Always dreamed of running a successful blog, but not sure where to start? Blogger and savvy businesswoman Annabel Candy has got you covered.
The owner and founder of the enormously popular travel site Get In the Hot Spot, Candy is also a mentor within the international blogging community, regularly providing writing tips, private consultations and design advice. We recently caught up with the Aussie nomad to chat about her favourite travel destinations, her advice for first-time bloggers and about that one time she shared a hotel with Justin Bieber…
What made you first decide to start up your own travel blog?
I love travel and I love writing so it was a natural choice. My husband and I had our own web design company for 10 years then we sold everything and went to live in the jungle in Costa Rica for 18 months.
During that time, social media and blogging really took off so when I moved to Australia I started blogging to learn about it for my clients.
I never expected to enjoy it or to get hooked but I did and blogging’s been a great creative outlet for me personally and has helped me get work with heaps of amazing travel brands too. So here I am, still blogging away almost five years later.
You’ve frequently been included in “best of” blogger lists (including our own round-up last year of Australia’s Top 10 Travel Bloggers). What do you think it is about your blog that has made it so successful?
Thank you for that. It’s a real honour to be included in those lists because there are so many great blogs and being recognized makes all the time I’ve put into blogging seem worth it.
I think people like Get In the Hot Spot because I share a lot of personal stories there and really try to help people, not just by giving them destination advice but also by giving them the inspiration and courage to set off on their own adventures.
In addition to travel stories, your blog is full of writing tips and you act as a blogging coach. What are the main pieces of advice you would give someone just about to start their first blog?
Stick with it and don’t expect to see any results for six to twelve months. Blogging is really a labour of love but if you love travel and writing or photography then it’s a brilliant outlet and way to make connections.
You live on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. What would be your top recommendations for visitors to the area?
Well I live in Noosa so I’m a bit biased. I love to walk in Noosa National Park and if you get there before 6 a.m., you can have the place to yourself which is pretty special.
We spend a lot of time at the Groyne just north of Noosa Main beach because there are often good waves for surfing or boogey boarding and lovely shady walks through Noosa Woods to the Noosa River Mouth.
Apart from that, when the holiday season is on and the beaches are packed we head to the hinterland and go camping around Kennilworth which has some nice cool waterholes.
Is there anywhere that you’ve visited along your journeys that has particularly inspired/moved you?
I love nature and wildlife. I’m mad about waterfalls so Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is a favourite along with Costa Rica and New Zealand – both of which have gorgeous waterfalls everywhere.
Costa Rica and Zimbabwe tick the boxes for wildlife and waterfalls so they’re my two favourite countries. Seeing wildlife in the wild is a real pleasure.
If you had to sum up your travel philosophy in one sentence, what would it be?
You never know what you’ll find around the next corner! I guess that’s why I never can seem to stop travelling, I always want to see more.
And of course, we have to ask – what have been some of the best hotel experiences you’ve had on your travels?
I stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel in Sydney when Justin Beiber was staying there which was interesting. The whole hotel was beseiged by teenage girls and media who were all reduced to hanging around outside while I could go in and wander round as I pleased. Sadly I didn’t see the Biebs, but I still like telling people that I shared a hotel with him.
I didn’t stay in the The Fairmont Banff Springs in Canada when I was there but I spent the afternoon in the spa which was utterly divine. The hotel looks like an enormous castle and is totally OTT.
We took a grand tour and there was a lovely employee in a kilt who everyone wanted to get their photo taken with. It was all quite surreal but I loved it and I’d definitely go back to the spa if I went back to Banff. It’s blissfully relaxing and the mountain views are amazing. I guess a sleepover would be even better. Maybe I’ll do that next time.