Coddiwomp Travel Interview

Hi! I’m Danny Newman, a 25 year old guy currently living in Bristol, UK. I love to travel.

I started my travel blog, Coddiwomp, about a year ago now, but for one reason or another only really started investing a lot of time on it over the last 5 months or so.

Coddiwomp is all about travelling for the first time and so I use it as a platform to try and inspire and advise aspiring travelers to have their first adventure! It is pretty broad in that regard, but essentially, I try to write pieces that I hope will, in some way, be helpful for someone hoping to travel some day.

The name, Coddiwomp, comes from the term ‘Coddiwomple’, which means to travel with purpose to an unknown destination. I came across the word for the first time as I was brainstorming/googling for potential travel names and it immediately resonated with me; I just think it is the perfect word for so much to do with travel and my life in general! I then just lopped the ‘le’ off to make it sound a little bit less cumbersome!

On Coddiwomp I talk a bit about the ‘travel feeling’ too, which explains my slogan for the site: ‘We feel travel’. Essentially, travel elicits such a unique feeling in me that I came to associate it explicitly with my love of travel. The ‘travel feeling’ continues to motivate me to explore the world.

I want Coddiwomp to represent this travel feeling and to help other people experience it for themselves.

What plans do you have in the future for your blog?

My ultimate dream is for Coddiwomp to one day be a go to website for aspiring travelers looking for a little inspiration or advice for their upcoming trip.

I hope to grow the blog and its audience out to reach as many people as possible, travelling and earning an income as I go, in order to sustain and satisfy my desire to explore the World while helping others do the same.

Does your blog cover anything else other than travel? 

Coddiwomp is fundamentally a travel blog, so pretty much everything relates to this. However, my overarching aim, above that, is to help people live a full life. It just so happens that I think travel is one great way to do that!

However, through this intention I try to incorporate ideas and concepts to facilitate this, using my back ground working in mental health to support the endeavour. For example, I’ve got numerous pieces related to mindfulness while travelling, which I think is a brilliant and crucial tool for travellers to utilize in order to really make the most out of their trip.

What can our readers find on your website? 

At a very basic level, readers of Coddiwomp will find travel and life related inspiration and advice. There’s info on particular destinations that I’ve travelled to, along with the typical travel specific stuff on packing etc. Beyond that, I hope there’s sufficient inspiration to help people really get out there to explore the world and fundamentally experience life to its fullest.

Do you have any travel tips or advice for our readers that might want to start a travel blog?

As someone who has really only recently got stuck into travel blogging myself, I’d say a big thing to realize from the beginning is ultimately what you want your blog to become.

Where do you see it going? Where do you want it to go? Are you happy for the blog to be a small record of your travels for family and friends back home, or do you want it to become a large, established travel blog for people in the wider World to enjoy?

If it is the latter, then know that it is a lot of work. Be patient, be in it for the long haul and do your research. Have very clear goals. Visualise exactly where you want to end up and, if you’re aiming big, keep that vision in mind as you go through the hard slog of work ahead that’s required to make it happen.

As you go, try to focus on the process and not the end result. Studies show that not only will you be happier this way, but you’ll also enjoy the ride more and get better results.

At a practical level, utilize the internet’s potential: make connections with other bloggers, join online communities, and master SEO from the outset.

What are some of the highs and lows of travel blogging?

The highs: learning new skills on a daily basis, interacting with amazing people on the web and in person, making connections, doing something you love, seeing an audience and community grow around you and your writing; forging a life and future for yourself that you’re inspired and motivated by.

The lows: the slog, the day to day mundane tasks involved, the slow going and constant question of “Will this work? Will my hard work pay off?”

What type of traveler are you? 

At the moment I’m actually based full time in the UK and travel whenever I get the chance! As I focus on getting Coddiwomp really up and running it’s really useful to have the structure of a home routine in place and a steady stream of income from the part time job I’m working alongside my blog work.

However, in future I plan to go into digital nomadry, earning money as I go through the blog and free lance writing, moving from place to place whenever I feel the need to move on.

When it comes to my current travel style I’m definitely a budget backpacker, trying to save as much money as possible as I go, experiencing as much about local culture as possible and becoming fully involved with the experience. I try to keep active and limit time spent on beaches, lazing around (even though I love this side of travel too!).

What sites or other resources do you use to decide where and when you will go to a certain place or destination?

Generally speaking I don’t use particular resources to decide where and when I want to travel! My bucket list is getting longer by the day so there’s no shortage of places I want to visit. So, it often comes down to the time and money I have available.

However, I do tend to buy a travel guide (Lonely Planet is my go-to for a hard copy) before I go to a new place, which I’ll use as a reference while I’m in the country I’m travelling around. Before I go I might do some reading into the history, culture and climate, in order to make sure I’m going at the right time of year and know what weather to expect etc.

Do you have any favourite travel books you have read or use?

Two of my favourites are Alain de Botton’s ‘The Art of Travel’ and Rolf Potts’ ‘Vagabonding’. They’re both amazing reads and any aspiring traveler should read those two before their trip for a full insight into what to expect!

What’s been some of your favourite destinations & why? 

My top 3 so far (in no particular order) are New Zealand for its world class natural beauty and general awesomeness; Sri Lanka, which was the first place I really travelled to, for its culture, food and hugely friendly people; Mainland Greece, for its weather, people, diversity and insane natural beauty.

What equipment do you use to blog?

I use nothing fancy! The basics are a beaten up (but good quality) Olympus ‘point and shoot’ all-weather and underwater camera and my laptop (again, bruised and battered but trusty old Acer). I use Squarespace as my web host and Wondershare Filmora for video editing software; I edit photos using Gimp 2 (a free download that does pretty much everything that Photoshop does).

Do you have any photography or making travel videos tips?

I’m no expert on either, but if I were to offer one tip that’s a little out of left field it would be this: don’t spend all your time taking photos and shooting videos while you travel. Honestly, the point of travel isn’t to record it- it really isn’t. Take it all in through your eyes and only record the highlights with a few well chosen and timed snaps.

What’s the TOP blog posts on your page?

My three top pieces are as follows:
1) My piece on tips for first time flyers
2) My expert’s piece on first time travel
3) My guide to the Temples of Angkor, Cambodia

Do you have any tips or suggestions one how bloggers can earn an income from blogging?

This is something I’ve done a lot of research on as I’m hoping to earn a living from Coddiwomp in future, and the number one thing that stands out is always utilising search engine optimisation (SEO) from the outset to get eyes on your work.

There’s A LOT to learn for a newbie when it comes to this stuff, but spend some time learning about keywords, domain authority, SEO and affiliate marketing before going about applying what you learn to your site.

Top 5 Bucket-list Destinations?

Jeeze, this one’s tough. My bucket list is huge and subject to change! Here we go though:

1) Iceland
2) India
3) Central Asia
4) Australia
5) China

Top 5 travel experiences you can’t wait to try out or do?

1) A long long hike such as the Pacific Coast Trail (like Cheryl Strayed in Wild, but hopefully less traumatic…)
2) Living and travelling around in a campervan
3) Learning another language while living in the country
4) Working holiday visa in Australia
5) Explore more of the UK- my home country

Do you have a money saving travel tips?

My main money saving travel tip is to make sacrifices and simplify your lifestyle in the short term, while thinking long term about the extra time it’ll give you for travel.

All saving entails sacrifice, but by keeping the future benefits of them in mind, it’ll help make them easier to bare and provide the motivation to continue with it.

Make saving a game or a challenge and fully mould your lifestyle about being the best at the game as possible.

Do you have any funny or strange travel experiences to share? please state what happened.

A funny memory that comes to mind happened in New Zealand, on South Island. I was travelling with a great bunch of people and we’d camped out in the Nelson Lakes before a hike we’d planned for the following few days.

We’d slept 5 of us in the same 3 man tent, which was as cramped and uncomfortable as it sounds so, waking up, we decided to start the day with a refreshing dip in the lake we were next to. There was no-one else around, so 3 of us stripped off, butt naked, and wandered into the lake.

It was a beautiful, serene morning, with a silvery pink light that sticks in my memory. The water was freezing, but bearable and refreshing. I was stood waist deep in the water, taking in my environment, soaking it all in and feeling particularly zen-like, when I heard a frantic yelp and rush of activity to my left hand side.

I looked over and there was my friend, a lovely lovely Spanish guy, desperately trying to haul himself back up onto the wooden jetty/walkway that he was next to. Basically, having so casually wandered into the water a few minutes earlier, he’d walked into a giant mass of huge, ugly grey eels that we’d failed to realize (up until that point) inhabit the lake there!

I’ll never forget the sight of him hauling himself, bare-bummed and breathless, over the sides of the jetty, screaming “eeeeells” as he went. It was absolutely hilarious.

Was there a place you visited that did not live up to your expectations & why.

I think there’s always a danger for this to happen when you go travelling. You spend so long in eager anticipation, waiting for the time to come, working hard to earn the necessary money, that the country you’re heading to takes on this divine form! Expectations are high for the experience, which often leaves little room for manoeuvre and it is easy to feel disappointed.

Having said that, in my experience, travel rarely fails to impress and luckily, I don’t think I’ve ever felt let down by a place I’ve been to. However, the closest I’ve come to it is in particularly touristy areas, such as the sandy south coast of Cambodia. It isn’t that the place itself is a let down. Far from it, more often than not touristy areas are beautiful and impressive- which is why they’re popular, right?

Instead, it is just that the atmosphere that gets created from having so many tourists and travelers in one place. I go travelling to genuinely experience new cultures and meet new people. If all I come across is fellow travelers getting drunk and stoned on a beach, I sometimes feel a little let down and almost ashamed at the ruinous power of tourism over local cultures and communities.

What’s in your travel bag? 

Five travel essentials that I always take: a camera, a journal (and pen), a good book, my IPod and usually some small speakers too.

What travel apps do you use and why?

I actually haven’t delved into the world of travel apps yet! The closest I could come to answering this one is to say Headspace, which is a mindfulness app that runs you through different guided mindful meditation sessions. I think mindfulness is key for travelling well, so Headspace, which helps in this endeavour, is a good bet.

What are 3 things travelling has taught you?

This is a hard one. I put a lot of the person I am these days down to travel- the lessons it has taught me are huge and invaluable.

If I had to put three things down they would be as follows:

1) The importance and value of living with little. The more you own, the more your possessions own you. Getting rid of material possessions is hugely liberating.
2) How I want to live my life: I want to live simply and fully, away from the day to day hustle and focused on organic, positive pursuits for myself and others.
3) To be aware and respectful of diversity, culture, social and environmental issues.

Have you encountered any travel mishaps or scary moments if so what happened?

Something always happens when you’re away! However, I’ve been lucky not to have anything too bad happen to me. You always hear horror stories from other travelers, but thankfully nothing too disastrous has ever happened.

Possibly one of my worst travel related things that took place actually happened when I got home from Cambodia last year though. I just got really ill for a period of 2 weeks or so and ended up having to go to hospital for all manner of tests; the Doctor thought I might have contracted some tropical illness.

It was pretty horrible if I’m honest, but turned out to be nothing too exotic and I recovered fine with a bit of time and rest! I feel lucky that that’s the worst I’ve had from travel though.

Do you have any recommendations for cities and beach places that you have visited and loved? What was good about these places?

I’m generally not a big fan of cities when I travel, opting for more rural, open spaces with less hustle and bustle. However, London would be up there on my favourites. I love the diversity of the place and the liberal, open minded approach. There’s something for everyone and a tonne of free things to do too, which is great (even if everything else is crazily expensive!)

In terms of beaches, New Zealand offered some of the most incredible ones I’ve ever been to. One that comes to mind is Wharariki beach at the top of South Island. It is wild and wonderful there and feels largely unspoiled by us humans! It is just you, nature and a bunch of wild seals. And it is awesome.

Have you visited any off the beaten track places?

Some of the most off the beaten track places I visited were in Sri Lanka, where we (me and the team I went away with) worked as volunteers on a mental health placement that took us to all manner of remote parts of the country.

We were doing important work in challenging situations, such as special needs centres and children’s homes, as well as the national institute of mental health there. Lots of the places we spent time in were most definitely off the beaten track, which made the experience seem all the more real somehow.

Best places you have visited or want to visit for cultural experiences.

Again. This is a tough one to answer! I think any travelling provides intense cultural awakenings, regardless of where you are! However, one of the best places I’ve visited for a cultural experience (so far) was probably Cambodia.

My girlfriend and I had come from a few days visiting the ‘main’ Temples of Angkor to visit the Northern areas, where we’d heard there were other temples worth seeing. North of Siem Reap you get to more remote and, arguably, authentic areas of the country and we stayed in a homestay with a local family.

It was basic, rudimentary stuff, sleeping on mattresses on the floor and washing in large concrete baths filled with cold water that came from the well in the family’s garden. There was no running water and electricity only for a few hours in the evening, which ran off a generator.

And it was amazing.

After the shock of heavy tourism in Siem Reap, it was just awesome to get away from it all. The people had no money, but they were happy, and immensely generous, warm and welcoming, opening their family and home to us.

In future, I’d love to visit places in Central Asia, to learn more about the cultures of those stunning countries.

What are 5 things you wish you knew about blogging before you started?

1) What domain authority is and how to grow it.
2) How important SEO is.
3) What a keyword is.
4) How much hard work it takes.
5) That there are tonnes of friendly, helpful people doing similar stuff online in communities, who are more than willing to share their knowledge and insight into this world.

Where do you see your travel blog in two years?

In two years I’d like to have a substantial audience and be able to earn enough money from it to fund and sustain my travels. I’d like to move into running travel conferences and maybe a line of travel products too!

Please share one travel quote you love.

There’s a quote that I love and that really resonates with me, which is actually one stanza of a poem by Robert W. Service.

It goes like this:

“There’s a race of men that don’t fit in, a race that can’t stay still; so they break the hearts of kith and kin, and they roam for world at will”

I think it’s a beautiful way of describing the unappeasable, intoxicating allure of travel, which motivates us to drop all that we have at home in exchange for adventure.

 

One final thing I’d mention is that I really want Coddiwomp to turn into a community of people who love travel and who want to travel! I want as many people as possible to come together to help inspire each other to travel further and longer; to experience all the amazing things that travel can offer. Sign up to the community through the website or Facebook to join the team and receive exclusive travel inspiration and advice at the same time!

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