Travel Writer of the Week: Jessica Pascoe
Jessica’s website is jessicapascoe.com and was launched in March 2019
Bio: My name is Jess. I’m a travel writer, bookworm, and foodie. I love to combine all three whenever I get the chance. I’m originally from the UK and have lived in Sydney for over 2 years. In 2016 I was given the chance to work on a project in Melbourne for 2 months, all expenses paid. Despite only being married for 2 months, I packed two ridiculously oversized suitcases and booked my flight from London, alone.
Within a day of exploring, I knew I wanted to make this diverse, stunning, welcoming country my home. Fast forward to November 2017 and I officially emigrated, this time with hubby in tow, to Sydney. We haven’t looked back since. We’re both corporate professionals, with no plans to become ‘digital nomads’ or ‘influencers’.
Jessicapascoe.com is designed to be a resource for those of us who travel when we can, searching for the ultimate luxury experiences to use our precious leave days on. I love to showcase my newly adopted home of Australia, including lesser-known destinations. Alongside the blog, I’ve had several freelance articles published in both digital and print magazines, including Lonely Planet, Here and There and Wedding Ideas.
Here is Jessica’s Q&A About her Life as a Travel Writer
Do you consider yourself a travel blogger, travel writer or travel photographer or?
I’d consider myself to be a travel writer first and blogger second as I originally started the blog to support my freelance writing.
Part Time or Full Time Writer: Part-time
If Part-Time, what is your day job? I’m a technology strategist for a well-known consultancy by day
How long have you been a blogger/writer/photographer? Since roughly January 2019, so I’m still very much a newbie!
Where do you call home? I currently call Sydney, Australia home, but I am a proud Pom and the UK will always have a very special place in my heart.
How many countries have you been to? 37
How many continents have you been to? 6
Top 5 destinations on your travel to do list: Samoa, more of New Zealand (I’ve only been to Wellington and the surrounding region), Adelaide and surrounding vineyards (Clare Valley, Barossa), Western Australia including Perth and Margaret River, and South Africa.
Earliest travel memory: My earliest memories of travel were our annual 2-week package holidays to Greece as a family, which was very popular for Brits in the 90s. I remember aged 4, 5 and 6 checking out all of the taverna menus with my dad, eager to tuck into really exotic dishes (for back then) like Greek salads, stuffed vine leaves and saganaki. I think this is where food and travel became so heavily intertwined for me – I still base every trip around when and where I’m eating!
Favorite Travel Writer: I love Tim Neville, a freelance US-based writer who has written for
The New York Times, The Financial Times and Outside magazine to name a few. He is also the judge and mentor for the coveted World Nomads’ Writing Scholarship (which I’m yet to win!). I also enjoy Sue White’s work, an Australian-based freelance writer who has become a mentor to me and helped me refine my first piece of published writing.
Favorite Travel Blogger: The lovely Annie from londonerinsydney.com. I love the style of her website as well as how much really relevant, informative content she has. She’s also been incredibly friendly and helpful as I launched my own blog.
Favorite Travel Photographer: I fell in love with Paul Arnold when visiting Darwin in April 2019. Paul Arnold is revered as an iconic Territorian artist who has been showcasing stunning images of the Northern Territory. He captures breathtaking outback landscapes, usually shot from 500ft in an ultra-light plane. Alongside Paul (and for full transparency, I am completely biased) I really admire my husband’s photography which is featured on my blog. He’s just starting his photography journey but has a natural eye, capturing human emotion in stunning scenery. If you fancy checking out his Instagram, his handle is @williamapascoe.
Favorite Travel Blog/s or Website/s: It’d have to be Londoner in Sydney as previously mentioned. I also love the artistic travel content on the Canadian Here and There Mag online magazine as well as, of course, the incomparable Lonley Planet.
The trip that turned you from a vacationer to a traveler: The trip that turned me from a vacationer to a traveler would have to be my 1-month trip to the Dominican Republic in 2008, aged 18. This trip was organized by International Student Volunteers, combining two weeks of immersive volunteering with two weeks of adventure travel around the island. We helped to construct a local village school alongside teaching in the existing temporary building, staying in very basic dorm rooms in a former convent.
We’d sometimes hike to a local waterfall to wash when the hot water ran out! The adventure travel involved surfing, abseiling down 30ft waterfalls, snorkeling, attending local festivals and horse-riding, staying in beautiful hotels with other tourists. Our experiences were really juxtaposed; we were exposed to both the poverty of local village communities as well as creature comforts associated with international tourism.
It was a fascinating trip, demonstrating how much more you can learn about a destination when you interact with locals instead of locking yourself away in an all-inclusive resort.
The trip that turned you into a travel writer: The first major trip I took following my completion of the Australian Writer’s Centre course in Travel Writing, and launching the blog, was to Australia’s Northern Territory. The Northern Territory is a uniquely beautiful, powerful destination full of places that are sacred to the traditional owners of the land, and a real insight into aboriginal history and culture.
I tailored the trip specifically around a commission that I’d managed to secure for Wedding Ideas Magazine, a UK Bridal publication, about why brides should consider the NT as a honeymoon destination. I scheduled interviews with relevant hotel owners, sought out romantic excursions including a helicopter and wild swimming adventure, and some of the most romantic dining experiences that we could afford!
I also found myself far more conscious of small details, the color of the landscape, the vivacious characters we encountered. Alongside the article for wedding ideas, this trip also provided me with content for the blog, collab posts on fellow bloggers sites and plenty of beautiful imagery for my Instagram.
First steps to become a travel writer: I was struggling with feeling a lack of purpose in my day job and had been investigating professional development opportunities, including Kikki.K’s dreaming workshops. I then realized that if I wanted to make my dreams a reality I had to be proactive so I enrolled in an online freelance travel writing course at the Australian Writers Centre.
This course gave me the skills and confidence to start pitching to digital and print magazines. However, I realized I needed an online presence to support this, including showcasing my published articles. jessicapascoe.com was officially launched in March 2019, a way to share all the amazing adventures Will and I have had in and around Australia. Since launching, the blog has grown in its own right and I’m really excited to continue expanding it alongside freelance writing.
Do you plan your own travel or look for media trips? As my travel writing is part-time alongside a corporate profession, I consider myself an independent traveler. This is my blog’s niche – making every weekend and day of leave count. I’d, of course, be open to an organized media trip if someone would have me!
The social media platform driving the most traffic to my site is: Facebook
My top tip to use Facebook for traffic: SEO! Spend time investigating and learning how to optimize your posts for search engines as once you’re receiving regular, organic traffic, you can ease up a little on time-consuming social media marketing. I’m still learning in this space but have recently seen Search Engine traffic take over Instagram as my third most popular referrer, behind Facebook and Pinterest, so something must be working.
My favorite tool/app for social media: The Lightroom editing application, followed closely by UNUM. I invested in some Lightroom presets which have completely transformed the way I present my photos across the blog and all social media, making my online presence clean, bright and coherent. UNUM is a useful app for helping me to plan out my Instagram feed in preview, playing around with my content to see how it might affect the look and feel of my grid.
My favorite WordPress plugin: I try to keep my use of plugins to a minimum to improve the speed of my site. On saying that, I’m quite partial to the ‘Instagram Feed’ plugin – a plugin designed to help you show off your latest Instagram grid within your blog’s sidebar. It’s simple to use, creates a visually appealing sidebar and helps bring additional traffic to my Instagram page.
Favorite Travel Blogger Facebook Group: Female Travel Bloggers – a really supportive community of fellow female travel bloggers, with opportunities to collaborate and share your best work.
Organizations I belong to: Australian Writer’s Centre Graduates – I really need to check out some of these myself!
If only I had the time, I’d do/finish…… Writing quality content so that I can post regularly. I only manage to post once a month at present, which means that my generated content via social media has distinct peaks. I tend to do keyword research, write, prepare a marketing plan, my emails, pins etc all in one go. If I had more time, I’d love to have several good quality posts written at any one time and be able to schedule ahead.
Top tip for aspiring travel writers and bloggers!
Be prepared to invest money in your blog. I initially wanted to do things as cheaply as possible and didn’t invest in certain key tools e.g. Keysearch, going self-hosted. Whilst starting a blog doesn’t need to be too expensive, if you want it to eventually sustain you financially you have to treat it as a business and invest in it, including professional development courses for yourself. There’s so much to learn!
Best travel tip for travelers: Put down the camera! Whilst we all love to capture images and memories of the amazing experiences we have whilst travelling, I regularly remind myself to put my phone/camera down and simply enjoy being present. I find that this makes me a more mindful traveler, capturing memories in a way a photo never can.
Connect with Jessica!
More Travel Blogger of the Week Features!
Aspiring Travel Writer of the Week: Frank Bodelier of Maps ‘N Bags
Aspiring Travel Writer of the Week: Ivan Kralj from Pipeaway
Nominate a friend (or yourself!) as our next Aspiring Travel Writer of the Week!
I invite you to be a featured ATW (Aspiring Travel Writer) of the week. As ATW of the week, you will be featured on my travel website, 52Perfectdays.com and the BreakintoTravelWriting.com website! Here are all the details! breakintotravelwriting.com/aspiring-travel-writer-of-the-week-guidelines/