Often I just want to run away from a computer, overwhelmed by eight hours or more in front of one for work (perpetually in need of a Malta vacation, it seems).
Other times, when without apparatus to scribble down my thoughts, I long for anything that will enable me to record ideas.
Malta vacation – an exercise in mindfulness
Writing is an outlet and my love, and I never feel more inspired than when I’m travelling. If I’m constantly thinking and on sensory alert, am I being mindful on the road?
Despite the media craziness and the threats that would have us believe we are barely safe to leave our or homes, I am at peace when I’m exploring somewhere new.
It might sound odd that I suggest travel is the best opportunity to actually practice mindfulness – on the road we’re always looking around, getting involved with the senses and quite possibly on a device like a laptop or phone. The mind can be busy.
However, I think we can experience mindfulness in an almost pure form while travelling and feeling new things; experiences, sights, sounds, smells and tastes.
I feel blessed to be able to see the beauty in things too, without judgement. Difference is interesting, often charming.
I suppose awareness is the trick. And then, life is definitely beautiful.
I’m currently on a crowded bus in Malta that’s ferrying customers of all ages along the Sliema strip towards the capital Valletta, and then out towards where we are based in il Żurrieq.
I struggle to maintain balance, holding on for dear life up the front of the bus and scrambling to tap my thoughts down into my iPhone’s Notes app. It’s around 7pm and this particular August day’s sunset has begun it’s decent across the harbour. All I can think is:
How enchanting, I wish I could share this with my loved ones [who I wish could be here as I know they’d appreciate it].
It’s at this point it occurred to me – after Cooper and I spent hours today creating travel content (videos and photography) we are proud of – that while the likes of us are sometimes frowned upon for the time we spend staring at a screen, we might be the mindful ones.
Other digital nomads understand where we’re coming from, and if you don’t, consider for a moment that we are not just playing around on our phones and being entirely anti-social; we are consciously paying attention for the beautiful moments.
We are capturing them in the best way we know how: those landscapes, experiences, history, stories, that we can share to be inspiring, helpful, entertaining or informative (perhaps all of the above).
That’s what most travel bloggers intend.
We are consciously seeking the photo, video, words that might inform and educate your next decision or judgement on any given destination.
In this way, those of us being conscious about creating and capturing are being mindful.
And trust me, we are grateful for these moments because we are aware of just how precious they are.
We are also mindful to put the devices down and enjoy too.
There’s nothing that irritates me more than people wandering mindlessly about, noses in phones, not realising they are holding up a huge crowd behind them or missing out on something their friend is saying to them.
But, sometimes when inspiration strikes, you need to take advantage of a 40 minute bus ride and get those words onto paper (or into a phone, whatever is handy).
Next time you find yourself confused or irritated at someone with a camera who looks like they’re trying to capture ‘just another shot for Instagram’, have a little faith that maybe they are not just another selfie-obsessed tourist; maybe, just maybe, they’re on a mission to inspire, educate and inform, like we are.
Or perhaps they’re chasing a dog, as we do too. But that story for another time.
Video blogging (or vlogging) has taken the online internet TV community by storm, and we think the industry shift from ‘blogger to vlogger’ is exciting.
Anyone with a camera, an internet connection and something to say, can vlog, and we’ve made the move from blogger to vlogger recently too.
Vlogging is a great way to showcase your experiences and personality via the video format.
Thanks to fast internet you can upload a vlog to YouTube pretty much anywhere on the planet, whether it be from a cafe in Gastown, Vancouver or at a truckstop in the middle of Outback Australia.
The great thing about vlogging is that there are so many micro-communities which allow you to connect with like-minded people who share your passion. A quick search will connect you with thousands of communities, for example, travel, cooking, dogs, craft beer and gaming.
Travel vlogging has an enormous online community. Many bloggers have made the transition too, and are sharing their experiences with the world.
The best part is that you don’t need expensive eqipment to start a travel vlog.
Many YouTubers have opted to use their smartphone or a basic digital camera.
My top five tips for travellers to help you shift from blogger to vlogger are…
Select your niche (what are you passionate about?)
The first question you need to ask yourself is what are you going to vlog about?
Choose a niche or something you really care about. This will help you focus on topics (content) that you know or are an expert on.
Mine are travel, food and dogs. Who doesn’t love eating food and patting dogs while travelling? (wash your hands though!).
When you talk about your passions people will find you more interesting because your enthusiasm easily shines through.
I can talk about food and dogs forever.
Be specific and people (your viewers) will find you.
Keep your clips short
Try and hook your viewer in the first few seconds and spark their curiosity.
Your video should share a creative story showcasing all of your best bits filmed on an adventure.
Tell the audience what they are going to see to give them a reason to keep watching. Don’t save your best bits until the end.
Current industry statistics show that for optimum engagement stick to about two to four minutes in length.
If you need more time don’t be afraid of breaking your longer videos up into digestible bits to create a series.
Practice makes perfect
Anyone who has tried moving from blogging to vlogging will know that talking into a camera lens is not as easy as it sounds, especially at first.
Practice makes perfect though!
Pick up a camera and start talking or you can sit down in front of a mirror and pretend it’s the camera.
It’s important to know the right angles and movements for you as you vlog.
As you watch yourself you’ll notice things that you can do to improve. The more you do it, the more comfortable and confident you’ll feel.
Just let your partner know in advance otherwise they might think you are to talking yourself (again!).
To build your audience you need to consistently upload high quality vlogs.
Your subscribers like to know that you are active.
Vlogs which are entertaining and engaging will always have an audience.
Don’t wait weeks or even months until you upload a new vlog otherwise your loyal fans may have moved on.
Stick to a schedule. If you regularly upload a video on Sunday at 8am make sure you meet the deadline.
Sound is important
Audio is just as important as video quality.
If your audience can’t hear or understand what you’re are saying they will move on.
If your videos always have poor sound quality, people will avoid them.
If you are filming in a quiet room, a good quality camera microphone will be sufficient.
However, if you plan on venturing outdoors a good external directional microphone will help aleviate a lot of background noise.
Browse Ebay and Amazon for options.
Alternatively, you can also record audio on another separate device like a phone or Zoom recorder.
Learn to filter your experiences through personality.
Be yourself on camera.
Viewers want to trust and connect with the person they are watching. Use this to your advantage.
Look directly into the camera and speak to the viewer.
Be friendly. Be approachable. Be yourself.
Do you have other tips or questions? Let us know in the comments.
PS an update to this – we recently had success with a vlog series filmed in Malta – take a look here
I now have loads of law of attraction success stories, which I feel fortunate about. But there was a time when this was all new. Recently, I experienced a really really terrible week. That was followed by several weeks prior that weren’t much better.
Appreciating the journey: my law of attraction success stories
I’d been faced with countless deadlines and challenging situations in all of life’s fundamental areas. Top it off with a seriously ill loved-one and me feeling generally unsupported. I hit one of those awful places in time where I was finding it difficult to get up in the morning. Inevitably something had to give, and it’s where one of my big law of attraction success stories begins.
I was stuck on where to start and how to ask for help to see things differently.
My mood matched that of the now-wintry grey English skies.
As one to usually be able to drag myself out of feeling miserable, I found myself in a place where I didn’t know what to do next. I was depressed, teary and withdrawn.
I waited for the clock to tick down at work each day. I felt utterly awful, and even more down because usually I’m happy there. I enjoy my days and make a point of trying to make someone else’s day a bit brighter too.
Ironically, someone I turn to for genuine and useful advice was also having a terrible week. While I appreciated the odd bit of sympathy gained here and there, I basically felt really alone.
Getting out of a hard place
Seems to be the way when down times hit. I’m sure you know the feeling well – we’ve all been to this place.
There’s a difference between feeling a bit down and being depressed, and my mind wasn’t in a great place. I was depressed.
Thanks to the tools I now carry with me though – those law of attraction success stories – I knew it was up to me to crawl out of it, no matter how hopeless I felt.
Engaging with the law of attraction: small changes
I still insisted on hiding under my warm quilt covers instead of going to the gym in the mornings. But despite feeling like I was easily set-off at every tiny little thing that could be perceived to be going wrong each day, during my morning commute I endeavoured to try to lift my own spirits.
Friends know I’m a huge fan of author and speaker, Gabrielle Bernstein, and her new book, The Universe Has Your Back, had been sitting on my Kindle for a few weeks.
I felt like it might be time to open it up.
On the bus each morning, I read just a few pages at a time, absorbing one small idea a day and taking it with me into work.
The one thing that struck me in the opening pages of the book was Gabrielle’s discussion about how we are the dreamers of our dream; we are responsible for what we see.
I knew that I was feeling sad and disappointed, and that there were reasons which had led me to that place. I have learnt that it’s ok to feel down about things sometimes, for a little while.
But, I knew the way I was feeling was not how I wanted to continue feeling. I didn’t want to be taking it with me everywhere and I sure as hell didn’t want to be projecting it into the world. I’m well aware that what I put out will come back in larger doses.
I wasn’t even sure where or how to ask for help and didn’t have any idea how I’d be able to shift what I was seeing in front of me.
I highlighted in Gabby’s book:
“You don’t have to be a world leader to have a radical shift in perception. Sometimes it can be as simple as choosing to perceive your job with more gratitude or your family with more love.”
I practised this in my head and in writing, and it helped a bit.
I knew if nothing else, just trying would raise my energy (and therefore what I was attracting) just a notch.
How to ask for help and to see things differently
I was still in a horrible place and this didn’t help me move through to anywhere significantly better. I felt particularly low that I was lost and without an idea of what to do moving forward.
Which is why this next part of Gabby’s law of attraction success stories and advice was very helpful and as always, timely. It’s why I feel compelled to write a few words about it.
You see, I’ve realised in recent years that we don’t have to have the answers all the time. We don’t necessarily need to worry about figuring out what to do. (This coming from someone who feels very uneasy without a plan!)
All we need to do is ask for help.
“I need help. I want to see things differently.”
I am completely aware of this strategy but typical of being in a hopeless funk, we often forget to follow the advice we give to others.
I’ve used this strategy previously when I’ve been at the end of my options (or seemingly so). I’ve called on my law of attraction success stories and experience when I have wanted to make a difference to loved ones having a hard time.
I stop and ask for help – a miracle even. And, I must say, I’ve seen it work each time.
The part about seeking a different perspective is reasonably new to me – or at least, specifically seeking a new perspective as a strategy is novel.
But how would it work?
I wasn’t sure, but it seemed straightforward and something that I could call on even when I was feeling hopeless.
I went about making this my daily mantra – asking to see things differently.
I fumbled my way through the week still feeling like a right old miserable mess, and half feeling like my crazy self-help strategies were failing me.
But being the believer that I am, I persisted.
“Help me see things differently”.
And then it happened, out of literally nowhere, some news that changed the way I would view a scenario that was getting me down the most.
Something that had felt hugely disappointing turned out to be hopeful.
Then the next day, additional information came my way that lifted a veil of uncertainty over another upsetting situation that I’ve been holding space for.
I’d asked to see things differently. I had no idea how any of it would go, after all, that’s part of the reason I was feeling so depressed – I couldn’t see my way out of problems I was perceiving.
I kept asking to see things differently. Low and behold, that’s what happened in a relatively short amount of time from when I started asking for help!
Apparently the universe does have my back, and I’m glad to have had the chance to witness it.
Over the summer we had the chance to experience Malta travel at its best. We had the chance to visit this beautiful island on the Mediterranean, nestled between Sicily and North Africa. While we were only there for a few days, my Malta travel pictures are some of our favourites from recent adventures!
Malta travel – our experience in summer
We travelled to Malta in August, European summertime and yes, it was hot.
The highlight for Malta travel in August annually is the colourful religious festivals which take place in all the villages of the island. Every church and cathedral is lit up and evening street festivals are held just about every night, with performers and bands, fireworks and an all-round fabulous vibe.
There’s even daytime fireworks – something I’ve never seen before! Oh, and canon fire wakes you up at 8am which takes some adjustment but then it’s just plain amusing.
👉Want to visit Malta? Discover the best areas to stay depending on what type of trip you want to take. Find out more here
Learning about Malta
Malta’s population is predominantly Roman Catholic and the churches, relics and crosses across the island make that very obvious.
Interestingly though, Malta feels really multi-cultural. I picked up on accents from all over the world on the street and even on their commercial radio stations where I heard a number of varying English and American accents along with Irish and even Australian.
As a travel destination, Malta is renowned for its intriguing historical sites associated with a succession of rulers including the Romans, Moors, Knights of Saint John, French and British.
Malta boasts many fortresses, Megalithic temples and the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, a subterranean complex of halls and burial chambers dating to circa 4000 B.C. Really extraordinary.
Creativity and Malta travel
There’s something for everyone in Malta, and I’d pitch it as an excellent option against the coasts of Spain, France or Italy in the summer. It’s probably a bit cheaper than these neighbours too.
I can’t wait to get back to Malta one day and explore more – there’s much of the northern side we missed, but we had a good look around the south of the island.
We stayed in an amazing, authentic 700 year old villa that likely houses a ghost or two.
In fact, they used to make cheese where we stayed, and goats once roamed the lower part of the building that now acts as a casual outdoor area with a pool around which we spent hot afternoons drinking a local brew, Cisk.
Napoleon reportedly stayed in the place next door to where we were based. It was then an armoury, and on further investigation I discovered that historically, relations between France and Malta have been tumultuous.
Malta’s positioned in such a spot that it’s ended up in the centre of many wars and struggles for power over the years, including during WWII.
I spotted several plaques in the capital, Valletta, commemorating Malta’s involvement in recent wars as part of the Commonwealth (same as Australia). In fact, Malta is one of just three European countries that form part of this alliance, alongside the UK and Cyprus.
A rich history (both modern and ancient), change and rebuilding following periods of war, plus fascinating neighbours bringing a range of cultural influence means that every street, window, door and archway on the island offers an Instagrammable moment.
We were staying only about five minutes’ drive from the Blue Grotto, a haven for divers and free spirits alike.
Cliff drops, sparkling blue Mediterranean waves and the option to take a speed boat for just €8 means this is a must-visit in Malta.
Get there early to avoid queues.
The sea caverns you’ll cruise into on the water are awe-inspiring and jetting around these parts feels like nothing less than an adventure out of a Bond film.
There’s plenty of Malta pictures opportunities here, but we also captured a little bit of video to share:
While you’re in this area, you might like to visit the Hagar Qim temples (Megalithic temple structures built on the Maltese islands between 3600 and 3000 BC), Mnajdra temples (three conjoined Neolithic temples dating from about 3000 BC) and the Ghar Dalam cave and museum which contains bone remains of animals that were stranded and subsequently became extinct in Malta at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum.
Valletta waterfront and city centre
Malta’s striking capital, Valletta, is surrounded by spectacular bodies of water; cruise ships line the harbour alongside expensive yachts moored at Vittoriosa.
In stark contrast to these contemporary symbols of wealth and decadence are the fortified structures that date back thousands of years.
We highly recommend investing a couple of hours of your time in a harbour cruise where you get the best views of such buildings. Plus, there’s really no better way to experience the grandeur of the area and some of the world’s prettiest waterways.
Cruises here take in two of the largest natural harbours in the Mediterranean, Marsamxett and Valletta.
Travel tip: Captain Morgan cruises are heavily advertised, but if you buy tickets on the ground you can also cruise with Luzzu.
Start at Valletta and take a fast ferry over to Sliema, or make your way to Sliema first and begin there. Tickets are available on the waterfront in both spots.
We scored tickets for €10 (down from €16 each) on Luzzu, and while we had a small panic that the boat was much smaller than that of Captain Morgan’s, the experience turned out to be much more fun, personal, free and enjoyable. We absolutely recommend you take this option that we happened upon by taking a chance on a street vendor working for Luzzu.
Things to see and do
While you’re in the city, you might also be interested to see the Malta Experience which offers an immersive trip through Malta’s fascinating history, and the Knights Hospital which showcases more about how this critical 250-year period in Malta’s history influenced everything from architecture to folklore and even the nation’s flag.
Marsaxlokk fishing village
This small and picturesque fishing village is a must-see for perfect Malta pictures and sublime Instagrammables.
Marsaxlokk is popular for a daily open-air market and offers a selection of some of the best fish restaurants in Malta.
I was there around lunchtime and can verify there are plenty of specials to enjoy, the only problem is figuring out which one to try.
There are lovely walks to be had around the harbour here, and you can even take a dip in secluded and untainted swimming zones.
The history of the walled Mdina can be traced back more than 4000 years.
It is said that in 60 A.D. the Apostle St. Paul lived here after being shipwrecked. Wandering the narrow old streets of Mdina is like taking a trip back in time.
The romantic alleyways date back to the 12th Century and over the years has shifted from housing nobles to then falling into disrepair around war times; and now are called home by those who can afford an apartment in unique, historical surrounds.
Malta is a destination brimming with beauty, history and plenty of wonderful Instagrammable moments.
A highly recommended destination, and one we suggest you enjoy with friends or family.
A huge thank you to Robin who inspired the trip, and Anna + Anna who also made this escape such fun!
We’d love to hear from you – if you have a comment or tip to add, drop us a line below.
While I’m more a woman of the written word, during the summer break Cooper really started to explore the visual world of videography and encouraged me to create a YouTube account to showcase our newer content.
Inspired by the Casey Neistat-esque vloggers of the world, I’ll admit that Cooper’s actually gotten pretty good at setting up creative shots and editing stories together. He’s simply gone about teaching himself, which is how I’d encourage anyone to better understand digital content production (e.g. social media, blogging, vlogging). He’s the first to acknowledge that we need to improve our editing software and invest in new technology (no Cooper, we’re not buying a drone!); but despite every day offering a new learning, I’m actually really impressed by what he’s come up with, particularly as the resources he’s had available are very average by professional industry standards.
Here’s a sample:
We’ve all heard it before: content is king and video reigns supreme.
This is for several reasons, the top ones being that video is engaging, plus it is easy to digest in a world overflowing with more hours of content than we have available in several lifetimes. Whether you are producing or simply consuming video, there are excellent reasons why you should create a YouTube account to enhance your own experience and enjoyment.
With Cooper exploring the world of vlogging and professional YouTubers, I’ve become more interested in the merits of the medium and have been thinking about why it’s a worthwhile idea to create a YouTube account for personal use.
Here’s some ideas based on my own experiences that might be worth considering if you’re not already signed-in to the service:
Enhance your own user experience: 6 reasons why you should create a YouTube account
Enjoy a more personalised experience
I’ve been using YouTube as a signed-in member for a few years. Yes, this has been linked to the fact that I use Google Chrome and I’m also logged-in to Google+.
Essentially this just means that I’m a registered user, and I can see my name and profile picture up the top of the screen.
YouTube remembers what I watch and what I’m subscribed to, and helpfully suggests similar content. I’m a huge fan of Hayhouse authors like Gabby Bernstein and Doreen Virtue, and because I watch so much of their content, YouTube recognises this and shares other ideas with me. I’ve discovered plenty excellent vloggers, authors, musicians and content producers through these personalised suggestions. This would not happen if I did not create a YouTube account to sign-in to.
Never miss awesome new content again
So you start using YouTube to view interesting content, which is great, but what happens if you do not create a YouTube account?
First off, you’ll have to search for those channels every time you visit the site to see what’s new, and second, you’ll miss new content created by your favourite channel producers.
If you create a YouTube account, you can opt in to receiving alerts about your favourite vloggers or channels that produce content that inspires you in life, whether it be about health, fashion, food, travel, beauty, news, sport or entertainment.
Learn new things
The best thing about YouTube is that it is free to use. If you’re a savvy viewer you can use YouTube to teach yourself absolutely anything, from how to set up a podcast to learning a language, taking yoga classes or developing an interest in knitting.
Similarly, if you’ve got knowledge to impart yourself, you could create a YouTube account to share your own wisdom and generate publicity for your business or service.
Get involved in communities
Like any other social media, you can use YouTube to get involved in communities with like-minded people.
Unfortunately I have to say that in my personal opinion I don’t find YouTube to be brimming with the kindest of digital consumers (head over to Instagram for a more supportive experience). However, that’s not to say that if you’re following content producers who inspire you that you can’t connect with other genuine fans or people with similar interests.
The same rules apply here as on other social media – if you like something, show your support by giving a thumbs up, leaving a positive comment, sharing the link or subscribing to the channel.
It’s called ‘social’ media for a reason, so be social – the more you put in, the more you’re likely to get out of the it.
Obviously though, you need to create a YouTube account to have this user experience.
Set up playlists
I go to the gym most mornings around 5am (true story!). It’s thanks to Cooper – he drags me there, pretty much. I’m not that motivated on my own. I’m particularly expert at hitting the snooze button on my phone, but I digress… It’s really early, as you can appreciate, and my brain isn’t in any shape to figure out what I need to watch or listen to in order to be properly motivated. This is where my playlists come in handy!
I often come across interviews I want to ‘watch later’ or music that I can work out to. I save it all to various playlists so I can easily access without any hassle or thought.
You can create content too
If you’re inspired – as Cooper has been – then you too can create a YouTube account to share your own wisdom, adventures, life or business tips. The world as we know it is only going to continue to grow in this direction. The upside of being so connected is that we can all contribute to the sharing of positive and useful messages (and drown out those that are not-so-helpful).
Once I would have simply accessed YouTube to play a video I’d sought out for one reason or another. I’ve realised that as an active signed-in user I can get much more out of it, making the service work for me and my own unique lifestyle needs.
If you’ve not already (and you’re not adverse to the internet knowing more about your likes or dislikes), find out more information on YouTube’s help pages.
Once you’re set up, maybe you’ll consider subscribing to our new channeltoo. In the future we’ll be sharing plenty of fun travel content, plus digital media tips and tricks. If this is something you’re interested in, then maybe we can inspire you.
In my opinion, TBEX never fails to deliver, and this year I thought the calibre of speakers was particularly high, sharing the best travel blog ideas and content tips of the year.
I have an Evernote-file overflowing with travel blog ideas, tips and tricks, and as part of my post-event review process, I’ve summarised the best take-aways below. I hope you find it helpful.
The best of travel blog ideas and content tips – take note:
Ian Cleary on influence
I’ve followed Ian’s work for a few years now (actually, had a nice chat with him back in 2012 at TBEX Dublin).
His content (via Razor Social) is super helpful and he’s renowned for sharing the best social tools of the trade and really great content.
In his keynote which opened TBEX Europe 2016, he told us that if there’s one thing to focus on (among the plethora of things we know we ‘should’ be doing), it is to build your influence online.
By this, he means for content creators to really think about the niche we’re working within, identify other influencers in that niche and interact with them on social media, blogs and even at conferences.
Follow them around (in a non-creepy way) and network.
Another tip he shared was to really make sure your ‘about’ page and subsequent pitches on ‘you’ include ‘evidence’ on your work in the form of things like testimonials, statistics, case studies or your ‘brand’s reputation’.
Matt Kepnes (aka Nomadic Matt) on improving e-marketing newsletters
Matt insists we should always be testing – test travel blog ideas as well as your headlines, content, copy ideas, promotional strategies. Whatever you can measure.
And he should know, as a super successful travel blogger and online entrepreneur.
No matter what type of newsletter distribution app or software you’re using (e.g. MailChimp, AWeber, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign etc.) see if you can discover ways within their offerings to better optimise and target your audience.
Use ‘if-then’ statements to segment data, so that if for example, a reader clicks on a certain type of content you distribute (such as a review on a book about social media), they can be shifted to a user-group you might want to work with separately (for example, down the track if you release a book or e-book on similar subject matter, this group could potentially be more interested than others on your mailing list).
This is all particularly helpful as your offerings, content, products and services expand, and means you are likely to have more interested groups of readers to target different things to.
On subject lines, he reminded us these are very important and pretty much determine whether an email will be opened or not.
Try to make your subject lines personal in nature, offer help; keep it short but not too specific.
An example: ‘How to travel for free’ worked well for Matt; on the same content, ‘The ultimate guide to travel hacking’ did not.
On a side-note about the blogging world as a whole, he also mentioned that we shouldn’t be so tied up creating content that we forget to read and educate ourselves too.
The more we read: travel, business, marketing, history, personal development, and so on, the better we’ll become at everything! Makes sense, right?
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
The Power of Persuasion by Robert V. Levine
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
Ask by Ryan Levesque
Spud Hilton on storytelling
In this inspiring address, one of the few truly experienced newspaper travel editors working in the world today, shared some brilliant tips on how to craft compelling content.
Spud Hilton reminded us that in order to enhance even our best ideas for a travel blog, we need to:
Write to a point – who is the audience and what message do you want them to take away? Work this out before drafting your copy or visual content.
Defy expectations – find things people aren’t doing somewhere or that wouldn’t be expected of a particular place. Be different. It’s also nice to share what’s great about a destination that others either overlook or perceive is a bit rubbish. We think a great example is Hastings in the UK – a place we had a lot of interest in because no-one in England cared about it but we sung the destination’s praises and shared why it is a cool place to go.
Move past ‘tourist vs traveller’, because everyone is a traveller, really. They just fall between being a discoverer (e.g. climbing a mountain, seeking a monk and spiritual enlightenment) and a leisure traveller, that is, taking a break and unapologetically sipping on cocktails by the beach.
And it’s important to report, not repeat content – find the story, don’t rehash what’s already been shared. He reminded us to look which way the pack is going, then head in the opposite direction, because that’s where the unique story will be.
Shawn Smith on using blab and Facebook Live (live-casting)
Shawn (The Mobile Pro) presented a really interesting workshop about his thoughts on live-casting services, with particular references to Blab and Facebook Live.
He maintains (and we keep hearing this) that this method of conversing with an audience will continue to grow, and inevitably boom. I really see the benefits of live-casting, although my only reservations are availability of Wifi and data when travelling. Personal mobile Wifi seems to be more accessible now though, which would alleviate these worries.
He shared a case study about how he managed to raise funds for much-needed stoves in a remote part of the world, because he had the chance to use this technology to show people first-hand how much of a difference their donation would really make.
Using live-casting technology you can:
Re-purpose content from your blog, but remember to talk about it, don’t just re-read it. Live-casting is about conversation, it’s not a presentation.
Chat about three to seven key points.
Talk to people by name – if they are commenting, chat back to them.
Be authentic and vulnerable – be yourself.
Invite calls to action (e.g. sign up to a mailing list).
Don’t be afraid to ask for comments and shares of your feed. Often people do not know to do this but will happily oblige.
If you plan a live-cast in advance, don’t forget to set up event invites (you could do this via Facebook) to remind friends to come online for a chat!
Why not have a go at it this week, but be mindful that Shawn advised you should try to broadcast for at least 15 minutes to gather an audience and have a ‘chat’ live across the world about your chosen topic. I suspect this is true, because I experimented with Periscope and Facebook Live (for the first time) while we were exploring the Vasa Museum in Stockholm and noticed the audience uptake was rather low within the five minutes I was playing around on both streams. Longer and I might have had the chance to have a proper conversation.
Shane Dallas on using Google+ to reach millions
My final workshop summery is from a very engaging Aussie traveller’s session. Shane Dallas (aka the Travel Camel) hosts The Road Less Travelled, one of the world’s biggest Twitter travel chats.
He spoke about how Google+ is far from ‘dead’ and that we should all be keeping an eye on its ‘collections‘ feature, and carefully curating our own meaningful collections while nurturing conversations about the subject matter within our chosen niche.
On social media, he insists more of us need to more mindful of what value our content is bringing to the party, how it makes us different (stand out) and its purpose.
He says we need to strive to be better at the three Cs:
Interestingly, Shane discussed using Google+ and the featured collections function in almost a micro-blogging capacity, rather than as a vehicle for driving traffic back to a website.
I can definitely see his point, particularly being that it is a truly different user-set that make the best of this social media platform.
He mentioned that Twitter, Instagram and Google+ are the social vehicles used by those who want to ‘network and learn’ (rather than those where you will mostly hang out with friends). I totally agree with this and have enjoyed these three services in this way.
I have also always found Google+ to offer a more beautiful interface for images, videos and interesting conversation, so I was glad to be reassured that it is embedding its place firmly in the world of micro-blogging, creative content and social media.
Do you have tips or questions? Let us know in the comments below.
Welcome! We are Sarah + Cooper, Aussie expats living in the UK with our Westie dog, London. We like to inspire on how to travel for longer and to live and work from anywhere. Our most popular content here is about seeing the world with your pet, remote working & digital nomadism, and house + pet sitting. Create a global life of your dreams at any age! Subscribe to find out more :)
Grab our NEW 2023 guides:
Master House Sitting with Our Must-Have 101 Essentials eGuide! Buy It Here
And, 7 Essential Strategies for Maximizing Your Use of ChatGPT eBookBuy it here