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Best of Travel Blogging

By Kati Taylor

Travel is an infinitely personal experience and its multiplicity is given a voice through the active travel blogging community. An online network full of stories, advice and destination secrets - there’s a blogger to suit every type of traveller.

This month at TravelLocal, we are shortlisting our top travel blogs! Today we caught up with Mallory on Travel (Iain Mallory)  and Inside the Travel Lab (Abi King); two travel writing veterans who advocate sustainable and responsible tourism...

Iain Mallory - Mallory on Travel

With a lifelong love of the open road, Iain Mallory was a natural candidate for the travel blogging community. His online blog, with its light Mallory on Traveland often comical tone, casts light on ‘off the beaten track’ destinations and immersive travel experiences. Iain’s love of photography and passionate defence of environmental issues stand him apart from an ever-growing crowd. We caught up with Iain to discuss his life on the road, local experiences and the advice he would give to an aspiring traveller.

TL: What inspired you to start travel blogging? Was it a particular destination or experience?

I was originally a soldier, but not your average ‘grunt’! A Warrant Officer in the Army Physical Training Corps specialising in adventurous pursuits. This enabled me to travel the world on expeditions, mountaineering, skiing, kayaking or diving. Once I left the service, my wanderlust remained, travelling independently with a passion for photography, until I decided to share some of these experiences with other like-minded travellers, hoping to inspire them  to discover the unique experiences our world has to offer.

TL: What’s the most immersive, ‘local’ experience you’ve had while travelling?

I get fully immersed in local culture every time I enter a bar! There isn’t just one, but anytime I’m invited to share dinner with a family in Oman, stay in a casa in Cuba or just experience the hospitality of another culture I feel privileged. I think responsible tourism includes giving a little back to the community, contributing to the local economy and encouraging them to continue with positive, sustainable projects.

TL: What's your favourite destination and why?

Tough question, once upon a time my answer would have been an unequivocal “there isn’t one”. So many amazing places, which all differ and have so much to offer, New Zealand, the African continent, Iceland and the Arctic Circle, I’ve enjoyed everywhere and there isn’t anywhere I wouldn’t return to. However, spending 6 weeks crossing Canada by train and car, passing through the Rockies, which incidentally is my favourite mountain range, it dawned on me Canada, with it’s amazing diversity and iconic wildlife is probably my home away from home.

TL: Have you got a photo which sums up your travel style?

Yes and I’m getting deep here; the open space of the image (right) shows the countless opportunities there are to discover unique experiences and the waiting boat offers the potential to do so!

TL: What advice would you give someone who was thinking about going travelling?

Don’t just think about it, do it! And remember: “The adventure of a lifetime may be planned for years, but a lifetime of adventure requires no planning at all”

Follow Iain on Twitter (@malloryontravel) and read his blog here


 

Abi King - Inside the Travel Lab

Inside the Travel LabA full time travel writer since 2007, Abi aptly summarises her priorities on her blog: “Eco-travel doesn’t need to be miserably bare. Luxury travel doesn’t need to be soulless”. Actively engaged with the travel community, and having visited over 70 countries, she is a travel blogging veteran respected by public and media alike. Her ‘travel thoughtfully, travel well’ message resonates with her readers and her lively, engaging tone keeps them coming back.

We had a chat with Abi about her favourite destinations, career overhauls and making travel both authentic and safe.

TL: What inspired you to start travel blogging? Was it a particular destination or experience?

I started travel blogging mainly because I was trying to establish a career switch. I had worked as a doctor for seven or eight years and was wanting to move into freelance writing. So initially I started the blog to build up a writing portfolio. Having travelled from an early age and always loved it, it made sense to make that my focus - where I had been in the past, where I was living at the present and it just took off from there!

TL: What’s the most immersive, ‘local’ experience you’ve had while travelling?

I would have to say… Years and years ago when I first went to China. This was before the Olympics so it was quite a different place then. My friend and I befriended a Chinese family and they took us to local restaurants and showed us sides of Beijing we would never have seen. We couldn’t really understand one another, and had no idea what we were eating, but the language barriers were overcome through shared experience and genuine friendship.

TL: What's your favourite destination and why?

I find it totally impossible to pick one but I  have a shortlist. I absolutely loved my time in Oman - the people are very friendly, the beaches are unspoilt and the mountains are alive with orchards and date palms. I also had a great outdoor adventure in Patagonia with its glaciers. City-wise I still love Paris, Rome and London (I always love London even though it’s close to home). There are so many more; Austria is always a pleasure, Australia too, I love Japan...I am going to end up reeling off an atlas!

TL: Have you got a photo which sums up your travel style?

I do enjoy visiting places away from the crowds. This photo (below right) was taken outside the Vatican, with the help of some local inside knowledge I Abi's travel stylewas able to visit when it was almost deserted even though it’s one of the most famous places in the world!

TL: What advice would you give someone who was thinking about going travelling?

I would say… go! Book the ticket and everything else will fall into place. I follow by the motto of making it safe first, all the important things are sorted, and then don’t stress about the smaller details. The best thing is to explore, go with the flow and enjoy life: that is the point of it all!
Follow Abi on Twitter (@insidetravellab)  and read her blog here.