In this series we ask savvy travellers to share their stories, tips, and destination inspiration: Anita Dykstra’s travel blog has taken her from the Wairarapa to the world.
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in a small farming community called Carterton which is located in the Wairarapa.
What’s your day job?
My full-time job is travel blogging and freelancing through my website. I run a travel blog called Anita Hendrieka where I talk about budget backpacking and share my stories from around the world.
When did you first start travelling?
I left Carterton when I was 19 and moved to the UK. I knew no one but I felt like it was my chance to go out and experience the world. I had always loved travelling, even as a little girl doing frequent trips around New Zealand with my parents in our little caravan and flying over to Australia often to see family.
How did you get into travel blogging?
I watched a documentary about an NZ blogger Gala Darling when I was 18 and I started a lifestyle blog the same day. I had no idea what I was doing but I was intrigued and excited. When I was in the UK it developed into a travel blog because I wanted to share my stories and advice that I had learnt. In January 2015, I released Anita Hendrieka as a professional travel blog.
Where or what is the main focus of your blog?
I write about budget backpacking as I love the thrill of travelling cheaply. I write about destinations that I have been to, my travel disasters, just about everything to do with travel! My aim at the end of the day is to inspire people to get out there and see the world.
What are the perks of being a travel blogger? Do you get paid?
I LOVE every aspect of my job. I have been able to travel on all expenses-paid trips, work with leading travel companies and obviously earn a wage so I can keep travelling around the world and producing content for my website. But, the one perk I love the most is inspiring others to travel the world.
Are there any downsides to being a travel blogger?
There’s a lot of talk about the amazing lifestyle of a travel blogger. What a lot of people don’t realise is there’s a lot of work behind the scenes that goes into a blog, it’s not all pretty pictures. For me, I’m a writer, social media manager, photographer, receptionist, web designer and graphic designer all rolled into one person. So finding the balance of actually getting out of your room to travel and sitting down to work can be difficult.
Where is your favourite place you have travelled and why?
India! It’s the only destination in the world that can be beautiful, ugly, smelly, fragrant, intense, chaotic and calm all at the same time. You will learn a lot about yourself (especially your patience!) here.
What’s the most memorable travel experience you’ve ever had?
I was sitting on the edge of The Ganges in Varanasi by myself and I started crying with happiness. That was just one of many moments I have had that’s made me say to myself, “This is why I travel. To see beautiful parts of the world I never thought I could ever see in my lifetime”.
Where are you headed next?
I am heading back to the UK in July. I will be spending six months there because my partner is English and visas have separated us for nine months!
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to start travel blogging?
Do it for the right reasons. The people who succeed are the ones who are passionate about travel blogging and not the folks who are just in it for the perks. If you want to try it then research and reach out to established bloggers, they can often give you some excellent advice. It took me over a year to start making actual money from my blog!
Share your top three travel tips:
1. Always be respectful of other cultures and beliefs.
2. Never judge and keep an open mind. You will never learn anything otherwise.
3. Don’t buy the first flight you see! I have saved myself hundreds of dollars because I have followed these steps.
Are you a travel blogger with a story to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.