“So how is this thing about you always moving … are you travelling for business or leisure or both ??” The #LifeOfATravelBlogger: As funny as the name of this internationally curated hashtag actually sounds, it does hint at the fact that we, as professional travel bloggers, are leading a life far off the notion of most people’s idea of business. During those past few years, I have often found myself in a situation where I have given answers to the very same question, times and times and over and over again:
“So how do you actually make money?!”
A classic. The very question we get asked, all the time. Only recently, travel bloggers & the tourism industry have hotly debated ways of improved collaboration for the benefit of all parties concerned, both during #STSHamburg Social Travel Summit in Hamburg as well as over the largest gathering of travel bloggers worldwide, TBEX Travel Bloggers Exchange in Lloret de Mar: “Your blog is a business. Treat it as one.”
But back to the real question. And the answers I myself have found: “I am active on many levels. On the one hand side, I consider myself a professional tourism & PR consultant, organising different events & blogtrips, speaking five languages fluently, doing the odd teaching & translation contract, being hired as a public speaker and writing my first travel book called ‘The Creative Traveler’s Handbook’ focusing on creative travel as an international trend in culture travel …” – “Right …!”
The team at the Gemeindealpe Mitterbach in Lower Austria smile at me. This one time, I have come to teach them ‘Tourism English’ as part of my professional training contract with the NÖVOG Lower Austrian train company. That, too, is my #LifeOfATravelBlogger!
Come to think of it, this might very well be the twentieth time I am teaching Tourism English to people of the Lower Austrian train company already, improving their skills and my knowledge system as a professional trainer working in the adult education. “You can call me any time, even at four in the morning, and I will always reply to your questions and concerns about English grammar and sentence structure”, I have come to tell my course participants with a smile. I just love languages – and more so where sharing my enthusiasm about them is concerned. Where exactly the work ends and the fun starts, is once again hard to tell – #LifeOfATravelBlogger, that is. 🙂
Further down “life’s road” are Graz & Bad Gleichenberg, where I am invited to give my annual speech about Creative Travel to students of the local University of Applied Sciences, the FH Joanneum.
This is another “egg” in the “basket” of my many activities (as the saying goes, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!”): Apart from teaching & travel blogging, I am also a public speaker & guest lecturer at universities, during conferences & workshops for businesses, looking to encourage learning opportunities within the international contexts I am working in. Having once been a student myself, I always delight in “going back to uni”, teaching & inspiring young people to what is out there, showing videos, initiating group work and sparking engaging debates about blogs, Social Media as well as “Creative Travel Worldwide“.
Creative, too, is the hotel Roomz Graz, my hotel tip for those of you considering to stay here: Arriving in Graz, I am not only greeted by the friendly team at reception, but also by … a larger-than-life sized Styrian bean. As well as the excellent local cuisine with a twist. Check this out.
Of course, the above photograph merely serves as a reminder of how not to reach out to young students, but rather engage them in something proactive, like discussing a creative travel video they have never seen or even heard of: “Creative Travel Around The World” talks about my recent creative round the world research trip for the purpose of my upcoming book publication called “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook“. Check it out!
“Dear Elena, in the name of Mercure we cordially extend our invitation to this year’s Grand Vins Mercure tasting event, where you will be deciding some of the best wines to be chosen for all Mercure hotels in Austria in the upcoming year.”
Stunned, I look at the email message on my phone. What on Earth is the “Grands Vins Mercure annual tasting event“? Is it an event that requires MY presence as a professional tasting expert? I am a little flattered, to say the least. After all, wine & travel have always been the way to go for me, but being invited here …?!
“It is our pleasure and delight, dear Elena, to invite for this year’s annual tasting event ‘Grands Vins Mercure’ as well as the subsequent presentation of the new wine menu. All of the selected wines will be offered to customers staying at Mercure Hotels in Austria. We really look forward to your valued opinion in this!” Wow. “You are lucky”, I tell the lady on the phone, thinking fast. “I can actually make it, travelling from my guest lecture to Vienna just in time for the evening wine tasting event. Thank you: I am really curious now!”
I hang up the phone, still a bit incredulous. “So how did you find me?” – “Well, the networks, you see.” Travel blogging. Wine writing. Foodie travel tips. Creative travel adventures. If you listen, you learn more – exactly what the philosophy of our international conferences & meetings teach us: Hard work, niche & dedication always pays off. Everything you do leaves a references, and it is in your hands to make it a positive one – an actual reality no matter how digitalised the world is yet to become.
In any case, do check out this thing called “Grans Vins Mercure” as well as Mercure Hotel Wien Westbahnhof, truly worth your visit if being spoilt to excellent local food & matching wines from Austria is what you like during your next stay in Vienna. Having officially tested them, I can truly recommend it to you. Check this out.
Disclaimer: Thank you to the team of the hotel Roomz Graz as well as Mercure Wien Westbahnhof for their generous invitation and hosting. All opinions are my own.