Todays Interesting Interview is with a cool guy who goes by the name of Stephen Schreck. He manages both A Backpackers Tale and Traveling With A Camera, where he combines his passion for travel and photography by showcasing some really good photo essays as well as writing some quality posts.
Three things got my attention about Stephen..
#1 – Traveling to Ireland actually sparked his desire to travel the world.
#2 – He is doing the Mongol Rally this year, covering 1/3rd of the world by car.
When did you decide to start a travel blog and why?
I’m relatively new to the travel blogging world. I only started blogging about 8 months ago, and the first few months were spent just figuring out my voice and my niche. The truth is that two short years ago I knew nothing about travel blogs, but one fateful day, while planning my RTW trip, I came across a couple of travel blogs. I saw all these people living my dream.
They were a voice and an inspiration to people traveling around the world or dreaming of traveling. I made a commitment to myself right then that I would become the best blogger possible. So I bought a domain name, did a mentorship with Nomadic Matt, and here I am.
I write for any website that will allow me, but right now I’m not focused on getting paid. I’m lucky because I already saved money for my RTW. This means I don’t need to focus on making money in order to keep traveling. Instead I can focus on becoming a better blogger and building my audience.
I write for other websites to get my name out there and to make connections. If they pay me a little, that is just a bonus. Now in a couple of years when my bank account starts to dry up, I’ll definitely work to monetize my blog and start doing more freelance work.
However at this point, I want to create a sense of community. My audience will always be the main focus of A Backpacker’s Tale. I want to inspire future travelers and build a core audience. If I do that, my site will monetize itself.
What is your favorite music to listen to when travelling?
I’m a sucker for movie soundtracks. I’m talking classical soundtracks like Last of the Mohicans. I listen to music like this when I write. It helps me to clear my head and get my thoughts on the page.
Some of my favorite banks are Mumford and Sons, the Lumineers, and Iron and Wine. My favorite song at the moment is ‘Welcome Home’ by Radical Face. I also always try to listen to local music while I am on the road. It helps me get a vibe for the place.
One of my bucket list items is to listen to ‘Holiday in Spain’ by the Counting Crows in Barcelona. I’m doing this as soon as I land next month and can’t wait.
Have you ever had to bribe a cop or border security?
I once had to bribe two cops in two days in Mexico! The first time it was because I was walking down the street a little intoxicated, which isn’t illegal, but a cop grabbed my friend’s wallet and my friend reached over and grabbed it right back out of the officer’s hands. Right then I knew we would have to pay him something. The next day, we got pulled over for no reason. The cop made up some BS and we had to pay him to let us go.
Have you ever ran out of money while traveling?
Ha ha yes, a couple of times. The first few times I traveled, I was horrible at budgeting. I was in backpacking party mode and ran out of money extremely fast. I always had to borrow money from my family. I don’t recommend this because you have to pay that money back before you can start saving to travel again. Now, I budget wisely, don’t break the bank to party, and always leave a little money back home that I don’t count on as part of my budget just in case I need it.
Which country had the strongest effect on your personality and view on life?
Ireland hands down. It was my first trip overseas and it completely changed who I was and the path I was taking in life. The moment I saw Ireland, it was like my eyes had been opened for the first time. The plane hadn’t even landed, but I knew someday I would be backpacking the world. Ireland is where I found my personal legend; it was the strongest moment of my life. That was 6 years ago, and I’ve traveled every year since and I’m just getting started…
Did you ever use HelpX, Couchsurfing or Woofer?
I’ve tried to Couchsurf a few times, but it has always fallen through. However, later in the year, I’ll be using it a lot. Couchsurfing is excellent in Europe because hostels are more expensive than places like Asia and Africa.
Do you read business, self-help or success books?
No, though I do read advice online on how to write better and build a better blog. I work by trial and error. I don’t care if I get knocked on my ass as long as I learn something when I get back up. I’m obsessive compulsive and when I focus on something, there is no stopping me, so I don’t mind if I try something, and it doesn’t work perfectly the first time because for me, personally, it just makes me learn, get back up, and work harder.
Has social media had a big effect on your blog traffic?
For sure! When you are first starting out, social media is a powerful tool to spread the word about your blog and to interact with your peers. While I still love getting traffic from social media, my main focus is writing exceptional content and strengthening my audience.
Ever lost your wallet/passport or had it stolen?
No way! I’m a disorganized person in general, but I always know where my passport, wallet, and debit cards are stored. I keep them locked up every second I can. I personally use a money belt. I don’t wear it, but it is good for keeping all your essential items organized and stored together.
What is next for your travels and in life?
Last month, I started my long-term travels. I’m on an indefinite trip around the world. Yesterday, I just flew from Egypt to Croatia where for the next few weeks and then traveling around Europe; I’ll be sailing up and down the Dalmatian coast.
A Backpackers Tale is an adventure travel blog with a personal touch. It is written and edited by Stephen Schreck, a vagabond who’s dedicated to long-term travel, and informing you of adventures all over the world.
My photography and photo essays can be found on my new blog Traveling With A Camera