When I met Kristie, an Aussie blogger and teacher based in the Maldives, at the World Travel Writers’ Conference last month I must admit I was immediately envious of her lifestyle! Digging a bit deeper, it was so interesting to hear how Kirstie has made her dream of living in a tropical surf destination a reality and wants to inspire more surfers to come experience the Maldives through her blog and brand new online magazine/influencer agency. Enough waffle from me though – here’s how You The World Wandering makes travel blogging work for her in the Maldives.
Tell us about your blog and how long you have been writing it.
My blog is you.theworld.wandering. It’s a luxury travel blog with a side of surf culture and fashion. It’s all about living an endless summer and chasing the sun and waves around the globe. Surfing is a big part of my lifestyle and you.theworld.wandering is a way for me to combine my love of surfing and writing. I love to review luxury properties at various exotic destinations. I try to incorporate surfing into my travel schedule as much as possible, although I do occasionally travel to destinations without surf too!
My blog you.theworld.wandering started in 2014, after I took a 5-month trip to Europe and the US. It was a way to share my travel tips and to inspire others to get out of their comfort zones and fall in love with life. I’ve also recently started my second travel website and travel influencer agency, Indulge Magazine Maldives. We connect international Travel Bloggers and Influencers with Maldives properties and publish property reviews on our online magazine. We’re the Maldives hottest new travel platform!
What made you decide to move to the Maldives? Is it as dreamy as we all think?
Great question, ha! When I travelled around Europe and the States, I took a big break from surfing – 5 months in fact! It was the longest I’d been out of the water. Desperately in need of some saltwater therapy, I wanted to go some place tropical and surf my brains out. I didn’t have a lot of money after my big trip, so I had the idea of working abroad. Funnily enough I Googled my dream job – ‘ English Teacher Job in Maldives.’ 2 days later I did a Skype interview with the Principal of the best international school in the country. Soon after I became the new Grade 1 English Teacher with a one-way ticket to the Maldives. I packed my bags and moved halfway across the world to my tropical oasis… or what I thought it would be!
I was living in the capital city Male – the most densely populated city in the world. 130,000 people on an island 5km square. The Maldives is also a 100% Muslim country. My life in Male was very different to the small Aussie coastal town of 3000 people back home. I like to describe it as a kind of bitter-sweet life experience. The school life was tough and different to school system back home and there weren’t many other expats. On the flip side, I’d take the most beautiful 1.5 hour ferry ride through sunny Maldivian islands every weekend and surf the best waves I have ever seen.
Right now I reside on a local island, Thulusdhoo, it’s much more pleasant than Male. Here it’s definitely a simple kind of life, days are long and it’s all about being outdoors – I totally love it, well… for about 6 months of the year anyway. Living in the Maldives definitely isn’t as glamorous as it sounds – it’s a destination that’s a lot nicer to holiday than to live!
Do you monetize your blog? If so, how?
I do monetize my blog and I do some freelance writing jobs for some Maldivian publications. I often review a product or fashion piece on my website or Instagram, I earn commissions from promoting tours and experiences that I‘ve done and think my readers will also love and I also have written two guidebooks, one about Europe and one about Maldives that I sell on my site. I’m not really into plastering my whole blog with ads – I personally find it annoying as a viewer so I try to limit ads.
What’s your biggest challenge you face as a blogger in the Maldives?
Most people assume that it would be the WiFi connection, but WiFi in the Maldives is a lot better than in Australia! The biggest challenge I face is isolation – not being able to really connect with other bloggers and attend events and network. Maldives gets a lot of bloggers through its resort doors, but unless you’re at that particular island, it’s impossible to connect with other bloggers, unless it’s online.
Describe your dream client / campaign.
I would totally love to do some sort of surf campaign in the Maldives. Maybe even with the Maldives Tourism Board or a global surf brand – that would be the ultimate. In my bikini, surfing amazing waves and promoting this beautiful island destination. I’d love to see the Maldives be promoted more as a surfing destination, accessible for budget travellers. I’d really love to have a voice behind that change and help other travels experience the beauty of the Maldives too.
What does success in this industry look like to you?
For me, success in the travel blogging world isn’t about being the most sought-after travel blogger, although that would be kind of nice! I like to think success is about the small things – it’s all about working hard, achieving my own personal goals and pushing myself to new limits.
My mum likes to remind me that 3 years ago when I started my blog I couldn’t even send an email and I totally hated computers – now I couldn’t live without my MacBook Pro! I guess blogging has allowed me to up-skill myself and learn lots outside the field of teaching, it’s allowed me to make an income online and live life more on my own terms, that’s what I count as success. Being happy with the way that I am doing life.
Where do you see your blog in 5 years time?
When I first started my blog, my dream was to earn some free accommodation in hostels. Three years on, I’m happy with where my blog is although I’m definitely still growing my audience and I’m still working on the monetization side of things too. Blogging is a work in progress. The 5 year plan – ultimately I’d love my partner (photographer) and I to work for ourselves year round and be able to live out full time back-to-back travel adventures together – that would be the ultimate! I also hope our new business Indulge Maldives becomes the Maldives most influential travel platform, with a bunch of employees working for us! That would be a dream!