Picking Turnipseed’s Brain: An Interview with a Travel Blogger

Turnipseed Travel Blog is everything I could dream of achieving as an aspiring travel writer.   It’s beautifully designed, intelligently written, incredibly informative and well organized.    Vanessa and Ryan are the couple that make up Turnipseed Travel Blog, they explore the world together.

Vanessa Chiasson is the writer and adventurer I was able to interview.  Vanessa serves as the main writer while her husband, Ryan handles business management, IT services and photography. “After 9 months of tech misery I finally turned the computer side of thing over to my spouse… We balance each other out quite well, both in terms of travel style and what our blog skills are.”

I’m going to be a college graduate and truthfully I am very unsure of my future.  I asked Vanessa what she thought she would do after college.  “I had no idea what I would do after college.  I found it hard to imagine not traveling but never thought that travel writing could be my profession.  In fact, remember reading a FAQ on Lonely Planet that said they had sometimes thousands of applicants for a single writing post and I immediately shutdown the idea that I could ever work in the travel writing field at all.”  She managed to create her own success without the help of Lonely Planet.  Turnipseed Travel Blog and the sale of articles from the blog make enough money for her and her husband to manage their travels.  However it’s not all fun and adventure, Vannessa reminded me, “I can easily put in a 100 hours a week.”

There must be some secret to finding success in such a saturated market such as blogging.  I asked Vanessa how she came up with her articles on such a regular basis. “Our blog is focuses on value- where to save, when to splurge- and that path often encompasses local food and wine, a wide range of accommodations, quirky museums and more.”  What I feel is unique about Turnipseed Travel blog is the accessibility.  There are tips for any traveler, a family vacation, business person bringing their dog or a backpacker looking for the best deal.

Turnipseed Travel Blog has hundreds of posts with categories such as Pet Travel, Gear Reviews and $200 Challenge. All of them are helpful for anyone planning a trip but also entertaining for the person daydreaming of traveling around the world. I personally like the activity reviews because even if I’m not traveling to Sydney or Bangkok I can live vicariously through Turnipseed’s posts. I asked Vanessa what have been some of her personal favorite blog posts.  She named, “Travel Memories Are Made When I Visit a Bookstore” and “Locked Up Abroad: A Night Tour of Alcatraz.”

“Travel Memories Are Made When I Visit a Bookstore,” enlightened me that the best local travel deals tend to be in coffee shop and bookstore bulletin boards. The article distinguishes itself from her others because Vanessa let’s her followers see a personal side of her.  “When people say that they haven’t had the time to read…I immediately recoil,” she writes in her blog.  “Books save lives. They help people fall in love, they spark revolutions and they guide the way to peace.”  Her readers can see her as a person and not an anonymous blogger.

Now the obvious question everyone wants to know about blogging, how does Vanessa make money off her blog? The answer is sponsors and magazines.  “Either guest posts from a company that we host in exchange for a fee or putting an embedded link in an existing article. But most of the money comes from inspiration for freelancing.  I’ll see the potential to take an experience I’ve written about and suddenly see it in a new light and I’ll pitch to a paying magazine or other outlet.”

Next I wanted to pick Vanessa’s brain.  I’d love to be a travel writer, but what does it take? I started with, what does she believe is the most important personality trait in a travel blogger. “I’m going to say the ability to be alone.  For every exhilarating day on the road there are many more spent alone, in silence… People who thrive on the constant camaraderie, reassurance and feedback of office colleagues might find the isolation difficult.”

The next question I posed, what is her advice to aspiring travel writers? “People get so caught up in social media, in photography, in video, in new equipment, in more and more exotic trips and they can easily forget about what matters most- the quality of your writing.  If you don’t have a compelling story, nothing else matters.  Before you invest in your fourth camera lens or bother to buy set of plane tickets hire a freelance editor for a few hours to destroy your work with a red pen.  It’s surprisingly affordable and immensely helpful.”

Now of course the question of social media, while Vanessa suggests to not get caught up in social media it is essential for self-promotion.  So I asked her what social media platforms she uses,” Primarily Twitter but I’m also on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Tout and LinkedIn.  These answers surprised me beceause I don’t know what Tout is.  It’s a video sharing site mostly used in the UK rather than the US, I never use Google +.  However it is helpful to know that it has paid off for Vanessa to use all of these platforms.

Turnipseed Travel Blog has been through most of the world’s continents. But which countries stood out from the sea of foreign adventures Turnipseed Travel Blog has embarked on. “Myanmar and Malawi were the two most life changing, exciting destinations but I always want to go back to London and Paris.”

Turnipseed Travel Blog is a success and making money however what is the next step for the couple?   Vanessa explains she intends to reach for higher ambitions than blogging. “I’ve just expanded to my own communications firm specializing in social media called Sculpt Social.”  It’ll be interesting to see how her business endeavors play out but for now please visit http://www.turnipseedtravel.com to find travel tips and revel in their worldly adventures.

Twitter: turnipseeds

Facebook: TunripseedTravel



3 thoughts on “Picking Turnipseed’s Brain: An Interview with a Travel Blogger

  1. I’m sorry to say that I’m only finding this article now. Very well written. Remember to never be scared to follow your dreams. You never know where it might lead. I’m happy that Vanessa is bringing me along for the ride!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s