TRAVEL INTERVIEW: Geraldine DeRuiter of the Everywhereist
Travel blog, The Everywhereist, has been deservedly racing up the ranks of ‘Top Travel Blog’ lists lately. It’s great popularity is due to the quirky wit and humor of the lady behind the blog, Geraldine DeRuiter. Geraldine is an American woman regularly out traveling the globe with her husband, Rand Fishkin, the man behind SEOMoz.
When I discovered The Everywhereist recently I couldn’t help but get in touch to find out about Geraldine’s off-beat humor, great writing skills and world travels. Here’s what she has to say for herself…
Q1. You are probably most famous at The Everywhere ist for your quirky wit and humor.
Where/how did you develop this hilarious sense of humor? Did you absorb it from someone in your family? Or is it uniquely you? Did it ‘just happen’, or have you been ‘working on’ ‘developing it’ ‘polishing it’ over the years, like professional comedians must do?
Truth be told, I never really thought anyone else would think my site was funny. In my real life, I’m constantly making lame jokes, and having people stare blankly at me in reply. So it’s weird to me that people might actually think my blog is witty and humorous. As for where that humor comes from, I’m guessing it’s a mix of being around my crazy family as well as all the television my brother made us watch as children.
Q2. Before taking up traveling the world with your husband and becoming a travel blogger, you were a professional copywriter. Could you please tell us exactly what that is and what your job entailed?
I was a content developer at a toy and game company in Seattle for several years. It was a wonderful job – I basically got to play with and write about toys and games every day. I worked on in-box content (like instructions and rules), and occasionally worked on the outside-box content (the words on the cover and back of the box). It was the most fun I’ve ever had (while earning a paycheck) and I still maintain a lot of great friendships with my former co-workers.
Q3. How did you learn to write so well? Did you just have a natural talent? Did you study writing extensively? Have you developed your skills over time?
I’m not quite sure that I write all that well (I reread a lot of my old posts and cringe. I am in dire need of a good editor)! There are a lot of great blogs which I read for inspiration (like Smitten Kitchen and Go Fug Yourself), and I’m constantly trying to improve. I was a journalism major in college, and I find that a lot of those skills translate well to blogging. I treat every post like an article – it has to tell a clear story that concludes by the end of the post.
Q4. What advice would you give to aspiring writers on how to improve and polish their skills?
If you want to write well, read articles and books that are well-written. I’m constantly reading and taking inspiration from other writers. Don’t be afraid of criticism – it can only make your work better! And grab a copy of the AP Stylebook – it’s a great help when you are trying to figure out grammar and punctuation.
Q5. In recent years, you’ve been out traveling the world with your husband as he works. Have you always loved traveling? Do you have a long history of traveling? Or is this something new you’ve taken up in order to be with your husband?
Though I have a very international family, I didn’t do a lot of traveling until I was older. Travel wasn’t really financially feasible until recent years – school and work prevented me from going anywhere. I’m so grateful for the opportunity I now have to see the world. It also means that I get to spend time with Rand – who I wouldn’t see a lot of otherwise.
Q6. What’s your travel-life itinerary like? Are you constantly traveling? Or do you have a home base that you keep traveling to/from? Are you on the road constantly? How long do you typically stay in any one spot? Etc…
We’re on the road roughly 1/3 of the year. The rest of the time, we’re back home in Seattle. We take a lot of trips, but they’re usually fairly short – only a week or ten days. I don’t think either of us could handle being on the road constantly – it’s too much stress, and we love Seattle too much to be away from it for that long.
Q7. Do you find it easy or difficult to continue writing while constantly changing locations?
I usually have a bit of downtime at home during which I can catch up on blogging. I rarely blog from the road because I don’t usually have time. If I know I’m going to be traveling, I’ll try to have several posts ready to go ahead of time (I usually blog about my trips long after they’re over). This means I won’t be stuck in a hotel room trying to finish up a post when I could be exploring a city.
Q8. Are you quite content following your husband’s travel itinerary? Or do you sometimes wish you could choose your own destinations / schedule?
Rand’s itinerary is so exciting, and has taken me to a lot of places I wouldn’t have thought to visit on my own – like Peru and Bulgaria. Plus, he always asks for my feedback when deciding what trips he’s going to take. And we both travel on our own – I’ll go visit friends or family, and he’ll do shorter work trips by himself.
Q9. Are there ever destinations in your husband’s schedule that you’d really rather not go to? If so, what do you do in that case? Go along anyhow? Skip it? Or?
If it’s a shorter trip, or one that I can’t make due to conflicting obligations, I just skip it.
Q10. Thus far, what are you favorite 3 places in the world and why?
Tough question! But if I can only pick three …
My mother is from Italy, and I feel so at home there. Rome, in particular, is so vibrant and exciting and full of history. I feel like I could spend weeks there and not see all of it.
We went to Peru last fall, and it quickly shot up to the top of my list of favorite places. The people were so incredibly friendly, the culture so rich, and the food was exceptional! I really want to go back.
And Bavaria holds a special place in my heart. My father lives there, and the landscape is so green and lush.
Q10. Are there any places you’re just dying to visit? If so, where and why the attraction?
I’ve never been to Asia, and that’s something I want to rectify in the next few years. I feel like there’s this glaring hole in my travel resume that I need to fix. And even though it’s incredibly close to us, Rand and I have never been to Hawaii. I hope that sometime soon, when he has time for a real vacation, I can drag him there for a weekend.
Thanks so much , Geraldine, for telling us about your travels, blogging, and humor. I hope to catch up with you on the road one day!