How did We Blog the World come about, and what does it offer to eager travellers?
We Blog the World was born prior to a blogging trip I helped produce and lead to South Africa in 2008. The site, which combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine and a global blog network, re-launched this month, with a deeper editorial focus on cultural events from around the world. While there are lots of blogs that focus on budget or adventure travel and travel sites that cater to the luxury traveller, there isn’t one central site that combines comprehensive coverage of cultural events and great storytelling from every continent. We Blog the World aims to be the site people can visit to learn about unique experiences, cultural events and people across cultural communities who are doing remarkable things in the world.
You say your biggest passion is connecting people. Who do you love to meet and how do you go about engaging with them?
Anyone who has a story to share and nearly everyone has an interesting story in them. Often, we get so busy with the demands of everyday life, we forget about some of the unique experiences in our lives which have shaped who we are. By taking the time to meet new people wherever I go, I learn what makes them shine in the world by listening to their stories.
I engage with people at events, conferences and on the road and yes, that sometimes including the person next to me on an airplane. I also engage with people online through multiple social media networks, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Twitter.
As you have so many connections across the world, you know that communication is key to maintaining these relationships. Do you speak (or hope to speak) any other languages?
While my French is not fluent and the accent clearly needs work, my knowledge of it can get me through most dinner parties and road trips. I used to speak some Afrikaans and Dutch but my knowledge of both has gone south over the past decade. The same goes for sign language. As for other languages, absolutely… both Italian and Spanish are high on my list.
You have a clear passion for photography. If money and resources were no object, where would you love to shoot and why?
I’d start out by shooting places I haven’t yet….Peru, Argentina, northern Alaska, Japan, the Philippines, Iceland, Burma, Colombia, Chile, and mainland Indonesia. Then I’d go back to places I have shot but not with a professional camera. These include Thailand, Malaysia, India, Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Kenya and Egypt. I could go on of course. There’s no point stopping there is there?
You are one well-travelled lady. Out of all the countries you’ve lived and worked in, which three have had the most significant impact on your life and career?
This is an easier question than I thought it would be. The first one is easy: South Africa. I was there in the mid-eighties, when Apartheid was still in place. I was also there in the nineties and again in 2008-2009. South Africa is one of the most complex, textured and emotional places I’ve ever been and also one of the most beautiful. England would probably have to be second because I lived there during some of the most formative years of my life including college. By the time I left, I can honestly say that I felt more English than American. The third country may be a tie-breaker between the Netherlands and Australia. I met an incredible number of interesting and creative people on those equally-rich journeys.
Through your line of work, what have you discovered in terms of common interests and similarities between people of differing cultures?
We all want the same thing in life – to be accepted, embraced and appreciated for who we are. And, while everyday life is dramatically different in a rural village than it is in New York City, at the end of the day, you still do a lot of the same things every month regardless of where you live: shop for groceries, fold laundry, attend parties, cook dinner with friends, go to the bank, check email and exercise.
What developments in the travel/tech world should we be looking out for over the next year or two?
Traveling has become increasingly painful in recent years and anyone who travels a lot knows what I mean. The experience of flying business or first class is not what it was, the food in economy is often processed, unhealthy and tasteless, we’re nickeled and dimed for blankets, movies, pillows, luggage and 2 extra inches of legroom, and the service is at an all time low. We have to walk through detectors that are not as safe and healthy as the world is led to believe. And, are the bathrooms on most flights filthier than they used to be or have my senses of smell and sight become stronger as I get older?
I’m addicted to meeting new people and learning about new cultures from around the world, and so I still book those painful flights because I don’t want to give up having those experiences.
I think an increasing trend could be intermediaries who focus on improving customer experience through every step of the process, from booking the flight, to creating an itinerary, to following through when something was promised and doesn’t show up. These intermediaries could show up as a digital version of a travel agent, who doesn’t pass the cost to the consumer, or a service that assures your experience is what you paid for or you get a refund.
Go on, make us jealous. Fill us in on your travel plans for the rest of 2012.
I’m heading to Winnipeg and Churchill Canada to hang out with polar bears and Canadians this summer and in the fall, Spain, Denmark, Kentucky, NYC & New England are on the list. As for the rest of the year, while nothing has been finalized, I’m looking at Dublin, Paris, Mississippi & Alabama and Buenos Aires. Earlier this year, I went to Dubai, Qatar, Austin, LA, Hawaii and Colorado.
…OK we’re definitely jealous. A big thanks to Renee!
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World, a site that combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine and a global blog network with contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored over 70, Renee is an avid traveller, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.
She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, Discovery Buddy and We Blog the World. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer on a top 50 list by Forbes in 2012.
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About the Author (Author Profile)Fresh from the SE Asia/Australia backpacker trail, Emma (or Sparkle as her friends call her) is the newest recruit to join the My Destination Content Team. Currently mourning the loss of her tan, she’s finding comfort in sharing her stories and reminiscing about her travels, which is apparently deemed to be ‘work’. Having grown up in a village outside Cardiff, this little Welshie is still getting to grips with London and delights in shocking people on the tube by smiling at them. She’s a keen dancer and is looking forward to visiting Pineapple Studios and impressing some of you at future socials with her moves (drunken tap dancing is her specialty). Dreams of moving to Fiji and marrying Michael Palin.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Big Blogger Interview: We Blog the World. | Tourism : StoryTravelling | Scoop.it | September 16, 2012