Interview – Helen McClure from Expat Explorers
Interview with Helen McClure – the hand behind Expat Explorers. Helen is traveling from the past eight years along with her husband Andy and two kids. Helen believes a home is where the family is. Helen started her blog to reach our her family and friends who live in different zones, but the blog now has a wider reach providing inspiration and information for expats and armchair traveler. Follow Expat Explorers on Facebook and Twitter.
Helen, please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Helen McClure and I have a passion for travel. I’m known for being sport mad (all sports), running and cycling long distances (just mad) and being competitive (in everything, but mainly with my husband). I have a background in news journalism and work as a PR and marketing consultant, but my hardest job is looking after my two daughters, Madeleine, aged 6, and Tilda, aged 3.
Where have you been? What are your most memorable experiences during travel?
I’ve been to more than 50 countries and lived in four; USA, UK, Kuwait and UAE. Each trip is different and I couldn’t compare them but experiences have included backpacking excursions to South America and the Far East, touring Europe in a camper van, working in villages in Africa and travelling with the British Army in Kenya and Oman.
You travel with your two very young kids, how do they cope up with the changing environments?
Children are very flexible and to be honest they don’t know any different. However, even I am amazed at how they cope with long flights and car journeys. Through travel I want them to understand that the world is a jigsaw and we are part of it. The world doesn’t revolve around us. We revolve around the world. I want them to take an interest, ask questions, investigate and explore to find out what their jigsaw piece looks like.
How did you get into travel blogging? Do you monetize your blog or is it only for sharing your life experiences?
Expat Explorers started as diary for my children, who have been dragged around the world most of their lives. I started sharing it with family, as a way of keeping in contact, and then other people followed it. The website now offers travel stories, independent insights and trip ideas,but I like to create dialogue through social media too.
Expat Explorers has grown into a resource for travelers, offering expats, intrepid explorers and armchair travelers stories, news, independent insights and trip ideas. I work as a freelance copywriter, journalist, use my blog as a portfolio, and have an interest in partnership deals with the travel industry.
I’m currently based in Dubai, but who knows where we’ll be next.
Where has your work been published online? Did you write for any print magazines or guides?
The list is too long. I’ve worked with other travel blogs like ExpatsBlog, Thinking Nomads as well as HSBC’s expat service and the Telegraph to name a few. I started my career as in print as a news and travel journalist.
Have you thinking of authoring a book based on your travels?
Maybe one day. I think I’d like it to be a coffee table book so my photographs paint the words as well.
What is your advise to aspiring travel writers?
Work out where you’re heading. What are you trying to achieve with your writing? Who is your audience? And remember it’s not as glamorous as it seems.
Any thing else you want to tell our readers……….My observations are the main fodder for my musings, but remember to use all your senses. Look at everything with a fresh eye and then wherever you travel you will find a story. Your home country is someone else’s travel destination.
A travel writer who inspires you? Not a conventional travel writer, but the color and passion evoked by Louis de Bernieres means he can describe a place you know perfectly without mentioned its name.
A weird food you ate? Possible brain in Marrakesh: it was dark.
A movie based on traveling you like? National Lampoon’s European Vacation: I don’t like it. I hate it, it’s so bad. But I love it too because it reminds me of holidays with my family when I was a teenager.
Favorite country to travel? Impossible to answer. How can you compare remote mountain villages to vibrant cities? I like variety.
Two things that are always with you when traveling? Flip flops and camera.