It’s Tuesday 21st November and I find myself sat in my local coffee shop on Stony Stratford High Street waiting for Laura Jopson and Claire Baldock – AKA the award-winning bloggers behind Twins That Travel – to arrive.
Between you and me, it’s an interview I’d been looking forward to for a while and I’ll let you in on the reason why.
A few weeks back, I posted a blog from me, myself and I, when I was having one of those shitty low points that creep up at the most inconvenient of times (!) and within minutes I got a message from Laura saying along the lines of, “I really needed to hear this. I’m feeling the very same way.”
Turns out the three of us have a lot in common.
From frequent spats of guilt that we’re no longer pursuing the sensible careers our twenty year old selves studied so hard for, to the regular wobbles, not knowing truly whether the hard work will amount to something; this interview quickly evolved into a much needed heart to heart…!
Laura. I’ve been getting up at quarter to seven because I’m scared that if I don’t, I’ll lie in until 8 or 9 and then I’ll feel bad. There was an article in Red magazine called ‘The 5am club’ and it was like ‘what do all successful women have in common?’
She can. She did. They get up early!
L. They get up at 5am! Between 5 and 7 they do more work than they do in the entire day. At uni, I was a nerd so I was at my desk by quarter past 9 every morning. If 18 year old Laura could do that that, there’s no reason why I can’t now.
Claire. See if I get to my desk for 8, by 11 I will just want to move so I find that if I have a slower start I’ll naturally work a bit later now.
SC.SD. It’s just finding out what works for you isn’t it?
Though the girls have only been working on Twins that Travel full time for the past few months, they started the blog in July 2014…
SC.SD. What prompted you to start TTT in the first place?
L. I had loads of travel photography and I’d started following Brooke Saward (@worldwanderlust) in the summer… she travelled the world and was obviously paid for it and I thought her life looked amazing but I didn’t think it was her business. Anyway, I just thought let’s start an Instagram account and use all that photography… and I’m not really sure what you were thinking!
C. We both worked at the Open University before this and I was in marketing but marketing within the library so no one spoke! They’d find it funny and say things like “ooo I forgot to talk today!” and I just thought ‘this is the most unnatural environment!’
I think at the time I was just so bored and I felt like I wasn’t doing anything creative (that I thought I’d be doing in that job) so I guess I just liked the idea that we’d have this little creative corner online doing what we wanted to do.
L. I think we also thought ‘let’s just see what happens’ because in 2014 Instagram was growing really, really quickly so we were able to get our following really, really quickly and I think that was a means in itself…
SC.SD. How quickly are we talking?
L. We got about 20,000 followers in our first year.
SC.SD. Oh my gosh, that’s amazing!
L. And actually, I wasn’t fuelled by ‘this could be a business’. It was just a thrill of the growth! It was so satisfying and we were creating a community as well so we were getting to know our followers!
C. It was like a hobby that was doing well! We were getting featured by lots of Travel magazines too which was exciting!
L. I think it was just a validation that our travel photography was good and that people felt like they had a relationship with us. At the time, I wasn’t happy either. I was breaking up with an ex that took about two years to officially break up (!) so it was a really nice distraction from that too!
C. It was our own thing that no one else dictated!
SC.SD. Definitely! And there really is that community online isn’t there? I was always quite cynical about it before starting this but it really is there…
L. It’s definitely there! We’re talking about fifty year old women and men but that was really nice! Because we were both really nervous travellers, ironically I hated going away and they made me feel better because I knew they’d been there already or when we went to Marrakesh, so and so was there…
L. Bruce197 from Florida was there! It made the world seem smaller.
C. But it definitely wasn’t a business intention. It was our hobby and a creative outlet.
Though the girls were often sent freebies, they didn’t get their first sponsored post for TTT until last year.
L. We didn’t make a penny for two and half years…
C. I still don’t see it as a business, it’s weird.
L. I think we might do better if we had more of a business mind set behind it but we don’t!
SC.SD. I think that’s the thing with bloggers though, it never starts off as a business does it. You have to earn that…
C. Definitely, it just grows. And because it happened so organically, you don’t suddenly notice that one day you’re talking about chasing invoices and organising management until you look back at it… we just bumble along really!
SC.SD. If it helps, so many of the women I’ve interviewed so far who have, I guess what you’d call “traditional” businesses say the same thing though; they’re just going with it! It’s just a case of learning to embrace that.
C. That’s the thing; I think people think that there’s so much more to all of these businesses… You look at someone really high up in an organisation and I bet that even they are just bullshitting their way through life…!
L. We met a lady in Florida who owns this shop called ‘The Shiny Fish Emporium’ and she moved to Florida after twenty years in New York and when she started she decided to open up a paint bar where little kids could go and paint shells and then she thought ‘I’m not sure’ so she added a clothes section and then a year later – her husband was an illustrator – they added illustrations and then jewellery and I said to her “did you have a plan?” and she was like “nooo…!”
SC.SD. That’s such an amazing story! And such a huge lifestyle change given how fast paced New York is…
C. You could say the same for us though. We did a lot of academia and now we have a travel blog!
With an undergraduate in sociology from Leicester University, Claire went on to study Social Anthropology for her postgraduate at Oxford whilst Laura studied history for both undergrad and postgrad; first at Leicester and then Oxford.
SC.SD. Was it a conscious decision to go together?
L. I originally went to Exeter and within three weeks…
C. Laura, it wasn’t three weeks it was three days!
L. Three days then! I couldn’t eat, I was throwing up… the change for me was too big. Older me looking back kicks myself because I vividly remember the day Mum came to pick me up. I’d just gone out to lunch with my roommates and had a really nice time and I look back now and think ‘if you’d have stayed there for 2-3 weeks you’d have been fine’ but I have a habit of panicking and taking a step back… so I went to Leicester and that was that. And then I got into Oxford and then a month later you were like “I’ve applied!”
C. I didn’t think I’d get in!
L. The story repeats itself again because I found myself living with three German postgrad men…
C. Didn’t you find one in your room one day?!
L. One was in my room and I cried and cried and cried and I felt myself doing what I did in Exeter but Mum and Dad saved the day by saying “why don’t you both move into a flat together?”
SC.SD. Parents are good like that! You mentioned that travelling doesn’t come naturally to you… were you travelling together back then?
C. Not really, I went to Thailand during my undergrad but…
L. I didn’t leave the country for three years…
C. So it wasn’t like travel was even a huge thing for us.
SC.SD. Whereas now you see people going off for their gap years and not coming home for 5-6 years…
C. I think people presume that’s what we did but it’s never been like that!
L. I remember one summer holiday my friend Emily invited me to France and I didn’t want to go because I was in a routine. The idea that I would leave the country and my routine for a week made me not want to go.
SC.SD. What was it then that made you start travelling?
C. I think we both just had really, really bad anxiety. Everything that came with travelling- flying, airports, a new country, different beds – we hated it! I don’t know what happened though. Perhaps we matured, we got better at dealing with it… it wasn’t fixed at all though; when we went away we still had anxiety…
L. But it was the high of coming home! I was saying the other day to my friends, “I think I travel to come home.” I feel so proud when I get back! I’m like “I’m HOME!”
C. Like last week, we both drove on the US highways on the other side of the road! It sounds like such a little thing for other people…
SC.SD. Errr, the idea of driving on the other side of the road terrifies me!
C. I know! A few times we got to the roundabouts and I just couldn’t think of the right way to go!
But when we’re there, for me, it completely takes your brain away from everyday life. You’re just in the now. We’re doing things all the time, you’re meeting people you never thought you’d meet and all of this gives context to your life so that when you do feel like you’re going to worry, you have all this context to fall back on. It’s our medicine.
L. For me the high I felt when we got home last week matched the holiday!
C. Oh no, I’d rather be there!
L. I just felt like everything was fresh again and my mind was reset.
C. That’s definitely true.
L. It just makes you more appreciative of home.
SC.SD. 100% I love travelling but there’s something so special about landing home at Heathrow…
Both. It’s home!
C. I remember coming home from Kenya and I’d been seriously ill out there and I could have dropped to my knees at Heathrow airport and kissed the floor when I was home!
I think we are very unconventional travel bloggers though. You get the travel bloggers that just want to be on the road all the time…
We digress slightly as we spend a good five minutes discussing how perfect @thebucketlistfamily seem – a family of four, soon to be five, who are constantly on the move. Suffice to say, I am unashamedly obsessed with them.
L. Whereas we didn’t even start the blog to travel!
Though the girls are now both working full time on TTT, in January 2017 Claire made the decision to quit her job first, with Laura following suit last month.
SC.SD. What prompted the realisation that this was now a business?
C. I feel like we’re hard workers! We’re not going to lie about doing nothing and last year was such a good year…
L. We’d won ‘Travel Bloggers of the Year” from Blogosphere magazine.
C. And I felt like we’ve set ourselves apart now. Our writing is different. You wouldn’t find ‘Top 10 things to do in…’ on the blog. It’s written in first person, they’re narratives and stories. We’re twins obviously (!) which helps so we started a ‘twins’ perspective’ campaign showing different sides of the same thing… I can’t really put my hand on it but I just felt like there was something.
L. And we’d just started getting ambassadorships with GoPro and Fossil and working with Lonely Planet… having brands behind you like that helps. Even though I have a lot of Imposter Syndrome…
C. That’s true. For instance, we’re working with Boots this Christmas and I was telling my husband and he was like “that’s amazing!” but it’s so hard…
L. I think we’re too caught up in viewing ourselves as inferior…
SC.SD. All of these brands wouldn’t be working with you if you weren’t doing well though!
C. 100% and I completely understand that and would tell a friend that but it’s so hard to internalise. Really, really hard! But where was I?! I just knew there was something in it but I guess now we’re really in the midst of it all happening, we still feel a bit like…
L. Where’s it going?
C. Where’s it going? Exactly. And that’s a struggle.
SC.SD. But I guess that’s what travelling is all about. People just pack a bag and trust the process and see where they end up…
C. Definitely! Over the last year, I’ve learned what I want from my life and it’s so generational of me to say this but I just want to have really great stories to tell and meet people that we’d never usually meet! For instance, last night I was telling my husband that last week we went horseback riding in the sea but we went so fast that Laura’s bikini bottoms fell off!
SC.SD. How do they go so fast?!
L. It’s so weird! You hold on to the back of the horse’s tail and it gallop-swims!
C. It’s like you’re on a jetski! And James was laughing so much and that made me feel so good! I love people who have good stories to tell so if anything, even if this doesn’t last forever, it gives me this little treasure trove of memories and people and stories and that’s enough!
L. Fi asked what the turning point in January was though Claire!
C. Oh, I just couldn’t take it anymore! We’d been given an opportunity to work with Universal Studios and if I hadn’t quit my job I wouldn’t have been able to take it… I just thought ‘if I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it and if I don’t ever do it, I’ll be bitter’ and be like “wow James, I’m so happy you have the career you want while I just sit here!” It felt good to start at the beginning of the year and I just thought, worst case scenario I have to get another job again but at least I’ve tried it…
SC.SD. There’s something really great about January for that. It forces you to evaluate everything doesn’t it?
C. You have a whole year ahead of you and there are so many possibilities!
SC.SD. What did it feel like when Claire had left her job and you were still working?
L. I wasn’t jealous to be honest and still now I’m more of the person that needs routine, and colleagues and reliability- none of which, self-employment brings!
C. …As you know!!
SC.SD. Only too well!
L. The overriding feeling was guilt actually that Claire would go, “well if you hadn’t been working, we could have done this!” Not that you set me up there Claire..!
C. I’m not taking any responsibility!
L. I’m still going to do consultancy in philanthropy because I love it- it wasn’t the career that upset me but there were certain people in the office that pissed me off! I think if they weren’t there I might have stayed!
SC.SD. Good old office politics!
C. For me, I didn’t even know I was going to resign! I got pulled into a meeting and she was like “I don’t think you’re happy anymore, what can we do?” and I just realised then and there that there’s nothing they could do for me. Something just goes in your brain!
SC.SD. Was she like “errrr, where’s your letter love?!”
C. She wasn’t surprised to be honest! They all knew about the blog and knew that it was becoming increasingly hard to do juggle because I was using up all my annual leave and working overtime so I could get extra days in lieu… I was so tired but yes, I didn’t plan it at all!
L. I think Claire’s was a snap decision whereas mine was a slow agonising labour!
SC.SD. How do you feel about the decision now?
L. What I struggle with is having faith in the fact that more opportunities will come because they have done in the past. I have to make myself feel optimistic that it’s going to work, whereas Claire has more of what my Dad has, that Del Boy attitude to life: “we’re going to be millionaires, it’ll be fine!”
C. We’ve got a funny family. All of my Mum’s side are self-employed. Our Granddad had a different job every year so he sold biodegradable coffins for a while (!), baby dolls…
L. You know those human baby dolls!?
C. We’d go into his house and there would be dolls everywhere! And then there was a gardening business… so we’ve grown up with that but then on the other side we have an uncle who’s been in the same job all his life…
L. I think I’m like the other side who stick with a job! Even now I feel this incessant guilt that I went to uni and I did this and that so I should be doing a “real” job…
SC.SD. I have that debate in my head all the time. When I have my lows, I think ‘what the hell have you done? You’re an idiot!’
L. Exactly! I think we balance each other out though. Claire might aim really high but then at least I can give her the depressing grounding…!
C. And I pick you up sometimes! The one thing I still struggle with, that I think we all have to learn, is that when you start a business like this, there will be days where you’re doing a piece of work but there’s no money attached to that piece of work. In a normal job, you do a day at work, and you know you’re being paid regularly, but with this, you do all these pieces of work that build to get paid and it’s hard getting your head around that.
L. And I begin to doubt myself… What if I’m writing this and it leads to nothing? What a waste of my time.
SC.SD. I hear ya sister!
C. You’ve got to trust the process. You have to put a lot of time in for an unobvious reward…
L. Which is fine when you’ve won the lottery but when money is a real objective…
C. It can be hard to dedicate a whole day to something that’s not paying you directly.
SC.SD. I can really relate to that right now. How did it feel when the first contract came in and you were paid?
C. It was really exciting! It was the South of France villas one…
L. It was tiny!
C. £250… We were so excited though!
L. We were excited when we were sent freebies though! Even pyjamas!
SC.SD. I bet! The minute you got the £250 though, was it a case of, “ok, everyone should be paying us now”?
C. Because I have a marketing background, I knew how much people would pay to get an advert in a stadium in front of 50,000 people and that’s so much money so I always said we should be charging but you weren’t as confident were you.
L. I find it quite stressful… I almost don’t want to ask for money because I don’t want to get into that constant justification…
C. Whereas I’m like no, we deserve to be paid! There have definitely been times where we’ve done stuff for free since then because it’s been well worth the content and working with that brand but for the most part we’ve been paid.
L. And that’s been hard- working out which brands are worthwhile in doing that for. But yeh, it felt like extra pocket money I suppose! It’s always been a case of ‘let’s not get too carried away though!’ I guess, law of attraction, it did just build and now we’re mostly fee based which is really good.
SC.SD. Do you believe in the law of attraction?
C. Oh yeah!
SC.SD. Here we go..!
C. She did until she ended up reading something by Derren Brown!
L. So Derren Brown released a new book called ‘Happy’… he’s an academic through and through and he goes back to the study of happiness from Plato through to today and he talks about the Law of Attraction coming up… he says it gives people a loss of ownership over their own happiness and the wisest and longest part of happiness is stoicism and authorship in that we only feel generally happy when we feel like we’re authors of our own lives… whereas the Law of Attraction is handing that over to something else and when it doesn’t come back to you, you feel really deflated and depressed.
C. For me, you’re more grateful when things do come your way…
L. But I think the idea you say “thank you universe”, and it sends you a lottery win…
C. Oh I don’t believe in that!
SC.SD. For me it’s all about positive thinking…
C. Definitely, it just motivates you.
L. For me, when I’ve been at my most unhappy it’s when I feel a loss of control or drifting so I kind of got that… at the moment, being self-employed, I feel a sense of drift and I feel this constant anxiety where I want to write down very concrete aims and a timetable and that would give me a sense of safety… but maybe that’s just neuroticism?!
C. This isn’t very inspiring for people is it!?
SC.SD. It’s honest, which I love! And I can relate to this in so many ways. Losing structure and routine has been one of the hardest parts of this journey for me.
L. Since I left my job, I’ve been so nervous about it and was so upset leaving my colleagues…
SC.SD. Except the annoying one?!
L. Yes! But I need to work really hard because I know my natural response to how I’m feeling now is to bolt and panic. It’s history repeating itself. So I think now, if I am going to bolt, at least bolt after 5-6 months…
SC.SD. But don’t bolt because you’re doing great!
C. With Laura, it’s like trying to keep a horse in its stable! But you learn so much about yourself so it’s really good to feel uncomfortable sometimes.
SC.SD. Exactly! I keep telling myself that everyone that I genuinely look up to and admire has had that feeling of wanting to bolt in some shape or form but pushed through it.
L. I read a story about Abraham Lincoln the other day and from 1830 his childhood sweetheart died, then he lost his job, then he applied for Senator Congressmen and he was defeated and for thirty years he had nothing but defeats… anyway finally he was made President of the United States and I was like, “yay, he persevered!”
C. There’s another book I read called ‘Grit and Perseverance’ and it says that the successful person has both. It’s nothing to do with one hit wonders. It’s just trying over and over and over until you get where you want to be and that grit that you know that’s what you want to do and you won’t let anyone else ship you off to do something else.
L. I think it’s just the reality of that. Everyone says to me “you must have the most amazing life” and I just want to say to them “actually no, I cry a lot, it’s really hard!” But aren’t the best things in life supposed to be worth working at?
SC.SD. Exactly! And what I think people love most about you two is that given your job revolves around social media that makes everything seem perfect, you are both so honest about your anxiety and your low points. People need to hear it..
L. Yes and if anything this has sparked my anxieties… but it was to be expected and I can understand that. My friend Monica is self-employed and she applies for jobs, gets interviewed, they send her the contract and then she doesn’t take it…
C. It’s very common for freelancers to do that…
SC.SD. Just for the reassurance?
C. Just for the reassurance!
L. And then she’s alright again! She just needs to know that she has an escape plan.
SC.SD. I love that but that’s so much effort! Any job that’s ever tempted me comes with a 10 page application form, multiple interviews and presentations… it would take yonks!
L. Oh I know! But I think people think the self-employed life is the best life when in reality it’s 100% harder than working for someone else.
C. They say feast and famine don’t they? You have months of money and then months of shitting your pants and it’s famine!
One thing I’ve learnt though – I was saying it to Laura the other day – when I first started I was writing down obsessively what I was earning and something happened around summer time and I’ve just let go of that. It wasn’t changing anything for me. I’m fully aware of what I’m earning…
L. One time she refreshed her online banking six times. I was like “err, there’s still no money coming in!”
SC.SD. Still poor!
C. Haha! I’ve just let go of it I guess!
SC.SD. What role do you think you both play with this?
L. Claire would be the business development manager and I would be the content and creative person in charge of photographs and writing…
C. I still do blog posts but I think we’ve always fallen very naturally into two different categories. I want to add Google AdSense, add skim links to the blog, I built the website…
L. Whereas at 2am I’ll have an idea about a photo of us with balloons on the beach… I feel like that’s my role!
C. Without either of us, it wouldn’t work.
SC.SD. I was going to ask whether it would appeal as much if you were doing it on your own…
C. I think time wise, how would you do it!? Even with two of us, we don’t create as much content as other people doing it on their own!
L. I think we could probably be more efficient but we’re still learning!
SC.SD. Exactly. It’s just a case of streamlining the processes over time isn’t it? How did husbands, boyfriends, friends and family all react when you said you were going to do this full time?
C. I’ve been with James since I was 14 so he knows what I’m like!
SC.SD. Oh my gosh, that’s so cute!
C. In our wedding vows, he said “I will always support Twins That Travel” so I was like…
SC.SD. “It’s time!”
C. Exactly! I always say “are you not worried about me and what I’m earning?” and he just says “no, from the type of person you are, I know you’ll be fine!” Without a doubt he has been the best thing this year. He without a doubt keeps me going! He was a GP and he really didn’t enjoy it so last year I pushed him to retrain to do sports medicine. We decided for both of us, before we have kids, we should give it a try… so we’re sort of in it together.
SC.SD. And he enjoys it?
C. He loves it! Although it’s based in Oxford so he’s started to wear chinos again…
SC.SD. It’s when he starts draping the pastel jumper round his neck that you should start to worry! What about you?
L. Mike is just really practical. He’s an Associate Director where he works at a Creative Agency and he’s been there for ten years and will always be there! He said “go for it!” If I worry, he’s like, “stop worrying. If you’re going to do this, do it. Get on with it!” He’s very cut and dry!
C. I’m glad he’s like that with you!
SC.SD. Do you think you need that though?
L. Yes. Last night for instance, he said “talking about this isn’t going to make you anymore money. If you’ve committed to it, go for it. If in six months’ time you’re not making any more money then get another job!”
C. I say this to you Laura!!
L. I know but for me, it helps to be with someone that’s not making a melodrama out of it all!
SC.SD. And what about family?
C. Oh they’ve been our number ones! Dad wants to work on a Wikipedia page for us! They love it. I’ve actually had to stop telling them everything because they ask so many questions and they don’t fully get how the process works…
L. And their optimism and buoyancy adds a bit more pressure so I want to say tone it down sometime!
C. But they’re a massive comfort.
L. And I think our friends all really excited! I was expecting more snide comments to be honest. “Oh, you’re going on holiday again… tough life!” When actually they’ve held it in!
C. They have held it in!
SC.SD. What about the blogosphere- have you found any support there?
C. So we have a travel bloggers Whatsapp group where we all chat which I find really helpful. Often if someone can’t make a press trip then they’ll say “does anyone want to be put forward?” and we recommend each other so it’s really positive like that! Laura set it up but then left two weeks ago without saying anything…! And then everyone was like ‘Claire, where’s Laura gone?!’
L. The situation is…
SC.SD. Is this not going in?!
L. No it can! The situation was in the first few weeks of going full time with this, I found it so overwhelming and then to have a group saying “did you get this invite? I’m going here… I got this deal…” it was too much for me. It just made me feel bad and when you need to focus on your own business, “comparison is the thief of joy” and I couldn’t bare it whereas Claire isn’t as sensitive as I am… It’s like two design agencies going for the same pitch!
SC.SD. I appreciate that and at the end of the day, it is your job now and it’s their job now. Of course you’re going to be going after the same things…
L. I think right now, I’d just take it so personally if someone got something over us. I’d take it as evidence that I’m not good enough to do this full time. Whereas Clare would be like…
C. “Ah well!”
L. I look at Claire and she’s just blind optimism whereas I’m the Queen of Doom!
SC.SD. I feel like this is a good time to ask your favourite quote!
C. I’ve got a few. ‘This too shall pass’ for panic attacks and anxiety…
My sister – who happens to be friends with the girls – interrupted this interview half way through and chooses now to butt in…
Carrie. I added on to that didn’t I?! “It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass!”
C. Haha! Exactly!
L. Mine are so depressing..! That Coldplay song came on to the radio the other day and I was like “this is my life at the moment!” You know? ‘No one said it would be easy but no one said it would be this hard..!’
C. That’s not a great quote to include! It’s supposed to be uplifting! How about ‘she believed she could so she did’ Anything like that is my favourite!
SC.SD. I’m bias yes but great choice…! Obviously you’re playing it by ear but can you see yourself blogging now for the rest of your life?
C. You just don’t know what’s going to fly into your inbox. Next week we could be talking about something we can’t even imagine right now, it’s so hard! When you think about it, three and a half years ago this wasn’t even a possibility so how can we know what’s going to happen going forward?
L. I think it’s just learning to accept that there’s no known end point. No moment where you reach it and go “ahhh, ok! I’ve got here, I can retire now!” With this job, it’s impossible to quantify.
Carrie. I’m so excited to see where your YouTube and podcasts go because that’s when things really start taking off…
C. We’re really enjoying that!
L. As a perfectionist though I worry we’re not good enough!
C. Laura sent me a message the other day…
L. I was just joking Claire!
C. No no, there will be some truth in it! And she was like “I’ve been watching a film on Spielberg and now I fucking hate our vlogs!”
L. It was such a fascinating documentary! I think I just need to tone down this feeling of ‘unless I’m going to do it 100% perfectly, I shouldn’t do it..!’
C. Whereas I’m much more of an ‘it’s about the journey’ girl. If you read our first blog post, it was crap but we’ve got better! I’d rather just do it than procrastinate. But we even each other out. I’ll publish it and Laura makes sure there’s an element of good in it!
SC.SD. Advice you’d give to your 15-16 year old self then?
L. I would say when the hard times come, don’t run away… but then my life would be so different! But yes, don’t be scared of the hard times.
C. I’d just say have confidence in myself. We were at grammar schools so it was very much “if you don’t go to Oxbridge you’re a failure”… and I remember when I said I was going to do sociology my Dad was like “oh, it’s an ology” so I always felt like I’m not that clever… So judge yourself by your own standards and not by anyone else’s and do what you want.
SC.SD. Definitely! And lastly, what advice would you give to anyone that wants to start a travel blog?
C. Hmm… don’t start a travel blog just to create a career. Only do it if you want to write and take photos. It’s so easy to read those blogs and know they’re empty because they don’t have the passion behind it…
L. And also stand by your style! Initially we tried copying other styles but then I realised, actually I just love writing 3000 word theses with lots of adjectives (!) but if I didn’t do that I wouldn’t enjoy it… and someone must read it!
SC.SD. And they clearly do!
L. Exactly! Just have a distinctive personality to your blog. When we won the awards, it just validated that actually, it’s ok to be like that rather than “ten things to do in Amsterdam…”
I found myself relating to so much of what the twins were saying in this chat.
In fact, after reading this back, I would go as far to say that there’s both a Laura and a Claire up in that brain of mine with Miss Optimism and the Queen of Doom battling it out daily!
Blogging is a career choice that so many of us look at with rose tinted glasses but it’s also a career choice that gets a lot of stick. Not least when it takes you to some enviable locations or you hold a master’s degree from Oxford where you’re expected to rise to the top of whichever corporate career you choose…
However – and it’s a big however here – what Laura and Claire have created in Twins that Travel is a blog (and now business) that dares to be completely different; and with long hours writing to meet pressing deadlines and negotiations back and forth with global brands, it also demands some serious work.
What started as a hobby and a welcomed distraction from the mundane has evolved into an award-winning and sumptuous account of their travels worldwide. It also provides a much needed voice for anyone struggling with anxiety with refreshingly frank accounts of their own personal struggles.
They’re brave, they wear the hearts on their sleeves, plus – let’s face it – they know how to take a bloody good pic.
Amusingly, they refer to themselves as ‘accidental bloggers’. And yet, in their own unique and completely unintended way, for me and for some of the biggest brands in the world vying to work with them, it’s exactly that which makes them stand out from the crowd.
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