Got to read her blog when I was checking Monique Rubin of Mo Travel write-up on “Traveling Brown Girls Blog Carnival”. While going through all the list of travel bloggers, ”Girl Gine Travel” struck my interest….till date she’s one of my best travel bloggers!
So here’s her interview:
Q.Please kindly introduce yourself.
A.Hi, I’m Carol Cain of GirlGoneTravel.com, a travel and food site. I am originally from Brooklyn, NY, now living in NJ, where I live with my husband and 3 boys. I’m a freelance travel blogger and photography lover.
Q.Describe yourself in three words.
A.I’m free-spirited, living the dream, and pretty happy.
Q.Tell us more about your blog. When did you start it? What inspired you to start one?
A.I started blogging in 2008 as a way to share my city, NY, with others who wanted to visit the same with kids in tow. A lot of sites at the time that had information for families in NYC appealed to a different kind of family than mine, and I wanted to write something for families like us: more down to earth, on a budget, more kids, and more willing to venture anywhere. I eventually started writing about travel outside of the city and after realizing that a lot of family like ours wouldn’t travel for many reasons, time and money being the main two, I wanted to continue to serve as inspiration to them and let others know that having kids doesn’t mean you can’t travel, and that you can take a vacation or two with them in tow.
Q.How many countries have you travelled to?
A.I honestly don’t keep track. Off the top of my head, I would say at least 10. I think people should focus less on how many countries they visit, and more on making the most of the destinations they go to.
Q.Where are your “Must-Travel” destinations for individuals, couples, family and groups?
A.It all really depends on the individual traveller. My family and I are lovers of nature and the outdoors. We enjoy getting dirty and going for long walks. I love Colorado – Keystone for families, Vail for couples. I love Aruba, for both. I think Costa Rica for the outdoorsy traveller (we went there with our kids) is perfect. Montreal is wonderful as a romantic destination. Napa is great as a girlfriend getaway. The list is endless.
Q. You’re a food lover! What inspires your food adventures?
A.Yes, I love food. I especially love destinations where food and coming together over a meal is a representation of the culture. Italy is beautiful that way. Food is not just about eating, it’s about family and friends and time spent together. Any place where food has a story…but is also delicious is where I want to be. My favourite food experiences involve one-on-one with the local foodies.
Q.Planning a family trip can be over whelming, how do you manage travels with your family?
A.We plan a lot of our bigger trips at the end of the year for the new year. After that, we try to take weekend trips as much as we can. I don’t always get to travel with my family, but I try to as much as possible. It’s a lifestyle for us – just as some families are vegetarians or some families go to every football game, we plan our lives, schedules, and budget to fit our lifestyle.
Q.How do you handle your travel finances? E.g. Saving tips
A.Bigger trips sometimes require one to two years planning. Others require a month or two. We set our mind on where we want to go and start doing the research on costs, travel time, etc., then we start setting aside all the necessary (time and money) for the trip. We are very focused when it comes to traveling, so it’s become easier over the years. And if we have an unexpected set back, we simply go back to the plan once we have addressed it.
Q.What African countries are mostly visited for vacation?
A.Morocco is the most visited country in Africa, followed by South Africa – both on my list!
Q.A lot of people, especially working moms, are looking for ways to leave the “white-collar” jobs and start their own business (e.g. the blogging business). What’s your advice to them?
A.I would say to start blogging non-professionally first, but with the commitment of a professional. There’s this false impression that blogging leads to instant success and financial rewards. That is simply not the case. And it requires serious knowledge about how Social Media works, something that even most major corporations don’t even understand. Try it out without the pressure of making money first, see if it’s really something you like, before taking the plunge. When done well, and when successful, an online career can be very rewarding, but it takes a lot of work and a strong sense of commitment of time and resources. You have to really love it and be willing to stick to it long before you see any financial gains. Know what your passion is, and go from there. I always recommend you blog your passion, because sometimes that’s all you will have.
Q.What were/are your challenges in managing your blog?
A.I am always making sure to not let my blog take away time from my family. I left a job in public relations to be with my family more, and now as a professional travel blogger, I often travel away from them. So when I am home, I have to make sure I find a balance so that I am giving them the time I want to give them most of all. When things are busy with work that can be my toughest challenge.
Q.Please give us your personal experience of how your blog has changed your life.
A.I was always told growing up that once I had children, my life would stop being my own. That I would have to put my dreams on hold to raise my children. I can’t say that my blog is the only reason I was able to break away from those false statements, but the opportunities from blogging have definitely helped to pave the way to my dreams. The work that I do is further enriched because of my blog, but the people I have met in the process have really help to enrich our lives as well.
Q.A word or two to our readers.
A.I live each day with the memory of a mother whom I lost too soon, but who left behind a to-do list of her dreams that she kept putting off for later. That is my biggest motivator. Use each day as a stepping stone towards something you wish for, never taking a moment for granted.