s diversity of languages, religions and traditions is a great treasure, affording us precious opportunities to recognize ourselves in others.”