Ø Who are you?
Caz Makepeace. One half of ytravelblog.com Serial traveller, blogger and sunset mojito drinker keen on helping others travel more and create better memories.
Ø Where are you from/Where’s home?
A place called Woy Woy, which is about an hour north of Sydney. But my home for the past 12 months has been a camper trailer as we road trip around Australia.
Ø What type of traveller are you? Backpacker, full time traveller, luxury traveller?
Currently a full-time traveller with my family. We’re mostly embracing the camping caravanning lifestyle, but often break it up with apartment stays. Previous to kids, I was a backpacker working and travelling around the world for about 10 years. I now also consider myself a digital nomad.
Ø Where was the first trip you took?
Bali , Indonesia in 1996 with two girlfriends for a two week holiday. I was hooked and left a year later to travel indefinitely. I’m still going.
Ø Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?
Yes on my first big adventure in Indonesia with my two girlfriends. We were exploring Samosir Island in Sumatra with a couple of local boys. They were driving us around on motorbikes as we could not drive them ourselves. Turns out they were crazy and would not take us home when we asked them too. The afternoon quickly turned to hell with them playing games with us and speeding off so we were each separated from each other.
My driver decided to sing a lovely song to me, “I killed the tourist and then I stole her passport.” He then began to discuss with me what would happen if we had a bike accident and if I died no one would find my body and know what happened to me.
I was terrified and did not know what to do. I just shut up and surrendered and hoped I’d get home alive. Surprisingly they dropped us back at our hotel in the village after nightfall. I seriously thought I was going to die that night. The island was famous for magic mushrooms, so I’m convinced they had eaten some before we left in the morning.
Ø Do you have any funny or crazy travel stories?
Africa was full of these stories for us. On one particular trip we had quite the arduous journey squashed in the back of a pick up truck that was covered in rust and completely beat up. I couldn’t believe that it could actually move. Typical to Africa, there were about 20 of us in the back sitting on sacks of rice, bikes, and baskets filled with goods. As we were travelling along the dirt road, the car suddenly shuddered and came to a grinding halt. We looked to the right and there was the wheel of the ute rolling away down the side of the road!!! It was a pretty funny crazy moment.
Ø What is the worst place you’ve travelled to and why?
I didn’t like Athens. I think we stayed in the wrong part of town, but it was dodgy, smelly, hot, dusty and dirty. I left the next day on a boat for the islands. I would be interested to return and do it properly.
Ø Where is your favourite place in the world?
So hard to narrow this done. I love so many different places for many reasons. Thailand always has my heart as a place to unwind and enjoy beautiful beaches, amazing food and lovely people. I love living in the US – it has so much to offer by way of beautiful landscapes, outdoor adventure, and awesome cities. I also love Africa for it’s wild animals, and Australia has really blown me away with its beauty, diversity, and exoticness on this current trip. It’s quickly becoming one of my favourites. And if I had to give one place in Australia that is my favourite, it would be Broome, Western Australia.
Ø How do you fund your travels?
Previously to our travel blog, we lived and worked in different countries so we could earn and travel at the same time. We’ve kept that principle except now we earn our income through our own business, rather than having to rely on jobs and work visas.
Ø What is your most fond memory from your travels?
So many to choose from but one that always sticks in my mind was randomly stumbling upon a group of about 30 elephants taking a morning mud bath in South Africa.
Ø What would you be doing if you weren’t travelling?
I can’t even imagine what that life would be. Travel is all I’ve known since I graduated from Uni. I think I’d be lost, confused and miserable. My background is primary school teaching and if I continued with that and weren’t travelling I think I’d be certified insane.
Ø Have you ever experienced any cultural faux pas?
Calling a Southerner in America a Yank. Yeah, don’t do that. Those civil war wounds run deep.
Ø What is your Favourite airline?
Ø Where are you off to next?
Western Australia and South Australia. Once this road trip around Australia is finished, we will be doing the same in the US.
Ø What is the name of your travel blog and why did you choose this name?
Y Travel Blog. We really believe in travel and how it can transform your life. so the “Y” travel is very important for what we do. We are constantly stpeaking of the benefits of travel and encouraging people to do more of it for these reasons. We could not get the domain http://ytravel.com so we just through the blog part in there!
Ø When did you start blogging?
Ø Where did you start blogging?
We were living in Raleigh, North Carolina USA at the time
Ø Why did you start a Travel blog?
We’d been living and working around the world for many years and felt we had a lot of insights, tips and stories that could help others travel more. We were also looking for our own portable business as our working visa options had run out. We wanted to continue this lifestyle of travel so knew we had to create something of our own so we would have the freedom to live where ever we wanted without having to rely on visas.
Ø What are you tips for new Travel Bloggers?
You can see an in-depth post here where I share my 15 steps to a successful blog. But, my biggest tip is to understand why you are doing this and how you can help others. I think these two things form a very strong foundation for your travel blog. They will also help you to stay focused on long-term success and to not quit.
Ø Do you wish you did differently when you started out?
Ha. So much! I really did not have a clue and we laugh now when we look back on our first posts. I wish we thought more about design, and building our email list from the beginning.
Ø What has been your most successful blog post and what was it about?
Craig wrote a post called I want to know your secret. It was written in response to everyone saying how lucky we are. Which is total B.S and if you read that post you’ll see what I mean. We went through several years of financial hell to get where we are now. So we really wanted people to know that everyone goes through tough times, but you can get yourself out of it and luck is something you create not something that magically appears.
Ø What do you do to help make your articles successful?
I know my audience and what they need. I understand how they think and feel so I write to that.
Ø What social media platform is the most helpful for you and why?
Pinterest. We have over 4 million followers and it brings over 150,000 visitors to our blog every month. It’s super important for us. With Pinterest they can be inspired by a beautiful image and at the same time be given tools and information to help solve their problems with a quick click on an image they are on your site.
Ø Have you worked with any “big name” sponsors, if not who would be your dream to work with?
Yes. We have worked with many: Ford, Canon, Qantas, Trover, Shell and Microsoft
Ø Do you have any tips for new bloggers who want to work with sponsors?
This is a long-term strategy. You really have to have a strong, loyal readership so that you can offer the brand something. Focus on first building your platform so you have something valuable to offer. That doesn’t mean you can’t start reaching out and networking with those brands you want to work with. It’s a good idea you do this so they start to know who you are and what you do. But, this is definitely not something that can happen overnight. It took us years to get to this position and it is still something that is very difficult to do.
Ø Which travel bloggers do you admire?
Ø Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
Definitely consider a working holiday. It’s the best way to travel for longer and slower. It also means you don’t have to save as much and you have more enriching travel experiences. We’ve followed this strategy for 16 years and absolutely love it. We are continuing to follow it as digital nomads.
Ø What is your Travel Motto:
Travel More. Create better memories.
Website url: http://ytravelblog.com
Google+ profile: https://plus.google.com/+CazMakepeace/about