Would you leave everything behind and live with no possessions, no plans and just travel? Dalene and Peter Heck got ready for that in 2009. After a series of sad personal events, they decided to make a change in their lives and begin a new adventure.
Since then, during each trip they kept updating a site which they started to communicate with family members and that soon became a useful logbook for a wider audience. If you visit them you will feel like you are traveling along as you follow their experiences, travel tips, emotions, vivid pictures and stories of life.
Dalene, how and why did you start?
When we first started our travels in the fall of 2009, we fired up a Blogspot page to keep our family and friends informed on our whereabouts and activities.
After about eighteen months, when we decided to commit to being full-time nomads, we stumbled upon the vast community of travel writers online and realized that we could perhaps take our site to the next level and even make some income off of it. We then bought our own domain, focused more heavily on providing quality content, and began to engage in social media.
How much time do you spend working on it?
Between the two of us, we spend about 40 to 50 hours a week total. We each have our responsibilities: I do the writing, keep up on Twitter and Facebook, as well as handling all our ‘business’.
Pete does most of the photography, all photo editing and handles StumbleUpon and Pinterest. We have outsourced our technical support as neither of us are WordPress gurus.
What is your best lesson learned?
Be yourself. At the beginning we struggled a bit with what kind of website we were and what we wanted to write. A few months in we found our groove and our voice and have stuck with it.
There’s no point trying to ‘force’ a certain kind of style onto yourself, it will show in the writing and will more easily wear you down. Do what you love and the rewards will come.
What is your best advice on how to get visitors?
Do lots of guest posts. And I mean, LOTS, especially at the start. Right now we try to keep it to one guest post a month to control our workload, but we did many more in the beginning to reach a wider audience.
Also, and this should go without saying, focus on producing high quality content. You want readers to come back and to also tell their friends about it.
What is your biggest success and biggest mistake?
We’ve worked with some great people at tourism boards and other travel related businesses so far, but the success we are most proud of is building the great fan base we have. We love the interaction we see on our Facebook page and the great comments and emails we get every day. That is the number one thing that keeps us going!
Our biggest mistake was to not start sooner! When we first started traveling, we wish we had known that there was this big, crazy, travel blogging world out there, and to make a real ‘go’ of our travel site right from the start.