Charlie Patrick recently started blogging after moving to Korea to teach English. Since then, he has been working on providing high-quality content in the areas of travel, food, and lifestyle. Check out our interview below, in which Charlie talks to me about getting started with a blog, what it’s like to start from scratch, and how he’s learning to navigate the blogosphere. Also, make sure to head over to his blog to see what he’s been writing about this week!
How did you get started in the travel blogging world?
I started blogging shortly before my (then) girlfriend and I moved to Korea for a year to teach English. I thought that blogging would be a good way to chronicle the whole experience. Somewhere along the line, more recently, I’ve decided that I actually want people to read what I write and have made some efforts to make my blog a bit more of a destination rather than just “what happened today.” I can’t really nail down a start date as it slowly morphed from more of a personal journal into a blog more focused on travel and food.
Prior to blogging, what experience did you have with writing, photography (and, of course, food)?
Prior to blogging my experience with writing was purely academic. As a matter of fact, it’s been difficult to get myself to write in a more conversational and genuine voice. I’ve always enjoyed photography in the past, mainly on vacations or day trips from home, but now I feature a lot of the great photography that my fiance produces rather than my own. As far as food goes, I’ve always loved to cook, and I’ve always loved to eat, but somehow over the past five years my taste buds have grown to enjoy a lot more things. Now that I’ve got broader horizons I often put food first when planning a trip.
Tell me a little bit about your current project, Ever Evolving Primate. How did you get it started and what does it take to get a travel blog off the ground? Where would you like to see it going in the next few years?
Ever Evolving Primate is my baby. Right now my employment situation is such that I can spend a lot of time writing while I’m at work, and that’s not a bad position to be in! When I really started trying to promote my writing I first had a look back over my old post and culled out a few of the weaker ones, trying to turn it from what started as a journal into something a bit more editorial.
As far as getting a travel blog off the ground? I’ve found that putting out consistent content that I’ve put a lot of effort into on a regular basis (five days a week for now) has helped me develop a small and slowly growing audience.
In the next few years I’d like to see more readers and more great destinations featured on my blog.
Where do you see your career as a travel writer being three years from now? How will your income mix change and what are you doing to adapt to the changing media landscape?
This is a hard question to answer! Three years ago I wouldn’t have imagined myself living in South Korea, so it’s hard to say where my career will lead. I definitely do not see myself as an advocate of the nomadic lifestyle like some of the big travel bloggers. I’d like to have a home and kids in the next few years, and find my niche with the holidaymakers more than the long term travellers.
As far as the changing media landscape goes, all I can be sure of is that it’s going to keep changing. I like to incorporate different media in my blog as time permits. It’s less time intensive for me to write a post than I’m proud of than to make a video. I’ve never been one to really shun technology…except for mini-disc players, I never thought that one would work out.
What advice would you give to someone near and dear to you who wanted to become a travel blogger and actually make it a viable income stream?
I’d give them the same advice I give to anyone near and dear to me that wants to do anything. Do it! The internet has a large audience for almost any niche interest, so find your niche and do your thing. People always say things along the lines of “that job market is saturated” or “a cool job like that won’t pay well.” Don’t listen to those people. Naysayers are naysayers because they’re not willing to look beyond their own orbit and see that lots of people do lots of things to make a living.
What do travel bloggers need to know about digital media and web design, in your opinion?
I think that at least having some idea of how to edit HTML and CSS is pretty important to developing and creating a blog. It’s not difficult to cut together a basic video, and it seems to me that most people watch videos for content rather than production value. Of course, it’s important to make everything intuitive, so categorizing your content is something you should do in a way that makes sense to most people.
After graduating from university, Charlie Patrick took a job with a large insurance and financial services company. He stayed there for three years until he finally had the nerve to go off and do something a bit more adventurous. He loved scuba diving, so he became a scuba instructor and moved to Florida and Hawaii for work. It was a lot of fun, but after a while it became just another job again. Since moving to Korea to teach English he has traveled all over Korea and to Indonesia, Thailand, and Japan. When he hasn’t been on a trip, he’s been planning one, and it’s been an incredible ride.
Interview conducted in October, 2012 by Kristin Mock.