If you want to know anything about SEO, Gemma is your girl. But SEO is not her only strong point, along with husband Craig, she runs the travel blog, Two Scots Abroad. The blog features travel guides, packing lists and quite a lot of tartan!
So over to Gemma & Craig from Two Scos Abroad to answer my Travel Questions:
Q1 – When did you become travellers?
Our travel site, Two Scots Abroad, was created to document a massive 18-month career break to travel the Americas and Europe back in 2015 but I’d say the trip that gave me the buzz was backpacking around Eastern Europe when I was 19 years old.
I was studying Social Policy at university, so friends and I took advantage of the summer during first and second year to go interrailing. Back then we relied heavily on guidebooks, hostel dial-up and tips from locals and fellow backpackers.
I was very underprepared with my borrowed backpack. I was also a really picky eater at that time which must have made me a pain to travel with, sorry pals!
I distinctly remember departing the train at Budapest in darkness and using a telephone box to try to find a hostel. Oh, how times have changed!
Another memory was watching the metro doors close on my friend as the rest of us stood on the platform, jaws dropping to the ground. No mobile phones to work out what to do next.
On the last night, we ended up sleeping on the floor of a hostel in Warsaw because we hadn’t realised you had to book the sleeper train.
Challenges aside, it was a life-changing trip.
We drank absinthe in Prague, went to Tesco in Bratislava (insert hilarious jokes about point cards), visited Auschwitz in Krakow, did tours in Warsaw and partied in Gdansk, before it was set up for mass tourism.
After university and a few temporary jobs, I went into teaching which afforded me the freedom to travel with its generous holidays. I’ve used every chance to visit Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and the States.
Q2 – What kind of traveller are you? Full-time? Part-time? Anytime?
I’ve done it all! My current status is part-time with a base in Scotland which includes a husky/German shepherd for company.
We’ve done long-term, visiting 16 countries in 17 months and living in Canada for six of them. I don’t think I’d travel for that length of time in the future, I much prefer having a base to work and do exercise from. I’m a fast fat and bloat as soon as I touchdown to a new destination!
I travel approximately once a month. Many trips of late have been to source content for guides and take photos. It’s a really tough job but someone’s got to do it!
We’re actually taking a proper ‘read a book’ holiday next month which I am very much looking forward to.
Q3 – Which country do you originally come from and where do you call home?
Caledonia! I’m from and currently reside in The Kingdom of Fife which is a lesser-known region in the east of Scotland.
Most people travel to Scotland to whizz around the classic route of Edinburgh, Loch Ness and Skye, which are like Disneyland in the summer.
The east coast is far more low key, cool artsy
cities, cute fishing villages, seaside towns. That kind of location.
The east coast in the Highlands takes in the popular North Coast 500 route and Shetland and Orkney which your readers may have heard of.
We have a house which lets us connect with Edinburgh in twenty minutes and most importantly, the airport in thirty so it suits our travel lifestyle.
Q4 – Is there anything you miss from home when you are travelling?
Fitness classes! I like routine.
Banter, there’s nowhere in the world that does banter like the Scots. OK, maybe our Celtic cousins in Ireland.
Q5 – What do you love most about travelling?
Waking up each day with that sense of – what the hell will happen today!
Hikes, rooftop bars, tours, museums, street art, sunshine, snow – the freedom to do whatever.
I love meeting locals and getting the chat too. I’ve very aware of how lucky I am to have been born in an English-speaking country with a passport of privilege. For now, anyway.
Q6 – And what is your pet hate?
Other people’s ignorance. Lack of respect for places and nature. People being rude so they can be the centre of an image for Instagram.
Q7 – Tell us about your favourite trip or place to visit.
I’m fresh off the plane from Paris and while this wasn’t my first trip to France’s capital it was my favourite.
I went solo, taking the train from Edinburgh to Disneyland Paris which sounded more romantic than it was and actually just resulted in lots of delays. I was attempting to reduce my carbon footprint but it was a bit of a fail.
I meticulously built my Paris itinerary to get the most of the trip to be faced with a strike so I had to use my ninja travel skills to get by.
Paris in December is delightful. Sunrises, fewer crowds, Christmas decorations and vin chaud. Bliss.
Backpacking wise I love Colombia, to live I’d choose Canada.
Q8 – How do you prepare for a trip, are you a last-minute packer or days in advance?
I’m so far from the last-minute end of the scale. Craig literally arrives and turns left.
I have electronic maps, lists, Instagram collections and two versions of a packing list.
Q9 – What 5 things do you always take on your travels?
Camera, additional SD card/battery, phone and associated essentials, refillable water bottle, and of course a tartan outfit.
Q10 – If money was no object, where would you live?
Canada. My spirit country.
Q11 – Tell us more about your blog?
Two Scots Abroad is a site full of ridiculously useful travel guides and packing lists covering countries from Cuba to Colombia, Thailand to Turkey.
We document itineraries, bucket lists, road trips, accommodation guides and budgets so you can make travel happen too.
Q12 – What three blogs inspire you?
I don’t really read blogs!
Q13 – And your go-to travel resource?
My audience, Instagram for visual inspiration and Hollywood! I’m a sucker for destinations that are filming locations, featured in books or portrayed in art/music.
Q14 – What advice would you give first-time bloggers?
You want to open that bag?!
In a nutshell:
- Pick an unsaturated profitable niche and plan your site and brand before you launch. Think of every angle you are going to cover and how you are going to do it. Make a loose five-year business plan.
- Build a community, not just an audience, on social media whilst you…
- Create a solid optimised website following Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) principles like the ones we set out at Make Traffic Happen.
- Optimise posts from the start
- Learn how to take photos to support your brand
- Build your newsletter list using lead magnets and keep them on your list with engaging newsletters
- Create an active and supportive Facebook group network.
- Make connections in the industry as well as forming friendships with fellow bloggers. Use LinkedIn, check out events like Travel Massive and attend conferences
- Focus on high-quality content, don’t do it for ‘free’ trips, they aren’t free. Passive income (ads, affiliates) is key, once you’ve nailed that you don’t have to rely on campaigns which gives you more control over your time and business
- Invest. No successful business starts without some financial injection
Join our Facebook group, Make Traffic Happen.
Q15 – Where are you off to next?
Holiday to Tenerife for seven days! While we’ve travelled extensively in the past few years we’ve not really had a proper holiday.
Then it’s back to work, heading to Italy to deliver a workshop on SEO at TBEX conference. No complaints!
Quick lowdown of Gemma and Craig’s favourite:
Edinburgh because it’s where we escape from.
Favourite Mode of Transportation?
Depends who is driving! Craig? Road trip. Me? Train.
Window seat or aisle?
I get FOMO. If I’m at the aisle I want to see the landscape during landing. If I’m at the window I want the aisle for freedom to use the loo.
Backpack or Case?
Then, backpack. Now, case.
Recently read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain while I was in Paris.
Very cool to experience the attractions described on the pages in real life albeit a good few decades later!
for it to happen or making it happen?
Thank you, Gemma and Craig xxx!
You can keep up with Gemma and Craig on:
Facebook – Two Scots Abroad
Twitter – Two Scots Abroad
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/twoscotsabroad/
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/TwoScotsAbroad
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz_WMC8F7l0qxglffxaRhzA
and of course on their blog – Two Scots Aroad
Don’t forget to pin this article so you can come back to it later
Larch was semi-nomadic until 2022, when she sold her house, packed up her belongings in a storage unit and set off on her travels around the world. Now fully nomadic, she combines her website design business and her drone flying with exploring the world. Her passion for travel aims to inspire over 30s to explore new destinations and expand their horizons.