In 2013, Claudia Tavani decided it was time to live her dream rather than keep dreaming. She packed her backpack and went off to explore Latin America. She was inspired to start her blog after a trip to Cuba. Her writing continued, letting people dream through her travels and inspiring them to live their own dreams. She enjoyed traveling and writing so much that she gave up her career to pursue travel coaching and writing fulltime. Claudia joins us this week to share her story.
You spent a lot of time in another career before becoming a travel writer. What’s your background?
I am a former human rights lawyer. I spent years working in academia, as a lecturer, and consulting for NGOs. The focus of my research was the protection of the cultural identity of minorities, and racial discrimination. It was very interesting and challenging, and I still follow the topic. Funny enough, I think my voice is stronger now that I have a blog and I can reach many more people, than it used to be when I published articles and reports.
What is your blog about and how do you set yourself apart from all the others out there?
I opened my blog in March 2013 on a free platform because I felt the urge to rant about Cuba. I had just returned and I was incredibly annoyed to realize that the country was nothing like the romantic image portrayed on most travel blogs and travel magazines. I wanted to give an honest version of it. To date, on My Adventures Across the World I aim to provide travel tips and inspiration to independent travelers, always based on my experience and always stating the truth. If I didn’t enjoy a place, I will say it. Looking at the amount of comments (and their length) I get on my rant-y, honest posts, readers seem to appreciate it.
I know from spending time together that you’re a polyglot. What techniques have worked best for learning multiple languages and how has this helped you in your travels?
I wish I could say! I think I have a good ear for languages – it may as well be my only real talent. My parents made it a point that I learn English when I was a teenager, and sent me on a couple of full immersion programs. Later on, as I was working in the field of human rights, I thought it may be useful to also learn French, so I took classes. I don’t speak it fluently, but I understand it and I think that if I ever moved to France, I would be able to fully recover it. With Spanish, it is a whole different story: I am in love with Latin America, with the people and the culture. Language is such an important part of culture, that if I want to learn more about it, I need to be able to communicate. That, and Spanish songs have that special rhythm that makes me want to sing out loud!
We’re all finding our way in this ever-changing travel writing landscape, but what has worked best for you in earning income from your blog?
My blog is like a platform of the services I provide. In my case, most of my income comes from writing – creating content either for my site, or (mostly) for other sites. I also get some money from affiliate marketing (I actually want to push that more) and from the occasional paid press trip.
What advice would you give to travel bloggers just starting out who are years behind you?
Focus on creating a following before you even start thinking of making money. Also, remaining honest means building trust: you may have a smaller following, but one of people who really care about what you have to say.
Somebody just handed you 10,000 euros and said you had to use to go just one place. Where are you headed?
I am going straight back to Tel Aviv. I love it there. I am looking for a small apartment to rent, having a nice safety net to support myself. I am working during the day, hanging out with my friends at night and on weekends, and swimming in Gordon Pool for training. How sweet is that?
Either that, or I would go back to India to visit all the places I haven’t been to yet.
Claudia Tavani is a former human rights lawyer who abandoned her academic career to follow a life of travels. She loves hiking, adventure and discovering the most hidden corners of cities. Read more of her story at www.myadventuresacrosstheworld.com. Connect with Claudia on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Interview conducted by Tim Leffel, posted by Terri Marshall.