Interview with The Wandering Quinn

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By Rachel Evans Deputy Travel Editor

Rachel Evans speaks to Ellie Quinn, the owner of The Wandering Quinn travel blog.

Ellie Quinn runs one of our favourite travel blogs, The Wandering Quinn. She offers great advice on pretty much everywhere you could want to visit, from how to survive bus travel in South America, to getting a bamboo tattoo on Koh Phi Phi island in Thailand. She has done it all! Ellie is 28 and from the UK, she has been travelling on and off since 2010, and has her turned her blog into a successful business. We asked her more about her travels and how she turned doing something she loved into something so successful.

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Instagram / thewanderingquinn

We will start with a bit about your blog, how did you get into blogging?

I started my blog in 2014, I’d been living and working in Australia for 2 years and was heading to South East Asia for a few months afterwards. A friend randomly suggested that I should start a blog so that implanted a seed in my mind, in addition to that I had been doing lots of research on where to go in South East Asia and realised the websites I was finding so helpful online were written by normal people like me and these were in fact their blogs. The blogs helped me so much and once I was in South East Asia I felt like I wanted to give back with my knowledge of how I got from place to place so I started writing it down too which started my blog.

How did you go about finding your brand and making yourself stand out?

That’s something I struggled with and still do to be honest. I travel in different ways, my trips that are a few months long are in a ‘backpacker’ style but when I lived in London I’d go on European city breaks with more of a budget. I love travelling solo but I also love group travel so I don’t really have a niche.
One consistent thing for me is that I like to talk about the practical side of travel and I’m very honest so recently I’ve been making myself stand out in the sense of being the blogger who shows the true side of travel, the good, the bad, the pretty and the ugly.

Unfortunately, travelling can be hard on a student budget! Do you have any tips for saving money?

My biggest tip is to convert what you’re saving at home into what you’ll spend it on when you travel. For example not spending £5 on lunch out will get you a room in a hostel in many parts of the world. Not going on a night out and saving £40 is a few nights accommodation, an internal flight in Asia or even a return flight to somewhere in Europe if you look in the sales!
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive and in many parts of the world money goes a long way.

Alongside this is prioritising, I’ve always prioritied travel over buying expensive items, it’s hard when you are saving but worth it when you’re on the trip, whether that’s a weekend away or a backpacking trip.

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Instagram / thewanderingquinn

It sounds like you have had such an amazing life and done so many cool things whilst travelling, so we would love to know more about that! Are there any countries that were completely different to how you expected?

I have! I’ve seen a lot! For me I would say some of the Middle Eastern Countries like Israel, Jordan & Lebanon. I knew these countries were and are safe to visit but when I told people I was going I got a lot of questions as to why and worries about safety. When I arrived, not only were they safe like I knew they would be but they were even better than I expected in terms of what you can see there, the friendly locals, the good food and of course, no sign of any issues like many people believe there are.

Travelling always creates some amazing memories. What do you think has been the best moment of your travels?

For me, the best moments and memories are visiting the places I’ve been dreaming about for so long and the first time I spot them. I still remember seeing the Sydney Bridge for the first time in between some buildings, seeing the view over Machu Picchu after walking up the steep path, the colosseum in Rome between 2 streets, the Taj Mahal in India through an archway.

We see so many photos of these iconic places as we grow up and even more so now with the internet, so finally seeing these places in real life is just amazing and makes me so proud of myself for wanting to go and making it work.

At the other end of the spectrum, it can also be really hard at times. Have you had any really low points?

I’ve been really lucky on my travels and I’ve never had any major issues but there are always times when travel feels and is hard. A low point for me is usually the travelling part, getting from place to place. Travel days are often long and sometimes they can take much longer than expected and be a hassle.

Being ill is another low point, I got ill in India recently, it turns out I had a parasite! I’m fine now but I felt drained when I was there and part of me just wanted to go home.

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Instagram / thewanderingquinn

Going to so many countries must mean you have eaten some amazing dishes, which was your favourite, and can you make it?

Yes food is always the priority and what travellers plan their days around!
I love Asian food like Thai & Vietnames. I’m vegetarian and in these countries they cook tofu so well! I love Thai Red Curry & Pho. I have cooked it at home but it’s just not the same!

Which food do you miss the most when you're away?

Well my ‘going away meal’ and ‘coming home meal’ is usually chips from the chip shop so I’d probably say that! These days in big cities there are so many chain restaurants so if you do crave some western food you can usually find what you want and settle the craving, but you don’t see any chip shops around!

It was international women's day on the 8th of March. Have you met any really inspiring women on your travels?

Yes so many! I love meeting women in hostels, on day trips etc and hearing their stories. So many women are travelling around the world solo from many countries and it’s really great to see. When you’re at home there’s often this fear around solo female travel but when you’re travelling you meet so many others doing the same as you you realise it’s so normal and safe to do and that always inspires me to keep doing it and encourage others to.

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Instagram / thewanderingquinn

**Is there anywhere that you would think about moving to?

I’d love to go back to Australia and live there again! I loved Melbourne and would probably go back in a heart beat if I could.

And finally, do you have any tips for anyone wanting to get into blogging?

I would say to just start, there’s not much that can go wrong by starting and seeing if it’s something you like and enjoy. It doesn’t have to become your full time job or take up lots of time, so many people blog alongside a full time job as a hobby. Blogging is a great creative outlet and there’s such good communities out there which you can connect to via blogging. Most of my good friends now are all people I’ve met through blogging and the online world but now know in real life. One of the reasons I keep blogging is to stay in that community because it’s so inspiring and friendly.

Featured image: Unsplash / npigossi


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