Traveler Interview with Laurence and Jessica
Welcome back to yet some more weekend travel inspiration as we discover two of my favorite travelers. Jessica and Laurence run two blogs, both started before they even met. In fact, they met because they were travel bloggers, and well, the rest is history. Let’s find out more about them.
Tell us a little about yourself. Who travels with you? Where do you live now? Tell us a little about where you are from and if you recommend it to people as a travel destination.
My name is Laurence Norah and with my wife Jessica Norah we run two travel blogs: Finding the Universe and Independent Travel Cats. I’m from the UK and Jess is from Ohio, USA. Currently we live in Edinburgh in Scotland, which we very much recommend to people to visit – it’s a beautiful city in a spectacular part of the world!
What inspires you to travel? What types of places call to you? How often do you get to travel?
My passion in life is travel photography (I actually teach an online travel photography course called the Superstar Travel Photography Course), and I love to travel and find the beauty in the world. Jess loves to explore new cultures and learn about their history.
So we put those passions together and usually find a lot to visit around the world together. We travel 6 – 8 months out of the year, although we include quite a lot of information about traveling in the UK as part of that.
Describe your travel philosophy. What is your style? Are you more of a luxury traveler or is backpacking more your style?
I’d say midrange (Jess tends to gravitate more to luxury). I personally used to be more of a backpacker, but I now appreciate a quiet comfortable bed and some amenities! But our love of travel isn’t to do with the places we stay unless they have an interesting story. We travel to see the destination and explore its beauty and history, and get sufficient content so we can write useful posts for our readers. As long as we have a comfortable base we’re happy.
What types of things are you interested in while you are traveling?
We’re definitely quite active when we travel, we’re not exactly the relax on the beach type! We do a mix of adventure and history and culture. I like to get out into the landscapes of a country, and Jess loves history and culture, and we combine the two passions. We also love great food, and trying the local delicacies is often a highlight of our adventures together.
Usually we’re travelling for our blogs, and we tend to visit a lot of attractions so we can put together detailed guides for our readers. For example, we drove the North Coast 500 in Scotland recently, and that resulted in a series of posts, including this detailed North Coast 500 planning guide. Providing high quality useful information for our readers that will help them plan their own trips is always at the centre of our trip planning.
What is one funny, embarrassing, cute, or even frustrating anecdote from your travels?
So this probably falls under the cute category. When Jess and I got engaged, I wanted it to be a little travel themed as it’s a passion we both share. So I planned our engagement location on a beach in California, at Point Reyes National Seashore – a beautiful wild part of California.
Jess had previously said something that made it clear to me that we should pick out our rings together, so I drew a ring around her in the sand and proposed inside that to make up for not having an actual ring.
Our only witness was a massive elephant seal, who was sunning on the beach. We later had custom etched wedding rings made, and the elephant seal features on Jess’s, along with some other travel themes!
What is your next destination and what are you looking forward to doing there?
Our next destination that we have planned is the Seychelles! I actually have dual nationality, part Seychellois, part British, and I spent much of my childhood growing up in the Seychelles. I haven’t been “home” in a decade, and I’m excited to share it with Jess, who has never been. I’m particularly excited about the food – Creole food in the Seychelles is really good, and I can’t wait to eat it again!
What is one travel book or movie that you can recommend to folks?
My favourite book is The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s about a guy whose home planet (Earth) is destroyed one day to make space for a galactic bypass, and tells of his misadventures exploring space.
I think it is a great travel book, as it shows how good humans are at embracing change and dealing with the unexpected, which is what travel is all about. It’s also brilliantly written, really funny, and contains spaceships, which I love.
What is one thing you take with you traveling, no matter what?
My camera. As a travel photographer, I never leave home without it!
How did you get started travel blogging, and what would be one piece of advice you can offer newbie bloggers?
I originally started my blog in 2010 as a way to share my travels with friends and family, without overloading them with e-mail or Facebook updates. It then evolved! Jess started because a lot of folks were telling her she should share her travel experiences to help others, so she did.
In terms of advice, my key advice would be to expect to be in this for the long haul. Travel blogging is a saturated market with a lot of competition, and there’s no such thing as overnight success. Success is a long road with a lot of hard work and practice, and you’ll need to learn key skills – marketing, photography, writing, video etc – as you go. Don’t give up though – you can definitely make it if you put the work and time into it.
Thanks to Laurence and Jessica for inspiring us to get out there, meet people, and enjoy our world! Don’t forget to check out their amazing photos and keep up with their wanderings on their Facebook page.
Pin Laurence and Jessica’s inspiration!