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| Gary Arndt of Everything-Everywhere
TRAVEL INTERVIEW: GARY ARNDT OF EVERYTHING-EVERYWHERE
If you’ve checked into the world of travel or travel bloggers at all, you already know Gary Arndt and his top travel site Everything-Everywhere, which jumped into the global spotlight last year when Time Magazine proclaimed E-E to be one of the best blogs in the world. Long before that, though, Gary had enticed vast numbers of followers to Everything-Everywhere with his fantastic photos and adventurous tales from exotic destinations around the globe. Now at the very top of the travel blogging world, Gary’s found time to share the secrets to his success and his love of travel in this interview. I’m excited to present Gary Arndt:
1. Gary, you’ve been traveling around the world for over 4 years now. Are you just as gung-ho and energetic as when you started? How do you keep up your enthusiasm?
Obviously, things change over time. When I first started out much of the excitement was facing the unknown. Now I know how traveling works and the initial thrill I had isn’t there anymore That being said, I still enjoy the hell out of traveling and hope to keep doing it for a very long time.
2. What are your 3 favorite places you’ve been so far ? Why?
I’ll arbitrarily say Palau because of the diving and jellyfish lake, Jerusalem because of the history and importance of the city and Hong Kong because of the food and how busy it is. Ask me on a different day and you might get a different answer.
|Hong Kong signs by Gary Arndt/ Everything-Everywhere
3. Are there any places you disliked/ hated/ never want to return to again? If so, where and why?
I can’t say there are any places I hate, but there are places I am in no rush to return to. There really wasn’t much in East Timor.
4. Do you travel continuously or do you have some ‘off time’ at a ‘home base’? If there’s a home base, where and for how long annually?
I do not have a home base. My father passed away last year so I was in Wisconsin with my family for several months, but other than that I am on the road all the time. I try to get back every few months now to spend some time with them.
|Curacao by Gary Arndt/ Everything-Everywhere
5. Not only was Everything-Everywhere voted by Time Magazine as one of ‘Top 25 Blogs of 2010′ but it’s also been at the top of several blogs lists and receiving important media attention for several years already. Congratulations.
How did you ‘reach the top’? Was it great SEO skills, the sheer number of followers, using social media, your writing and photographs, a combination of all ..?
I suppose it is a combination of several things:
– I put a very strong emphasis on photography. As a point of pride, all the photos on my site are my own.
– I was one of the early travel blogs so I had a first mover advantage.
– I’ve been doing it longer than most people. A big part of success is just not quitting.
– I travel all the time and have been to many places, some of which are very out of the way. That makes my story a bit more interesting than just going to the common backpacking places around the world.
– I think like a business man, not a writer.
I actually put very little effort into SEO.
|Venice by Gary Arndt/ Everything-Everywhere
6. Now that you’re ‘on top’ is it hard to maintain your popularity? Do you have to work just as hard as when you got started, or can you take it easy a bit and enjoy a much-earned ‘cruise’?
No. I went through several months when my father was in the hospital where I didn’t post as often and that habit stuck with me after I started traveling again. You can’t rest on your laurels. I suppose even if my traffic drops it will still be more than some bloggers, but that doesn’t mean I’m immune to things. If anything, I’m working on more projects now because I don’t think I’ve scratched the surface of the potential of what is possible with a travel blog.
7. How many hours per day or week do you spend on your blog, social media, materials and photos?
In some capacity or other, pretty much everything I do has something to do with the blog. Not everything involves sitting at my computer or camera. I might be meeting people or visiting a museum or taking photos or tweeting during dinner. It is a pretty all consuming thing. I have finally gotten some help so I hope to spend more time actually writing and taking photos and less time doing business stuff.
|at Kimberly, South Africa by Gary Arndt/ Everything-Everywhere
8. You seem to have unbounded energy and get an incredible amount of stuff done, considering your masses of photo galleries, social media interactions, blogging and traveling too! I can’t help but ask, do you ever sleep? How many hours of sleep do you need per night?
6-8 hours. It isn’t how much time you spend, but what you spend your time doing.
9. Before you became a long-term world traveler, you owned an internet consulting firm then helped found a business intelligence software company.
Surely your vast SEO skills, internet expertise and web connections were a key to building such a great and successful blog? Wouldn’t it be much harder for someone with no SEO, website and internet skills to create a top travel blog?
Sure. Being a blogger isn’t the same as being a writer. You can just write and hope the world will beat a path to your door. With a few notable exceptions, it doesn’t work that way. Being a blogger means being a publisher and wearing all the hats you would find a normal publication: content creation, advertising, circulation, running a website, SEO, etc.
|Sydney Opera House by Gary Arndt/ Everything-Everywhere
10 .I greatly enjoyed your recent podcast giving advice on building a successful travel blog. Thanks for the advice! You mentioned the importance of creating your own unique personality and angle. What do you see as your own unique personality and angles?
I suppose other people would be better able to answer that than I could. I try to be honest and be who I am. I think people can notice when you are being fake. I’m often very direct with people which turns some people off. I don’t sugar coat stuff. I’m also very hard on myself. I have over a dozen unwritten articles which I just don’t think are good enough to post yet.
My background is also very different from most travel writers. I’m not a writer by profession so I don’t know how to write like an objective observer. I write like I speak and bring all my baggage with me.
11. What 3 achievements in your world travel/ blog success give you the most satisfaction/ are you most proud of?
I suppose the Time Magazine thing was pretty big, even though I had nothing to do with it. Being asked by the Atlantic to write for them was quite an honor as well. To think that I went from nothing in four years to being associated with a prestigious publication with no formal background as a writer is pretty cool. I also take pride in the advances I’ve made as a photographer. I knew nothing about photography when I started traveling and I think I’m OK now.
|Loi Kratong Festival, Bangkok Thailand by Gary Arndt/ Everything-Everywhere
12. What are your ultimate goals with your nomadic travel life in terms of travels, writing, blogging and photography ?
I would like the website to be able to fund my lifestyle for as long as possible. Keep traveling, visiting new places and being able to tell other people about it.
13. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I really don’t know. I don’t think that far ahead. I hope I’m healthy and still traveling.
* all photos in this interview by Gary Arndt / Everything-Everywhere
Thanks so much Gary for giving us your perspective on the great success of Everything-Everywhere and your world travels. I look forward to the next 10 years of your travels, blogs and photographs. Hope to meet you out on the road one day. cheers, Lash