Interview with Tina Editor of Traveleidoscope
Meet Tina V, Editor of Traveleidoscope! She is an amazing, spitfire of a woman. Tina runs her own travel blog (traveleidoscope), teaches, and is an avid traveler. She has been all over the world including 70 different countries and territories and lived in France and Spain. I first came across Tina’s creative photos on Instagram you can find her at #traveleidoscope. After seeing her photos and reading her blog, I was hooked! If you are in need of some inspiration or just a good laugh. You’ll really enjoy her warm, thoughtful interview. Without further adieu let’s dive right in!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog.
The idea for my blog, Traveleidoscope came from people asking me for travel advice. My friends and co-workers know I love to travel and they always wanted to know where my next adventure would be. But then, people began asking me where they should go on their next vacation. That’s when I seriously started thinking about my own travel blog.
“…including lived in France and Spain…”
I’ve traveled to roughly 70 countries and territories (depending on what you count as “been to” and “country” or “territory”) including having lived in France and Spain. While my French and Spanish are still respectable, I can manage fairly well in a couple of other languages. I’m currently living on the east coast of the US with my best travel buddy (my hubby). When we aren’t traveling to ski, scuba dive, or whatever, you can usually find us cycling around or paddling in our kayaks. Sometimes keeping it all together is a struggle, but overall, I’m really grateful for everything I’ve worked hard for – no matter how big or small!
Tell me about a day in your life currently?
I lead a pretty hectic life. I get up around 4:30 in the morning and am out the door to my office by 6 am. Generally, I work about 12 to 15 hours day, depending on what my schedule looks like. In addition to my “day job” I also teach college classes, so I’m always preparing for class, teaching class, or grading papers and tests. Once I get home, it’s after 9 pm and I start working on my blog Traveleidoscope (or something related to it) for about an hour or two. Just about every moment of my day is accounted for and sleeping, as you can imagine, is mostly optional. Sounds like a recipe for crazy, right?
You are a relatively new blogger. What are some techniques you use to increase your reach and increase your audience?
Of course, I use social media, but I don’t rely exclusively on it, and I also don’t think it’s my strong suit. When I start to plan a trip, knowing I’ll be writing about it, I reach out to the companies I anticipate using in advance and let them know that I have a blog and send them the link. I’ve found that companies are generally supportive of new businesses, since they were once new, too. I’ve had companies subscribe to Traveleidoscope, or support me on Facebook and Instagram, in addition to offering perks.
“When people come out to your workshops they see your face…”
I also do speaking engagements about traveling and travel planning, mostly at community centers, organizations, and libraries. They’re always looking for speakers and it’s free publicity for me. With libraries, in particular, I do a seminar about using the library to plan a vacation. People seem to really like it and it’s a great way to get the word out for the library and for me too! When people come to your workshops, they see your face, so they’re more likely to check out your blog and subscribe. I do interviews occasionally like with Mentor Travel or my local newspaper. What I haven’t been able to do is more meet-ups with other bloggers, but my schedule doesn’t leave much free time. Oh, and I also torment friends and family to support me. Guilt is a great motivator.
What is one of your favorite travel stories to tell?
There are so many. One of my favorites is a hilarious one about the cultural expectations of food. My husband and I were in Berlin, Germany, with another couple. We were on our way to Poland for a friend’s wedding, which is a story of its own. The four of us are a comedy act anyway, so Berlin was just another skit for us.
“…The waitress came by and set down bread and a pot of butter on the table…”
We landed in Berlin and decided to grab a bite. We headed to a traditional German restaurant and sat down at a table. The waitress came by and set down bread and a pot of butter on the table… at least that’s what we thought. Yup, you guessed it. Not butter. We all spread the “butter” onto our bread and dug in and were at different stages of eating. Our friend, Bill, was already on his second bit of bread and his wife, Sue, had started nibbling on her first, while my husband had just tucked into a piece and a “shmear” and I was still eyeing the “butter” skeptically. After a minute, my husband said, “Uh, that’s not butter, that’s lard.” Bill kept on eating, Sue spits hers out, as the vegetarian of the group, I just put down my bread and my husband decided that he was, uhm, full. Moral of the story?– I guess always have a taste tester!
Where is your favorite place that you have visited? Why?
Geez, it’s hard to pick one place. It’s like asking which is your favorite child! I like different places for different reasons. I lived in France, so of course, I’m partial to it. As for strictly visiting, I’m an enthusiastic scuba diver, so I love the Caribbean island of Saba, just southwest of the island of St. Maarten. It’s really low key – only about 2,000 residents and it’s not the easiest place to get to, but that’s sort of the beauty of it. Once you’re there, the diving is incredible and you’ve largely got the dive sites to yourself. So shhhh! Keep it a secret!
How do you fund all of your travels?
- In a bunch of different ways. First I set an annual budget and stick to it. I know that’s not strictly “funding”, but that’s my starting point for trip planning. Anyway, I’m not very good at the points and miles game, but I do manage to get a fair amount of free hotel stays and the occasional free flight.
- I cook at home most of the time because it’s expensive to eat out. Every time I do eat out, I think, “that money could be going towards my next trip.”
- I also like to get rid of stuff – by selling to consignment shops or at garage sales. It also has the side benefit of helping me stayed uncluttered. Yeah, doing those things don’t pay for a whole trip, but I manage to pay for a few ski lift tickets every season. And this may sound old like old hat, but I always search for coupons (digital or otherwise) and for freebies. One of my credit cards even offers free museum entrance fees once a month. I also reach out to resorts or companies to see if they’ll offer an additional discount, say if I pay cash or pay in advance. So, wherever I can save I try to take advantage.
What is your biggest piece of advice for women who want to travel solo but are nervous to do it?
There are actually three pieces and they’re applicable to everyone. One is that it you don’t have to start out traveling solo going on a one-month epic journey to the ends of the earth. Take a day trip by yourself until you get comfortable being on your own. Pretty soon it’ll be no big deal. Two is use your head. No need to end up in a bad situation because you weren’t thinking about what you were doing. Three is trust your instinct. If it doesn’t feel, look, sound right, it probably isn’t.
What is the most challenging and rewarding part living abroad?
When I lived in France, the most challenging part wasn’t trying to get my utilities turned on or figuring out how to use the phone book, it was trying to lose my American accent! I wanted to blend in and didn’t want people to know I was a foreigner. So, I worked really hard to lose my accent. You’d have to ask my friends if I’ve succeeded! The most rewarding part of living in another country was that I’ve made friendships that have lasted decades. We still visit each other, go to each other’s weddings, etc.
Was it difficult for you to manage your time between traveling, blogging, and working? If so what are some techniques you’ve developed to manage everything?
It’s incredibly challenging to juggle my schedule and I’m sure I don’t always do a great job of it, but you can’t beat yourself up because you couldn’t get it all done and had ice cream for dinner… again. I’m pretty lucky to be a decent time manager and that I have a husband who is normal and supportive and just lets me spin like a top.
As for techniques – Trip planning – I keep a running file of information on places I’d like to visit. When I’m ready to start planning, I’ve got a jumping off point. Getting it done – I’m a big list-maker, because otherwise, I wouldn’t remember anything given my schedule. Scheduling – I try to keep to a regular schedule, even when I’m traveling but that doesn’t always happen. Especially when you’re on the road, sometimes internet service is sketchy so you have to scramble to figure out how to get out a post or an email. Finally, I try not to take my electronics to bed. I need to ramp down because on a good night, I’m lucky to get 6 hours of sleep.
What are three must-have items that you bring on all your trips apart from the necessary items like passport, visa etc?
I have about 15 things that I always bring with me. But the top three things are (1) A small flashlight…or two. I always take two flashlights because. I’ve broken them on trips so I bring a spare. I’ve been in power outages from Tampa, Florida to (Chuuk) Truk, Micronesia and they’ve saved me in a number of situations. (2) Flip flops. They’re so utilitarian. You can wear them to the beach. Use them as shower shoes and as slippers. I’ve just started being a brand ambassador for Zakistar Flip Flops, so I can finally satisfy my flip flop fetish! (3) Bacterial wipes. I’m a bit of a germophobe, so I always carry them to wipe down every surface I may touch from the airplane to my hotel room.
You’ve done a lot of backpacking. Do you have any budgeting tips or financial hacks that you use when you are traveling?
Get a really good travel credit card – preferably one with lots of perks like no transaction fees and some travel protections. A good credit card can be a life saver. Also, even if you don’t have a lot of money, go for security over a cheap price if you have to make a choice. Don’t risk safety to save a few bucks. It’s just not worth it.
If you could pick a movie that represents your life what would it be?
Wow! That’s tough. Probably Indiana Jones. Not that I’m discovering new archeological sites or priceless artifacts, but I love history and am always up for an adventure – big or small. People who know me and some of the trips I’ve taken always ask if I wrestled alligators over the weekend. I usually just say, no, that’s next weekend. This weekend I’m wrestling my dirty laundry.
What are three things you told yourself that kept you going during your darkest hour?
It has to get better. I’m really glad I have my hubby to help me through. This is gonna make a great story if I make it through this.
What are some tips you’d tell your best friend (and our readers) about how to run a successful blog and company?
I’ll let you know when I figure that out! Hmmm…. Probably, that it’s way more work than I anticipated.
What are your go-to best kept secret resources for blogging and traveling?
As for traveling, I bring treats for people along the way. Call it a way to show appreciation or a bribe. Call it what you will. They’re icebreakers and they open doors. For example, when I fly, I make it a habit of bringing a treat for the crew, because, as a former flight attendant, I know how hard they work. There are side benefits to bringing goodies – you frequently get goodies in exchange or a little extra attention. Not that that’s the reason you do it, but, it’s nice.
As for blogging, I try to be myself because I would be ridiculous trying to be someone else. I’m sort of a geek and a klutz, and sometimes my trips end up a bit like the “I Love Lucy” episode with the chocolates on the conveyor belt! I don’t mind that my blog, Traveleidoscope, shows my quirks because I always want people to think my posts are funny…and informative.
Let me know if I missed anything. Do you have any other thoughts you’d like to share?
I hear people say all the time, “I wish I could go to X”. They never realize that for the most part, they can go to X, they just have to be realistic about their expectations. You may not be able to go for 2 weeks, but maybe you can for one. Maybe you can’t stay at the nicest hotel, but there may be a hostel that fits the bill. Planning and saving are key. Thanks so much for inviting me to do this interview. It was so much fun!
Thanks Tina for your amazing tips about time management and blogging! You are truly an inspiration. I’m excited to continue to follow you on your next adventures around the world. If you would like to find out more about Traveleidoscope, you can always visit her blog, follow her on Instagram at #traveleidoscope, or email her at Traveleidoscope@gmail.com.
What were your thoughts about her interview? I really enjoyed her story about the lard, not butter story. If you have had any travel mix-upszak, cultural learning experiences, or checked out one of the blog posts on Traveleidoscope and had a favorite post to recommend. Please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!