Bloggers Behind The Screens featuring Pack The PJs
Bloggers Behind the Screens is a monthly interview series, where fellow bloggers come together to answer a series of questions on a specific theme. This is a chance to get acquainted with a whole range of bloggers, some of whom you may not have encountered before, and learn a little more about them!
This month, we’re talking to bloggers about the very thing that makes them bloggers. Their blogs. I’m hosting Tracey from Pack The PJs.
1. When did you start blogging and why?
I started blogging about 4 years ago. My husband Huw is an industry writer, and I was his plus-one on a cruise ship launch that he’d been invited to. I noticed the incredible offerings this particular cruise ship had for families and children, yet looking online there was little mention of this. So, I started a blog called KidzCruises. The truth was, I didn’t really know how to make it work and it was a lot of effort for no return. Two years ago we decided to expand our blog horizons to focus on our own family holidays – on land and sea. And I learned more about blogging, and it’s grown from there really.
2. How did you come up with the name for your blog?
It was a family effort, while driving back from the French Alps one Christmas. We had collectively decided to change KidzCruises into a family travel blog, and we spent a few days thinking up some names. PackThePJs was the name we all liked – and, luckily, we searched domain names and social media and no one else had taken it. So that was that!
3. What do you blog about? Has that changed from when you first started?
We blog about family (our family) travels. This could be a day out, an activity, a city break, or a far-away tropical dream destination. If we go, we blog about it. This is totally different the days of KidzCruises, which, looking back, was more of a website than a blog.
4. Is your blog your job, your hobby or your side hustle?
My blog is my job, but I have side hustles. I manage some blogs and social media for businesses, and I’m still a fully paid-up journalist so I take commissions where I find them!
5. What is the best thing or experience that blogging has given you?
The very worst time of my life was 2 years ago, when the blog was still quite young, and my mum died. I kept myself together to help organise everything, but I knew that once the funeral had finished I would need to ‘run away’ … a kind of “the worst thing has just happened, I now need to do something amazing to help balance my emotions”. A life-long dream had been to go to the Maldives, but we could never justify the cost. But through blogging, and contacts I’d made, we spent a week in a brand new resort where I could just detach myself from the outside world. In a way that holiday rescued me, and I’ll forever thankful for it.
6. What is your favourite thing in the whole world to write about?
I love writing about totally unplanned and unexpected adventures. As a travel blogger you tend to fall into the trap of planning ahead, so you get the right volume of content from a trip – and this is great of course. But when you stumble across a little gem that none of the tourist guides tell you about – and it’s amazing – then this comes across in the words and the photos.
7. What skills (the more unusual the better!) has blogging taught you?
Blogging has taught me to be more patient. I’m incredibly impatient and I wanted my blog to be hugely successful immediately on launch. But we all know that rarely happens. So rather than set an ‘end goal’ I have lots of mini-milestones. I have a fear of talking on a telephone too … blogging has taught me to get over that too!
8. What is your favourite post from your blog? Give us the link and tell us why it’s your favourite.
I think it has to be the blog post about us snorkelling in the Maldives. The reason is that, to this day, I can’t believe we actually went. And – me, snorkelling! That’s putting me right out of my comfort zone … but I did it!!
9. Have you ever been on TV or radio in your capacity as a blogger? If so, what for? If not, do you think it’s something you’d like to have a go at?
No I haven’t … and I can’t see myself ever volunteering to … unless I can lose half my body weight first! I also have a habit of speaking before I think – and this will guarantee me saying something totally stupid!
10. What is your least favourite thing about blogging? There must be something you don’t like about it…
The frustration of trying to monetise it. One week you strike lucky a few small commissions come along – you think you’ve worked out the formula for success – and then there’s a drought the following weeks … It’s the not-knowing how much you will earn that week, month …
11. Do you have any advice to give to anybody out there thinking of starting a blog right now?
Do it, definitely, but don’t expect instant rewards. It takes a good year of constant posting and promoting before you start making money – well, this was my experience.
12. Where do you do most of your blogging? Do you have a home office, are you on the sofa or do you prefer to be out and about when writing posts?
I have a new-build contemporary office in the garden, that I share with my writer husband Huw. I’d love to say I write most when there … but the truth is I’m often sitting on the sofa watching TV while tapping away on my laptop.
13. Be honest. How many unwritten posts are in your drafts right now? How many are likely to see daylight?
None! I’ve never started a post and not finished/posted it that same day.
14. What are you most excited about for your blog in the last six months or so of 2019? Anything awesome in the pipeline for the summer or are we forever winging it?
There’s nothing awesome – yet! My husband has recently become a properly employed person for the first time in 18 years of freelancing, and the restrictions that come with the fantastic salary are taking a lot of getting used to! Because of this – and Brexit of course! – we’re rather winging it this year. But that’s what makes it more exciting!
15. Finally, what is your absolute favourite thing about being a blogger?
Being in a community of bloggers. As a website owner, I felt very much on my own, but as a blogger I have lots of online friends. People I can ask advice from.