Interview – David Webb from Across And Abroad
In conversation with David Webb, a Vancouver based writer, editor, photographer, fisherman, motorcyclist, free skier, surfer and curious traveler. David is also the editor of Explore Magazine and contributor to several other websites. David has been part of TV programs such as Urban Rush, Breakfast Television (Edmonton & Vancouver) and Global TV News. His writing have been featured on Westworld, BC Business, TV Week, Pacific Yachting, BC Outdoors, Western Sportsman, The Outdoor Edge, Cottage, CMA InFlight, PC InFlight, Harmony Magazine, BE Magazine, Adventurous, Destination Fish, Motorcycle Mojo, Canadian Biker, Explore, Canoe Routes, Outdoor Canada, Hunt Alberta and a few local newspapers. An award winning screen writer (won Praxis Centre for Screenwriters Spring Screenwriting Competition in 2009), today David talks about his adventure travel blog Across And Abroad which he started in 2010 and much more.
Hello, introduce yourself to our readers and tell us something about your background?
I’ve been writing professionally for 10 years — along with my work as a blogger, I work in the print magazine industry, currently as the editor of Explore Magazine (Canada) and as a freelance contributor to a variety of outlets. When I’m not writing, I’m travelling, motorcycling, fishing, running and hitting the beach. Travel/recreation writing is a great fit for me, as my passions can intersect with my work.
How did you get into traveling blogging? Do you specialize in any niche in travel blogging?
As I mentioned, I’ve been working in the publishing industry for 10 years. I started my own travel blog in 2010, as a way to explore more freedom in my travel writing — both creatively and from a business standpoint. I specialize in adventure travel and outdoor recreation, although I’ve been known to write just about anything.
What are the pros and cons of being a travel blogger? What is your source of information – travel blogs or printed travel guides?
Pros: freedom, creative control, fun!
Cons: Creating a business model.
I still like to buy Lonely Planet guides when I travel, but definitely use blogs as a current, reputable source of information.
How do you monetize your blog? What is your suggestion to aspiring travel bloggers on monetizing a blog?
Monetization is trickier than most newbies realize. The mistake most new bloggers make is by assuming Google Ads or Commission Junction is going to pay their bills. It won’t (unless you have MAJOR traffic). You have to find innovative ways to monetize. Start by simply writing and building an audience. I would suggest leaving monetization out of it for the first year. One of the best ways to monetize is to use your influence and popularity to get paying gigs from other sources — like book deals and print magazine articles. Convincing companies to sponsor your endeavours is another way. Straight up “ad-click” revenue is always going to be peanuts. It takes a lot of work and creativity to successfully monetize a blog.
What challenges do you face when you traveling in other country? How do you keep yourself safe?
Language barriers sometimes exist, although as an English speaker, I have a huge leg-up. Common sense reins supreme. If something seems off, it probably is. Also, don’t be afraid to be rude. If someone is putting you in an awkward position, perhaps requesting something you’re not comfortable giving (a ride, a place to stay, use of your phone), just say NO and walk away. Too often, criminals prey on people’s inherent politeness.
Did you ever get cheated while traveling?
All the time… ha ha, though not in a serious manner. Have I been overcharged? Yes, of course — but I’m a big believer in the redistribution of wealth (not to say I am wealthy); that is, those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to pay thousands of dollars on plane tickets and vacations shouldn’t fret too much if we get overcharged by the equivalent of a couple of dollars on a souvenir or a taxi ride. If you’re constantly worried about getting “cheated” while travelling, it’s going to ruin your fun time. Pay what you feel is fair, stand up for yourself, be assertive, — and then forget about it. When it comes to REALLY being cheated – just remember: never flash your money around, never give anyone your passport or phone and don’t let people walk away with your cash before you have the purchase in your hands.
And if you never want to “feel” cheated, don’t tell fellow travellers what you paid for things — and don’t believe them when they tell you how little they paid for the same.
Any funny or embarrassing moments during travel you want to share?
That I actually want to share? Hmmm, well, once in New York City, I misunderstood a statement made by my taxi driver, and subsequently stated, “Oh, you are from Israel, then?” Nope – turns out he was from Palestine. Things got awkward from then on. Or there was the time, in Jaipur, India, when, suffering from food poisoning I ended up vomiting profusely right in front of the main Departures entrance while my poor taxi driver was trying to collect his money. Taxi drivers — they have to put up with a lot.
A travel writer who inspires you? Dave & Deb (The Planet D)
A weird food you ate? Fried bugs (Bangkok)
First foreign trip? Being Canadian, we don’t really count the USA as “foreign,” so I’ll say Thailand.
Must read travel book? Jupiter’s Travels by Ted Simon
Favorite country to travel? India