I first encountered today’s interviewee, Annabel Candy, through her great travel blog Get In The Hot Spot.
I just loved Annabel’s spirit and energy so much that I knew that I had to interview her for the C2C.
Annabel is a freelance writer and a web designer. Her travel blog, Get In The Hot Spot, attracts over 20,000 readers every month from all over the world. She’s been featured on some of the most popular blogs on the Internet and in print.
Today, in my interview with her, we’ll be talking about writing and traveling.
Without further ado, here’s my interview with Annabel Candy:
Ollin: For a writer who doesn’t get out of the country much, what would you tell her (or him) about how traveling can inspire their creativity?
Annabel: Travel can inspire creativity by allowing you to meet new people, diverse cultures, and enjoy different experiences—the kind of things that you just can’t experience at home.
You may get an idea about places by reading about them, or by looking at photos, but you can’ t really know what they’re like until you really experience it yourself. (You know, visiting Little China isn’t the same as actually going to China.)
Travel allows you to get new ideas and new experiences that will make you more creative while you’re traveling—and when you get back home.
Ollin: How can traveling inspire courage?
Annabel: We can’t allow ourselves to be ruled by fears. We have to face up to them. When you face up to your fears they become manageable.
For example: a lot of people in Australia are worried about snakes, and, of course, I was worried about snakes when I moved to Australia—because Australia is famous for having lots of snakes.
But, realistically, you won’t see many snakes while you are here. In the three years that I’ve been here, I’ve actually only seen three snakes in the wild.
But, at first, I was nervous about going down to my garage, because snakes like to hide in dry places like garages and garden sheds.
One time, my fear came true: we found a snake in the garage, which was about 2 1/2 feet long. I got a neighbor to come over and relocate it. He put it in a bush not too close to our house.
Then, I took photos of the snake and sent them to a snake expert on the Internet. The snake turned out to be a Burton’s legless lizard.
So, it wasn’t a snake at all, and it wasn’t dangerous: I was more of a danger to the lizard than it was to me.
Often, when we face up to our fears, we find out that they were not as bad as we’d thought they’d be. The fear was really created by our vivid imaginations. Those imagined fears are much worse than the experience itself.
Ollin: You’ve visited 40 countries and lived in 8 of them. What’s your favorite spot on the globe that you’ve visited, and why?
Annabel: I’ve got to say Africa is one of my favorite places. It will steal a permanent place in your heart. Once you’ve been to Africa you’ll never forget it. You’ll always want to go back.
Africa has such an incredibly diverse culture, people—it has beautiful scenery and just incredible wildlife.
My husband was brought up in Kenya and I lived in Zimbabwe for a year. I traveled around Zimbabwe, and then with my husband in Malawi and Kenya. And all of those are incredible countries.
The funnies and scariest stories will happen to you while you’re in Africa.
The food isn’t great in Africa though. If good food is a priority while you’re traveling, I recommend Thailand, which is another favorite spot of mine to visit.
Ollin: There’s so much in the news these days that makes people afraid to travel. Can you tell us why, despite all of the fear generated in the news, we should still pack our bags and make some travel plans?
Annabel: First of all, we need to stop reading the newspapers and watching the news because all that does nourish and grow our fears.
But really bad things aren’t likely to happen to you at all when you travel. You have to think of the worst possible thing that could ever happen to you, and then consider how unlikely it is to ever happen to you. Those snake bites, shark attacks, plane crashes are so rare.
So, don’t listen to the naysayers and fear mongers. Instead, listen to the other people who have traveled and explored. Find out what they recommend. Find out what was the worst thing that happened to them when they traveled—and then spend most of the time talking about the best things that happened to them while they traveled.
Ollin: Can you give us some general tips on how to ensure our traveling goes smoothly and we get the most out of the experience?
Well, you want to be safe when you’re traveling—make that a priority.
Get all your vaccinations against any diseases you need to be vaccinated for. Make sure your tetanus and booster shots are all up to date. Find out what health warnings there are—if any—in your destination and take precautions if you need to before you go.
(A government bureau in your country will have a travel-warning site you can check. In Australia we have this site: http://www.smarttraveler.gov.au. It’s an Australian government site, and it tells you what safety precautions you can take in what countries, and whether the country is safe to travel to, or not.)
Find out if the tap water in the area is safe to drink or not. If it isn’t, then stick to bottled water while you’re there.
You can avoid petty crime by taking precaution and hiding any valuables, keeping your money safe, and carrying your passport with you at all times.
Always ask local people what places are safe, and which places are best to avoid.
If you’re going somewhere like a market, don’t go with heaps of cash and a big expensive camera hanging down around your neck. Be discreet.
Stick to the local customs and culture. (So, for example: if you’re a woman traveling in South Africa, or India, you need to cover up.)
Find out what’s acceptable clothing for you to wear at your destination. Make sure to take the right kind of clothes with you, or buy some when you get there. That will stop you from getting harassed (or, at least, it’ll make sure you get harassed less).
Ollin: I wanted to interview you because you represent the spirit of Courage 2 Create perfectly: you’ve created the kind of writing you wanted and lived the kind of life you wanted. What advice would you give others about how to follow their passions and make their wildest dreams a reality?
Annabel: I think blogging has really helped me achieve a lot of my dreams.
In never thought that it would happen, and I didn’t really start blogging because of that.
I actually started blogging because I was a timid writer. I didn’t dare share my writing with anyone. So, I had to overcome that fear of judgment.
After I wrote my first blog post, I never wrote another blog post for three years. So the fear was very real.
But then, about three years ago, I committed to blogging. As soon as I started getting feedback on my writing from readers, that really inspired me to write more and to follow my passion.
So, since then, my writing has been published all over the Internet, in print, and I’ve been invited on several press trips.
Blogging is a great way to share your passion, explore your passion, and connect with people who are also passionate about the same things. It’s a great way to show people what you are doing in your creative life.
If anyone whose reading this is inspired to start a blog from hearing my story they can find my blogging tips at SuccessfulBlogging.com.
Ollin: I always like to end with this question: how do you keep your head up when the going gets tough? Any words of wisdom or inspiration for people trying to fulfill their dreams?
The big one is always persistence.
Unfortunately, no one really wants to hear this. But you have to start working and keep working in order to really reap the benefits.
Scientific research has found that having “grit,” or persistence, is more important than talent when it comes to succeeding.
So, remember: when the going gets tough, you just gotta keep going.
It will probably make a great story in a few years time.
Ollin: Thank you for giving me your time, I really appreciate it.
Annabel: Thank you so much, Ollin.
Annabel Candy is a freelance writer and web designer. Her travel blog is Get In the Hot Spot. Annabel is also the author of Successful Blogging in 12 Simple Steps and is passionate about helping other small business owners tap into the power of blogging. She created Successful Blogging to share blogging tips and give other writers on-going support and motivation.