This month’s guest in my interview series Travel Blogger Interviews is Margherita Ragg, from The Crowded Planet. She and her husband, Nick, are long-term travellers and lovers of nature, wildlife and the outdoors.
1. Tell us a little about yourself: Who are you? Where are you from?
My name is Margherita, I am 31 years old and I was born in Milan, where I’m also living (at the moment). Ten years ago, while I was living in London, I met my now-husband Nick, who runs The Crowded Planet with me. We both love travel and from being a hobby, it has become our life. We’re not on the road full time at the moment but we will be soon – we’re planning to travel around Europe by train in the summer and then around Asia from October onwards!
2. What is your blog about and how did you start blogging?
We both love nature and adventure, so we decided to choose these two topics as our blog niche. At first, we thought The Crowded Planet would become an ‘outdoor’ travel blog, all about skiing, camping and climbing – but to be honest, I find these blogs a bit boring to read, so I didn’t think I would enjoy writing one. So, we’ve tried to expand the theme and now we feature stories on street art, alternative sights and urban nature. Our new motto has become ‘finding nature and adventure everywhere’.
3. Do you feel that blogging takes time away from your social life?
It does indeed. I am working as a teacher at the moment and I’m spending an average of 4 hours a day on my blog (sometimes MUCH more though) so, unfortunately I often sacrifice my social life. The first few months were especially bad. I spent pretty much every waking moment on the blog, and was becoming a kind of recluse. Then I decided that if I was going to continue that way, I could as well close the blog, as it was becoming a pain. Enjoying the blog is my number one priority, and now I’m doing much better with time management.
4. You take very beautiful photos. Which do you feel is your biggest passion: blogging, travel, or photography?
All three, in different ways though. Travel, because without it, my blog and photography would not exist. Blogging intended as writing, because it’s my real passion, it gives me incredible joy and allows me to travel back to the destination I’m writing about. Photography because I love great pictures. I’m not that good though – but I’m getting better! My husband is the good photographer.
5. Do you have a roll model as a blogger, someone whom you admire and hold in high esteem?
Not really. I used to read blogs before starting my own, but I was never a faithful reader of any. Nowadays, there are several blogs I like and read regularly, but I don’t really have a role model. I’m inspired by the blogging community as a whole – the amazing support and friendships forged through this year, the help I got when I needed and the great work that many of us are doing to change the face of travel communication.
6. What is the one thing that is too large or impractical to travel with that you wish you could take with you when you travel?
After walking the Camino de Santiago in 2013, I learnt to pack lightly! So, now I’m pretty good when it comes to packing, and I try not to take stuff I don’t need. Something I’d like to always have with me is camping equipment, because I love camping and it helps with the budget. However, camping stuff takes up loads of space, so sometimes we just shell out for hotels. If someone invented a ‘micro-tent’ they would definitely have a new customer!
7. What is the #1 country on your bucket list?
At the moment, it’s the Philippines. South East Asia has been spoilt but mass-tourism but the Philippines still seem to retain a ‘wild’ feel and their culture is different from that of, say, Thailand or Cambodia. We’re heading there sometime after we get to Asia, I can’t wait!
8. Are there any countries that you would not consider visiting and why?
Absolutely not. I’m not affected by politics when it comes to these things and negative experiences do not bother me, I’m always ready to give places another chance. The only places I wouldn’t go to are war zones. I have read of some travelers boasting their bravado by straying into places like Syria or Libya in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, but I think that’s just dumb. Plus, I’ve no interest in visiting all the countries of the world or other challenges like that.
9. What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
Now, that’s when we were dumb. We decided to take a two-day hike across Taman Negara national park in Malaysia without a guide or map, and ended up being lost for the best part of a day. It was a terrifying experience – here’s my post about it. We didn’t take a guide because we were on a tight budget, needless to say I would never repeat the experience.
10. In terms of family, career, travel, etc. where do you see yourself ten years from now?
I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of you asking me this question! Sorry, I couldn’t help it, I always wanted to be asked that question at job interviews just to give the “smartass” answer, but no one ever asked! Jokes aside, I would like to be doing what I’m doing now. Traveling and writing, but maybe with a child.
You can follow Margherita on: