We have now officially been travel blogging on our tiny piece of the Web for about 2 months. Our first post on Independent Travel Cats was posted at the very end of June and we are still working on improving our blog design, learning how to navigate social media outlets, and figuring out how to manage to get out new blog posts on a regular basis. One thing that we have definitely learned that you can’t be a blogger in isolation and one of the joys of blogging is being able to meet other people, exchange ideas, and give back to the blogging community. We wanted to take this opportunity to talk about some of the ways we have done this so far. We’d also love to hear from others some of the other ways we might continue to get involved!
• First and foremost is connecting with other blogs by following them, sharing articles we like on social media, and posting comments on articles we enjoy. While we have both followed certain blogs for a long time we bashfully have only recently started actually posting comments or contacting bloggers. We wish we would have done this earlier as it has led to lots of wonderful conversations and exchanges of ideas.
• Joining in on travel blogging events and link ups. I just recently started participating in the Travel Tuesday Blog linkup hosted each Tuesday by expat bloggers Belinda @ Found Love, Now What? and Bonnie Rose @ A Compass Rose. We have found this to be a very good way to connect to other travel bloggers and read some very interesting travel posts each week.
• Another blogging experience that I (Jessica) just participated in was the Snail Mail Collective organized by Melyssa at The Nectar Collective and Chelsea @ Lost in Travels. The idea is to link up bloggers around the world and have them meet each other digitally, exchange small inexpensive gifts by mail, and learn about each other’s blogs and cultures. I was paired up with the lovely Sarah from A Girl Smitten. Sarah is from Austin, Texas and it was very interesting getting to know more about her, Texas, her blog, and what she is working towards in her life. She is a very open and sweet person and her blog was a pleasure to read. This month’s theme was Under the Sea and her gift to me included: a Texas postcard with a lovely message, a package of Swedish fish candies, a travel journal, and a set of travel-oriented coasters. I was very touched that she specifically looked for travel-oriented gifts even though she does not write a travel blog. Her gift also included some beautiful tissue paper that my cat Dash found wonderfully crinkly and shreddable! I look forward to continuing my new friendship with Sarah and following her wonderful blog. I would advise you to check out A Girl Smitten for great DIY tips, fashion and design tips, recipes, and inspiration. Some of my favorites include this creative DIY article on turning online photos into magnets, this post on the upcoming Fall season which she somehow manages to combine food, love, and fashion into one compact post, and even her post about just staying in and watching Breaking Bad (Ethan is from Albuquerque so we’re fans as well) is delightful! She also does a weekly I’m Grateful link up which is such a wonderful idea! If you want to know what I sent her and see her post the exchange, you can check out her post here. I highly recommend the Snail Mail Collective.
• Guest blogging is another avenue that we have only begun to dip our feet in order to meet new people and get more involved in the blogging community. While I am still working on my first guest post, Ethan shared a letter on So Many Places written by travel blogger Kim expressing his gratitude for his life and the things within it. While not exactly a guest post, he was quite excited to have the opportunity to express his gratitude, especially on a blog we’ve been following for the past year. You can read his letter here.
• We have also decided to dip our feet into sponsorship. At first I was not very interested in spending money to have an ad on another blog, but I have decided that this can be a great way to meet those with successful blogs and gain new followers. We have taken the plunge and are currently signed up to be sponsors with the lovely bloggers Rachel @ Postcards from Rachel and Nicole (who I’ve learned is also a fellow research nerd) @ Treasure Tromp. I am excited about these opportunities.
• Finally, we are learning how important it is to be open and share some personal information with readers. While our blog is more focused on providing information, advice, and our travel stories we also want people to have a chance to get to know us as people behind the travel blogging. So I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to give readers a chance to do just that. We were nominated for a Liebester Award by expat blogger Megan @ Megan Joy Jaunts, which is an award from a new blogger to another new blogger. As part of the award you are asked to answer some questions about yourselves. We thought this would also be a great way for people to learn a bit more about us, so here we go with the questions posed to us by Megan. Thanks again Megan for the nomination and the chance to express some more about ourselves.
1. What is your #1 travel essential?
Ethan: Clean underwear
2. What is your favorite mode of transportation?
Jessica: Although I appreciate how quick flying can be, I hate being trapped in a seat, and you can rarely see anything so I’ll say trains.
3. What is your most favorite place you’ve ever visited?
Ethan: Alsace region – loved the French/German mix of the area.
Jessica: While I prefer the beauty of rural areas, I think Paris will always have a special place in my heart given it was my first trip abroad at the impressionable age of 16.
4. Solo travel or no?
Ethan: I prefer to travel with someone, but would do solo travel.
Jessica: I have never done a big solo trip, but think it could be a very interesting growing experience. However, I definitely prefer to travel with someone.
5. What is the biggest lesson life has taught you?
Ethan: Never say never.
Jessica: You have to work hard for the things you want in life.
6. Famous person you’d most like to have dinner with (living or dead)?
Ethan: Leonardo de Vinci
Jessica: Well, there are so many people, but the psychologist part of me says Sigmund Freud.
7. What was your favorite subject in school?
Jessica : History and English. I used to want to be a writer.
8. What is your #1 on your travel bucket list?
Jessica: There are so many places I want to see and things I want to do, but Egypt stands out probably because of all the conflict in the region right now.
9. What is your favorite movie of all time?
Ethan: Meet Joe Black
Jessica: Gone with the Wind (although Born on the Fourth of July, The Lion King, The Swimming Pool, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas are also very high on the list).
10. Pie or cake?
11. Dogs or cats?
Ethan: Love both, but CATS of course!
Jessica: That’s an easy one, haha. CATS!
So there is some more information about us and how we’ve been trying to be more active and involved in the travel blogging community. We would love to hear other people’s experiences about staying active and involved!
Also, if you are interested in getting to know more about us, you can check out our About Us page. You can also follow us by subscribing to our blog via e-mail or RSS on our sidebar or follow us on Bloglovin’, Twitter, or Facebook.