How to Create a Budget Travel Packing List

 

Traveling the Balkans can be a life-changing experience if you’re prepared. When people plan their journey, they often fixate on the cost of flights, accommodations, and nourishment while overlooking the expense that comes with packing a bag.

From medication to sunscreen, simply packing for a trip can be a huge expense. Fortunately, with careful planning and a little budgeting savvy, you can pack for your adventure without breaking the bank. If you really know what you’re doing, you can even pack to help save on other aspects of your trip.

Here are some helpful tips for creating a budget travel packing list.

Assess Your Baggage

For the experienced traveler, foregoing the use of a suitcase and being able to keep everything in a backpack is the ultimate goal. To do this, you need the right bag. A few considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a backpack are:

  • Size – Will it be accepted on an airplane based on its measurements? Take prices of charter jets into consideration as well. Check the guidelines of multiple modes of transportation.
  • Support – If you’re carrying around your worldly possessions, you want to be sure the weight of your world is distributed along your back and hips properly.
  • Weight – If your backpack is too heavy to be able to pack enough for your trip and still make the airline weight restrictions, you may want to reconsider your purchase.
  • Access – Does your bag open only at the top, or are there different zippers and access panels that will allow you to get what you need without tearing everything apart?
  • Quality – Read the reviews online and see if anyone had trouble with wear and tear in an unreasonable amount of time. You want something durable.

Depending on your travel goals and length of stay, additional luggage may be a necessity. Rather than dragging suitcases with you, consider using a service that will help you with shipping your luggage anywhere. It will be worth the budget adjustment.

Toiletries

Tiny bottles of shampoo and soap add up quickly. Save some money by purchasing empty travel containers from the local dollar store and transferring some of your products from home. Remember to make cuts where you can. Conditioner makes for a great alternative to shaving cream, reducing the need to worry about an aerosol can.

Not only do tiny bottles of goods save packing space, you can take them in a carry-on bag and try to forego taking bulky, costly luggage with you. For a truly economical approach, top up your bottles from the complementary stash of toiletries at the hotels you visit during your trip.

Reusable Water Bottle

Like drinking water at restaurants, bringing a reusable water bottle is a fantastic way to save money during your trip. Believe it or not, bringing your own water bottle could save you hundreds of dollars. Simply fill it up each time you come across a fountain or ask a server at the restaurants you visit to top you off.

A word of caution as you travel: while touring the Balkans you might not run into the same clean water challenges as you would elsewhere, but some areas do present issues. To be safe, make sure you are asking if the water is potable before filling up your bottle.

Laundry Gear

If you plan on staying a few weeks or months, chances are you won’t be packing an outfit for each day of the trip. Bringing laundry gear is not only a great way to prepare for budget traveling, but it also helps drastically reduce the clothing you need to pack. Some must-haves include laundry soap, a travel clothesline, and a dry bag.

Don’t be ashamed to do your laundry in a hotel sink! Hang it on the travel clothesline to dry, and if you must move on before the clothes are entirely ready, throw them in the dry bag and hang them at your next location.

Bedding and Towels

You may think that bedding and towels are standard rights in travel accommodations. In most cases, you are correct. However, many budget hostel options charge extra for bedding and towels and offer ones that look less than sanitary.

Sleeping liners are like a sleeping bag made out of less material. You can get them in a variety of fabrics, including silk and cotton. Like a sleeping bag, they have a closed bottom, preventing anything creepy or crawly from touching your toes at night, which is great if you spend a night camping at Lake Ohrid or Auto Kamp Blagaj.

When you’re packing, avoid spending money on frivolous or excessive gear. Buy what you need and leave the rest at home.

Author Bio:

Wendy Dessler

Wendy Dessler is a super-connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about travel and focuses her efforts on finding the sunniest places to spend cold winters. She runs a huge influencer marketing site The Blog Frog

Book Review – Midnight Musings by Novemberschild aka Romila

It’s been many days since I had posted on my blog due to busy schedule at my workplace.

And there can’t be any better way to make a post of Book Review and that too of an e-Book by Romila aka Novemberschild.

This is her 4th e-Book and I couldn’t miss reading it. I’ve read her previous three e-Books and, I feel, with her every published e-Books Novemberschild aka Romila is becoming even more expressive. Kudos to her method of story-telling and choice of words.

Midnight Musings by Romila aka Novemberschild is a collection of 26 short poetries, which are called Haiku, and a treat for the readers especially if you like reading poetry. This is the first time I’m reading Haiku and I liked reading Romila’s creations. The poetries are short, crisp and treat to read. I especially liked the way Romila portrayed her emotions choosing great language and depicting them in just three lines. The loads of energy in the book will surely be liked by both fiction and non-fiction readers. All the Haikus are great to read but I would like to list a few of them that I personally liked:

  • Envy – Reality in three lines
  • Friends – So true to the fact
  • Light – The celebratory moments
  • Mom – Reflects Romila’s love to her mom
  • Over – A romantic gesture
  • Vagina – The door of new life for a child and the mother too

If you feel time is a constraint, I must mention that this is a very short book and you can complete it on the go. The book surely portrays Novemberschild aka Romila’s love for writing and truly justifies “writing is her forte” as she rightly mentions in the About Me section of the book.

I wish Romila all the best for her new book and congratulations on this milestone. Keep writing!!

Super99 Retail Stores Offer Value For Your Money

Reviewing an entire retail store is a difficult task – isn’t it? At least I feel that way. Because a retail store has lots of different inventory that caters different customers with different taste. I was planning to review Super99 retail store from long time but was holding myself back to make up my mind so that I can be truthful to my readers. I finally made up my mind and here is my review for Super99 retail store. I’ll review a couple of products that I’ve got from this retail chain. I’ve not visited their physical stores but their online store.

Let’s get some insight and know a bit more about the Super99 retail store then I’ll delve into the products that I’ve got from the store. Super99 retail is one of the leading retail brand that has more than 40 stores in 14 states of India. You get products across the categories like kitchen & dining, toys & games, health & beauty, food & beverages, home & decor, stationery and many more. Shopping in Super99 retail (online or in-store) is a great experience. You get choice of more than 5000 products that starts from as low as a price of Rs. 9 and you get great value for your every penny spent.

Now coming to my experience with Super99 retail store shopping. Though they have two physical stores here in my city of Bangalore I checked them out online and spent quite a good amount of time. My thought was before I travel to their store let me explore their online store or maybe get one or two products online and test. I explored few of the categories in their website and zeroed on a couple of stuffs – a set of two ceramic mugs and a designer glass flower vase.

I Love Moustache ceramic mug set

I liked this ceramic mug set. The very simple yet pretty design of the mugs is what attracted me. It’s a set of two white ceramic mugs along with two small stirring spoons. The quantity that each mug can hold is 150 ml. The price is very much pocket friendly and overall I liked the product at the price of Rs. 179. The packaging of the parcel was also neat and there was no damage to the product in transit.

Designer Glass Flower Vase

This is the second product form the Super99 retail store and the reason for choosing this product is from the home decor perspective. The price for this designer glass vase was Rs. 249. I think the look and quality is completely worth the price. The vase is approx. 6 inches in height. You can see in the pictures how cool the designer glass vase looks. The vase gives a modern and classy look to my living room. The design of the flower vase is pretty unique and I kind of liked it.

Overall it has been a good experience for me visiting the Super99 retail online store and moreover the products that I’ve bought are of good quality. I’m planning for a visit to their store in Bangalore and explore to add more to my experience. I recommend you to pay a visit to their stores and explore the products yourself.

Interview with a Blogger – Pujarini Mitra

Hello friends. Welcome to yet another interesting post in the Interview with a Blogger series.

In this post I’m featuring my up-close and personal interview with Pujarini Mitra. She is the creator of the travel blog mysoultravels.com. I met with her through the social media site and I’m glad that I could connect with her.

Without taking much of your time, let’s hear it from Pujarini.

Q.1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

A. Hey There! I am Pujarini Mitra. Well if you find my name difficult, just call me Puja. I am a family travel blogger with a 9+ years of experience in IT and HR in my earlier avatar. I caught the travel bug pretty young, coming from an Army family. I love to travel and explore offbeat destinations. I have been a solo traveler, a couple traveler and now I travel with my toddler. My ambition is to visit 100 countries before I turn 40.

Q.2. What was your inspiration to start your blog mysoultravels.com?

A. I love travelling and blogging about it. Travelling is my passion and it makes me feel free, inspired and empowered. But there was a point when I almost gave it up. Like every new mother, my life changed significantly after I had my baby. With the increased responsibilities and a fulltime career, travelling took a backseat for the initial months. When I finally started thinking about travelling again, I realized I was petrified to travel with my infant. I spoke to my friends, colleagues, googled but realized not too many people travel with young kids. To be honest, it’s difficult and crazy at times but you just need to find a way to do what you love. I used my maternity leave to travel to 50 cities and we have been travelling with our toddler ever since. I hope that through our blogs and photos we are able to encourage new families to travel more with their kids.

Q.3. How would you describe/introduce your blog to the new readers?

A. MySoulTravels is a family travel website with kid friendly destination guides, tips and plans. When you travel with kids, it’s very different from how you travel solo or as a couple. You really need to do a lot of research about the place beforehand and yet there would be many challenges that you have to learn to manage on the go. MySoulTravels lists down those hurdles and prepares you to travel better with your kids. We review destinations, activities, accommodations and tell you all about it. However, our trip guides are for all ages and groups 😊 and I am sure if you love travelling you will something interesting to read on our website.

Q.4. What do you think as the best and challenging aspects about being a blogger?

A. The best part about blogging is that it gives you a channel to explore your creativity, tickles your curiosity and make you more honest. I have started travelling so much more after I started blogging. It’s such an enriching experience.

The challenging aspect about travel blogging for me is always to strike the right balance between taking a photograph for my blogs or just stopping to enjoy the moment while managing the baby all at the same time.

Q.5. How would you describe your blogging style?

A. I think my blogging style is simple and honest. I keep my blogs as personal as possible so that I can connect with my readers.

Q.6. What do you think blogging will look like in next 5 years? Will it still be around?

A. Of course. I think we are about to see blogging as a booming industry very soon in India. Every business today is trying to reach out to the individual customer level and improve the customer experience. As bloggers, we are that interlink between the two, continuously providing insights on how to make the brand a true success.

Q.7. Which part of blogging excites you the most – post writing or photography?

A. Both actually! I love writing as well as photography.

Q.8. What is the biggest surprise that you have ever experienced after becoming a blogger?

A. I was very surprised when I got nominated for the best newcomer blogging award just after 2 weeks of starting.

Q.9. What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment given to you as a blogger?

A. The best compliment was last week, when a young mom read my blog about managing jet lag with kids and messaged me to say that she has just booked her tickets for an international trip. Yoohoo!

I am yet to get some super tough criticism 😊

Q.10. Would you like to share some words of wisdom or tips for the aspiring bloggers?

A. I think the best thing if you love blogging is that the blogging community is very collaborative and supportive. If your content is good and true, you will find people who will help you. Find your passion, keep blogging and create value for your readers. Be patient and everything else shall follow.

Wow!! It has been a fabulous interview I must say. I have thoroughly enjoyed this interview post and get to know Pujarini more. I hope you all too have enjoyed this post.

See you soon with another interview and will be back soon with more interviews like this.

Thank you for being with us!! Happy Reading!!

The Power of Blogging by Romila Chitturi

Last year in June 2017 when my “blogging anniversary” popped-up on my Tweets and blog, several friends and bloggers congratulated me on this random milestone. I entered my 14th year.

Blogging industry no doubt is booming and the blogosphere is buzzing with concentration and modernization. Many media avenues for sharing information and opinions have morphed into blogs, and for better or worse, I too have been swept up into the wonderful whirlwind of blogging. I wonder, what is truly the beauty of blogs?

I believe there is a lot of power in blogging. Blogs connect ideas and information succinctly through a simple and accessible social media platform. We all crave straightforwardness and convenience in a multifaceted, disorderly and brittle world. A blogger is connected with readers in a self-motivated way allowing for meaningful response and conversation. We all desire important associations.

I like blogging as well as microblogging. Despite 280 characters limit, I feel Twitter is too concise (my blahs cannot be sufficiently packed in into few hundred characters.). Journalism requires too much study and grounding. Long notes and heavy writing is too long-winded and formal, and I did my share in my student life. Personal Journal writing is too cloistered. Book writing / publishing is intimidating. Facebook and Instagram lack the power of longwinded paragraphs. Vlogging is too revealing, almost eerie and not for me.

For me blogging has just the right blend of creativity and structure. I allure the reader with a tasty appetizer, offer a few nuggets to chew on and conclude with a delicious dessert ‒ perhaps a remark or a question suggesting more food for thought. It is there!! My terrific recipe for a zesty blog post.

It takes hours, days or weeks to infiltrate a notion worthy of sharing. My sense is that our shared human experiences are widespread; and the blog posts offer glimpse of my mind that connects all of our scrambled minds. It’s comforting to know that even in the depths of our misshapen thinking; we are likely more similar than dissimilar. I blog about my passions and my determining experiences; hence my blog posts have narratives about my family, food, music, health and life.

Long before the evolution of the current digital language I never hoped to share my ideas with others. Today sharing our passions, insights and experiences brings all of us together into a wonderful community.

It reminds me to tell my critical requirement to readership: as authentic blogger, I must reveal an inner layer of me, sometimes talking about flaws, fears, woes and wishes. Definitely, some level of transparency is required – it can be personal but not too confidential; expressive yet not too lifelike. I am a blogger, a real person; let’s commit to memory there is just a nebulous and fleeting line connecting bloggers and readers. And that’s precisely the blog-appeal which makes the entire activity of blogging very powerful and beautiful.

About the Guest Writer

Romila aka Novemberschild is a proud member of the Thirty’s club. She is an experienced blogger who has been around since 2004. She is a voracious reader, e-book author, devoted coffee-drinker, avid thinker and a fashion lover who has a huge collection of bags. Music is her passion and you can find her writing most of the time. She is extremely friendly, helpful and a happy person. She accepts bouquets and brickbats on her writings. She blogs at Novemberschild.com and can be connected on Twitter @romspeaks.

Interview with a Blogger – Pawni Mittal

Hello friends!! Welcome once again to the Interview with a Blogger series.

This feature brings to you the life and times of an Instagram blogger – Pawni Mittal. I met this beauty and lifestyle blogger through an influencer marketing website

I’ve had a great fun interviewing her.

Let’s hear it from Pawni now!!

 

Q. 1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

A. 1. Hello readers! Hope you all are doing well. My name is Pawni Mittal and I am an Instagram influencer/blogger.

Q. 2. What was your inspiration to start your blog pawnim.wordpress.com& Instagram blog https://www.instagram.com/coffee_nd_mascara/?

A. 2. Well, my inspirations have been many, from big YouTuber to Miss World 2017 Miss Manushi. They have all inspired me and helped me find my passion. I believe that one should follow his or her passion even though it doesn’t lead them to a career so to say. And also if it doesn’t bring a career, you must balance between passion and career.  Career can be many but passion in life brings a different level of satisfaction. Blogging is my passion, I am always known among my people as “a resource lender”, so I always like to share my feedback, let people become aware about basic to in-depth details about any product/service that they might be purchasing.

I am a beauty and lifestyle blogger. It gives me happiness and satisfaction to blog.

Q. 3.How would you describe/introduce your blog / Instagram blog to the new readers?

A. 3. It’s a blog for consumers. I belong to a middle class family and am aware of the struggle we face as consumers. My blog gives honest reviews, DIY ideas and I am planning for starting a series of style on budget. Also I have this creative side which can be seen in photographs of blogged products. I click pictures from my phone and I don’t go for filters as it fakes out the image. I feel fashion, makeup and lifestyle are very dynamic as fields to explore. I really enjoy it.

Q. 4.What do you think are the best and challenging aspects about being a blogger?

A. 4.

BEST ASPECTS:

1) As a blogger, you learn new things every day.

2) Bloggers get practical as well as theoretical knowledge.

3) Best job to show your creativity.

4) Can be done as a part-time.

5) No huge investment required.

6) Photography is also one of the best part of blogging.

7) Your canvas to give your opinions or thoughts.

CHALLENGING ASPECTS:

1) Requires patience.

2) Time consuming. It takes time to get good number of followers.

3) Their will be people who would not believe in you or criticise you but then this made me more mature and active. You can’t always get support, you need criticism too.

Q. 5.How would you describe your blogging style?

A. 5. I think from my prospective first I write what I as a reader would enjoy to read. I try to incorporate as much information as I can and still make it light and easy to read blog.

Since I am an Instagram blogger, I give small videos also with my blogs. This way people who don’t want to read can look at the video clip and get some information.

Q. 6.What do you think blogging will look like in next 5 years? Will it still be around?

A. 6. Oh! It is already becoming so important.

From MNC to startup restaurants all have their blog pages. Consumers are becoming smart and aware and would always like to be aware about where they are spending and would it benefit them or not.

I think 5 years down the lane, blogging will be growing as IT has.

Q. 7.Which part of blogging excites you the most – post writing or photography?

A. 7. Haha!! Well… both are equally important and exciting for me, as soon as I click I reach to my note book and vice versa.

Q. 8. What is the biggest surprise that you have ever experienced after becoming a blogger?

A. 8. My first brand sending me skincare products to review. More than a surprise it was motivation for me. As I am a beginner I never thought to get connection with brands this soon.

Q. 9. What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment given to you as a blogger?

A. 9. Criticism – No I don’t think I’ve had any ‘tough’ ones.

Compliment – “oh! You are different from other bloggers, you are very honest”

Q. 10.Where do you see yourself as a blogger in next 5-6 years?

A. 10. I can’t say anything as of now but yeah I really hope to grow big and share my knowledge with everybody.

 

Thank you so much Pawni for spending time with us and sharing your thoughts. It has been a pleasure knowing you through this interview.

 

Hope you all too liked this interview and getting to know the beauty and lifestyle blogger Pawni.

We’ll be back again with more such interviews and get to know a blogger.

Happy Reading!!

Interview with a Blogger – Shoma Chakraborty

Welcome to yet another post in the Interview with a Blogger series.

In today’s post I will feature Shoma Chakraborty of shomachakraborty.blogspot.in

She is one of the bloggers whom I follow closely. Shoma is a Writer, Journalist, Education and Marketing Consultant.

Without taking much of your time let’s hear it from Shoma!!

Q. 1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

A. 1. Gee! How do I start?

Okay. I am a Jill of lots of trades. I was born curious and have questioned things right from the time I was a toddler. My “what is this” and “what is that” drove all my minders to mindlessness. As I grew up I was introduced to books and art by my ultimate Bhodrolok Bengali parents and since then, I have been dabbling in both – sometimes successfully and at others not so much but, I am yet to give up.

After completing MA in English Literature from Delhi University, I worked as a journalist for almost a decade before switching to education content creation which I did too for a long time. But, over the years I realized that jobs are just that – jobs and that’s true even for your dream jobs – it made me immensely restless. That is when I decided to do things for myself. Being true to myself and fulfilling my own dreams. I decided one day in 2012 to go back to my creative self. This has really kept me grounded and fulfilled. Now I work as a full time vagabond. Don’t have any bosses or subordinates. I live on a shoestring budget, pay my bills on time and don’t binge shop so much. But, I am at peace.

Q. 2. What was your inspiration to start your blog shomachakraborty.blogspot.in?

A. 2. I wanted to give my creativity an outlet. I am a restless introvert. It is a pretty difficult state of being. For me it is always hard to sell. I wanted to find a platform with live audiences where I could entertain them from behind the scenes. A blog seemed like, “just what I needed”. Hence, I started the blog. I started blogging in 2012 and one of the first posts was titled, ‘Halfway Through’ because, the year was half over. My blog was born the same month I did – June. I have been writing in it ever since but, now I am thinking of spreading my wings and taking it to the next level. I have posted on topics of varied interests and also shared original works of fiction and poetry over the years. With hundreds of posts in it, it has now become imperative that I take it to the next logical level – a website. That is the project I am working on at present and hope to share it with the world soon.

Q. 3. How would you describe/introduce your blog to the new readers?

A. 3. It’s very simple. It is how I introduce it in the blog too, “Diary and ramblings of an imaginative mind. Drop in for stories, poems and ideas and a cup of tea.” It is a place where I share my thoughts and feelings with the world. It’s like an adda where, I say my piece and enjoy the freedom of expression.

Q. 4. What do you think as the best and challenging aspects about being a blogger?

A. 4. A blogger is supposed to be honest. Honesty is the most refreshing as well as the most challenging aspect of blogging. If you are endorsing products or experiences for a fee then, you are drifting away from the purpose. Having said that, I would also say that it is nearly impossible to live on fresh air – especially in Delhi which is one of the most polluted cities in the world – bad joke! So, one has to then look for avenues other than the blog to make money. Otherwise, one can collaborate by mentioning clearly that it is a sponsored-post when they share one. However, maintaining an honest voice becomes a challenge because you are also expected to pay bills.

Q. 5. How would you describe your blogging style?

A. 5. Whimsical. And that is how it should be if you want it to be a blog. It should reflect your mood and personality. I write on pretty much anything I feel like and enjoy the process immensely as do those who read my postings. It reflects me almost like a child I raised up all on my own.

Q. 6. What do you think blogging will look like in next 5 years? Will it still be around?

A. 6. Blogging is definitely here to stay but, the general feeling is that the social media platforms and public relations has exploited it to a stretch. Subscribers are getting increasingly weary of paid partnerships as they were gung-ho about postings even a couple of years back. The churning will obviously take place in the next few years and hopefully the honest bloggers will survive the onslaught. One thing that’s really positive about blogging and social media is that it allows space for everyone and despite the paid partnerships and sponsored posts it does make way for the creative and original content though it takes a little longer to get there.

Q. 7. Which part of blogging excites you the most – post writing or photography?

A. 7. Both. I am also an active Instagrammer and you can catch my gallery @theshahofblah on Instagram. For me it’s all about being creative. I don’t bother what platform I am on as long as it is reaching the right audiences.

Q. 8. What is the biggest surprise that you have ever experienced after becoming a blogger?

A. 8. That’s an easy one. It’s having people I don’t know at all coming up and praising my work – especially writing style. Also, people like you who want to post my interview in your blog! Appreciation is what any artist craves for and it comes easily on the social media.

Q. 9. What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment given to you as a blogger?

A. 9. Criticism I have not really come across much on my face but, friends and old colleagues ignoring postings just to prove that you are “a no one to give an opinion on anything” or “are just not good-enough to be read” really makes me sit up and think if I was living under a rock all my life. Compliments have also come from the strangest of places and sources on originality and my ability to hold an audience till the end of a post. Some have even written to say that my posts have helped them take tough decisions or just enjoy a happy hour in bed. That makes me really happy.

Q. 10. Would you like to share some words of wisdom or tips for the aspiring bloggers?

A. 10. Like any profession that is best described as a hobby like, art or theatre, blogging too needs passion and dedication. Nothing is more important as talent. If you think you used to write excellent essays in school and therefore, you can be a great blogger then, please think of doing something else. Blogging is not about just descriptions or professional photography. It is about making “a connect” with the reader. If you are able to do that, you will survive otherwise you can always pay social media platforms to sponsor your posts and see if you are able to make it in the long run. But, whatever it be, the trick is to keep posting. Nothing like perseverance to see you through.

Thanks and a very happy 2018 to everyone!

Thank you so much Shoma for spending your time and helping our readers to know more about you. It has been a great pleasure for me interviewing Shoma and I’ll be back again with more interviews like this.

Thanks for reading!!

Interview with a Blogger – Tina Sequeira

Welcome back to the Interview with a blogger series, after a break.

Today I’m featuring Tina Sequeira, Indian author, blogger and a book critic. I’m glad to meet her through the #MyFriendAlexa campaign and become a fan of her blog.

So without taking much of time let’s hear it from Tina.

 1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Hello! I’m Tina Sequeira. I’m a thirty something with an obsession for words. Ironically, Introductions throw me off the bowlines. Past the starting hiccup, I am all yours – words bizarre and conversations unlimited!

I´m an Indian author, blogger and book critic. Professionally, I am a management professional having worked in elite multi-national companies and also worked as an academic professor for a brief stint.

I manage the award winning blog ´The Tina Edit´ which has recently won the Orange Flower Award 2017 in the ‘Writing for Work’ category and was among the Top 5 finalists amongst 1369 entries in the category of ´Parenting´, ´Humour´ and ´Poetry´ in 2017. The blog was amongst the top 5 finalists in the category of ´Personal Blogging´ for the Orange Flower Awards 2016.

It was one of the biggest highs of the year for me to receive the award from India´s leading author, columnist, TED speaker and writing coach, Sudha Menon in Mumbai recently.

I am officially listed as a Goodreads Author since June 2017. My debut EBook ´Soul Sojourn´ is the proud outcome of my first ever participation in the A to Z Challenge – 2017 in association with Blogchatter. It currently tops the ‘Best Ebooks 2017 ever’ on Goodreads.

I am proud to be part of the exclusive ‘Influencer Club’ on Mycity4kids.com.

I was one of the featured authors of the month April 17´ by Women´s Web. You can pore over my author interview here – ´Writing is a Literary Striptease´

I do harbour grand plans of publishing many fun books in the future. For now, you can catch some of my writings here and my regular feature publications at Women´s Web, mycity4kids.com, YouthKiAwaaz, Siya Woman, Readomania and more.

As much as I love to write, I love mingling with people. All kinds of them! I believe people are living books by themselves. I dig family and friends´ get-togethers and parties – cook, eat, drink, sing, dance and all that fun ´n´ frolic merriment!

2. What was your inspiration to start your blog thetinaedit.com?

A compulsive readoholic and writoholic, the only cure it seems is Books and Blogs. The more I have, the more I seem to crave for it. And, what do you know? I do not want to get cured. Ever!

So, The Tina Edit is the result of this passionate addiction. It reflects my pure love and joy of living through words. Because words are all I have, darling! And, they are priceless and timeless!

Blogging happened to me, thanks to my brother who egged me onto it in 2006. Since then, there has been no looking back. It started off as three blogs which went by the names Tina´s Tales, Tina´s Teasers and Tina Tells in blogger/blogspot.

My blog has now migrated to WordPress and morphed into The Tina Edit.

 3. How would you describe/introduce your blog to the new readers?

The Tina Edit is a refined, mature, funny and hopefully wiser account of my personal ramblings. As a reader, you will get to choose from an interesting and diverse range of topics. There is a little something for everyone, I promise!

It is a personal blog which showcases my life happenings, fictional stories, poetry and hard hitting articles on various topics ranging from gender equality, parenting, work, books, movies and more.

It´s your nook for a good read.

4. What do you think as the best and challenging aspects about being a blogger?

The best aspects about being a blogger is the network of readers that you build over time. I´ve been blessed to have enjoyed so much readership in such less time. 2017 marked my comeback to blogging for many reasons. One being building a loyal readership base. I am quite happy that I have achieved that goal this year.

It´s motivating to see your blog actively read by people around the world. It helps you gauge your worth as a writer and also learn from other´s writing styles as well. There´s simply no point in having an ornamental blog that simply showcases your work and achievements. I like to keep my blog organic, alive and kicking all the time.

The most challenging aspect would be to keep up with social media/online networking. This seemingly frivolous task is pretty time-consuming. I find the networking aspect exhausting at times. I wish I could outsource it honestly. I personally think it´s a double edged sword. It´s a boon and a bane at the same time.

5. How would you describe your blogging style?

Experimental, Versatile, Unpredictable, Spontaneous!

I don´t like to be caged into one particular box, style or category. I don´t like following a particular narrative. I like to keep my readers guessing. I get bored reading stuff that´s unexciting and so, I try to consciously veer away from the herd.

6. What do you think blogging will look like in next 5 years? Will it still be around?

The future is great for innovative, creative and crisp content. I think Vlogging, podcasts, audiobooks and real time content will kick into action in the mainstream in a big way in the coming years.

7. Which part of blogging excites you the most – post writing or photography?

The entire experience of blogging excites me – conceptualising the idea, ruminating on it and finally getting down to business. I love to see the feedback of my readers as well and the views that they have to share.

8. What is the biggest surprise that you have ever experienced after becoming a blogger?

There have been many surprises. One amongst them is the vast reach of the medium. One of my posts went right up to the notice of Bollywood actor Kunal Kapoor who shared my post on his Twitter handle with some kind words of appreciation: ´Well written and incisive.´

I have to share this amusing incident. One reader mistook me for a man because my writing was untypical for a woman. Whatever that meant! He actually sent me a friend request only to check my gender… if I was masquerading as a woman being a man. Later he apologised for his gender stereotypical thinking that only men can write certain genres and in certain styles. That incident came as a surprise as to how female writers are generally perceived on the whole. I´ve been lucky to have a healthy mix of both male and female readers. It also gave me the confidence that my writing connects to the male psyche as well and not just to the female psyche.

9. What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment given to you as a blogger?

I have faced some serious backlash on articles where I took a definite stance. Comments that were derogatory but I am proud that I handled those comments with a lot of objectivity and grace. If I may say so myself!

Twitter is a place where one gets to witness the harshest words. Be it abuses or name calling, I´ve seen it all. On rare occasions, I have taken on the Twitter trolls as they are popularly called and beaten them at their own game. The really hopeless cases get reported and their accounts have been suspended. But, mostly, I choose to ignore and move on with my life.

Honestly, the criticism doesn’t bother or affect me at all. I take them with a pinch of salt. Similarly, I don´t get praise get to my head as well.

Surely, I have received some wonderful compliments from fellow writers, editors and bloggers. Most of them like the way I write and look forward to reading my articles. The compliments have ranged from being creative, interesting, engaging, bold, wise and honest/realistic. Compliments are always motivating.

I am genuinely thankful for every brick and bouquet that gets hurled my way.

10. Would you like to share some words of wisdom or tips for the aspiring bloggers?

Find the purpose for your blog – Why do you want to blog? Initially my reasons to blog were to simply maintain an online journal. But over the years, along with age, my purpose for blogging has also drastically changed.

Everyone is motivated by different things in life. Some get into blogging seeking brand endorsements or the money. Some get into blogging for fame. Some get into blogging as a form of self-expression.

First understand why you want to blog and then create a strategy accordingly. Set goals for each year as to where you´d like to take it and stick to it.

Thank you so much Tina for your time and sharing your thoughts. This has been a great pleasure knowing about you. Am sure our readers too have enjoyed reading this post.

Thank you for joining in and please drop a comment if you would like to do an interview on my blog. I would be glad to feature you!!

Interview with a blogger – Crystal and Candy from The Travelpockets

Welcome once again to the Interview with a blogger series. This post I should call it as interview with bloggers as it features not one but two bloggers – Crystal and Candy – the blogger sister duo from the United States.

Their blog, www.thetravelpockets.com, is a travel and style blog wherein they write about their travel adventures, tips and tricks of a safe travel, style and many more. And yes the icing on the cake is the photographs that they post on their blog.

Thanks to the social media through which I got connected with them and enjoy reading their travel adventures and also like to watch their videos on their YouTube channel.

Now it’s over to Crystal & Candy to hear about them more…

1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

We’re sisters, Crystal and Candy, who grew up as military brats and spent the first half of our lives in Japan. The majority of our family resides in Japan, but we ventured out and have spent the second half of our lives mainly in the United States.

2. What was your inspiration to start your blog www.thetravelpockets.com?

We both love traveling and have always documented our travels mainly with photos and videos. We would often receive questions about the places we stayed, how much things cost, recommendations on what to do, etc. We started noticing that the photos and videos we shared were inspiring people to travel, so we decided to add some context to them.

3. How would you describe/introduce your blog to the new readers?

A fun travel blog created by two sisters who love traveling the world in style and finding the best hidden gems.

4. What do you think as the best and challenging aspects about being a blogger?

The challenging part is capturing as much as we can of our travel experiences for our readers. It’s hard to take pictures AND shoot video everywhere we go but we have adapted and now have the system down.

The best part is that we travel a lot more together now and have more quality sister time. It’s also been wonderful meeting fellow bloggers.

5. How would you describe your blogging style?

We ourselves read a ton of blogs when researching travel destinations and we prefer reading posts that are concise and deliver honest feedback. Since we enjoy this type of writing style we try to keep things fun and to the point. We also prefer blog posts with personal photos rather than stock images. Being able to see a personal photo or video really helps tell the story that is relatable and authentic.

6. What do you think blogging will look like in next 5 years? Will it still be around?

More people are starting to rely on information from bloggers, so yes, we believe it will still be around in 5 years.

7. Which part of blogging excites you the most – post writing or photography?

We enjoy both parts of blogging but photography is probably where we excel the most. We’re also incorporating more videos to our posts, so that’s been fun as well.

8. What is the biggest surprise that you have ever experienced after becoming a blogger?

That people actually read our blog and give us kudos for our posts. We started blogging to have a space to share our content, in one place, mainly for our friends and family. The fact that our audience has expanded outside of our immediate circle truly makes us happy.

9. What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment given to you as a blogger?

Best compliment would be that our posts are really authentic and natural.

Toughest criticism would be that we don’t have the right information. It’s especially hard when we get criticized for content that we know to be true, like our posts on Japan. We grew up in Japan and our mother is Japanese, so when people say we are providing false information, we take it a little harder than normal.

10. Would you like to share some words of wisdom or tips for the aspiring bloggers?

Keep a consistent schedule with your blog and try to keep your posts as simple as possible to help the readers. We find ourselves less focused with posts that have fonts that are difficult to read, tons of pop-ups and ads, and little to no photos.

We also think it’s important to help out other bloggers. We’ve asked fellow bloggers for help and we’ve also helped bloggers who have reached out to us. We really don’t view other bloggers as competition and see everyone as a community of travelers.

It has been great to know more about The Travelpockets. I hope you all enjoyed the interview too. I would like to thank Crystal and Candy for their time in doing this interview and share their thoughts.

Interview with a blogger – Keerthi Vydyula

Welcome once again to the Interview with a blogger series.

Today we will feature Keerthi Vydyula of thoughtsthrulens.blog. I felt glad when she accepted my invitation to do this feature post for my blog. I met her through the My Friend Alexa campaign.

Keerthi is from Hyderabad, the City of Pearls. She is not just a blogger but a photographer too. She likes to travel and “Kheer” is what her nick name is. It’s a great pleasure interviewing her and knowing more about her.

So over to Keerthi…

 1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Thank you Sham for having me on your blog. I feel happy and excited.

I am Keerthi. I am a photographer and a blogger. I blog at thoughtsthrulens.blog. It is about travel/photography, short stories and personal musings. Photography is my passion and this passion extends to food as well. I enjoy cooking and find joy in tasting new dishes, so I am a foodie as well! I am also an avid reader and love reading.

2. What was your inspiration to start your blog thoughtsthrulens.blog?

I love reading, but never in my life had I thought that I would try my hand in blogging! I had read some outstanding blogs, and they did inspire me to write, but I still couldn’t bring myself to take that next step and start a blog. I underestimated myself. The credit goes to my friend Saumy Nagayach who blogs at saumynagayach.blogspot.in. He encouraged me and literally pushed me to write blogs. It started with a single post last year. This year has seen many more posts than I imagined.

3. How would you describe/introduce your blog to the new readers?

It is a blog where you can find everything from travel stories and collection of my best clicks to life experiences, short stories and personal musings. It is a pinch of everything, as the tagline of my blog states. I’m planning to start a mini food series as well!

4. What do you think as the best and challenging aspects about being a blogger?

The best aspect would certainly be the love we get from fellow bloggers/friends and the virtual connect we form with each and every one of them. That is something that intrigues me.

The most challenging aspect would be the time crunch, I guess, as many a times we find it difficult to manage work, personal life and blogging activities. But at the end of the day, these virtual friends we find out of nowhere keep us going. Personally, my tribe helped me a lot in achieving my goals which I thought I would never complete on time.

5. How would you describe your blogging style?

I try to keep it as simple as possible. My goal is to achieve a certain connect with the reader and I feel it is only possible when I keep it simple and classic.

6. What do you think blogging will look like in next 5 years? Will it still be around?

There is no way that people are going to stop blogging! Blogging/writing is an expression and I feel it is not going to end any time soon. So most certainly not in the next 5 years. I am a hundred percent sure that it will flourish even more in coming years.

7. Which part of blogging excites you the most –post writing or photography?

It depends on my mood. I mostly enjoy photography. These days, I’m trying my hand at writing fiction, and I enjoy doing that. I’m still not confident but I’m trying to write better, and I’m sure I will very soon.

8. What is the biggest surprise that you have ever experienced after becoming a blogger?

Ah! I must say, these wonderful blogger friends for sure surprised me with the love they showed towards me and my blog. They constantly appreciated and encouraged me. Sometimes, they even corrected my mistakes and helped me grow. That is something I never expected from any of them, none of whom I have met till date.

9. What has been the toughest criticism and best compliment given to you as a blogger?

Toughest criticism? Not much actually. It was only on one instance, when an anonymous person felt that my blogs posts are a bit short and it would be good if they’d be a bit long! I was stumped to hear this as I always felt I write lengthy posts. But I took the criticism sportively!

Compliments! I have got many for my photography. I feel overwhelmed at times with the love that my readers show for my clicks.

10. Would you like to share some words of wisdom or tips for the aspiring bloggers?

From my experience, I would say that do not fear to take that step if you’re really passionate about writing and sharing your thoughts. Never forget that writing is an expression and it might well become your best way of expressing thoughts. So be confident and give it a go. In long run you will see the results and your blog will flourish. It is all about one’s determination. So keep the hope high and get going!

 

Thank you Keerthi for your time and sharing your thoughts. It was great to know more about you. I hope our readers too have enjoyed reading this interview.

We will be back again with another blogger in the Interview with a blogger series.