Adam Groffman is the voice behind Travels with Adam as well as a number of other sites (such as the popular My Gay Travel Guide). In our interview today, he talks about how his approach to blogging has changed over the years, what makes him unique, and offers some advice for new bloggers. Also, Adam wants us to know that he is giving away a trip for two people to Berlin! The trip includes flights from select USA cities and 4 nights accommodation at the Ku’Damm 101 design hotel. Enter here by Nov. 30th and enjoy our conversation!
In 2010, you left your job as a graphic designer to become a blogger. How has your approach to blogging changed over the past few years?
I started my blog out of a sense of guilt: I was quitting my job in the middle of the USA recession and felt pretty guilty about that so while I was backpacking across the world spending my entire life savings, I figured I should do something productive at the same time. I set up the blog as a place to start writing again (something I’d done in college but had lost sight of while working on my design career). Before I had the blog, I’d actually had my @travelsofadam Twitter account – mostly because I just loved social media. Blogging and social media were always passions of mine and when I started the blog, it was a chance to take my passion & interests to a new level.
These days blogging is still a passion but I’ve had to think more creatively and consider it as a business. I never intended it for it to become a business, but as the blog grew and my own interests changed from design to social media, it just seemed like a natural step. Plus it seemed like finally a good use for my Bachelors of Science in Communication.
I love your new web design! What recently inspired you to redesign the site?
Oh wow, thank you! The response to the new design has been overwhelmingly positive and I’m so happy about it. I’d had the previous design for over two years already and though that design had lots of great comments, I just knew it was time to change things up. Plus, as my blog has grown I’ve discovered the things that have interested me more and more – such as my small series of Hipster City Guides. I currently have 11 guides and there are two more in the work for this year. The new design puts a greater emphasis on the guides which I love producing and which people love reading.
Tell us how your personal approach to travel differs from more mainstream approaches to travel. What makes your blog alternative and indie?
With the advent of new travel startups like AirBNB, ridesharing and unique tours (food tours come to mind), I’ve noticed a trend in travel where travelers are looking for more special, more tailored, more memorable holidays. A trip to Rome is less about seeing the sights today than it is about experiencing Roman culture (and the food! — though of course a trip to Rome isn’t complete without a stop by the Trevi Fountain!). I think we can travel in more meaningful ways — ways that will make our trips more memorable rather than just a photo snapshot in front of the Colloseum. On my blog, I try to share about those unique experiences and share ways to achieve those same kinds of holiday memories — though of course every trip is different and every traveler is different.
What would you tell a loved one who wanted to become a travel blogger today?
Go for it — if it’s something you’re actually passionate about! Writing/blogging isn’t easy and can quickly become exhausting if it’s not a passion. Social media may be fun and easy for you as an individual, but as a brand it can be more tricky – you’ve got to really like it or else there’s really not much of a reason to do it.
You have another travel website, My Gay Travel Guide, along with Travels of Adam. How do you balance the two?
It’s hard work to manage two blogs! But I’ve got several friends and colleagues who are helping with MyGayTravelGuide.com and a small team of freelance writers and bloggers. I credit a lot of the success for that blog to the personal stories by David from lefashionisto.com and Sam from indefiniteadventure.com.
You’ve taken a number of FAM trips and sponsorships. What’s your take on the debate regarding whether or not FAMs and free travel affects the kind of content we produce?
There’s no doubt there’s an effect but it’s up to the writer to determine whether it can negatively affect a story. I have the luxury of running a profitable website and a freelance business as a writer & marketer so I personally only join FAM trips and sponsored press trips when it’s most appropriate for the content that I actually want to produce. I don’t really want to be writing stories about African safaris or winter adventure holidays. I’m very particular when working with a tourism board or destination on a planned press trip. These days, it’s up to the writers AND the PRs to agree to and create press trips that are relevant for all parties involved. There’s no sense in an African safari company inviting me to join a trip because it’s not the content I know how to write or can produce, and I would never take the trip if it were offered to me for the very same reasons. It’s just about being smart and selective. Which is pretty much a key to success for many types of business endeavors.
Also, don’t forget! I’ve partnered with airberlin and VisitBerlin to give away a trip for two people to the greatest city in the world (hint: it’s Berlin!). Simply enter the contest before November 30 for your chance to win. The trip includes flights from select USA cities and 4 nights accommodation at the Ku’Damm 101 design hotel. Enter here: http://travelsofadam.com/contest/
Interview conducted in November 2014 by Kristin Winet.