Before I went on my RTW travels, I could be often found stalking other travel blogs but what really interested me was the travel blogger behind the witticisms of their writing. Who are they? Are they real? Are they fit? So hence, for a long time coming, I wanted to do some travel blogging interviews and crack them open for their rawness inspiration of travel inside. Think Michael Parkinson.
It’s been a long time since I’ve done Who’s THAT Travel Blogger series but thankfully, a top travel blogger…nay the biggest bilingual travel blogger in Belgium came across my radar. I knew I simply had to interview her after checking out her Belgium themed blog. Remembering my fondness for Ghent, I wanted to see how a travel blogger from Belgium simply love travelling in Belgium. The country sometimes is known as boring but I’m telling you, after reading this travel blog, you’ll want to visit! Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Sofie of Wonderful Wanderings!
1. Name: Sofie Couwenbergh
2. Twitter: https://twitter.com/wondwand/
3. Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/WondWanderings/
4. Blog URL: http://wonderfulwanderings.com
5. Where are you originally from and where are you now?
I’m from Belgium and still living there, but I promise I’m not boring:-) (Ed note: Your blog is anything but!)
6, Describe yourself in 3 words.
Restless, giddy, impatient.
7. Tell us about your blog. What makes your blog unique from all the other bloggers out there?
As far as I know, WonderfulWanderings.com is the biggest bilingual (Dutch-English) travel blog in Belgium with a large focus on that country. Aside from writing about Belgium, I also love exploring cities and local cultures around the world.
When I started the blog, I still had a full-time job and so I used to travel during the weekends and max for two weeks at a time. I’ve stuck with that kind of short-term travel as I want to provide inspiration and practical information for people who want to make travel a big part of their live, but don’t necessarily want to quit their jobs or go on a three-month long trip.
8. Why did you start writing a blog? And did you find it easy to set up?
I’ve always had a thing with writing. I studied languages in school, got my masters in Western Literature and have worked for a press agency and as a copywriter for a publishing house. And yet something was missing. I needed a creative outlet of my own and that became Wonderful Wanderings.
Starting the blog on WordPress went fairly easy, the headache started as I continued blogging and wanted to add all kinds of “special things” to it. I designed the first two versions of the blog myself – and that took me hoouuurs, but for the third one I hired a designer. Playtime was over, it needed to look the part. (Ed note: It looks tremendously awesome!)
9. If you had to travel with 3 other travel bloggers who would they be?
Amanda from MarocMama.com, a very good friend of mine; Laurel from MonkeysandMountains.com, a very wise friend of mine; and Saskia from CiaoTutti.nl, a Dutch friend of mine who understands my ramblings in Dutch. Well, kind of 🙂
10. What’s the best advice you can give for new bloggers?
Do your own thing. And if you don’t yet know what your own thing is, still do it. It’s so tempting to copy others but you know what? What works for them, might not work for you. Try to find your own voice. My chocolate that sounds cliché, but it does hold truth.
11. Other than a job, what’s the easiest way to make money for travels?
Not spending any. I know so many people who say they can’t travel as much as I do, but then go shopping every weekend and eat out three times a week. Really?
12. Where have you been in the world? And which was the best, worst, funniest, most random and scariest?
I’ve mostly traveled around Europe. It’s such an easy continent to get around in, but one of my best trips was to Los Angeles. I was there twice to both take travel classes and explore the county and I simply loved that “everything is possible” vibe over there. Oh, and the weather, of course.
I disliked Lisbon though. I know lots of people love it, but it didn’t do anything for me. I’d like to go back sometime with someone who knows the city and can show me the fun bits, but until then: meh.
Aside from that experience, I’ve luckily never encountered any really scary situations while I was traveling. Lots of fun ones, yes, but those had more to do with the company I was in than with the destination.
13. Naughtiest experience on your travels?
Not suitable for publication 🙂 (Ed note: you’re no fun!)
14. Luggage or Backpack?
A carry-on trolley.
15. Top 3 items that you would save from your backpack if it was about to be sunk in shark infested waters?
My smartphone, credit card and ID.
16. Skydiving or Bungee Jumping?
Hell to the no to both of them. I have a terrible fear of heights.
17. Best travel idol (aside from me, of course) that you would want to sit next to on the plane?
Hm, I actually don’t have any travel idols, I think. Besides, it’s usually more interesting getting to know a complete stranger. And “interesting” can go both ways 😀
18. What’s your party trick to show to other backpackers in hostels?
I’m a dancer and whenever there’s music, I can’t stand still!
19. Hostel, Guesthouse, Hotel or Couchsurf?
Can I go with apartment? Or a hotel with a decent sized room.
20. Day Trip, Backpack or live? UK, Australia or Vietnam?
I’m not sure what you mean with “day trip, back pack or live”?
Vietnam, because I haven’t been yet and it’s so different from the Western world.
21. Lonely Planet or Rough Guide?
I have to admit I’ve never used either of them.
22. Will you go out with me, a sexy, tall, dark and handsome god?
I’m afraid I’m already spoken for 🙂 (Ed note: My life is over!)
23. Did you find love on your travels?
Nopes, I found love in a very cliché way: through a friend while I was studying in Leuven, now my hometown. He’s the exact opposite of me in many many ways, but I think that’s exactly what makes him my home, my sturdy rock in the storm, and a decent cook.
24. Would you go on I’m a Celebrity and eat pig’s testicles?
No. Not because of the pig’s testicles, I’d try those, but the idea of going on a reality show doesn’t really appeal to me.
25. And possibly, the most important question…Neighbours or Home and Away?!
I’m Belgian, I don’t even know what the difference is between those two 😀
26. Which 3 songs have you played the most on your ipod on your travels?
I tend to listen to podcasts when I travel as I’m one of those annoying people who always wants to be productive. Smart Passive Income is a classic. When it comes to music, it’s usually something funky.
27. You travelled on your own, how did that go for you and did you find it easy to make new friends on the road?
Unlike many travel bloggers, I didn’t start traveling solo until I had the blog. I’d never been very good at approaching strangers, but the more I traveled I realized that the more open you are toward others, the more open they will be toward you and once I feel that someone wouldn’t mind a conversation, I feel a lot more confident to say hi. I actually love meeting new people, but I sometimes still struggle taking that first step.
28. What are your next travel plans?
The big blank! I’m actually full-on planning the rest of my travel year at the moment and I have a bunch of projects that will hopefully get finalized in the next few weeks. One trip that’s certain and that I’m very much looking forward to is Prague in June. I’m taking my mom for my birthday and I’m sure we’re going to have a blast.
29. What’s the best advice you can give to first time travellers?
Have a plan. You don’t need to stick to it, but I find it reassuring to know what there is to do, when everything opens and closes and how I need to get there. When you have a plan, you can still go with the flow, but you’ll always have something to fall back on.
30. Finally, tell us a funny travel story.
A (girl) friend and I traveled to Granada, Spain together. We’d booked a private hostel room for the two of us. Little did we know that that room was the only private one in the hostel. But no biggie, right? So we checked in and received a key – one key – which had a heart on it. The guy at the reception looked at us a bit funny, or did we only imagine that. He took us to our room but left it to us to open the door and go in. When we did, we saw why he’d had a funny look… Our room was clearly the lovers room, completely with mirrors on the ceiling and a kama sutra drawing on the wall!
Thanks Sofie for doing this interview! If you would like to know more about her journeys, Look up here: Wonderful Wanderings
If you would like to have an interview, please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you featured on here!