Travel Blogger Tell All – Man On The Lam

Ø Who are you?

I’m Raymond Walsh – traveller, blogger, writer, photographer, and lover of all things quirky.

Ø Where are you from/Where’s home?

I’m from St. John’s, Newfoundland – the windiest, wettest, foggiest, and snowiest place in all of Canada. It’s also the friendliest.

Ø What type of traveller are you? Backpacker, full time traveller, luxury traveller?

I’m a full-time “slow” traveller. I like to take my time and have a good look around the place before I move on.

Ø Where was the first trip you took?

Our French class in high school went to Quebec City. I can’t say I was hooked after that – we had a knife pulled on us after a hockey game. But my second trip to Europe after university was much better.

Ø Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?

Oh there have been a few. I got a bug in Guatemala and lost 40 pounds, I got a weird skin infection in The Philippines and ended up in quarantine in hospital when I returned to Canada, and I had a major allergic reaction to the anti-malarial medication doxycycline in Indonesia. The worst though was taking an overnight bus in Vietnam – our driver struck and killed a woman on a motorcycle.

Ø Do you have any funny or crazy travel stories?

The one and only time I did Couchsurfing I met a guy who invited me to stay at his place in Indonesia. After the first day he said, “I’m really sorry to do this to you, but my best friend is in town and I rarely get a chance to see her. We’re going to a resort on an island tomorrow, but you’re more than welcome to come along. I’m part owner so you won’t have to pay anything.” His friend turned out to be a former Miss Indonesia. I figured I’ll never again get as good a Couchsurfing experience as that so I haven’t tried it since.

Ø What is the worst place you’ve travelled to and why?

I think I’ve enjoyed something about every place I’ve been to, so there’s not one that really stands out as the worst place.

Ø Where is your favourite place in the world?

Anywhere there’s a beach, cheap beer, and buckets and buckets of free Wi-Fi.

Ø How do you fund your travels?

Advertising on my site, some freelance writing gigs, and I’ve started to sell some of my photos as well.

Ø What is your most fond memory from your travels?

Ringing in New Year’s 2000 at the pyramids in Giza, Egypt was pretty special.

Ø What would you be doing if you weren’t travelling?

Probably lying in a grave somewhere. That’s the only thing that’s going to stop me at this point.

Ø Have you ever experienced any cultural faux pas?

I got kicked out of a police station in Oman for wearing shorts. They wouldn’t even let me leave through the front door – I was escorted out a side exit.

Ø What is your Favourite airline?

The one that has a seat sale, an available window seat in an emergency exit row, and doesn’t charge for drinks – that one.

Ø Where are you off to next?

Romania is my next stop, then to Florida to see my Mom. She’s in her 70s and has never been on a plane before, but she finally got a passport so I want to be there for her first trip.

Blogging:

 Ø What is the name of your travel blog and why did you choose this name?

Man On The Lam – I choose it because I thought it was easy to remember and it fit well with my theme of escaping the corporate world. “On the lam” means on the run. It wasn’t until I was blogging for a while that I realized most folks outside North America didn’t know what it meant.

 Ø When did you start blogging?

January 1, 2011. It was a New Year’s resolution that for once I actually followed through on.

Ø Where did you start blogging?

I had just spent Christmas with my family in Newfoundland, but started the blog when I was back home in my condo in Calgary, freezing my butt off and dreading going back to work.

Ø Why did you start a Travel blog?

I saw that other people were making a living at it, and thought it would be a nice way to share some stories and perhaps even make a little money on the side. Once I made the leap and decided to quit my corporate job I got more serious about blogging. And here we are. I wrote about it in an article called Growing Old Before My Time.

Ø What are you tips for new Travel Bloggers?

Find a niche and stick with it – the market is flooded with blogs about general travel that have little or no focus.

Don’t be afraid to be different – it’ll help you stick out.

Find other bloggers that are in the same boat as you that you can bounce ideas/questions off of. I was blogging for two years before I realized there were a slew of Facebook Groups devoted to blogging.

 Ø What do you wish you did differently when you started out?

Probably connect more with other bloggers. I stayed pretty much to myself the first year before meeting other folks. A course in WordPress and a photography course would’ve helped as well. I’ve sort of just been learning as I go.

Ø What has been your most successful blog post and what was it about?

The most popular post is an article about a pretty gruesome market in Indonesia. It ended up on the UK’s Daily Mail, Yahoo News, and a few popular sites in Indonesia and India. It’s gotten more than twice as many views as my second my popular post, about quirky scenes in LEGOLAND Florida.

Ø What do you do to help make your articles successful?  

I have started to take SEO more seriously, so try to include variations of keywords in my posts. I also belong to a couple of sharing groups with other bloggers — we comment, like, and tweet each other’s stuff.

Ø What social media platform is the most helpful for you and why?

For me it’s probably Facebook. Even though the Man On The Lam Facebook page is still a work in progress, I’Ve installed Facebook comments on my site and have seen a slight increase in article shares.

 Ø Have you worked with any “big name” sponsors, if not who would be your dream to work with?

I’ve worked with the Maui Tourism Board, Visit Malaysia, Cancun Travel, a couple of safari operators in Tanzania and South Africa, and quite a few hotels and attractions.

Ø Do you have any tips for new bloggers who want to work with sponsors?

More and more hotels and attractions are opening up to working with bloggers, so it’s not as difficult as many people think. Just be sure you’re professional in your approach, present a clear outline of what you can deliver, explain how and why they should work with you, and deliver what you say you going to deliver. And don’t forget to ask for feedback once you’ve completed the assignment — you can use that and any testimonials you get to help work with future sponsors.

Ø Which travel bloggers do you admire?

Michael Hodson and Gary Arndt because they tell it like it is.

Matt Kepnes because he’s got a successful business model.

And Abi King and Torre DeRoche because they’re both such great writers.

 Ø Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?

This is the advice I give to everyone…

Be not afraid. Most are there to help, not to harm.
Be not judgmental. It’s not wrong, it’s just different.
Be not an ass. Remember, you are a guest.

 Ø What is your Travel Motto:

Cover the earth before it covers you.

Website url: http://www.manonthelam.com
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Travelling King is a blog all about travel, food, luxury, and lifestyle.
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