Aspiring Travel Writer of the Week: Jeremiah Pittmon

Jeremiah website is Smiles on Arrival and was launched in July 2019.

Bio: I’m an accountant by day, travel blogger by night (kinda like the Batman of travel) and a member of the North American Travel Journalist Association. I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up with a love of maps and geography. I’d study maps for hours at time, imagining myself going on journeys all over the world. That developed into a love of planning and the logistics of travel. When I got old enough to travel with friends, I was always the planner, the map reader (actual paper maps) and the one who put the trips together. It’s amazing to me that I’ve gone from studying maps and planning to see the world to actually seeing the world.

Now, I’m married to a beautiful wife and together we have two little travelers who are always looking forward to our next adventure. I love Italian food, I hate being cold and I’m still celebrating our 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Championship! Our blog Smiles on Arrival is a passion project borne of the desire to share our travel experiences and provide tips and advice that we’ve found useful. We hope to encourage and inspire young families to travel and embrace the adventure that it brings.

Here is Jeremiah’s Q&A About his Life as a Travel Bloggeraspiring travel writer of the week

Travel Blogger Jeremiah Pittmon

Jeremiah is a Part-time blogger and while he calls himself a travel blogger, he also says he is a travel writer because he is a writer and storyteller at heart.

How long have you been a blogger? I’ve been a blogger for six months.

Where do you call home? Cleveland, Ohio, USA

How many countries have you visited? 5

How many continents have you visited? 2

Top 5 destinations on your travel to do list: Egypt, Israel, Ghana, Vietnam, Greece

Earliest travel memory: Road trips to our family reunions. It rotates from Cleveland,OH;  Detroit, MI; South Bend, IN and Atlanta, GA. We’d travel with our uncles, aunts, grandparents, great grandparents and cousins. It was always a group of us, usually in multiple cars on our trips. We made a lot of great memories on those trips!

Favorite Travel Writer: I haven’t read travel writers extensively so I don’t really have one. If I had to pick I would say Anthony Bourdain, though I got to know him more through his television shows than his writing.

Favorite Travel Blogger: Karen Akpan aka The Mom Trotter. She writes a lot about travels with her family as well as about tips and advice for travel to specific destinations. She’s very informative and inspiring for families with young children that want to travel. I want to be like her when I grow up LOL!

Favorite Travel Photographer: I don’t have one. Though I do love the photography in Conde Naste Traveler and Travel + Leisure magazines. They do an amazing job of capturing moments and scenery.

Favorite Travel Blog/s or Website/s: I’ve used Trip Savvy extensively when planning our trips. It always has a lot of good, useful info and lots of supporting articles for each location. I also like that it has a standard format which makes it easy to read. Another blog that I like to read isTraveling MitchTraveling Mitch. I really like his writing style and he has great content. He covers well known locations as well as those not so well known.

The trip that turned me from a vacationer to a traveler:

My trip to Cancun with my wife. We were in at all-inclusive but we rarely stayed at the resort. We realized that we were more interested in exploring the surrounding area and the town where the locals were. So we would often take the bus to the local areas and markets and enjoyed that more than being at the resort. We were there for a week and only went to the beach twice! It was on that trip that we both really discovered the type of travelers that we were.

Tut the trip that turned me into a travel blogger:

This past June we spent 14 days in Europe. We went to London, Rome and Naples. The year before was our family’s first international trip. We went to Paris for about a week, but this was a bit different. I noticed that a lot of people expressed interest in our travels, wanted to know how we put our trips together, found deals, etc. so I thought it’d be a good idea to start a blog. I also noticed how happy and excited people were about plans especially for our 2 week trip. It seemed that there was interest in our adventures, so I decided to capture it and share it.

My steps to become a travel blogger:

Once we booked our two week Europe vacation, I thought about starting a blog about our travels. I was encouraged by my wife and sister in law to pursue it. But it wasn’t until I tore my ACL and was stuck on the couch that I seriously researched blogging and was convinced to go ahead and start. First I started an Instagram page, then a few months later, after more research and learning, our website went live.

I am an independent traveler! We plan our own travels and tailor it to our interests and likes. We like having control over how we spend our time and where we go.  That’s especially helpful since we have a 10 and a 7-year-old.

The social media platform driving the most traffic to my site is: Facebook. I get some traffic from my own page, but more so from the groups that I’m in.

My favorite tool/app for social media (and why): Canva. It’s my favorite because I love creating and it allows me to create in ways that I enjoy. From the very first pins that I created I was hooked. I really like writing but creating pins is probably my favorite part of the process.

My favorite WordPress plugin (and why): Social Warfare. It provides great social share buttons for my blog and most importantly, it was easy to set up and easy to use.

Favorite Travel Blogger Facebook Group: DNW – Making Money from Blogging. Tons of great info and advice. Lots of great questions answered. I think that I’ve learned the most from this group. And that’s just from the group members. Sharon Gourley, who runs the group, also provides a wealth of experience and know how. I really like the opportunity to share blog posts with fellow group members every week. That has been very helpful and encouraging.

Organizations I belong to: NATJA

If only I had the time, I’d do/finish…… : Optimizing my previous articles. I’m learning so much about SEO, article titles, the importance of the first paragraph, subheadings, keyword competition and so much more. It all makes me want to apply those things that I didn’t know to my previous articles. It’s all just a matter of time.

Jeremiah Pittmon of Smiles On Arrival

My top tip for aspiring travel writers and bloggers!

Searching for the lowest possible keywords and understanding keyword research. For a new website, keywords that are not that competitive can still be a tough hill to climb. You want to prioritize the least competitive keywords possible. If you have article ideas for more competitive keywords, make a list, save them for later.

Best travel tip for travelers: For all travelers, but especially family travelers, go for quality over quantity. We found that when we scale back our itinerary, everyone benefits. It’ll mean that you’ll miss some “can’t miss” sights but it’ll be totally worth it because you’ll enjoy the experience more. And you’ll really get to enjoy and appreciate the location you’re in.

Connect with Jeremiah!

Website: smilesonarrival.com

Social: TwitterFacebook | Pinterest | Instagram 

Pin it!Travel Blogging Tips from Jeremiah Pittmon with  Smiles On Arrival

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