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TRAVEL INTERVIEW WITH HEATHER COWPER OF HEATHER ON HER TRAVELS

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travel interview- heather Cowper 
Heather with meal in Lebanon

TRAVEL INTERVIEW WITH HEATHER COWPER OF HEATHER ON HER TRAVELS

Meet superwoman, Heather Cowper of Heather on her Travels. In addition to a usual life filled with full time work in the UK and playing  wife,  mother and home owner, Heather somehow manages to travel throughout the year and keep up, not one, but two active and successful travel blogs. And look, she’s still smiling! How she does it all is beyond me. Hat’s off to you, Heather! In today’s interview we find out what whirlwind of activities Heather has been up to this year…

Q1. In addition to your blogging life, you have a ‘regular family/work life’ in Bristol, England. You’re a very busy woman! How much do you get to travel each year?

I probably get away outside the UK 6-8 times a year, sometimes for a week at a time, other times for a long weekend. I also love to explore the UK and so I sometimes find a nice hotel to stay for the weekend with my husband or a cottage with my family from where we explore the surrounding area. Because I work full time, I don’t get the chance to travel for extended periods, but instead I pack as much as I can to a short visit and then have a rest when I get back home. I think that my travel style is representative of many others who love to travel but have work and family committments to consider.

Hotel Weissen Rössl at St Wolfgang in Austria

Q2. Where have you traveled so far this year?

 

Le’ts see now, earlier in the year I visited Salzburg and the surrounding area for a family break, had a long weekend in Copenhagen with my husband, went to Malaga in Spain with a friend, spent a week in western Egypt travelling around with a friend and at the end of August I was walking part of the Tour de Mont Blanc trail with another friend. Soon I’ll be visiting my sister on the Greek island of Zakynthos for a week and I’m also hoping to get to Sweden for the Christmas markets in December.

travel interview- heather Cowper
Heather in Siwa, Egypt

Q3. Have you picked up any new favorite destinations this year? If so, where and why?
I was really taken by Egypt as it was somewhere that was previously low on my wish list, as I had images of being constantly hastled by people trying to sell you souvenirs of the pyramids and camel rides. In fact I was visiting a friend who lives in Alexandria and loved the dusty charm of the city, but my favourite place was the oasis of Siwa in the desert close to the border with Libya. It has such a relaxing atmosphere and due to the revolution and troubles in Libya, there have been very few tourists there this year.

archaelological ruins in Lebanon

Q4. Sorry, Heather, but here’s the ‘most hated Q of all': What are your 3 favorite places in the world, and why?
 
I enjoy different places for different reasons and try to appreciate the essence of each destination. I visited Lebanon a couple of years ago and thought it had so much to offer, from wine tasting to deserted archeological remains to glitzy nightclubs to atmospheric back street souks. Everything is so accessible and as the political situation is calm at the moment it’s a good time to go. I also eally enjoy going back to the Greek island of Zakynthos year after year, especially outside the main tourist season when it takes on a much more typically Greek character. I also have a soft spot for Ecuador where I spent a few weeks on a canoe trip down an Amazon tributary a few years ago and spent some time in a rainforest community – I’d love to go back and see more of the country.

Roma’s Mansion, Zante, Zykanthnos, Greece

Q5. Does your husband also have a travel bug and like to share you journeys and adventures with you? Or is it more your own passion?

He also loves to travel and in fact we met while working for Operation Raleigh, a round the world charity expedition. However, we have slightly different tastes in travel – he loves to go wild camping, while I prefer a boutique hotel and he also enjoys cooler climates where I head for the sun. We take family holidays and weekend breaks together and then I also take some trips with other friends, which is a good balance.
 
Q6. Do you generally travel alone, with family, or with friends? Which, if any, do you prefer, and why?

I don’t really like to travel alone, as I love to share the experience with friends and family – for me it’s about creating memories of times spent with people I care about. Having said that I take trips with the family, short breaks with my husband, visit friends who live abroad and sometimes travel with my parents or one of my children. I enjoy all of these for different reasons and each trip is tailored to cover the preferences of those I travel with – I’m pretty flexible and just try to enjoy the moment wherever I am.
 
travel interview- heather Cowper

Snake tatoos with Wika fruit dye at Sarayaka

Q7. Assuming money and time are not limitations, what’s your ideal type of travel, in terms of length of trip, destinations, activities, accommodation, etc.?
Because of my work and family committments, I’m rarely away for more than a week. However, if I didn’t have these constraints, I’d love to travel for a longer time, perhaps working my way through South America and learning Spanish, or driving through Spain and Portugal for a month or two. I’m happy with simple accommodation, although I love places that have some design or character and I’m also happy to be spoiled with a bit of luxury. I do feel that I’ve outgrown the dorm room and although we do stay in family friendly hostels, I’d always book a private room with bathroom. I enjoy a mixture of cultural activities and something a bit more active depending on who I’m with and I get bored if I sit on the beach for very long.
 
travel interview- heather Cowper
Heather on Tour du Mont Blanc
Q8. Nowadays, many travel bloggers are out traveling the world nomadically and long-term. Do you think you’d like to live and travel like that? Or do you prefer having a home base and taking shorter trips? In either case, why the preference?

Although I’d like to take longer trips than I do now, I can’t see myself being a permanent nomad. I think a trip of up to 2 months would be fine for me but then I’d be ready to come home and relax in familiar surroundings. I’d hate to get to the point where I felt jaded about the places I visited and where one destination was beginning to merge into another.
 
You’ve been running your travel blog, Heather on Her Travels, for nearly 4 years now and have become very well established in terms of readership, presence in the travel industry, and attracting advertisers, sponsors and press trips. You’ve also developed another site, giving advice to other hopeful travel bloggers. Congratulations on your achievements!
 
harbor at Zante, Zykanthnos, Greece
Q9. What do you like most about blogging? Anything you don’t especially enjoy?

Of course I love travelling and then sharing my travel experiences and stories on the blog. I’ve particularly enjoyed being able to branch out into podcasts and videos as a different way of sharing and am gradually learning how to improve my blogging whether it be through travel writing, photography, audio or video. I also enjoy being able to give new bloggers the benefit of 3 years of blogging experience and the things I learned along the way at my new blog at http://www.mybloggingjourney.com/
What I don’t enjoy is the administrative activities that come with an established blog – dealing with constant e-mails and requests from people who want to engage with me in one way and another, especially the untargeted press releases and the people who want to give me ‘free’ content. 
 
tea break in Siwa, Egypt
Q10. Do you aspire to running your travel blogs full-time and earning your living from them? Or do you prefer to keep it as a sideline?

That is my aspiration and I constantly struggle with the fact that I can only give so much time to the blog, as I work full time and have a family. I would love to be able to be a full time blogger, but I’m in a catch 22 that I need to build up the income first, and with the limited time that I can devote to it, that is a slow process.
 
Q11. What’s the most important advice would you give to aspiring travel bloggers?

In the first few months of blogging, spend your energy on writing or producing the best content that you can and in engaging with your audience and giving them what you want. Great content is the foundation of every successful blog. After that, start to learn a bit about good SEO principles and how you can market your blog to bring it to the widest possible audience. 
Copenhagen canal tour

Q12. Finally, where do you see Heather On Her Travels heading in 2012?


In terms of travel, I’m hoping to get out to Ethiopia, as we have friends living there and I’ve wanted to visit the country for ages. Other than than that I’m flexible about my travel plans and will see what opportunities come along. I’d love to build up both my blogs a little bit more in terms of audience and traffic and also try and find more ways of monetising that will take me a few steps closer to being a full time blogger.
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Thanks Heather for taking the time to tell us about your traveling style, favorite places, and your great travel blogs. Hope to meet you out on the road one day. cheers, Lash  

(* All photos from Heather Cowper / Heather on her Travels *)
Follow Heather!  Where you’ll find Heather on her travels:

2 comments

1 ping

  1. Heather on her travels

    Thanks so much for featuring me Lash, din't know about superwoman but sometimes I wish there were more hours in the day!

  2. LASH

    Thanks for doing the interview Heather!

    I bet you do wish there were more hours in the day! I know i do,and i don't have nearly as much on my plate as you. I think you qualify as a Superwoman, for sure!

    cheers, Lash

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